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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 12/22/2005 8:10:00 AM EDT
I'll be damned, A judgefinally holds parents responsible for thier children.....


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What's the cost of being a bad neighbor and turning a quiet Sacramento County neighborhood into a place of fear and anxiety? At least $75,000, according to a judge.

In a rare decision for a small claims court, a judge awarded that sum this month to 19 neighbors in Orangevale who sued a couple for allowing their adult children, particularly one son, to terrorize the neighborhood for years, court records show.

According to the documents as well as testimony, one son was the center of numerous criminal complaints. They involved drugs, domestic disputes and finally, a shooting that resulted in a 10-hour manhunt and lockdown of a nearby elementary school.

The judge laid responsibility on the parents, however, for the problems that caused their neighbors to suffer "emotional and mental distress," according to the decision issued Dec. 2 by Judge Raoul M. Thorbourne of the Small Claims Division of Sacramento Superior Court.

"We're not after the money," plaintiff Richard Clakeley said in a telephone interview. "We're after a calm neighborhood where we can raise our kids and not have to worry about running to the window every time we hear a noise."

Residents of Twin Lakes Avenue in Orangevale said they are considering forgoing at least part of their judgment against Elmer H. Dever and Joanna Y. Dever if the Devers agree to move.

Elmer Dever said in a telephone interview that he and his wife will appeal the decision. He declined further comment.

Sacramento-area law enforcement officials encourage using small claims court after other attempts to stop criminal activity have been exhausted. The strategy is outlined in a booklet distributed by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department called "Safe Streets Now! How to Create a Drug-Free Neighborhood," funded by the state.

Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Joy Smiley said these kinds of neighborhood disputes are common, and that pursuing them in small claims court has been done "up and down the state."

"I have worked with citizens before on this issue," Smiley said. "The money is a better incentive than my option of pursuing the parents in misdemeanor court, where the likely sentence is three years' probation and community service time."

It is rarer, legal experts say, when a consolidated small claims case reaches a judge, because most property owners will resolve problems to avoid the possibility of a financial hit.

Smiley assisted the Twin Lakes Avenue group and has advised neighborhood groups in Sacramento and elsewhere who are considering small claims action after mediation and other avenues have failed.

Clakeley and his wife, Karen Clakeley, testified they have lived on Twin Lakes Avenue for 14 years and decided in 1998 to form a neighborhood watch to protect themselves from activity occurring at the Dever home.

According to court records, law enforcement responded to several dozen calls by the plaintiffs to the Dever home in the past few years. Neighbors testified one son, Michael K. Dever, 39, was selling and buying drugs on the property, using a garage as living quarters and operating an illegal auto repair business.

Since 1993, Michael K. Dever has churned through the county courthouse on a cycle of arrests, "no contest" and guilty pleas to a variety of crimes and more than a half-dozen sentencings, ranging from 10 days to 90 days in jail, court records show. Besides jail, he was repeatedly placed on probation. The crimes he served time for included drug-related crimes, receiving stolen property and domestic violence.

Elmer and Joanna Dever were cited for violating local ordinances concerning use of the garage and illegal business, court records and testimony show.

Plaintiffs also testified that dozens of vehicles, some stolen, would be left in disrepair for weeks on the street and sometimes in front of their homes. Court records show that people would show up at the Devers home day and night; some would urinate in public - sometimes on neighbors' property - smoke marijuana and on at least one occasion a visitor was seen carrying a handgun.

The incident that sparked the suit occurred in June, when Michael Dever allegedly shot his brother Tim Dever with a "high-caliber" pellet gun, wounding him severely enough that he required surgery, according to court testimony. The shooting resulted in a nearly 10-hour manhunt for Michael Dever, in which 30 law enforcement vehicles were dispatched to the scene and nearby Twin Lakes Elementary School was locked down, said sheriff's Deputy Kim Best, who has been working with the neighbors.

Michael Dever was charged in Sacramento Superior Court with assault with a deadly weapon causing great bodily harm and faces a maximum seven years in state prison if convicted, according to the District Attorney's Office.

He also faces a hearing in January for allegedly violating the terms of his current probation.

At the small claims court hearing, the Devers said their neighbors were exaggerating the situation, harassing them and trying to make them seem like "bad people." Tim Dever testified in court that his parents were lied to and bullied by his brother.

The Devers were ordered by the court to pay about $75,000 in judgments for 19 out of 20 suits filed against them by residents of the 9400 block of Twin Lakes Avenue. Most of the adults received $5,000 each plus court costs, while minors who sued got about half that and court costs. A minor who doesn't permanently live on Twin Lakes Avenue, but visits on weekends and vacations, was the only plaintiff not to get an award.

"I'm hoping this case is good news for other people who have drugs in their neighborhood and that it shows there are other options than just putting up with it," Smiley said. She added that neighbors "have to be a strong, brave, cohesive group."

Kathleen Friedrich, a staff attorney in Community Legal Services and lecturer at University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, said such verdicts show where the law is heading. Property owners have a responsibility not only to their tenants but also to the people in their community, she said.

"Originally, small claims court was designed to address individual consumer disputes in an informal forum, without lawyers," she said, explaining there was nothing in the law that prohibited consolidated action.

Although past cases in the state have been successful going back at least 13 years, Friedrich warned that a favorable judgment may not change behavior and retaliation is a possibility.

Twin Lakes resident John Burdick followed the Safe Streets Now! guidebook. He said his decision to sue was painful. He had been friends with the family and had even spent Thanksgiving with them 10 years ago.

