Pro Bono News
Domestic Violence Victims and Nuisance Laws Are Often in Deadly Conflict: Phillip Morris (OH)
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Domestic Violence Victims and Nuisance Laws Are Often in Deadly Conflict: Phillip Morris
"CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cleveland Councilman Kevin Conwell wakes every morning around 6 and descends to his family basement that doubles as his music room. There, he spends roughly an hour practicing drum riffs and improvising rhythms for later play with his jazz band Kevin Conwell & The Footprints.
Conwell said he keeps the volume to a minimum. He often forgoes drum sticks for brushes and goes deliberately easy on the cymbals. He recognizes the irony of his sunrise drum routine. Conwell is one of Cleveland’s more proactive legislators on identifying and working to abate nuisance properties. He helped author several of the nuisance laws currently used by the city of Cleveland. It would be the height of hypocrisy for the Conwell house to be a neighborhood nuisance.
“None of my neighbors have ever complained,” said Conwell with a laugh after I asked if his neighbors considered him a noise nuisance.
The same can’t be said of a very different kind of noise currently being generated by a nuisance law in Bedford. These days, the Southeast Cleveland suburb is attracting attention from Conwell, legal watchers, and others due to a federal court injunction issued Monday that temporarily prohibits Bedford from enforcing its Criminal Activity Nuisance ordinance.
Earlier this year, the city was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland over the nuisance ordinance claiming that it targets black residents, the majority of whom are renters and newcomers to the city..."