Recently I reported on the nearly unbelievable case of the man in Texas who was fined for not cutting the grass on his foreclosed home, but the shocking case of this individual in Minnesota makes that seem reasonable, which is saying quite a lot.
In fact, the case of Mitch Faber, from Burnsville, Minnesota, is so blatantly ludicrous that the Minnesota Senate Committee on Local Government and Elections – which investigates abuse at the local government level – has contacted the Fabers to investigate their case.
This case is a symptom of a deeply sick society which preys upon the weak, exploits and abusesthe people of the United States as much as humanly possible, spies on us without any remote semblance of probable cause, assassinates us without due process, all while treating us all like suspected terrorists for the most innocent of activities.
KTSP, a local ABC affiliate, first reported on Faber’s trials and tribulations last week. They reportedthat Faber was unable to finish his stucco and decorative rock project on the exterior of his home after running into money troubles when the recession hit.
Having a restricted budget due to economic woes is hardly a rare experience in the United States these days, so Faber has quickly become a kind of poster child for the abuse so many Americans have received at the hands of a corrupt government.
After Faber had to halt construction, the city of Burnsville sent him multiple warning letters which told him that he had to get his house up to code.
Eventually, the city issued a citation and while Faber said that he was expecting a fine of some kind for the violation, he was instead ordered to appear in court.
The city of Burnsville has no authority to issue fines, instead it is up to a judge to decide whether or not to order a monetary penalty of some kind, or instead to order some alternative punishment.
On December 15, 2010, the first judge heard Faber’s case in the First Judicial District Court. Judge Mary J. Theisen said that she would rather see Faber put his money towards finishing the siding rather than paying a fine.
So, Judge Theisen proceeded to order him to finish the siding or face a whopping 30 days in jail.
“I left there thinking ‘you’ve got to be kidding’,” Faber said, according to KSTP. “Jail time for siding?”
Months after this, Faber was arrested on a warrant for failing to appear in court on his June 1, 2011 date, at which time he was supposed to give an update on the status of the siding.
“…you have to have the siding complete…by May 30, 2011…If so, the 30-day jail sentence will be vacated. If not, just turn yourself in on June 1st and you’ll do your 30 days,” Judge Theisen said during Faber’s December 15, 2010 court appearance.
However, Faber contends that his siding was indeed in compliance with code and he maintains that he met the judge’s deadline, meaning he did not need to turn himself in.
“I did what she asked,” Faber said, but this did not stop him from being jailed for two days without bond after he was arrested.
“I’m walking around in a green and white jump suit, I had to shower in front of a sheriff, I was shackled, my wrists were handcuffed to my waist — for siding,” he said.
Later he was released by First Judicial District Court Judge Karen Asphaug who instructed him to improve the siding yet again.
Then, two weeks later, Faber appeared back in court before Judge Asphaug at which time she heard from Burnsville Assistant City Attorney Samuel Edmunds.
“Ever since June 1st it’s been our position that he’s (Faber) supposed to serve 30 days.
However…we’re pleased at this point that the work has been completed. So if the Court’s not inclined to order him to serve the jail sentence, then we’d certainly ask the Court to order him to serve that (remaining) 28 days on electronic home monitoring,” Edmunds said according to the transcript form the December 19, 2011 court date.
Personally, I find the fact that a city attorney would recommend electronic home monitoring for any period of time for the absurd crime of not being able to afford to finish siding is downright disgusting. Judge Asphaug agreed to Edmunds’ recommendations and ordered Fabers to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet every single moment during his house arrest.
Furthermore, Faber was forced to submit to random alcohol and drug testing at any hour of the day. This would require him to get up and blow into a monitoring device whenever an alarm went off.
“They would call at all hours,“ Faber said. “Even at 2 in the morning. And then I would have like 30 seconds to go blow into the tube. “
Why this is at all acceptable for someone who did nothing other than fail to finish siding on his house is completely beyond me. I would love to have someone tell me why exactly drug testing is relevant or necessary for such a case.
Thankfully, Faber’s case is now getting attention across the United States, and Faber’s wife Jean said of the people who are discussing the case, “They are completely outraged. And our story, I think, is a personification of government out of control and sort of what’s wrong nationwide.”
“We have felt so alone and so bullied and embarrassed,” she said. “Some official could have stopped the train. But they didn’t.”
Hopefully the Minnesota Senate Committee can help reverse this ludicrous situation to some degree and help stop similar events from occurring in the future.
“We want to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone again,” Faber said.
Individuals involved with Faber’s case at the city, county and state level have continuously declined requests from KSTP to appear on camera to comment on the case.
Instead, they simply claim that they acted properly and within the confines of the law. I’m not quite sure how any self-respecting American could think that the way the Faber case was handled was at all acceptable.
Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom sent the Fabers a letter dated February 21, 2012, which read, “This was a prosecution initiated by the city of Burnsville through their privately-retained city prosecutor. The County Attorney has no oversight or supervision over city prosecutors … While it was a district court judge who heard this case and made decisions pertaining thereto, judges are employed by the state of Minnesota and not Dakota County,” according to KSTP.
To make matters even more questionable, the Fabers claim that there are much more glaring code violations on the exterior of other houses in their neighborhood, yet for some reason they were targeted when others were not.
“It’s selective enforcement,” Jean said. The Fabers say Burnsville has made a mockery of an otherwise law-abiding man who did nothing more than fail to finish a siding project.
“What did you accomplish other than wasting the city’s money, the county’s money, our money, and then all the mental and emotional anguish? What did you accomplish?” Faber asked.
To answer his question: absolutely nothing other than humiliate an otherwise upstanding citizen for suffering from the economic problems wracking so many Americans.
Thankfully, the Internet has helped bring national attention to this absurdist case and the struggles of the Faber family. Hopefully this exposure will push those involved to actually do something about their deplorable actions and right all of the wrongs the Fabers have endured.
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This article first appeared at End the Lie.