Debtors Prison An American Carol

All right, five months ago it is Christmas time. As usual, there was a Christmas Carol movie is playing on a number of different cable stations. I think my three favorite are Bill Murray’s Scrooge, Vanessa Williams’ a Diva’s Christmas Carol and Patrick Steward`s, A Christmas Carol. I think Mr. Steward’s came closest to what Charles Dickens wanted to say. In each movie the main plot was pretty much the same, old greedy Ebenezer Scrooge or a Scrooge type character who refuses to part with a single coin and was out to squeeze every last possible coin from poor souls no matter how or why they got into debt. It did not matter what damage or suffering his greed caused. All that mattered was putting that shiny coin into his pocket.
With that in mind, one of his favorite things to do in getting that coin, in the book, was to buy the debt of others have the unfortunate debtor arrested and jailed as a debt dodge. It didn’t matter if they were employed trying to pay or not. Debt was an actual crime in the 18th and 19th centuries. With his victim in jail, in jail without a trail or due process, Ebenezer would seize and sell their homes, furniture anything with the remotest monetary value, turning the debtors ill parents, wives and children out to suffer in the streets. You know in the real world of the 19th century single and or widowed women with children just as often wound up in debtor’s prison as men did. Debtor’s children and wives were often sent to workhouses and orphanages. Places that were too often a half a step from hell. That is if they weren’t just dumped on the streets after their house was seized.
That would be a scary world to live in wouldn’t it. Thank the Lord we don’t live in such times, right? After all it only happens in fiction and history books, right? I mean such a thing could happen not in today’s America, right?
Wrong Virginia! It is very real! And it could very well happen to you!
Just ask the Minnesota woman, who went to jail over a $250 owed for a credit card she didn’t know she had. Or The Illinois breast cancer survivor who was jailed over a $280 medical bill the hospital told her she didn’t owe. There was a woman sent to jail over a $60 phone bill owed by her husband dead 10 years. Let’s not forget the Kansas City guy who went to jail for $1000 he owed a furniture store after making payment arrangements. This last January a judge sentenced a man in Kenny Illinois to an ‘indefinite jail term’ over $300 he owed a lumber yard.
This doesn’t include to poor souls sent to jail because they didn’t have the money or a job to pay a fine. Only to discover that their $60 fine after 90 days spent in jail is now $6000. After all someone has to pay for the prison, prison guards’, food and uniforms.
After all didn’t one bund ant say “If you were a good person and a favorite of God you would have been born rich?”

S.C.R.A IV

Interesting according to Congressional Budget Office Obamacare is going to cost 5 billion dollars less than we’ve been told to expect.

This means according to the Washington post premiums should be going to go down.

Isn’t that just awful and such a really bad thing to have happen. I mean for the past 30 years all my premiums ever did was to go up. This happened every year for the exact amount of my cost of living raise. Isn’t that the way it is supposed to be?

To work than. I am a paralegal not a lawyer so what information you find in my articles are not to be taken as legal advice. My articles are meant to be legal information only. Let’s not forget when a lawyer of paralegal becomes involved your problem becomes an Issue.

OPINION: The fact it can take your lawyer 2 or 3 days to get up to speed on your ISSUE is one of the main reasons why, waiting to the last moment before getting legal help is a very bad idea. It always takes your lawyer and or paralegal awhile process the information and to get up to speed before they can help you. So the more time you can give your lawyer the happier you will be with the results.

Something interesting for soldiers if you get arrested and dropped into a civilian jail and a bail bondsman gets you out you can use the S.C.R.A. to block them from coming after you and forcing you to appearance for your court date until 90 days after discharge from the military.

However this only works if you are in combat. If you are stationed at a base in the States of an Ally country the bondsman can go your commanding officer and ask for you. Or the bondsman can go to your base legal office and get the base court to cancel that part of your S.C.R.A.

Now getting back to what your spouse can do with S.C.R.A. As I said before using the S.C.R.A. your spouse can stop a foreclosure on your house or stop a rental eviction. Also Using the S.C.R.A your spouse can stop a foreclosure on your storage unit.

Life Insurance: Okay if you or your soldier has one of those life insurance policies you can borrow against and your soldier uses it as collateral before going on active duty. Using the S.C.R.A. you can prevent the creditor from seizing the money. Unless the insured dies or the premiums don’t get paid.

Now it is always a good idea to have a back-up P.O.A. /Power of Attorney. A back-up P.O.A/Power of Attorney doesn’t come into play unless your spouse is out of it. It also helps is States that still won’t see same sex unions.

Getting back to the S.C.R.A. If your spouse is out of the game whoever is listed on your back-up P.O.A can use the S.C.R.A., too protect your assets.

