Dear Editor,

Generally speaking, I enjoy Cpl. Brass’ “Ask a Cop” column in the Star-Herald. Unfortunately, her column of Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. missed the mark and underscores why folks should not practice law unless they have been licensed to do so.

As concerns the first question regarding trespass, it is illegal for a business owner to make a complaint of trespass for discriminatory reasons. While the business owner is free to have shoplifters and folks who disturb the peace barred from the store, the business owner cannot bar people simply because they don’t like the way they look. A business owner cannot ban someone on the basis of race, color, creed, gender or because they are otherwise disabled.

And just for the record, people do not “trespass” people.

As concerns the second question regarding evictions, she was a little closer and still just missed the mark. A notice of eviction is not the actionable document necessary to complete an eviction. The document issued by a court of law is called a “Writ of Restitution.” Until a person is served with a Writ of Restitution they are not evicted.

Another way of looking at it is a Notice of Eviction is simply a warning shot that the tenant must do something or risk being hauled into court to be evicted. If the tenant meets the requirement set forth in the notice then a writ is never issued and an eviction does not take place.

She is correct that the only law enforcement folks involved with the eviction process are sheriffs and their deputies. Regular police officers are there to keep the peace but cannot order a tenant to vacate premises and absolutely cannot do so solely on the word of the landlord. I generally ask my client what color uniform did the officer have in reviewing the propriety of an “eviction” and it better be a brown one.

Michael W. Meister, Attorney at Law

President, Scotts Bluff County Bar Association

Managing Attorney, Legal Aid of Nebraska – Scottsbluff

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