Norristown ’911 Landlord’ Law Will Face Federal Court Challenge
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By Cherri Gregg
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — A federal judge in Philadelphia today ordered a full trial on the challenge to a Norristown ordinance that fines landlords when tenants repeatedly call police.
The key issue is whether the law illegally deters tenants from calling police for help.
Under the measure, a landlord whose tenant calls police three times in four months is issued a fine.
And even though the landlord gets a hearing, opponents say tenants are reluctant to call police for fear of eviction.
Plaintiff attorney Peter Smith says his client, Lakisha Briggs, triggered the “three strikes” law last year so did not call police one time after that when she was almost killed by an ex-boyfriend.
“He bit her lip, struck her across the head with a glass ashtray, and then took a shard of the glass ashtray and jabbed them into her neck,” Smith says.
The judge ruled the law could remain in effect until trial, after Norristown agreed it would not enforce the law against the plaintiff.
Burrough attorney Robert DiDomenicis says the purpose is to keep the peace, not to keep tenants from calling police.
“They can still make the calls if they need to make the calls,” he says.
A trial on the case will likely take place next year.