Since its self-declared independence in 1776, the United States of America has always shown its will to become a grand nation. To fulfill this dream and set itself up as one of the greatest powers in a various domains on the international scale, it has gone through centuries of expansion. As a step towards this development, the massive urbanization of the 20th century has created new needs that the United States had to address. In urban areas, growth and expansion often result in the need to establish, enlarge or improve public buildings, roads, parks and services. And to achieve these goals, public agencies some times may need to acquire privately-owned property. In the United States, this can legally be done thanks to the power of eminent domain. The term expropriation is synonymous with eminent domain but is used with regard to jurisdictions that do not pay compensation for the confiscated property.
[...] Finally, the condemnation commissioners give in the most unbiased way their estimation of the fair market value of the property. This amount is called the The condemnor can then deposit the amount of the award into the court and, in doing so, takes title to the property. The owner remains in possession of his property and can ask for the award to be paid to him but he can also be compelled to pay any liens, mortgages or overdue taxes. The modes of compensation are numerous. [...]
[...] For example, in 1984, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that eminent domain could be used if “rationally related to a conceivable public purpose.” The definition of public use still remains blurry and in these discrepancies may lie the reason why it was revised ten years later. Another means exists that has proved most efficient though not appearing in the law. Numerous expropriation cases have been abandoned because of massive popular movements. Local demonstrations or petitions, especially in small communities, have often had an impact upon authority. [...]
[...] back as 1790, in the 5th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America: shall private property be taken for a public use without just compensation.” Generally, a decision to expropriate is made only if the owner of the property and the body that has the legal power of eminent domain cannot reach an agreement as to the amount of the compensation. Otherwise, the transaction can be made as a private sale, that is to say, from a private seller to a private purchaser. [...]
[...] Indeed, the 4th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America provides right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizure [ ] and no Warrant shall issue but upon probable cause [ ] and [ ] describing [ ] the things to be seized.” But the “probable cause” determination must be made by a neutral magistrate to insure an impartial judgment by interposing a neutral officer between the two parties. [...]
[...] In that case, the condemnor has the right to bring the matter to the local circuit court by filing a Petition in Eminent Domain within thirty days after the expropriating authority has notified its will to use its power of eminent domain. That same Petition must be served on the private owner and a public hearing will take place in presence of the two parties. Before the judge (there is no jury at this stage), the condemnor will have to prove, on the one hand, that the two parties were unable to agree on a price during the negotiation the condemnor is supposed to have carried out in good faith as a first step. [...]
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