Unmowed lawn leads to jail for full-time student and working mom in Overton - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Unmowed lawn leads to jail for full-time student and working mom in Overton

 

Graduate student and working mother of two, arrested and put in the back of a patrol car? Samantha Hamlet thought she was creating a perfect life until Overton Police came knocking on her door. What could have possibly gone wrong?

"Thursday, I went to school all day, I came home and got arrested in the front yard because they said I failed to maintain my property."

Samantha Hamlet says 6 months ago, she and her husband built this house on a hill in Overton.

"This is our first family, our first home," said Samantha, "and they have just made this a terrible experience for us."

A dream she says the city has now turned into a nightmare, arrested and fined more than $600 for violating the city ordinance. She says before construction began, the contractor cleared the land, pushing all of the trees and brush to the back of the property.

"We've been doing this every weekend. You see our little burn pile...burning a little bit each weekend, because we don't have the money and frankly, we don't have the time to just get it all done at once," said Samantha.

"Maybe two to three times a week, I was getting a slip of paper that said you have 10 days to do this, and it was the grass....or you have ten days, and it'll be the bushes."

She says she even appeared in court back in August.

"When I went to the judge, he said, well, just get it cleaned up, and I thought that meant, get it cleaned up. Instead, they said I agreed to pay a fine," said Samantha.

She calls it harrassment - the city calls it enforcement.

Overton officials didn't want to go on camera, but they tell us courtesy letters were sent to Samantha's home reminding her of the citations. They say after not getting a response, a warrant was issued for Samantha's arrest. It wasn't the response Samantha expected.

"I'm just wanting a little sympathy, some luck...for everybody just to give me a chance."

Samantha was released Thursday night after paying the fines and other fees. Just last night, she was cited again for the timbers in her backyard. After speaking with city officials, that citation has been revoked.

 

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