JONATHAN TURLEY – Published 1, November 16, 2012

David Cooper, 26, is an example of how dangerous a little legal knowledge can be. The Texas man was arrested after squatting in a $405,000 Arlington home after the family left for Houston so that the mother could receive cancer treatment. Cooper said that he read about adverse possession in the law library at Southern Methodist University. He drew up an affidavit stating that he was asserting ownership by adverse possession and that was enough during an initial visit by the police. When the family arrived, however, the police finally put an end to the claim and criminally charged him with felony theft and burglary. His wife, Jasmine Williams Cooper, was charged with burglary. A jury convicted Cooper but acquitted his wife (after Cooper insisted that she did not stay at the house with him).

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