Norristown settles case over ‘three strikes’ law

    Norristown, Pennsylvania, has reached a half-million-dollar settlement with a victim of domestic violence who was threatened with eviction under the municipality’s “three strikes” policy.

    The ordinance was designed to force landlords to evict tenants if police were called to their homes or apartments three times in four months. As part of the settlement, the policy was struck down.

    “We’re very pleased that Norristown agreed to repeal this ordinance,” said Sara Rose with the ACLU of Pennsylvania, which represented the tenant said. “This ordinance fined landlords if their tenants called police for help.”

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    As part of the agreement, Norristown will pay out $496,000 in legal fees and damages through its insurer.

    Calls to the Norristown town manager and council president were not returned. In the past, officials have said the ordinance was designed to help crack down on disturbances that affect quality of life.

    Rose said the ACLU has been “looking at these types of ordinances” that are either under consideration or currently in effect. Mount Oliver, near Pittsburgh, just agreed to repeal its own three strikes ordinance after a domestic violence victim there contacted the ACLU. 

    The ACLU is now in talks with Wilkes-Barre, which has a similar statute on the books.

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