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A moving violation

Thinking about moving this Sunday? Think again.

On Feb. 25, Cathi Greenwood made a choice — one she would soon pay for — to ditch her downtown digs and move a few minutes northwest, near the West End's King Plow buildings.
But just as her movers were unloading a truck that Sunday afternoon, an Atlanta police officer approached Greenwood and wrote her and her two movers a ticket each.
They were breaking the law, the cop said. She didn't believe him, so she looked up the ordinance herself. Sure enough, there it was:
"It shall be unlawful for any person to move or transport household goods and furnishings from one place of residence to another between the hours of sunset and sunrise or on Sunday."
"This is ludicrous," said defense attorney Patrick Ryder, moments before Greenwood's court appearance on Monday. "It's an arcane statute which I'm sure the state does not have an interest to protect."
The state's prosecutor then walked up and pulled Ryder aside, whispering: "Me and the judge both read the ordinance, and it's a valid ordinance."
Inside the courtroom, Greenwood and her two movers stepped before the judge, and Ryder requested his clients receive a trial by jury.
"There's no right to a jury trial on a municipal ordinance violation," Judge Catherine Malicki told him.
Apparently, the law is meant to keep indebted renters from sneaking away from landlords and to keep burglars from targeting out-of-towners at night and on Sundays.
The state prosecutor suggested a "light fine" for the accused parties. But Ryder asked for a dismissal. The judge said she'd postpone ruling until April, so that Ryder can research the law.
Out in the hall, Greenwood smiled, but still seemed a little peeved about having to come back next month.
"I'm sorry to inconvenience you folks," Ryder said to Greenwood and the movers, whose costs he offered to cover. "But I feel strongly about this. I'm willing to take it even further, to the appeals court or the Supreme Court."
By the way, the city ordinance also outlaws certain types of treasure hunts. So be careful come Easter Sunday.