New Debtors' Prison

Discussion in 'Freedom and Liberty' started by tulianr, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. tulianr

    tulianr Don Quixote de la Monkey

    CHILDERSBURG, Ala. — Three years ago, Gina Ray, who is now 31 and unemployed, was fined $179 for speeding. She failed to show up at court (she says the ticket bore the wrong date), so her license was revoked.

    When she was next pulled over, she was, of course, driving without a license. By then her fees added up to more than $1,500. Unable to pay, she was handed over to a private probation company and jailed — charged an additional fee for each day behind bars.

    For that driving offense, Ms. Ray has been locked up three times for a total of 40 days and owes $3,170, much of it to the probation company. Her story, in hardscrabble, rural Alabama, where Krispy Kreme promises that “two can dine for $5.99,” is not about innocence.

    It is, rather, about the mushrooming of fines and fees levied by money-starved towns across the country and the for-profit businesses that administer the system. The result is that growing numbers of poor people, like Ms. Ray, are ending up jailed and in debt for minor infractions.

    “With so many towns economically strapped, there is growing pressure on the courts to bring in money rather than mete out justice,” said Lisa W. Borden, a partner in Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, a large law firm in Birmingham, Ala., who has spent a great deal of time on the issue. “The companies they hire are aggressive. Those arrested are not told about the right to counsel or asked whether they are indigent or offered an alternative to fines and jail. There are real constitutional issues at stake.”

    Here in Childersburg, where there is no public transportation, Ms. Ray has plenty of company in her plight. Richard Garrett has spent a total of 24 months in jail and owes $10,000, all for traffic and license violations that began a decade ago.

    “The Supreme Court has made clear that it is unconstitutional to jail people just because they can’t pay a fine,” Mr. Dawson said in an interview.

    “These companies are bill collectors, but they are given the authority to say to someone that if he doesn’t pay, he is going to jail,” said John B. Long, a lawyer in Augusta, Ga., who is taking the issue to a federal appeals court this fall.

    Stephen B. Bright, president of the Southern Center for Human Rights, who teaches at Yale Law School, said courts were increasingly using fees “for such things as the retirement funds for various court officials, law enforcement functions such as police training and crime laboratories, victim assistance programs and even the court’s computer system.” He added, “In one county in Pennsylvania, 26 different fees totaling $2,500 are assessed in addition to the fine.”

    Judge in Alabama Halts Private Probation

    A county judge in Alabama has temporarily shut down a system in a town near Birmingham where people fined for speeding and unable to afford the ticket are handed over to a private probation company and sometimes sent to jail, where additional fees are imposed.

    Judge Hub Harrington of Shelby County issued the order this week, saying that he was “appalled” by what he characterized as a “debtors’ prison.”

    “From a fair reading of the defendants’ testimony, one might ascertain that a more apt description of the Harpersville Municipal Court practices is that of a judicially sanctioned extortion racket,” he added. “Most distressing is that these abuses have been perpetrated by what is supposed to be a court of law. Disgraceful.”

    Judge Harrington ordered a preliminary injunction against the town and company, calling their officials to a hearing on Aug. 20. He also barred any further detention in local jails of those placed on probation without his written permission. He ordered that anyone convicted in Harpersville Municipal Court be given 30 days to pay the fine without further fines or fees being imposed by the probation company.
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  2. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    removed by poster
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  3. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    When I was a General Contractor, a lot of my crew members were caught up in this type of system. Have to send a certified letter every month by such and such date, have to show up for a drug test the 2nd and 4th Tuesday at 10:00 AM each month with exactly $37.25 in cash, no change, have to drive 45 miles to a probation meeting each month at 9:00 Am, etc.

    I always commented on how easy it was to get tripped up and then have more fines or even a probation violation which started everything over again with a warrant. These were non-violent, minor infractions that started this snowball.

    One of my guys referred to himself as the Golden Goose and spoke of how much he supported the system.
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  4. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    removed by poster
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  5. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    The "To Protect And Serve" is completely gone from most departments now and has been replaced with "To Harass And Generate Revenue". I always joke to my wife when we are out driving and I see a LEO on the road, about how safe I feel now...then I laugh.
    Gunny Highway, tacmotusn and Brokor like this.
  6. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    It's a system of control based on merchant law. We, the citizenry are no longer free and sovereign in the eyes of the corporate establishment; we are serfs to be ordered about and property of the secret government. The corporate fiction of our self is realized in every courtroom, and the burden of providing proof falls on the accused. Under Admiralty, the Constitution does not apply --it is only given lip service by a corrupt system in an attempt to conceal the lies. In order to travel, which is a basic inalienable right, we are forced to apply for a license to operate a motor vehicle. We are then told we must register the vehicle and pay for inspections, insurance and even excise tax in some states. The concept of property ownership in the hands of the citizenry is obsolete; the state owns the vehicle by title and issues a certificate of title to the enslaved citizen. There is a significant difference between the right to travel and the privilege to drive --and a difference between your mode of transport and a motor vehicle. These terms are defined by the swindlers and their minions, and using legal jargon to obfuscate the reality we face every day, the people remain clueless.

