Friday, July 20, 2012

My Dirty Little Secret Which Everyone Knows About

I have a fantasy which came to fruition once I came to law school: I want to steal something. 

I mean, I really want to steal something.

You can ask anyone--I've never stolen anything in my life. One time, I told one of my besties to turn out her pockets at a CVS so she would stop shoplifting. I hate the idea of stealing. It's uncouth, disrespectful, and just plain mean. No one likes mean girls.

But ever since 1L, I've harbored this secret desire to steal something. You know, under the law it's quite easy to steal, so long as you find the appropriate ins and outs. Technically it's not illegal if you can establish ownership somehow. My favorite way to legally steal is through adverse possession.

I, J-Hizzle, will adversely possess a plot of land by the end of my lifetime. This is now on my bucket list.

The doctrine of adverse possession allows a squatter to assume title to a property so long as s/he has exercised use that is:
1. open and notorious
2. continuous
3. exclusive
4. adverse.

1. Brag to everyone in the community that you're using the property;
2. Mooch at length without interruption;
3. Chase other similarly-minded persons off your property;
4. Don't ask for permission or just openly disregard trespasser signs.

Adverse possession is the American equivalent of usurption. Challenge accepted.


  1. Whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. As a lover of adverse possession, I have to respectfully disagree that it is legal douchebaggery. I would like to advocate that adverse possession is a positive thing in a community. I do have a super nerd love of adverse possession because I find it fascinating that society takes these special situations and totally sanctions a really different version of acquiring something. Adverse possession ensures (in theory, at least) that property is maintained in accordance with the values of society. I think it's really the legislature who is stealing, not the adverse possessor. Maybe they are receiving stolen goods. :)

    Okay, this is the most boring comment ever, BUT you should check out this New York Times article about my friend's friends who basically almost adverse possessed this huge house in Buffalo, NY:

  2. Jen,
    Would this apply if the land next to my parents house has been abandoned for like 15 years and my dad has maintained it the whole time? Apparently the guy who has owned it all these years hasn't even been to the property in something like 10 years and sold it to someone else (by sell I mean he told the guy if he paid the back taxes he could have it) now the new guy wants my dad to remove out fence that is too close to his property.

    1. You should definitely look into it. I'd get the advice of a real attorney though :)

    2. Also, did you delete your Facebook?

    3. REAL ATTORNEY?!?! You are my "real attorney" and yes, my FB is no more.