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“I’ve been involved in about five standoff situations where, as soon as the MARV showed up, the person gives up, saving time, money and increasing safety.” That’s Sheriff’s Capt. Greg Bean paean to his 2001 Marathon County Response Vehicle (MARV), which gets a lot more use than you’d imagine or, perhaps, want. “It’s the only one in the county and gets used 10 to 20 times a year,” Bean told “People may not always understand why, but an armored vehicle is almost a necessity now.” Almost a necessity does not a necessity make. In at least one case, however, MARV seems to have done the trick. The trick being intimidation . . .

Marathon County sheriff’s officials aren’t apologizing for their tactics. Sheriff’s Capt. Greg Bean said officials expected to have to seize and remove tractors and wooden pallets to pay the judgment — hence the cadre of deputies. He also said what while Hoeppner was never considered dangerous, he was known to be argumentative.

Hoeppner said when he noticed deputies outside his house, he called his attorney, Ryan Lister of Wausau. Lister said he quickly left for Hoeppner’s house but was stopped by a roadblock that was kept up until after his client had been taken away in handcuffs. “Rather than provide Mr. Hoeppner or his counsel notice…and attempt to collect without spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on the military-style maneuvers, the town unilaterally decided to enforce its civil judgment” with a show of force, Lister said.

Bean said deputies had to handcuff Hoeppner because he was not following all their instructions, but did eventually agree to pay the $80,000 judgment after a visit to a bank — accompanied by deputies.

Bean also said the armored truck was summoned only after Hoeppner initially refused to come out of his house. Once the truck appeared, so did Hoeppner.

The rest of the story goes into the usual, predictable, Bundy Ranch-like battle between an “iconoclast” and government bureaucracy. Only Mr. Hoeppner doesn’t have an armed militia encamped on his property. Yet. [h/t J_V]

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  1. Wish these departments would just quit pretending to be police. In old Germany they we called the Gestapo. In old East Germany they were called the Stazi. Good thing he didn’t have a Chihuahua for a pet. They would have shot both he and the dog as they came out of the house.

      • Youre right. They would have ripped the little dog out of his hands and shot it. The town wants his money. When I read stories like this it reminds me of that scene in the original Terminator where Arnold runs over the kids toy.

    • Exactly. I like how being “argumentative” is enough justification for the use of an MRAP now. We’re rightly worried about our second amendment rights, but we aught to keep in mind the 1st amendment is under just as much of an attack. And speaking of the Bundy ranch, whatever ones personal feelings towards that may be, anyone not sickened by the Feds emplacement of “first amendment zones” has some serious issues involving statist brainwashing.

  2. They took him away in handcuffs for a civil judgment, all the while denying him access to his attorney?

    Hmmm. I’m wondering if their use of the armored vehicle might actually be on the low end of this department’s wrongful thinking.

    • He was handcuffed because he was not following officers’ instructions. Officers were there in the first place enforcing a court order. What’s the objection?

      • The Constitution and the officers’ pledge to it are the problem. The Nazi soldiers did exactly the same – followed orders.

        • He runs a business out of his front yard, violates the law and ignores court orders, and that makes the cops Nazis? Geez, if you let your weeds grow and park a a car on cinder blocks in your front yard, all of a sudden your HOA is Cheka because they send you a letter? Good grief.

        • Whatever happened to properly rights? Apparently, they went away with the Civil War. Look, I personally would not want to live like this guy and I agree that his yard is an eyesore, but that is his property. Is your eyesore more important than his property right? What’s next- if he doesn’t pray on a carpet 5 times a day, there’ll be Green Bands to arrest him? It’s a very slippery slope…

  3. SWAT teams and armored vehicles have a place in the police arsenal. But they should never be deployed before shots are fired.

  4. Sounds suspiciously like a shakedown.

    A civil judgment usually progresses through stages, which can indeed culminate in forced eviction and sherrif’s sale of a property.

    In this case, I’m wondering why they didn’t just ask the judge to order the bank to release the cash, if the guy was being “argumentative” about paying a fine (or whichever).

    • I don’t think they realized he had that kind of money. The deputies showed up expecting to seize pallets and tractors to settle the debt. Upon seeing they were ready and able to do so, then the man decided just to pay cash.

  5. In normal times there would be great restraint in the use of force if it was ever a option to enforce a civil court action. Having a APC show up along with paramilitary forces would be the least thing that would happen if someone refused to hand over property being seized in a asset forfeiture action.

