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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 32154
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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Landlord starts unlocking tenant's door without 24 hour

Customer Question

Landlord starts unlocking tenant's door without 24 hour written notice or emergency. Tenant tries to close door. Landlord calls police. Tenant charged with assault. How can this be?
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 3 months ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

Your questions sound like they're rhetorical, can you be more specific?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I didn't have enought space to include more detail. This information is taken from the deposition to the court. I would like to know what exactly the tenant did wrong to be arrested. The landlord did not and had never given written notice to enter the tenant's unit. He was a 600 lb man using force to make his way into the 125 lb tenant's unit. When she tried to push the door closed the landlord called the police and she was subsequently arrested for assault. She did not exit her unit to confront him. She obviously did not want him in the apartment, he was not invited, nor did she expect him since he did not give any notice of entry prior to that, neither did the landlord have the police with him to be let in. It was not an emergency. Her arm was subsequently broken trying to keep him out. He was at fault, so why was she arrested?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 3 months ago.

To a certain degree landlords have a right to enter an apartment but normally the method and notice is included in the terms of the lease and they don't have the power to just force their way in.

I assume, from the facts you have given, that the landlord claimed he had a right to be there for some reason and that your friend just slammed the door on him, which would be enough to get them to a charge of assault, even if it isn't enough to get a conviction, assuming that she had a decent lawyer and that she did a reasonable job as a witness.

It is an extremely unusual set of facts, particularly since she was badly injured.

Just so you're aware, the evidence need to get somebody charged is very minimal whereas the burden to get a conviction is "beyond a reasonable doubt" which is very heavy.

Why were there depositions done? What kind of civil case is there?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
She could not slam the door on him. It was impossible since he was 600 lbs, super morbidly obese. She had an antique sword on her but not in her hand. It was slung around her back, when he saw it, he stopped pushing in. The police got there and thought,, mainly because her apartment was messy, that she was suffering from schizophrenia. Which, of course, she's not. They brought her in for mental observation. But the deposition kept repeating she lacks 'self criticism' and so is likely to 're-offend' but nowhere in the deposition is it clearly stated what exactly she did or what she needs to reflect on. It seems like the Spanish Inquisition actually. A kangaroo court. I am amazed at how badly her lawyer handled this. But this happened in Montreal Canada where a) tenants have few rights, in fact they are expected to move annually after 12 to 18 months and b) she is an English speaker in a predominantly French city. In fact, I believe the deposition was translated from its original French to English. Just to note the landlord has since died so one of the two witnesses is gone.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 3 months ago.

Did you have a question about this? I think I have covered everything else.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I guess my main question is, judging from the deposition, was this case unfairly prosecuted. You stress that a conviction with such little evidence is difficult. Should she appeal or have her lawyer something else to clear her name?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 3 months ago.

No, based on what you've said I wouldn't say it was "unfairly prosecuted" mainly because that is always a judgment call on behalf of the prosecutor. Most that I know wouldn't have prosecuted but, again, it's a judgment call. If she was convicted then, inherently, it wasn't unfair to prosecute her.

She really only has three choices if she was convicted of it, either file a Motion for New Trial or file for an appeal or file both. Most lawyers would recommend filing both since it doesn't hurt an can only help.

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