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Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s but no more! A tale of Government Thievery.


May 26, 2023 by Tom Roberts, Esq.

Tale of Hennepin County Minnesota's shameless theft from a 94 year old woman.

The United States Supreme Court slapped a thief’s hand in Hennepin County, Minnesota on Thursday, May 25, 2023.  Hennepin County had stolen a condo from 94 year old Geraldine Tyler when she neglected to pay $2,300 of annual property taxes after she moved into a senior community.  The County stole the condo from her when they sold it at a tax sale for $40,000 pocketing all of the money. The United States Supreme Court declared that this violated the Constitution as an unlawful taking without compensation in violation of the Fifth Amendment.

Amendment V of the United States Constitution

Text of 5th Amendment

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Short explanation of the protections of the 5th Amendment

The fifth amendment to the United States Constitution provides the following protections:

  1. The right to indictment by the grand jury before any criminal charges for felonious crimes
  2. A prohibition on double jeopardy
  3. A right against forced self-incrimination
  4. The right to due process, and
  5. The right to fair compensation when the government takes private property for public use.

Why was this even a question? A constitution is necessary to restrain the government!

The United States Supreme Court only slapped the thief’s hand, finding that Hennepin County, Minnesota should have returned $25,000 of the property stolen from the 94 year old Geraldine Tyler. The court did not address the thievery associated with the $13,000 in “interest and penalties” the county tacked on to a $2,300 tax bill in just 5 years.

The court stated that 94 year old Geraldine Tyler had stated a claim under the Takings Clause and is entitled to just compensation. They rejected the County’s argument that since the property was subject to other private liens extinguished by the tax sale that she had no standing, because the tax sale extinguished only the liens and not her personal liability for the debts, which the surplus could have been used to pay down.

The Court concluded, “A taxpayer who loses her $40,000 house to the State to fulfill a $15,000 tax debt has made a far greater contribution to the public fisc than she owed. The taxpayer must render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, but no more.”

The civil rights law firm of Thomas H. Roberts & Associates, PC has been litigating civil rights cases for over 35 years.  If you have experienced a government taking without receiving just compensation, contact us!

Thomas H Roberts & Associates, PC
105 S 1st Street
Richmond, VA 23219


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