BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
On March 11, the Institute for Justice, based in Arlington, VA, asked the United States Supreme Court (USSC) to hear the appeal of Leo, Anfonsina, and John Lech, who are seeking compensation from the City of Greenwood Village, its then-police chief, and ten other individually-named GV police officers for the destruction of their home in an 18-hour standoff between law enforcement and a known felon who randomly occupied, then refused to come out of the Lechs’ home in GV on June 3, 2015. We reported the details of the incident on page 1 of The Villager on Nov. 7, 2019, including the undisputed fact that the Lechs received $345,000 from their insurance company for their loss, which they have always said was not adequate to compensate them for what they lost as a result in the incident.
The Lechs’ claim against GV and its police officers filed in 2016 was turned down by the U.S. District Court on Jan. 9, 2018. There was also a governmental immunity case filed in the Arapahoe County District Court, which GV won on summary judgment on Sept. 7, 2018. An appeal of the U.S. District Court’s Jan. 9, 2018 ruling to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals was taken, where a three-judge panel upheld the U.S. District Court ruling in favor of GV and against the Lechs on October 29, 2019. The Institute for Justice, representing the Lech family, requested an en banc (a majority of the eligible appeals court judges) review of the October 29, 2019 ruling. That request was denied without comment by the Tenth Circuit on Dec. 27, 2019, leading to the March 11, 2020 filing in the USSC.
The question presented to the USSC in the Petition for a Writ of Certiorari is “whether there is a categorical exception to the Just Compensation Clause when the government takes property while acting pursuant to its police power.” The Tenth Circuit previously held that “no compensation was due because the home was destroyed pursuant to the police power rather than the power of eminent domain.”
The Institute for Justice told The Villager that they expect to know if the case will be heard by the USSC by late spring or early summer.
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