Our Thoughts on the Proposed Neighborhood Protection Act
January 30, 2015

Last year, the Tennessee attorney general rendered an opinion on HB1982 (see Opinion No. 14-81), http://www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral/op/2014/op14-81.pdf.  Luckily, HB1982 died in last year’s legislative session. However, a new version will likely be resubmitted this year by State Representative Antonio Parkinson (see, http://wreg.com/2015/01/15/bill-could-force-ex-cons-out-of-tennessee-neighborhoods/).

The act would permit a homeowners association, neighborhood association, neighborhood watch, or any organized group of citizens that reside within a residential area to seek an injunction or restraining order prohibiting an offender from entering the boundaries of the residential area if: (i) the offender has been convicted of three (3) or more separate offenses of theft, burglary, rape, or criminal homicide (all as statutorily defined) and (ii) three (3) or more of the offenses were committed within the boundaries of the residential area.


So, if this statute were passed, a homeowners association could do nothing about the member who committed murder (and presumably served any sentence) in Memphis, Jackson, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Johnson City because that is not a “residential area”. Similarly, the homeowners association could do nothing about the member who commits multiple acts of vandalism, assault, and battery in the “residential area” as they are not enumerated offenses (this seems to fly in the face of broken windows theory). Nor could the homeowners association do anything with the member who has murdered once within the confines of the “residential area”, but gone on a murderous rampage on the other side of town. One could go on all day with similar hypotheticals.

Further, am I to expect the members of the homeowners association to pay the costs and attorney’s fees of enforcing this injunction and restraining order (assuming of course there is an unlikely circumstance where someone in the “residential area” has committed three of the enumerated offences within the geographical bounds of the “residential area”)?  Really?

What is the point of this statute? Will it ever be used? This Neighborhood Protection Act should suffer another legislative death.

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