  6. Mr. Hoeppner should have joined a revolutionary mosque before the cops showed up at his doorstep. They wouldn’t have laid a hand on him.

  7. $80,000 protection money. Way to go, Amerika! That’s better than Gotti managed (maybe it’s just due to inflation…)

  8. A fact was omitted that I read somewhere else, the home owner states hes already spent his life savings of about $200,000 trying to fight this. This seems to be a long running issue between him and the city, and the city decided he was a subject causing too much trouble, but his money of course, will do nicely.

    This has more to do with local government being willing to use a show of force imo.

    Known to be argumentative but not violent, but we still need an armored vehicle, you know for intimidation purposes.

    “Resistance is futile” comes to mind as does “Dont resist, youre just making it worse for yourself.”

    • So, the local Godfather wanted everyone in the town to know who’s the boss? I suppose it’s time to finally burry that old ragged paper, called the “Constitution.”

    • I lived in small town Wisconsin for a couple of years. They like them some intrusive local gubmint. Only place I’ve ever lived where the assessor required you to let the appraiser in to measure every freaking room in your house for the property tax assessment. If you refused, you were considered to have waived your right to appeal your assessment.

      It’s also the only place i’ve ever lived where the trash service folks would refuse to pick up your trash if they felt you were throwing out too many recyclables.

      • Sorry that happened to you. I’ve lived in Wisconsin for over 35 years and have owned homes in three different cities, and I have never had anything like that happen to me.

  9. Oh those pesky argumentative people. Send out the cavalry!

    Why would the appearance of a lumbering chunk of steel intimidate anyone into submission? It’s like an expensive Hostess box truck that deserves nothing but mocking and derision. Point and laugh at the costumed clowns and their goofy clown car.

    • As much as I hate what the officials did in this case, I pray the sovereign citizen Bozos have nothing to say about anything.

  10. What we have here is a cantankerous old coot who was running some kind of tractor restoration hobby and a pallet repair businness in violation of local zoning ordinances. He argued with the city, which is his right, then reached a settlement with the city, which he subsequently reneged upon. The city sought and won a court order for enforcement, which the old coot ignored. So the city seized some property.

    He kept appealing and ignoring court orders and court fines, so they went back for more property. Hence, the $80 grand. Sounds like he’s had his day(s) in court, but just wants to do whatever the hell he feels like. Well.

    Setting aside the issue of the town’s weapon of war there for a second, would it be too much to ask that in any of these “overbearing government” cases, that the poster boy not be a crazy person or otherwise demonstrably in the wrong?

    • So, in your opinion, property rights don’t mean crap anymore? What the government wants the government gets? Well, you seem to fit in well into the new Amerika!

      • That’s a mature and sober-minded assessment of my stance. Thank you for your well-crafted and insightful feedback.

        Just so I’m clear on your stance, let me ask you some questions.

        So you do not believe that rights come with responsibilities?

        You do not believe that the government governs with the consent of the governed?

        You do not believe that people in contact eventuates in rights in conflict?

        You do not believe that the town and its legal authority predate this man’s property ownership within it?

        You believe that each man is the sole arbiter of all matters affecting him?

        You believe that constitutional protection of due process only applies to you and only counts if you win.

        You believe that property rights, in the form of an enforceable legal settlement, “don’t mean crap anymore”?

        You believe your worldview is even remotely feasible in the real world?

        And finally, you’d be totally cool with someone opening up a strip club next door to you, a halfway house on the other side of you, and a hundred acre hog farm across the street from you?

        Please. Your befouled nose would be the first one out of joint and pointed toward court, to shut them all down for zoning violations. So don’t insult our collective and abundant intelligence by playing the phony libertarian. The political philosophy you espouse is virtually indistinguishable from a two year old’s tantrum.

