Skip to comments.Jailed for $ 280. The Return of Debtors' Prisons
Posted on 04/26/2012 7:39:45 AM PDT by ex-Texan
How did breast cancer survivor Lisa Lindsay end up behind bars? She didn't pay a medical bill -- one the Herrin, Ill., teaching assistant was told she didn't owe. "She got a $280 medical bill in error and was told she didn't have to pay it," The Associated Press reports. "But the bill was turned over to a collection agency, and eventually state troopers showed up at her home and took her to jail in handcuffs."
Although the U.S. abolished debtors' prisons in the 1830s, more than a third of U.S. states allow the police to haul people in who don't pay all manner of debts, from bills for health care services to credit card and auto loans. In parts of Illinois, debt collectors commonly use publicly funded courts, sheriff's deputies, and country jails to pressure people who owe even small amounts to pay up, according to the AP.
Under the law, debtors aren't arrested for nonpayment, but rather for failing to respond to court hearings, pay legal fines, or otherwise showing "contempt of court" in connection with a creditor lawsuit. * * *
"Creditors have been manipulating the court system to extract money from the unemployed, veterans, even seniors who rely solely on their benefits to get by each month," Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said last month * * *
Such practices, heightened in recent years by the effects of the recession, amount to criminalizing poverty, say critics in urging federal authorities to intervene. "More people are unemployed, more people are struggling financially, and more creditors are trying to get their debt paid," Madigan told the AP
(Excerpt) Read more at finance.yahoo.com ...
So you think people should be allowed to accumulate debt and then just walk away from it leaving the creditor with a loss of the money?
Most people do not read the articles and editorials even when reminded to do so . Most freepers are like cockroaches and swarm in merely to post stupid and abusive comments without thinking more deeply about the subject. My point was proved for me by all the crazy numbskulls that believed the housing bubble was not real and house prices would continue rising forever.
Methinks people will soon be getting arrested for expressing political opinions. Obama's thought police are out there. Get ready to spend time in Camp FEMA very soon:
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Wow....most FReepers are like cockroaches!! Who knew!?!?
If you cannot meet your responsibilities, then they are void (or voidable) in both a de facto and de jure sense. You cannot get money out of an empty pocket.
BTW, medical debts are very possible to discharge in toto, provided that the Debtor's income is below a certain threshhold. There is a short list of 19 non-dischargeable debts in 11 U.S.C. Sec. 523. The honest but unfortunate debtor is entitled by right to discharge all other debts.
No, they really wouldn’t. The majority of a given college’s budget comes from non-govt sources, and most grants come from industry.
Why should students be able to "walk away" from their loans???
I am not LEO, Judge, Lawyer...or even an apologist for the police.
But this article was very one sided, and did not address some basic questions about the woman’s action/or lack of action.
If what I have witnessed in the past is any indication, this woman probably ignored a half dozen notices. I guarantee that she could have kept the courts 100% out of this, if she had been even mildly pro-active (i.e., answering the phone and opening the mail).
The thing is....I pay it off every month. So, I get to use their money..for a few days. And I actually get some discounts when I use my cards.
If you know how to use credit cards..they are a good tool.
Personally, it matters not to me whether the incarceration is for not paying or ignoring the court BS. I simply don’t have time or energy to spend my remaining days on the planet dealing with courts and such, when the complaint is bogus to begin with.
At my age, every minute is dear to me and I refuse to waste any of them on this kind of crap. So maybe they’ll jail me, hmmm..... 3 hots and a cot, better medical and dental than I now have; all I would really be missing is my little doggie. I could even go for another Master’s Degree, on THEIR nickle this time.
There are fathers-rights attorney’s out there, some very good ones in fact. The problem is most father’s are so screwed over by the courts, financially and otherwise, they no longer have the funds to begin to pay a retainer; leaving many men with no representation or attempting to fight the system Pro Se.
What has happened in our nations Family Courts is a complete crime. Men are continually turned into non-entities, removed of the rights of a parent and legally termed visitors in their child’s lives where all contact is determined from the bench, left up to the mother to allow and rarely is a mother held in contempt of court for refusing visitation, phone calls etc.
Although every single statistics proves women are the higher percentage of parents who fail to pay child support, it is rare to find a women, regardless of the amount she owes, end up in jail or even have her face plastered on dead-beat lists designed to humiliate a parent.
Courts can determine the amount a man SHOULD be making, not what he literally is making then use that figure to determine support. Even in this economy where highly qualified people are forced to take lower positions, with much lower salaries, hundreds of thousands of men are being charged a monthly support payment that often is more than they bring in a month. Even when a man can achieve a reduction in support (as you mentioned) it does not erase the arrears that continually accrue interest and penalties making it virtually impossible to pay off. While this was done to prevent parents from taking lower paying employment to lessen their support obligation, that is a rare occurrence. Instead, men who have no other option but to take a lower paying job, while facing the prices of everything increasing, are harmed. Currently the laws do not allow a judge to reduce the amount of arrears owed for any reason whatsoever. Unless a man can prove fraud, they are at the mercy of the courts, sometimes for life.
But it isn’t only the courts that are the problem; there is a huge problem in the way society looks at divorced/non-married men with a child(ren). When a couple is together and one party loses a job or they face some other form of financial emergency, society is perfectly accepting of the family tightening their belts, doing with less and giving their children less, as long as the basics are covered.
