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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    4

    Default Family Member Holding Property for Ransom

    My question involves personal property located in the State of: OHIO

    We were staying with my aunt since the beginning of Feb. We had to move out March 28th because she and I got into an altercation where she was trying to choke me and I merely pulled her hair to get her off of me. We both were charged with Disorderly Conduct.

    She stated that we had one hour the next day to get our belongings. She let my husband in to get our stuff but when we wanted to get our things from the basement she told him to come back the next day. The next day he comes back to her house and she tells him that he cannot get the things unless he gives her $400.

    She says that we owe her that much because we ran up the electric bill and she is going to take us to court. She has no lease agreement between us and told the police that we weren't living there.

    The stuff that is in the basement is very important items like my deceased son's belongings, his death certificate, autopsy report, photos, etc. My two year old's summer clothing and my husband's work boots, not to mention harddrives with a lot of personal information on them.

    I am told by police that they cannot help me retrieve this because it is a civil matter. I asked her landlord to retrieve these items but he won't because she says that we got everything out of the house.

    I don't want to involve the court in this matter because on the same day this fight between her and I happened, my husband lost his job. Basically we couldn't afford to take this to court.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Family Member Holding Property for Ransom

    Quote Quoting Lindsical
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    I don't want to involve the court in this matter because on the same day this fight between her and I happened, my husband lost his job. Basically we couldn't afford to take this to court.

    Thank you.
    well, the police can't help you, the landlord can't help you, and you do not want to involve the courts.


    I don't know what to tell you. You've exhausted or ruled out all the legal possibilities.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    9,096

    Default Re: Family Member Holding Property for Ransom

    Depending on the value, small claims court may be an option.

    most people do not use an attorney

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Family Member Holding Property for Ransom

    I don't want money for these things I just want them returned. Can small claims be used for that? There is no way you could replace my first son's things.

    The clothing and boots could be replaced once we have money/

  5. #5

    Default Re: Family Member Holding Property for Ransom

    Until there is an order from a judge, such as you could request at a court hearing, law enforcement is unable to intervene in a civil dispute over property. Go to court, ask the court to issue an order for the return of your belongings, and then ask the sheriff's office (whose deputies are officers of the court) to accompany you to carry out the court's order to retrieve your belongings.

    Be prepared for her to counter sue for any expenses that she can reasonably convince the court that would be owed to her, such as a portion of utilities.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    38,867

    Default Re: Family Member Holding Property for Ransom

    Quote Quoting Lindsical
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    I don't want money for these things I just want them returned. Can small claims be used for that? There is no way you could replace my first son's things.

    /
    Ohio small claims court cannot provide injunctive or equitable relief which means, all they can do is award you money.

    If you need to sue, you are going to have to move up a step in the courts to seek injunctive relief. Unless you are capable of handling that yourself, it's going to cost you attorneys fees.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    4

    Default Re: Family Member Holding Property for Ransom

    My family might have taken 3 baths a week and we always unplugged everything before leaving our room. We only used ONE room in her 10 room house. Her children and herself left appliances and other things on. My family has been pretty much homeless for the past 18 months, moving around and living with others so we KNOW to keep cost down anyway that we can.

    We always paid our "rent" to her and we didn't have an agreement to pay for utilities (verbally or written). We did however pay her cell phone bill, bought groceries, cigarettes and meals for her family as well as ours. She didn't work in Feburary and March. I feel she is only asking for this amount of money because she cannot pay her bills.

    Could asking me for $400 for the return of my belongings could be considered extortion?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Family Member Holding Property for Ransom

    Quote Quoting Lindsical
    View Post

    Could asking me for $400 for the return of my belongings could be considered extortion?
    it's possible to be seen as that but as long as your aunt stands by her claim that you owe her money, the police are not going to see it that way. They will continue to tell you it is a civil matter and take it to court. They have no way to determine if the claim against you is valid and they have no right to even attempt to rule it valid or invalid. Only a court can rule if the aunts claim is valid or not.

    I really don't see much of any way to keep from going to court if she will not release the property.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Family Member Holding Property for Ransom

    Okay, thank you very much.

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