State court to hear case of Great Barrington man banned from businesses
GREAT BARRINGTON — Banned from entering most local businesses, David Magadini is taking his battle to the state Supreme Judicial Court.
Magadini, who has opted to live on the streets, has been barred by "no trespassing" orders from entering most local businesses, which complain that he is a nuisance.
Invoking the "defense of necessity," attorney Joseph N. Schneiderman will ask the court to force businesses to allow his client access in times of inclement weather, especially during winter.
The necessity defense applies if a person is breaking the law because there is no other legal way to avoid injury. Schneiderman could not be reached for comment
In a posting dated Nov. 24, the Supreme Judicial Court announced it would hear Magadini's case. Oral arguments have been set for 9 a.m. Monday in Boston.
Magadini, a former member of the town's Zoning Board of Appeals and Conservation Commission, owns a home on Christian Hill Road and continues to pay taxes on it. But when he refused to pay his water bill several years ago, the Board of Health condemned the structure.
Magadini also has rebuffed an offer from Construct, Inc., a local nonprofit housing agency, to be lodged there, saying the facility wasn't to his liking.
"He puts up his own barriers," said Cara Davis, executive director of Construct. "We had him for several months a few years ago, but he couldn't respect our regulations. We finally had to ask him to leave because he was becoming disrespectful to the other guests."
Davis said one of the barriers Magadini created was insisting that if he were to rent from a landlord, he had to be allowed to write his own lease, "and we couldn't find a landlord willing to do that."
"But it's hard to see him trying to make his way around town in the winter," she added.
"This has the potential to change case law in Massachusetts," said Shaun Kelly, assistant clerk magistrate for Southern Berkshire District Court. Kelly noted that the use of the defense of necessity could, if argued successfully, be used to override "no trespassing" orders granted by the court.
For at least six years, Magadini has roamed the Main Street area of town, sleeping whereever he could find shelter. He often stays under the gazebo behind town hall.
Magadini also is barred from some local hotels, one of which he was accused of vandalizing last year. Access to the Mason Library is limited to the computer area, His access to the post office on Main Street is limited to only enough time to buy supplies.
Most local merchants say they banned him because he would simply come into their stores and not leave until ejected.
"He'd come in, find a place to sit, and go to sleep," said one local merchant who declined to give his name. "Maybe if he actually bought something, we might be more accommodating."