Mesa, Arizona - Release: 5-29-2002
Court of Appeals to Hear Oral Argument on Arizona Eminent Domain Case
10 a.m./Wednesday, May 29, 2002
Arizona Court of Appeals
Before Judges William F. Garbarino, John C. Gemmill and
Cecil B. Patterson, Jr.
State Courts Building
1501 W. Washington Street
Tim Keller, Staff Attorney, Institute for Justice
John Kramer, Vice President for Communications
Lisa Knepper, Communications Coordinator
Institute for Justice, (703) 682-9320
SUMMARY:In a case with implications for all Arizona property owners, the Arizona Court of Appeals will hear oral argument Wednesday, May 29, at 10 a.m. to decide whether to overturn the decision of a lower court granting the City of Mesa the power to take Randy Bailey’s brake shop not for a public use, but for the private development of an Ace Hardware store.
At issue is the constitutionality of the City’s use of the power of eminent domain. The U.S. and Arizona constitutions limit this awesome power to take private property only for projects intended for public use (such as a post office or a bridge)—not those that merely benefit other private individuals. But all across Arizona, home owners and small-business owners like Bailey are being threatened by cities willing to exercise eminent domain against their citizens in favor of politically connected developers.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Robert D. Myers upheld the City’s condemnation of Bailey’s property, but quickly stayed his own order giving Mesa immediate possession of the property, effectively calling off the bulldozers and allowing Bailey to remain on the property as the decision is appealed.