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"People may not always understand why, but an armored vehicle is almost a necessity now."
When officials in the tiny Town of Stettin in Marathon County went to collect a civil judgment from 75-year-old Roger Hoeppner this month, they sent 24 armed officers.
And an armored military vehicle.
In 2008, the town sued Hoeppner over claimed violations of ordinances about zoning, signs, rubbish and vehicles. About a year later, the two sides settled; Hoeppner was supposed to clean up his property, and the town was supposed to open discussions about its zoning.
The town felt Hoeppner had not complied, and it brought a motion for contempt and enforcement. In September 2010, a judge ordered Hoeppner to remove certain items from his land.
The following May, the judge found Hoeppner had still not complied and authorized the town to seize assets. In the summer of 2011, the town hauled away several tractors, pallets, equipment and other items and auctioned them off for "pennies on the dollar," according to Lister.
But the dispute wasn't over. In April 2013, the judge entered a final judgment that imposed a $500-a-day fine against Hoeppner for not adhering to the original May 2011 order, and granting the town's legal fees.
Hoeppner appealed, but lost in a March ruling. So by Oct. 2, he owed the town about $80,000, according to court records, and the Town of Stettin obtained a writ of execution to collect — without notice to Hoeppner or his attorneys, they say.
Marathon County sheriff's officials aren't apologizing for their tactics. Sheriff's Capt. Greg Bean said officials expected to have to seize and remove tractors and wooden pallets to pay the judgment — hence the cadre of deputies. He also said what while Hoeppner was never considered dangerous, he was known to be argumentative.
Hoeppner said when he noticed deputies outside his house, he called his attorney, Ryan Lister of Wausau. Lister said he quickly left for Hoeppner's house but was stopped by a roadblock that was kept up until after his client had been taken away in handcuffs. "Rather than provide Mr. Hoeppner or his counsel notice...and attempt to collect without spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on the military-style maneuvers, the town unilaterally decided to enforce its civil judgment" with a show of force, Lister said.
Bean said deputies had to handcuff Hoeppner because he was not following all their instructions, but did eventually agree to pay the $80,000 judgment after a visit to a bank — accompanied by deputies.
Bean also said the armored truck was summoned only after Hoeppner initially refused to come out of his house. Once the truck appeared, so did Hoeppner.
"I've been involved in about five standoff situations where, as soon as the MARV showed up, the person gives up," saving time, money and increasing safety, Bean said.
originally posted by: elementalgrove
a reply to: NthOther
The slipperly slope to a police state could not be summed up any clearer than this story right here!
a judge ordered Hoeppner to remove certain items from his land
originally posted by: Meldionne1
The guy got into a pissing contest and lost. He should have paid his taxs or abided by zoning laws and he would have been fine. In the past their have been people like this who have had stand offs with police, and then gone nutty shooting, or having hidden explosives /booby traps on their property.....at least no one got hurt or killed. The guy probably doesn't even vote ,but then wines about the laws.