Amanda K. Gavin


Chronic nuisance ordinances are municipal ordinances that identify and terminate unwanted "nuisance" activities. Although chronic nuisance ordinances originally targeted households that harbored prolific drug use, many municipalities have broadened the scope of their ordinances to include a wide range of activities, including acts of domestic violence. As a result, domestic violence victims are now frequently deemed "nuisances" when they call the police for protection. Municipalities, to abate the "nuisances," evict the domestic violence victims from their homes. Because chronic nuisance ordinances are gaining in popularity throughout the country, an increasing number of domestic violence victims are being victimized twice: once by their abusers and again by their municipalities.

This Comment explores the objectives, validity, and effects of chronic nuisance ordinances. This Comment also analyzes several arguments that have been used to challenge the constitutionality of these ordinances. Ultimately, this Comment recommends that municipalities avoid chronic nuisance ordinances entirely, but in the alternative, recommends several strategies for limiting the ordinances' harmful effects.



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