A fugitive people within a nation is tyranny.

Posts tagged ‘court hearing’

Scott: Another Victim of Fear & Child Support

reported by Moody Jim Rathbone

A black man (Walter Scott) was shot eight times in the back as he fled in fear from a white police officer (Michael Slager). He did so because he was afraid of being jailed by Bradley Amendment back child support. Video shows a North Charleston, South Carolina, officer apprehending Scott.

The Post and Courier newspaper of Charleston, claims that Mr. Walter Scott had been arrested 10 times for failing to pay Bradley Amendment mandated back child support. He had failed to show up for court hearings.

The family attorney said that the coroner had told him that Mr. Scott was struck a total of five times – three times in the back, once in the upper buttocks and once in the ear – with at least one bullet entering his heart. The story is that all this was the result of a traffic stop. In certain states, men are often taken to jail for nonpayment of child support following a traffic stop. Early news reports indicated that the police officer was in fear for his life. With his hands full of weapons and in pursuit of a fleeing man? Hardly. The video footage shows the reality behind the fatal bullying, as if the officer was doing little more than playing a video game.

murderer-Michael-SlagerScott’s death on Saturday fueled national outrage as an example of continued unjustified killings, another black man vanquished at the hands of police. The killing also highlights the injustice in the child-support enforcement system, which often punishes non-custodial parents who can’t keep up with child support with jail time. This blight of law disproportionately affects African-American men, a debtor’s prison that puts people in jail for something they can’t pay, even when half of a paycheck is being garnished.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division has begun an inquiry into the shooting. The F.B.I. and the Justice Department are also investigating the incident.

The child support system in the United States has new blood on its’ hands. Walter Scott was like any other normal American seeking a better life. He had a job and was engaged to be married, after a failed marriage and 4 children. It’s very likely that the ex-wife and government were harassing him in a very large way. Fear of the system was well engrained in him. If the ex-wife was behind the acceleration in harassment, the ex-wife also has his blood on her hands, and now, children that will be on the government dole. Congratulations to Mrs. Scott, his poor children and a hopelessly broken punitive system. My heart goes out to any man, regardless of circumstances, that might be caught in a similar unconstitutional dragnet in this nation’s police state.

Scott-happier-times

overthrow

Debtors’ Prison Is Back and Just as Cruel as Ever

By Ross Kenneth Urken

debtors' prisonTo most of us, “debtors’ prison” sounds like an archaic institution, something straight out of a Dickens novel. But the idea of jailing people who can’t pay what they owe is alive and well in 21st-century America.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, debt collectors in Missouri, Illinois, Alabama and other states are using a legal loophole to justify jailing poor citizens who legitimately cannot pay their debts.

Here’s how clever payday lenders work the system in Missouri — where, it should be noted, jailing someone for unpaid debts is illegal under the state constitution.

First, explains St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the creditor gets a judgment in civil court that a debtor hasn’t paid a sum that he owes. Then, the debtor is summoned to court for an “examination”: a review of their financial assets.

If the debtor fails to show up for the examination — as often happens in such cases — the creditor can ask for a “body attachment” — essentially, a warrant for the debtor’s arrest. At that point, the police can haul the debtor in and jail them until there’s a court hearing, or until they pay the bond. No coincidence, the bond is usually set at the amount of the original debt. As the Dispatch notes:

“Debtors are sometimes summoned to court repeatedly, increasing chances that they’ll miss a date and be arrested. Critics note that judges often set the debtor’s release bond at the amount of the debt and turn the bond money over to the creditor — essentially turning publicly financed police and court employees into private debt collectors for predatory lenders.”

Standing Up for Those Who Can’t Pay

The practice — in addition to putting an additional squeeze on poor people — turns courts and police into enforcers for private creditors, from payday lenders to health care providers. The situation prompted Illinois legislators in July to pass a bill “to protect vulnerable consumers from being hauled to jail over unpaid debts,” in the words of state Attorney General Lisa Madigan. The Debtors’ Rights Act of 2012 requires two “pay or appear” court notices to be sent to debtors before an arrest can be made, and also prevents creditors from calling for multiple examinations unless the debtor’s financial state has significantly changed.

Many of the victims, Madigan noted at the time, were living on funds that are legally protected from being used for outstanding debt judgments, such as Social Security, unemployment insurance or veterans’ benefits. In one case she cited, an Illinois court brought a “pay or appear” order against a mentally disabled man living on legally protected disability benefits of $690 a month. The man told the court of his circumstances but was still ordered to pay $100 a month or appear in court once a month for a three-year period.

“It is outrageous to think in this day and age that creditors are manipulating the courts, even threatening jail time, to extract whatever they could from people who could least afford to pay,” Madigan said. “This law corrects that gross oversight and puts a stop to throwing people in jail for being poor while still allowing fair debt collection when people have the means to pay their debts.”

Illinois notwithstanding, the modern-day debtors’ prison probably isn’t going away anytime soon given the current economic climate: More than a third of U.S. states allow borrowers who can’t or won’t pay their debts to be jailed.

Original article

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