When a non-custodial parent loses their job or faces another financial crisis, society immediately turns that person into a deadbeat if they do not continue to pay a set amount, each month. Even if the man (as is usually the case) loses their job, becomes ill or has an accident or is faced with a financial emergency, he is immediately considered a deadbeat. When this disparity brought up to defenders of our current support system they can only respond with anger, usually resorting to calling the parent a loser, deadbeat, criminal etc etc. Most will scream that man should work 4-5 jobs if needed to pay their support; no quarter is given, regardless of situation. Sadly, our society is so accepting of our current system, making changes to it will be virtually impossible.
I know this has been a long post, but there was one case that may interest you. This was posted to FR years ago when it happened and with some digging I could find it again.
A man in Arizona was divorcing his wife after twenty years or so of marriage. During the divorce proceedings, she all of a sudden claimed to be pregnant by the man. Their adult daughter, worked in a DNA lab whose job it was to determine paternity. Although the man claimed there was no way possible his ex-wife could be pregnant with his child the courts were presented a DNA paternity test showing he was the father.
The man, knowing there was no way his ex-wife could be pregnant (they had not had relations during the time) continued to protest being charged child support for child he had never seen, nor had a single other member of his family seen. He was also ordered to pay insurance, when his insurance company could not produce a single bill for the child he used that to fight his case in court. Over and over the judges ordered the wife to allow visitation which never happened, to provide pictures that never came. Finally the judge ordered the ex-wife to produce the actual child in court. It took years for this to happen, costing this man tens of thousands of dollars in legal fee’s. His ex-wives attorney btw was paid by the state.
The “mother”, not knowing what else to do, literally “borrowed” a neighbors child (who was slightly older than the child she claimed) and brought that child to court. In the meantime, the neighbor had called the police claiming her child had been kidnapped! The child made such a fuss in the court, refusing to call “mom” mom the police were brought in.
It turns out the ex-wife had lied about the complete pregnancy, had collected hundred of thousands of dollars in support for a child that never existed. Her older daughter simple forged a DNA report from the lab she worked at claiming the child belonged to the poor man.
Although the court stopped the support payments immediately and ordered the ex-wife to repay all the monies she had collected, the ex-husband was forced to go to court and file to get anything back. Last I looked he still had not been returned a penny. She was also ordered to pay his legal fee’s and the state back for her legal representation. The last time I looked, no action had been taken against her legally although she continued to fail to repay any of those debts. She should have gone to prison.
That is how screwed our system is. A child that does not even exist can be ordered support and the court is perfectly fine with enforcing that order even if the father has never once set eyes on his “child”.
Men have been forced to pay support simply because a woman names them the father, even after a DNA test proves the child is not the man’s, the order continues. California is the worst state for this. Thousand of men who have never even met the woman they are said to have a child with are ordered to pay support for a child born to her. The “law” says if the man does not prove, within a sufficient amount of time, that they are not the father, they are stuck. Men who have had orders sent to addresses they have not lived at for years, who never receive any court papers have found themselves arrested, their licences suspended, tax refunds seized etc. It does not matter that they never received any court order; they did not prove they were not the father, the name matches, they are stuck.
Thousands of other men are forced to pay support for a child born to their spouse from an adulterous affair. These cases are some of the worst. Not only is the jilted spouse on the under threat of arrest if they do not pay for a child they did not create the real bio-father is let off the hook to go his merry way.
There are horror story after horror story out of our family court systems. Severe changes need to be made, but as long as society continues to support our current system no politician is willing to lift a hand to do a thing.
The best thing about using Credit Cards, is that if you get ripped off, you have some recourse.
wow... very good strategy for psyching her out
Brytani, you are preaching to the choir! I saw this first hand with my current hubby. What has happened is that all those “good intentioned” laws of the late eighties to make “dead beat dads” pay instead of the women landing on welfare have backfired.
Government has officially relegated the father obsolete. First with the minority population through Welfare and now with the “middle class” by incentivizing divorce/ditching the father while turning dad into a walking wallet and nothing else.
In other news, with all these gay marriages happening and the subsequent adoption of children or one of the “partners” having children from a surrogate, the NOW gang will no longer be able to deny Parental Alienation as a tool of the “abusive father to gain custody” (TM). Once these “partners” get divorced, the judges won’t know WHO to legally bankrupt AND when the inevitable parental alienation ensues, there will be proof beyond a shadow of a doubt that, yes, parental alienation DOES exists!!
God himself approves of debt cancellation. Under Moses, every 50 years, there was a national debt reset, called the Year of Jubilee. No, it should not be taken as an opportunity to avoid responsibility. But the point is that sometimes debt becomes a weapon of enslavement. God in his law is telling us to value freedom at least as much as we value honoring contracts.
Furthermore, if we had such a periodic reset, think how it would curb undue reliance on credit markets. Lenders would have to be planning for the reset by coming up with realistic assessments of creditworthiness and repayment plans that could actually work. It’s all good.
Why should she have to do anything? The debt was not hers, it was a mistake of billing by someone else. The courts allowed a (to me) illegal court action against her by the collection agency. The court should be holding all who participated in her arrest and incarceration in contempt of court. They should all be in jail. Every time someone is railroaded by the courts like this less and less people have faith in the justice system.
The problem is when you have debt forgiveness while at the same time forcing lenders to lend to undesirables, lest they be charged with discrimination.
Commodities, ag land, and gold and getting rather inflated now.
Yes, of course that is what created the housing bubble. It just goes along with our massive government over spending.