Next week a little more on the S.C.R.A. I will be moving onto Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

S.C.R.A III

Interesting, our House of Representatives has actually held a vote on 4/10/14. 219 crazy republicans have voted to cut and end food stamps, Medicare and Medaid, Unemployment insurance, welfare and other much needed social programs. For example, there would be cuts to the Pell grant making it 10 times harder for a poor kid to get education or training needed so they can climb out of being poor. Of course, let’s not forget Obama care this budget will be taking away medical insurance from 8 million working families. After all the poor and handicap are just lazy people bleeding this country dry.

All this so they can to give poor rich people a much needed tax cuts. Poor, Poor rich people. I swear Serf-Dom is on its way back. Once we have Serf-Dom slavery is not even a half-step away.

Oh well, Once again as Ed Shultz from the Ed Show says ‘Let’s go to work’. I am not a lawyer, I am a paralegal. So what follows is in no-way to be taken as, intended to be legal advice. This is legal information only. Let us not forget when a lawyer or paralegal becomes involved your problem becomes an Issue.

Picking up on the S.C.R.A. I am constructing a second page dedicated to listing phone numbers, addresses and websites of military legal assistance organizations. I found this listing on the Department of Justice website. Theses organizations’ should and will be able to help you if you decide to pursue an S.C.R.A/Serviceman’s Civil Relief Act type of bankruptcy. If you live near a military base you can also start with local military base’s legal offices.

If you are a service member and or the service member’s spouse starting an S.C.R.A you will need to have this the information you need to have on hand when you make your 1st call:

Service member’s full and complete name, rank and current posting or where they are currently stationed. Of course don’t forget your soldier’s social security number.

Next gather together all information you can about the money matter you need help with. This includes all bills, demand letters, contracts, deeds and bills of sales. This also includes any legal documents, like Reposition demands, notices of evictions, and foreclosures’ notices. Make sure you have all this information organized in such a way you can easily find what information you need while are talking with your lawyer.

It will help to write down a list of your questions and concerns before making your 1st call and have it on top of your paperwork.

Once you have gotten all your information put together, you can make your 1st call.

SIDENOTE: Do not be surprised or appalled if after the intake operator takes your phone number and some information about your issue they tell you someone will be calling you back. This is a legal and governmental office you are dealing with after all. It could be 2 or 3 days before someone call you back but I guarantee someone will call. However if someone is pounding at your door about the debt make sure the intake operator is aware! Someone will call you back a lot sooner.
If someone from that office doesn’t call in that time frame or the collection agent starts getting scary you can call the intake operator again ask them to hurry it along.

More about the S.C.R.A next week. Then there should be a couple more S.C.R.A postings and then I will be moving on to Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

SCRA or Service Member’s Relief Act

And so once again, I am a Paralegal I am not a Lawyer. So this is in no way be taken as legal advice. This is legal information only. Also let us not forget when a lawyer or a paralegal becomes your problem becomes an ISSUE.
As I said last week, with the end of the “Unemployment insurance gray train is over.” I think information about Bankruptcies will be very important. There are 3 types of bankruptcy most people will most often need.
As a veteran, I want to talk about is the SCRA or Service Member’s Civil Relief Act bankruptcy 1st. It was created in 1940 with the name of Soldiers and Sailor’s Act. This act can be found at 50 U.S.C. app. §§ 501 et seq.
The right to file for SCRA bankruptcy lasts the entire term of being on active duty plus 90 days. So if things crash or you discover things have crashed while out processing you can still ask for SCRA protection.
The major thing about the SCRA is a soldier or sailor’s wife or husband can start a SRCA for Bankruptcy protection. While a soldier or sailor is out of contact and or busy fighting for our country. Using the SRCA you can get help with debts like, past due credit cards, mortgage payments, back taxes and lease evictions.
It goes back to the promise we make our service personal, ‘If you risk all to protect us, we’ll protect the loved ones you leave behind.’
Okay, if your family’s major money maker is on active duty overseas or stationed someplace like and a creditors wants to file for a default on debt complaint. A creditor must file an affidavit proving that the military debtor is available. That they had made every effort to contact the active duty debtor and s/he has ignored the situation. This must be done before the judgment can be entered. If creditor does get the default judgment, you or your lawyer or legal service can file an affidavit telling the court that yes the military debtor was not available. This will stop things until the military debtor can be contacted. If the creditor challenges your affidavit the trustee can’t decide who is telling the truth h/she can appoint an attorney to protect the military debtor. Also another option the Trustee could make the creditor pay a bond before allowing a default go into collections.
SIDE-NOTE: A Bankruptcy Trustee 9.9 times out of ten is a lawyer employed by the Federal Bankruptcy courts. A Trustee more or less act as the judge in administering the bankruptcy cases making sure everything is done correctly.
SIDE-NOTE: A surety bond is an amount of money equal to the current market value of the property the Trustee is going to allow the creditor to take. The bond will be held by the court until the Trustee is sure no one was cheated.
Next week I am going to repost an article about presidential orders. Then I will move back to bankruptcy. Also I should have my scheduling problems worked out.

