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Fine Points of the Law

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Landlords Prevail: In July, Chuck Bartlett was finally granted legal possession of his house in Kenai, Alaska, overcoming a squatter's delaying tactics aided by local laws that frustrated eviction despite clear evidence of Bartlett's ownership. (Bartlett waited out the two-month standoff by pitching a tent in his own yard.) The squatter's final, futile challenge involved scribbling an obviously bogus "lease" that, even though Bartlett never signed it (or even saw it), the sheriff had to honor because only a judge, following a formal hearing, can rule it invalid.

In Raleigh, N.C., in July, Leslie Smith, 62, had no such problem. He was arrested after calling the police to report that he had shot a woman who had been living in his house. "She won't get out (of the house). So I shot her."

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