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Gainesville neighbors feud headed to Georgia Supreme Court
Consitutionality of 'good behavior bonds' at root of case
1105SUPREME
Two homes along Woodlake Drive in Gainesville are at the center of a Supreme Court of Georgia case to be heard Monday. Ken and Rochelle Parker have brought the case with attorney Jeffrey Filipovits challenging “good behavior bonds.”

A feud between two Gainesville homes will head to the Georgia Supreme Court for oral argument Monday, as one couple argues against a section of Georgia law called “good behavior bonds.”

The case is predicated upon a feud between Andrew and Penny Leeuwenburg and Ken and Rochelle Parker, two couples living next to each other in Gainesville.

“The two married couples have been embroiled in conflict for several years, with each couple charging the other with harassment and wrongdoing,” according to the court’s summary.

The Parkers are contesting a statute called “good behavior bonds,” which the Leeuwenburgs have filed for multiple times in Hall County Magistrate Court against the Parkers.

A hearing is held within seven days after a person’s application for the bond, in which one must show cause that “the safety of any one or more persons in the county or the peace or property of the same is in danger of being injured or disturbed” by a person’s conduct, according to the statute.

With sufficient cause, the court can require “from the person a bond with sureties for such person’s good behavior with reasonable conditions” for a period up to six months.

The Leeuwenburgs’ attorney Vanessa Sykes declined to comment.

According to the court’s summary of the case, the Leeuwenburgs claimed the Parkers had installed “a large number of wind chimes” near their property and installed security cameras pointed at their property.

The bond issued by the court prohibited the couples from having contact with one another and their respective properties, as well as other conditions.

The Parkers asked the court to declare the statute unconstitutional in June 2015. The trial court ruled against the Parkers.

“The statute is so vague that it would permit a court to order a bond and impose conditions on a person’s freedom for even conduct that’s protected by the First Amendment,” the Parkers’ attorney Jeffrey Filipovits said.

Filipovits said the statute does not give citizens a “reasonable expectation” of what conduct might make them subject to a good behavior bond.

According to the court’s summary, the Leeuwenburgs argue the statute is not unconstitutional and that the Parkers do not have standing to sue.

The case will be heard Monday at the Supreme Court of Georgia in Atlanta.

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