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4/9/2006
Connecticut: Yale Lecturers Sue City Over Car Confiscation
New Haven, Connecticut takes cars from the home of Yale lecturers without warning for owing as little as $33 in taxes.

Michael Faison
The city of New Haven, Connecticut is being sued over its Bootfinder car confiscation system by members of the Yale University faculty. Michael Faison, 33, a lecturer in the astronomy department and director of the Leitner Family Observatory has joined with Catherine Rockwood, a lecturer in the English Department, and attorney Arthur D. Machado to stop what they believe is illegal search and seizure.

The Bootfinder is a handheld camera that can drive through neighborhoods and scan hundreds of license plates per hour to find vehicles to seize. Rockwood had her 1990 Nissan Stanza towed because the city claimed she owed $240 in taxes on her previous car. Because the car was taken from her residence while on vacation, the city demanded a total of $500 in storage fees on top of the back taxes for its return.

Faison's 2001 Volkswagen Golf was towed from his residence over a $33 "late fee" that the city assessed to the $340 registration he paid for his car in August. Neither Faison nor Rockwood received notice before their cars were taken. Faison's car was held for two days and released only after he paid $85 on top of the late fee.

"I feel like people owe taxes and should pay them," Faison told the New Haven Register. "But when they do something like this, it makes me not want to pay. It gets me very angry at the city."

A Superior Court judge will consider the suit on Monday.

Article Excerpt:
Cars have been yanked from driveways, outside church services and from a Wal-Mart parking lot for as little as $25 owed.
Source: Yale teachers join BootFinder suit (New Haven Register (CT), 4/8/2006)



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