Mesa, Arizona - Release: 5-21-2002

Arizona Court of Appeals to Decide Constitutionality of Mesa Property Taking

WEB RELEASE: May 31, 2002
CONTACT: Tim Keller at (480) 557-8300
John Kramer
Lisa Knepper
(703) 682-9320

[Private Property]

Phoenix, Ariz.—The State of Arizona Court of Appeals announced today that it will rule on the constitutionality of the City of Mesa’s condemnation of Randy Bailey’s brake shop to make way for an Ace Hardware store.

The decision to take the case under the rarely granted "special action jurisdiction" means that the Court of Appeals will rule—for the first time—on the important constitutional question of whether the government can use the power of eminent domain to take private property and give it to another private individual in the name of "redevelopment." The trial court ruled in favor of the City, but stayed its own decision as the case is appealed.

"By agreeing to consider the constitutionality of eminent domain, the Court of Appeals has the opportunity to slap back the overreaching hand of municipal governments across the state of Arizona," said Tim Keller, attorney with the Institute for Justice Arizona Chapter, which represents Bailey free of charge. "We are hopeful that the Court will side with Randy Bailey and restore meaning to the property rights protections enshrined in the Arizona constitution."

The Court of Appeals also extended the lower court’s stay ordering the City of Mesa to hold off the bulldozers until the Court issues its written decision later this summer.

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