The "adverse possession" case through which retired Boulder judge Richard McLean was able to grab a swath of land on a neighbor's vacant lot triggering cries of protest by people who don't know any parties involved is not the first time a former Boulder judge has used the law against a neighbor.
Former Boulder County Judge Marsha Yeager, whose tenure on the Boulder County bench overlapped that of McLean, filed a successful "adverse possession" case against her neighbor in 2002.
When she heard that Yeager was using something called "adverse possession" to claim ownership of t he wall and thereby move the property line dividing their properties roughly one foot in Krueger-Cunningham's direction, she said, "I didn't really understand what it was all about."
Speaking of the law that was being invoked by Yeager's suit, she said, "The fact that very few people have even heard of it suggests to me that it is not something that it is not something that is typically applied in urban context.
It was intimidating, said Krueger-Cunningham, to be sued by a former judge - one who is married to a lawyer, no less.
"I feel that she was at a distinct advantage, in that she had been on the bench for I don't know how many years. She obviously, you know, was well known to people in the judicial system."
"If you openly and adversely possess or occupy a portion of somebody else's property for 18 years, that property can become yours," he said, explaining the statute. "It's English common law that has been the law of the state of Colorado for as long a Colorado has existed."
He doesn't begrudge a former judge, or anyone with a legal background, the right to use it to take what they think should be theirs.
However, Shaffer said, "What seems to be unfair is that a judge or an attorney has knowledge that the average citizen doesn't," said Shaffer. "This is one of those nuances of the law that somebody who's trained in the law would be aware of, and somebody who isn't, wouldn't be."
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