UPDATE: June 9, 1995
As a result of punitive sentence for a wetlands "infraction"
ELDERLY TEXAS MAN NOW LIVES IN HOUSE SURROUNDED BY A STAGNANT, ARTIFICIAL MOAT. ELDERLY WIFE SUING FOR DIVORCE
The partial sentence of displaying a giant 20-ft. apology billboard on a Texas highway would have been far too extreme to punish 73-year old Marinus Van Leuzen for an imagined environmental infraction. Muggers and rapists receive less.
The partial sentence of paying $350 per month over 12 yearsprobably for the rest of his daystotalling up to $50,400, would have been excessive in the extreme.
But Federal District Judge Samuel B. Kent was determined that Marinus Van Leuzen, whose "crime" he likened to the "genocidal treatment" of the American Indians, receive no mercy. He decreed both the billboard and the fines, and that the elderly man's neat home become an eyesore by excavating his lawn and replacing it with swamp.
Now, to satisfy Judge Kent and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the third form of excessive punishment has been carried a step further actually deeper. Corps of Engineers enforcer Paula Wise has made Mr. Van Leuzen excavate the area of his small, four-tenths of an acre lot around his home in Port Bolivar a good two feet deeper than it was when he began building. Then Mr. Van Leuzen had to plant it with swamp grass, then replant it by spending money on a consultant to "improve" it, and finally wait for it to fill with water.
Mr. Van Leuzen now lives surrounded by a stagnant moat. The bottom of the moat is far deeper than the remaining natural brushy land nearby. In fact, most of the land nearby is developed with houses and commercial structures such as a motel. The water level in the moat is higher than the bay. And on top of the stagnant water is algae and scum.
Marinus Van Leuzen is a World War II veteran who is a respected member of his community. His house was built where an old shack formerly stood on a messy empty lot beside a highway. The house was a neat, attractive structure before being made into an unhealthy eyesore by the sentence of Judge Kent and the Corps of Engineers.
What was the "crime" that excited this vengeance against an American citizen? Insolence?
Who are the real criminals?
Mr. Van Leuzen has been seeking help from his Congressman, Steve Stockman. Many others suffer from fanatical environmental sentences and need Congressional relief.
When will Mr. Van Leuzen and his elderly estranged wife, who is now suing for divorce because of fear of government, have peace of mind?
Will Mr. Van Leuzen see justice in his lifetime?
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Since mid-1994 the Property Rights Foundation of America has been calling attention to the wheels of injustice which the U.S. District Court, U.S. EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers used to grind down Mr. Van Leuzen. The attached photos give a short picture history of this injustice, ending with the current development, the stagnant moat around the house this elderly man lives in because of Judge Samuel Kent and Corps of Engineers enforcer Paula Wise and the excessive environmental power of the federal government.