She described the condition of her garden as “a hodgepodge of furniture and a hodgepodge of trash and debris… the collection continued to grow despite efforts to persuade her to clean it up.” [it] An Ohio court of appeals upheld Elena Hammock’s conviction.
In October 2019, City Health Inspector Dale Marshall visited Mr. Hammock’s home and informed him to vacate his home due to lack of running water. He was not looking forward to this trip and had asked some police officers to accompany him. Hammock has a long history of conflict with neighbors and the city. While there, Mr. Marshall saw a large amount of junk and debris in his garden and ordered that the premises be cleared within fifteen days. The city later granted her request for an additional 60 days to do the work. However, after about 8 months, the property remained in much the same condition.
]The city filed a criminal complaint against Hammock in Hamilton County District Court in July 2020. She claims that she has “deliberately failed to remove all scrap items, litter, litter, junk, debris, trash, and other unsightly and/or unsanitary items from her property,” The wording was based on the following city ordinance:
Many people, garbage, garbage,
Trash, debris, junk, or other materials. . . in any premises, . . . in cities, such
same . must constitute an unsightly appearance with respect to the character of .
Mr. Hammock initially responded to the complaint himself. Her public defender later represented her. She claimed she was unable to clean the property due to ongoing harassment from her neighbors. and other evidence of alleged assaults by Norwood Police. When she saw her things, the city and her neighbors were conspiring to evict her from her home.
At the trial, Marshall and Sean Kennan, one of Hammock’s allegedly harassing neighbors, testified for the charges. Marshall said he took pictures of her garden, and the city submitted these pictures as evidence. Wooden pallets, boxes, containers, piles of furniture and appliances, and just piles of rubble and trash made the ground barely visible in the photos.
With the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting many activities in early 2020, Marshall testified that he gave Ms. Hammock over the 60 days she requested to clean the facility. Driving by her house on a regular basis, he noticed that she had made no progress in cleaning her up. In fact her collection of garbage was getting worse. That’s when he decided to take the matter to court.
Mr. Kennan has lived next door to Ms. Hammock for six years and testified that the buildup of junk has been an issue from the beginning. He and others had been involved with her in her previous lawsuits, in one of which a judge ordered her Rumpke’s trash can to be installed in her home. When he sentenced the defendant to community service, they were instructed to help her dispose of her items. She said she returned with a frame, a rusty cooking grill, a Styrofoam bucket and other junk. The smell resembles raw sewage, and the stagnant water she collects in a five-gallon bucket is causing a mosquito infestation.
Mr. Hammock testified in his own defense and did not deny that debris had accumulated in the yard, but tried to justify it. He accused her of harassing her for years, throwing garbage in her garden, and then calling the health department. She explained that she roams the streets on garbage night and collects anything she deems reusable or salable from the curb to make money, but was killed by Mr. Kennan, who she claimed had damaged her van. Her plan failed.
She admitted that her garden material was “as much as I like, maybe people don’t like it, but I tried to do everything I could.” He said he was unable to do so but refused to undergo an evaluation at the court’s clinic to determine if the accommodation was suitable.
The jury found Mr. Hammock guilty of violating the ordinance. The judge stayed her sentence and requested a report on the adequacy of the treatment given the issues that surfaced throughout the trial.The judge ordered her to begin cleaning the property and reviewed the sentence. She gave me 30 days to do so before doing so.
Would anyone have been surprised that Ms. Hammock didn’t clean her yard and refused a court-ordered assessment? There is no medicine to help bullying.” She was sentenced to her 30 days in prison and her $200 fine.
On appeal, her attorney argued that the term “unsightly appearance with respect to the character of the neighborhood” was unconstitutionally vague and that the public could not understand what activities were prohibited. argued that the ordinance had no reasonable relationship to legitimate governmental purposes and may not be constitutionally applicable under any circumstances.
Ordinances may be found unconstitutional on the grounds of ambiguity. The Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is a statutory or other regulation prohibiting or requiring conduct that is so imprecise or misleading that the average mind must guess its meaning or application. prohibited from being enforced. The statute should clarify what is not permitted and provide reasonably clear guidelines to law enforcement officials.
Initially, the Commission decided that “a legitimate governmental interest in preserving the aesthetics of the community, and, as such, aesthetic considerations may be taken into account by legislative bodies . . . .” picked up.
“[T]This court order provides guidance on what actions constitute a violation. * * * [T]His ordinance explains here:[n]o People must allow garbage to be placed, left, dumped, or accumulated – in other words, it requires someone’s action,’ says the opinion paper. does not dispute the imprecision of the words “garbage,” “garbage,” etc., as it limits its attack to the “unsightly appearance” aspect of the Ordinance.
Turning to Merriam-Webster, who defines “unsightly” as “not good-looking, not beautiful,” the committee concludes: The materials in her garden are no longer pleasing to the eyes of those who live around her.
State vs Hammock, No. C-210518, C-210620, Ohio Ct. App., First Dist., 7 October 2022.