\

Veteran’s Day

As you have probably have guessed this is going to be another opinion piece.

This Veteran’s day I have spent it watching news and television shows honoring Veterans.  I saw stories of men and women black, white, brown and asain. Men and Women who when asked placed themselves at risk to protect our way of life. Even after finding out they were lied to by their leaders, finding out there was no threat kept their promise to our country and stayed on duty.  Male and female soldiers grievously wounded but able to run away, who stayed and fought off deadly attacked to protect friends and fellow soldiers who could no longer protect themselves.

A White brother who gave up his life to protect a fallen Black brother.  A Black sister who risked all to rescue a trapped Asian brother.  A Brown brother who led the charge bringing relief to soldiers cut off. A pilot who risks death and court martial to fly into heavy enemy fire to rescue dying solders. A nurse who fights off an attack to protect wounded soldiers placed in her care. The rescue of an enemy child.

A pundit once said the first thing a real soldier gives up to survive combat is the ability to see skin color. The only color a true soldier who tasted combat can see is the green.

When you choose to become a soldier promises are made. Promises of help in finding a good paying job after you put away your gun. Promise of education to make your dream a reality. Promises of help in buying the home of your dreams.  A promise that while you risk all for your country, your loved one and your children will be cared for. Promise that there will be help in making the educational dreams of your children real.  Promises of help dealing with the physical pain of combat. Promise of help of adapting to the world after surviving your combat injuries. Promises of help in dealing with the emotional pain of war. Promises of help in living with the horrors of war.

Only to be told when you get off the plane and set down your weapon. All those promises your country made, ‘we will get around to them eventually. It may take 3 maybe 4 years for us to keep those promises but we will get to them. No worries.’   ‘In the mean time you are on your own.’

Then to be told “Thank you for your service you are such a hero.”

Now two or three years into patient waiting for those promises to be kept. With 1.6 million veterans and their families without medical insurance, 1.4 million veterans and their families now homeless. With millions more veteran families barely surviving on food stamps.

Now the Tea party republicans is the house of representatives who have never spent a day in uniform, never risked or worked for anything are saying ‘you know keeping those promises is going to cost just too much so we shouldn’t keep those promises’, ‘Oh yeah, food stamps cost too much money so we should cut food stamps but not the million dollar subsides to million dollar hobby famers. Those subsidies are just too important to cut sorry about that.”

Veteran’s

Forgive me as I go off topic this week. After last week’s post on Captain Ed, I have seen a few political shows commenting briefly, very briefly, on the number of veterans that have wound up in jail.

Side-Note: Check out the Rachel Maddox show she seems willing to take on subjects one else wants to touch. Like American debtors prisons in 2013.

These veterans were charged with everything from simple robbery, sex crimes to out and out, rage murders. No one can seem to understand how or why these men and women are now in jail.

I don’t understand the confusion. After all we’re are talking about men and women who spent the last 10 years in a world where the time to think and evaluate a possible threat simply doesn’t exist. Combat is a world where ‘threats eliminate threats or somebody dies’ is 1st rule of survival.  Combat is a world where every Stranger either a new friend or somebody who wants to kill you, no shades of gray. The shades gray that’s a part of the mundane world is exceptionally rare in combat.  Imagine standing in line to buy groceries and the person ahead of gets mad at the cashier. Three or four things are gonna happen, anything from a few angry words, to a cop arresting the unhappy customer.  Now in combat world you’re at a local shop were you just brought something than somebody walks in and starts screaming. A bomb goes off.

In the movie ‘My Cousin Vinnie’ staring Joe Pesci. There is a sub-plot to the story, Joe Pesci’s search for a good night’s sleep. It took a full-blown prison riot for him sleep peacefully. Funny huh?   Not if this is your normal world.

Now you come home after 10 years of living in combat world.  You get a day maybe two out processing and then you are back in the mundane world where every skill you’ve learned, every instinct you’ve developed staying alive is now bad.  Plus you are told those benefits, especially the medical benefits, we promised you for your service, don’t worry you’ll get them when we get around to it. No worries.  In the mean time you are on your own.

Oh yeah, thank you for your service to our country, you are a hero.

How would you feel? Think about it, you’ve just spent the last 10 years risking your life, watching friends and co-workers killed. Your home-coming is a pat on the head and being told now go be normal. Just like a 9-year-old being told to go out and play.

Is it any wonder these veteran’s have a hard time adjusting to the mundane normal world. We learned nothing from Vietnam War, except to sound nicer to our veterans.

Well that is my vent.  As a veteran, this is something that really matters to me.

Next week, I’ll continue with money& lawyers I’m will be getting into the costs of practicing law.