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Homeowners; Civil Rights Suit For Being Ordered to Remove Asphalt From Driveway, Plus Criminal Law Matter

By FindLaw Staff on August 20, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Hussein v. City of Perrysburg, 09-4054, involved a homeowners' suit against a city, a city inspector and other individuals in their official and personal capacities, claiming that defendants violated their procedural and substantive due process rights by ordering a construction worker to remove a temporary asphalt layer in their driveway.


In reversing the judgment of the district court, the court remanded the matter in concluding that defendants are entitled to qualified immunity because state officials are permitted under the Constitution to inform citizens of the officials' view that they are violating state or local law and state officials are also permitted to threaten litigation or prosecution if citizens do not agree to conform their actions to state or local law.  The court also held that the defendant did not violate plaintiffs' substantive due process rights as the asphalt driveway incident did not implicate specific constitutional guarantees.

Fields v. Howes, 09-1215, concerned a challenge to the district court's conditional grant of defendant's petition of habeas relief from his conviction for third degree criminal sexual conduct.  In affirming the conditional grant, the court held that, under Mathis v. US, 391 U.S. 1 (1968), a Miranda warning is required whenever an incarcerated individual is isolated from the general prison population and interrogated about conduct occurring outside the prison.  Here, the Michigan Court of Appeals' conclusion that, although defendant was in custody, interrogation without a Miranda warning was permissible because the questioning concerned an unrelated matter contradicts clearly established federal law as determined by the Supreme Court in Mathis.  The court also held that there is no question that the failure to suppress defendant's confession was not harmless error.

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