        • Jonathan, aside from your last remark, I think that the questions that you’ve posed are worth considering, for they do represent a fundamental philosophy of what this country was, is, and will be. First, do rights come with responsibilities – absolutely; but not with an obligation to act to the liking of all, or even the majority, as long as one’s actions do not physically harm others. The foundation of this country was a Republic, not a Democracy. The difference is that the rights of an individual outweigh the desires of the masses. We have strayed far away from that concept, continually, in the government and the media, proclaiming democracy. The best example of a Democracy is Iran – the majority wants the Sharia imposed on everyone and so it is. I have no wish to live in a Democracy – the rule of the masses.
          Does the government govern with the consent of the governed? Yes, it does; but is the consent active or do the sheeple bah to whatever is ordered upon them? That is a good question, although I should add that considering that when in the last presidential elections the city of Philadelphia (or a precinct there) voted for Obama 110% and a county in Ohio counted 140%, and this election was not vacated, one should reconsider their faith in the elections. In the old Soviet Union, the Party always won with a 96.7 (or so) percent; at least they had the decency not to go over 100%.
          Do people, when they come in contact, often have conflicts – of course. Learn to deal with the conflicts by yourself, without running to the nanny state. Unfortunately, starting from school age, American kids are taught to immediately run to the authorities for any conflict resolution. They never grow up and do not know how deal with life on their own.
          Does the town predates the property ownership of its citizens? In other words, does the town have more rights than the citizens? Of course not! The “town” (thus, the town government) exists to serve the citizens, not the other way around. Just like a plumbing that exists to serve people, not people to serve plumbing.
          Is each man a sole arbiter of matters affecting him? The socialist upbringing is shining through here. If you believe otherwise, you’re ready for Sharia, Communism, and all the other socialized evils that the Constitution tried to protect us from. Of course, you may believe that “it takes a village”… Well, then we’re lost.
          Property rights vs legal rulings. In today’s Amerika, I would question the legal ruling. In practice, we do not have real property rights anymore. We have mortgages on the property, we have leases, but the government tells us what we can and cannot do with on within the property, tax us at will and take the property away for a multitude of justifications. The Founding Fathers are surely spinning in their graves at the new definition of “property rights.”
          Finally, is my view realistic? It was 200 years ago. Even a hundred. America prospered then. It is certainly not realistic today; nor is Amerika prospering. You decide.

        • Alexander,

          “Does the town predates the property ownership of its citizens? In other words, does the town have more rights than the citizens? Of course not! The “town” (thus, the town government) exists to serve the citizens, not the other way around.”

          Most towns have things called zoning laws. They exist to preserve property values. In areas zoned residential they typically prohibit activities like running a business or raising livestock.

          The question is not “does the town have more rights than the citizens?” The correct question is “does one citizen have more rights than all the other citizens?”

        • In a Republic, the answer is neither. John Adams wrote of rights: “You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe.” Thus, rights are inherent to all individuals and the rights of the collective have no heavier weight than the rights of an individual. In a Democracy, it is the opposite – the wishes of the collective become the law for the individual. In a Democracy, the collective grants and takes away rights. In a Republic, rights exist in perpetuity and are not subject to the will or the wish of the collective. If one accepts the premise that the property is his, then, as long as he does not hurt anyone physically, he is allowed to make whatever mess he wishes. If the land is essentially leased under the auspices of the collective, then the zoning laws rule. This case is an example of the collective, apparently through the efforts of someone who disliked this guy personally, has pushed and abused the system to completely trump a person’s individual rights. Likewise, the fellow abused the good will of his neighbors to create an eyesore. So, the question comes down to this – would you rather risk an abuse by an individual or by the government? Both are possible (and likely), but I would argue that the first is survivable with minor injury to one’s senses, while history has proven again and again that the later is often not survivable at all.

    • I guess a zoning ordnance is just not a sufficiently dangerous violation to require an MRAP or property confiscation. Apparently the local city board does not agree.

  11. Wow. Argumentative. Heil! Gestapo for a freaking civil judgement? Damn. How did Hitler tie his shoelaces?…little Nazi’s. sorry about the lame humor.

  12. from “The Blaze”

    “Hoeppner admitted to the Journal Sentinel that perhaps he had been “hostile,” but added, ”The $86,000 figure is enough to shock most men. And they wanted it now, today.” ”
    Now if the man him self says he was “hostile” and people tend to minimize these things. I wonder how “hostile ” he was?
    and if he had been fighting this in court for years, I’m sure there were warnings and notices prior to this. Theres is probably way more backstory, just a thoght.

    • You’re right and make a great point. Thee $80 some odd thousand didn’t pop up over night. It was the cumulation of court fines, $500 per day, for his refusal to abide by the court order.

      He’s lucky the judge didn’t just jail him for contempt, and that the city didn’t just let it ride until the fines reached the full value of his land. Then they could have just evicted him instead of extracting payment.

      • So if or when some bureaucrat with or without a personal agenda decides that you’re not doing something to his liking and imposes a fine on you of thousand dollars per day, and the court will take half a year to hear the case (or more, depending on where you live and how many legal moves are involved), you’ll owe $180K before you even get to court, plus your legal fees, payable up front. Good luck, amigo, with that very naive view of yours!


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