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Woman Goes to Jail For Not Mowing Lawn

Woman Goes to Jail for Not Mowing Lawn

By Emily Scharnhorst

 

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If you are a resident of Lenoir City, Tennessee, you might want to remember to mow your lawn — otherwise, you will be spending the night in jail. 
 
Karen Holloway just spent six hours in a jail cell for failing to maintain her yard in accordance with the standards set by the city. 
 
The saga began last summer, when Holloway was sent a citation for her overgrown grass and shrubbery. Holloway, who works a full-time job and has two children living at home, a husband in school, and one family vehicle, admits the yard needed some attention but that it just wasn't feasible to do the work.  

"The bushes and trees were overgrown. But that's certainly not a criminal offense," she says. 
 
Last week, Judge Terry Vann handed down a five-day jail sentence to Holloway for refusing to comply with the city ordinances regarding yard maintenance, specifically the lack thereof. Holloway feels this was all just too much, saying, "It's not right. Why would you put me in jail with child molesters and people who've done real crimes, because I haven't maintained my yard."
 
In addition to the severity of the sentencing, Holloway say she also feels that she was bullied during the process because she was never read her rights or told that she could have a lawyer present. 

This isn't the first time Holloway has been cited by the city. While her husband was serving in the military and deployed overseas, she was also sent a citation.  

On Tuesday, when she stood in front of the court once more, her sentence was reduced to six hours. The judge admitted Holloway is not a criminal, and that this is not a criminal case — but she was still sentenced to jail. Holloway turned herself in Tuesday evening and served her six hours.
 
Neither the judge nor the police chief have responded with comments. 
  
This is not the first time someone has been sentenced to jail because of the state of his or her property. Linda Ruggles of South Carolina was unable to pay the $500 fine for the loose shingles left on her roof after repairs stalled following the 2008 recession. She spent six days in jail.
 
As far as Karen Holloway, she's enlisted an army of friends and family to help keep her lawn shipshape. She'll be back in court for a follow-up hearing in November to check on the progress. The judge says he could add more jail time if the city isn't satisfied with her cleanup. 

Tell us what you think about this story in the comments below. Have you or your neighbors ever been cited for not complying with city ordinances? Do you think the punishment was extreme?