"I was deeply disturbed by the pattern that had taken place. ... I could no longer sit back and do nothing," Burdick said in court.
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 8:15:55 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 8:18:05 AM EDT

The incident that sparked the suit occurred in June, when Michael Dever allegedly shot his brother Tim Dever with a "high-caliber" pellet gun, wounding him severely enough that he required surgery, according to court testimony.
There's your problem right there.
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 8:21:13 AM EDT

Originally Posted By shotar:
Drug use is really a personal matter and has no impact on the community or families at all.



I'd say it's more an issue of grown men who should have been beaten more frequently when they were still impressionable...
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 8:23:41 AM EDT

Originally Posted By shotar:
Drug use is really a personal matter and has no impact on the community or families at all.




Hear that?
Thats the sound of wolfman97 scurrying to his keyboard LOL
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 8:24:03 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 8:26:24 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 8:26:36 AM EDT
I wonder where you found this
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 8:26:56 AM EDT
this kind of stuff needs to be happening when the delinquents are 14 and not 39
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 8:28:15 AM EDT

Originally Posted By shotar:
Drug use is really a personal matter and has no impact on the community or families at all.


I've always said that anyone who favors legalizing drugs should let it be done only in THEIR neighborhood for a couple years as a test case.

Link Posted: 12/22/2005 8:32:30 AM EDT

Originally Posted By The_Macallan:

Originally Posted By shotar:
Drug use is really a personal matter and has no impact on the community or families at all.


I've always said that anyone who favors legalizing drugs should let it be done only in THEIR neighborhood for a couple years as a test case.




I do believe you are the only one here with the debating skills to take on wolfman97 , what do you say Mac?
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 8:32:51 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Tallbill:
I wonder where you found this



On the Intarweb......
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 8:37:32 AM EDT

Originally Posted By The_Macallan:

Originally Posted By shotar:
Drug use is really a personal matter and has no impact on the community or families at all.


I've always said that anyone who favors legalizing drugs should let it be done only in THEIR neighborhood for a couple years as a test case.




Drugs are already legal. I can go out right now and buy alcohol and nicotine....
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 8:40:42 AM EDT
But it's their property. They should be allowed to do as they wish. Property rights of the owner should supercede all the other neighbors.

Parents should have kick JR to the curb 20 years ago. Dumbasses.
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 8:41:35 AM EDT
It's about time the trash got taken out..
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 8:41:54 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 9:31:54 AM EDT
The real sad part of this is how the cops and the courts were completely USELESS in shutting down this asshole. This scumbag was in and out of jail and the courthouse but the stiffest sentence he ever got was 90 days? It is clear that he is/was a career criminal and he belonged in PRISON for the crap he repeatedly pulled. It is really sad that the neighbors had to put up with this trash for that long and that the cops did basicly nothing. I would have burned the house down. Fuck the trash. Good for the neighborhood I hope they get peace.
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 9:58:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By The_Macallan:

Originally Posted By shotar:
Drug use is really a personal matter and has no impact on the community or families at all.


I've always said that anyone who favors legalizing drugs should let it be done only in THEIR neighborhood for a couple years as a test case.




alcohol is quite legal in most neighborhoods. amusingly enough, many of these neighborhoods don't have crime problems.
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 10:07:32 AM EDT

Originally Posted By sirensong:

Originally Posted By The_Macallan:

Originally Posted By shotar:
Drug use is really a personal matter and has no impact on the community or families at all.


I've always said that anyone who favors legalizing drugs should let it be done only in THEIR neighborhood for a couple years as a test case.




alcohol is quite legal in most neighborhoods. amusingly enough, many of these neighborhoods don't have crime problems.



I wouldn't hesitate to say that a good portion of all youth/young-adult crime is committed while under the influence of alcohol.

I know most of mine was.
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 10:20:17 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 10:23:40 AM EDT

Originally Posted By shotar:

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:

I wouldn't hesitate to say that a good portion of all youth/young-adult crime is committed while under the influence of alcohol.

I know most of mine was.



While I doubt anyone would dispute that this is true. There is no vocal alcholohics lobby trying to tell everyone how harmless it is.



Oh, I wasn't joining in on that.
Drugs (including alcohol and tobacco) are not harmless.
But I still prefer to let people decide for themselves.
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 10:28:15 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Specop_007:

I'll be damned, A judgefinally holds parents responsible for thier children.....


a couple for allowing their adult children, .





ADULTS being held responsible for the actions of other ADULTS?
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 10:35:45 AM EDT
"Sacramento-area law enforcement officials encourage using small claims court after other attempts to stop criminal activity have been exhausted."

WTF? Interpreted: We, the police are powerless. Please take them to small claims court to seek justice!?!
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 3:16:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Specop_007:

Originally Posted By The_Macallan:

Originally Posted By shotar:
Drug use is really a personal matter and has no impact on the community or families at all.


I've always said that anyone who favors legalizing drugs should let it be done only in THEIR neighborhood for a couple years as a test case.

Drugs are already legal. I can go out right now and buy alcohol and nicotine....


So I guess you'd have no problem being the only neighborhood in the city where heroin, meth, cocaine, LSD and anything else can be openly sold and used with no restrictions?

Link Posted: 12/22/2005 3:21:16 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/22/2005 3:21:51 PM EDT by Max_Mike]

Originally Posted By fight4yourrights:

Originally Posted By Specop_007:

I'll be damned, A judgefinally holds parents responsible for thier children.....


a couple for allowing their adult children, .





ADULTS being held responsible for the actions of other ADULTS?



Worked on the tobacco companies.

Here wolfie… here boy… where ya at.
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