Opposing the Eviction of Innocent Tenants from Public Housings
Resolution of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Opposing the Eviction of Innocent Tenants from Public Housings
May 4, 2002
WHEREAS federal housing law and regulations require public housing authorities to use leases that allow evictions based on alleged criminal conduct — including but not limited to drug-related activity that occurs away from the public housing premises — engaged in by “any member of the tenant’s household, or any guest or other person under the tenant’s control”;
WHEREAS federal and local housing officials have maintained that the required lease provision allows eviction regardless of whether the tenant knew, or had reason to know, of the criminal activity, and this interpretation was upheld on March 26, 2002, by the U.S. Supreme Court in Department of Housing and Urban Development v. Rucker;
WHEREAS the unjust result of this so-called “one-strike-and-you’re-out” policy is that law-abiding public housing tenants, many of whom are elderly or disabled or both, are losing their homes even when they themselves have done nothing wrong, even when the alleged criminal conduct occurred away from the premises, and even when they did not know or have reason to know of such conduct;
WHEREAS such a policy offends the core values of justice, due process, and fair punishment that NACDL and its members strive to protect;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers opposes the “one strike” public housing eviction policy and calls upon Congress to amend the law to prevent local public housing authorities from evicting innocent tenants.