Joseph Hanson

June 18, 2020

The Environmental Court issued orders jailing Mr. Hanson and bulldozing his home—depriving him of his liberty and property without due process.  Mr. Hanson’s Environmental Court woes, like Ms. Hohenberg’s, began when a tree fell on his family home in Memphis. Mr. Hanson’s case came to Environmental Court by way of a City of Memphis exterior inspection of his messy yard.

The horrors visited on Mr. Hanson by the Environmental Court far outweigh any harm stemming from property neglect. When Mr. Hanson did not show up for a “hearing” of which he had not been informed, the Environmental Court issued a warrant for his arrest and he was arrested. The police did not let him make a phone call for his $50 bond and he was jailed for five days.  This was at least the second time Mr. Hanson has been arrested in an Environmental Court matter.

In early 2020, the Environmental Court authorized Memphis officials to board, condemn, and bulldoze Mr. Hanson’s home without providing notice to Mr. Hanson. The City destroyed Mr. Hanson’s house with all his possessions and records a casualty of the process.

Related Case

Fines and Fees | Private Property

Memphis Environmental Court

When a court proceeding may result in a person losing their home, the U.S. Constitution demands a fair process with rigorous safeguards against erroneous deprivation. But the process is Shelby County, Tennessee, is anything but…