On Monday, James Dickey of Sudbury got some bad news from the US Supreme Court: It would not hear his allegations that city efforts to board up or even raze his derelict shell of a fire-ravaged three decker at 97 Mt. Ida Rd. in Dorchester violated his civil rights.
But that hasn't stopped Dickey, who has done nothing to fix up the property since a fire in August of 2011: On Thursday, he moved to transfer a related case - in which the city now wants a housing-court judge to hire a receiver with the power to order the structure torn down - to federal court.
If past actions by judges and Dickey are any guide, this newest attempt could buy Dickey seven or eight more months of being allowed to not do anything about the property, which the city and neighbors say is not just an eyesore but rat infested. He's already won yet another breather - a housing-court judge who'd been scheduled to rule yesterday whether to grant the city request called off the hearing after learning of Dickey's attempt to "remove" the case to federal court again.
The city has been trying since 2013 to get Dickey to do something about the fire-damaged property, which, in an era of explosive property values in Boston, has declined in value by roughly half since 2007. At first, Dickey won in Suffolk Superior Court, where a judge granted him a stay against any city action, but a Superior Court judge then lifted that in 2016 and the city went into housing court to get an order demanding Dickey do something - or let it tear the house down and then put a lien on the property for the cost.
Last May, Dickey sought to transfer the case to federal court, alleging the way the city had a contractor put up plywood boards that now cover most of the building's windows violated his constitutional right to due process.
Three months later, a federal judge agreed with the city there were no civil-rights issues involved, that the city was simply seeking to follow the state sanitary code, which deals with such things as rat infestations.
Dickey appealed that ruling to the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, which ruled in December that the district-court judge was right and the case belonged in state housing court.
Dickey then appealed to the US Supreme Court, where the clerk's office on Monday issued a simple statement to the appeals court and Dickey:
The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.
Dickey's latest effort to get the city to let the property alone involves allegations that ISD and the housing court are involved in a conspiracy to deprive blacks of their property and sell it off at a fraction of their values to whites. Dickey himself is white.