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Paralyzed Woman Being Evicted From Apartment for Marijuana Possession


June 1993

The city of Raleigh, North Carolina's zero-tolerance policy for illicit drugs in public housing has resulted in an eviction order for a paralyzed woman (Jennifer Toth, "No-Exceptions Drug Policy Means No Home For Disabled Woman," [Raleigh] News & Observer, 5/2/93, 3C).

Linda Jacobs, who uses a wheelchair, was in a hospital when she agreed to let police search her apartment. Police found marijuana seeds and rolling papers, allegedly brought by her cousin, who was house sitting, and reported it to public housing authorities. Although Jacobs is entitled to a hearing, the Housing Authority has said it makes no exceptions to its zero tolerance policy. Meanwhile, she is having trouble finding another apartment, because the Housing Authority has told organizations that help the disabled obtain housing that she is a bad risk for charity.

Raleigh police now routinely threaten landlords with forfeiture of their properties following drug arrests of renters. While they do not order landlords to evict tenants, police leave them with little choice as a practical matter (Jennifer Toth, "Tenants Evicted For Drug Use: Increased Enforcement Of An Antidrug Clause In Many Leases Has Generated Both Praise And Mistrust From Landlords And Renters," [Raleigh] News & Observer, 5/2/93, 1C).

Last summer, for example, police arrested a tenant of landlord Joseph Huberman for dealing heroin. "I got a threatening letter from the Raleigh police," said Huberman. "It said that if it ever happened again, they'd confiscate the house. I had no idea that my tenant was dealing and I thought, if I didn't know this time, how am I going to know next time?"