    If we attempt to argue from the position of an indentured servant, we will fail to find any reprieve for our grievances. As long as we continue to accept this form of slavery and modern day ease of mobility under willful (albeit unknowing) application and submission, we cannot rightfully take the position of holding power over those we have (seemingly) consigned our rights to. We operate under privilege, and as such, any privilege can be revoked at will by the issuing authority.

    The more you know...

    Even a corrupt legal system cannot try and convict YOU, the physical being who is sovereign and possesses inalienable rights. The trickery is with the commercial laws set up to punish the corporate fiction of yourself. Seems ridiculous, right? Well, it's true. Your drivers license is a commercial license. Proof positive. Your birth certificate is a legal document and it's not used to simply prove you were born. YOU, the individual do everything by consent, be it unknowing or not --you enter contracts with the state on a daily basis on behalf of the commercial representation of yourself.

    This can all get confusing real fast. The important thing to know is that the system is broken and it's well past time to start over again. Get rid of it all. My advice: go on pretending everything is fine. Get your license, go to work, pay the bills and sleep well. In order to operate as a truly free and sovereign, you will have to constantly fight a cartel of corrupt criminals and face incarceration and fines, or even death. I have studied this in depth for close to 20 years...I know what I am talking about.

    Without Prejudice
    UCC 1-207, 1-103
    All Rights Reserved
  7. wrc223

    wrc223 Monkey+

    That is a DANGEROUS game for the Government to get into. I know some very rural people in this county that would go straight to violence over $3,170.
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  8. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    There was a time when I went in to get my drivers license for Florida and instead of signing my name, I wrote legibly: "Without Prejudice, UCC 1-207, 1-103 All Rights Reserved", then signed below. The lady at the time (this was 2000) asked me what was taking so long and asked what I was writing, I said it was an American Indian tradition, no need to worry. Easy-peasy. Permanently etched on the license at time of issue...hard to beat that one in court.

    Up here in Pennsylvania, it's a different story. What a quagmire this place is.
  9. Gunny Highway

    Gunny Highway Hard Work and Sacrifice blessed by God's Grace

    Death by taxation

    a rose by any other name.....just saying
  10. PAGUY

    PAGUY Monkey

    It can be a tough spot that snowballs. Take a look at Maricopa County. They do not play around at all there.
  11. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Monkey++

    Look into Sheriff Joe Arpaios' past and get a real surprise.
  12. wrc223

    wrc223 Monkey+

    WAIT.......let me guess.

    He used to perform sock puppet shows for sick orphans at the Salvation Army twice a month. After the show he would sit out back with the illegal immigrants that worked in the hospital laundry room smoking dope and punting stray cats over the fence.:D
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  13. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Monkey++

    How about CIA and a cold blooded killer ?
  14. wrc223

    wrc223 Monkey+

    You will have that on these big jobs.
  15. PAGUY

    PAGUY Monkey

    I know Sheriff Jo's history. People change through time. Some for the good and some for the bad.
  16. TheEconomist

    TheEconomist Creighton Bluejay

    I actually used to live in that “county in Pennsylvania, 26 different fees totaling $2,500 are assessed in addition to the fine.”

    It is Washington County, PA. The whole system is rigged to keep you in and paying.
    Here is how it works, I had a probation officer explain it to me.
    Say you get a DUI and are going to be placed in county lockup because of it. If you dont have a job you are thrown into general population or RELEASED...not locked up at all.
    BUT, if you have a job you will be locked up without question as they know YOU can pay and they can fund THEIR system with it. Then they allow you to be on work release but they dock your pay at 20%, plus make you pay a daily rate and of course the additional fines. Once you are done with that they place you on probation for 1-3 years of which you have meetings 2-4 times a month and drug tests. Plus you have to pay $17.50 a day for such probation.
    In the end, they are punishing the people with jobs and the ability to pay and ruining their lives for non-violent crimes. Pretty crazy.
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  17. Clyde

    Clyde Jet Set Tourer Administrator Founding Member

    B - Did you sign your PA license with the above?
  18. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Nope. Too much corruption in PA. Too many crooked lawyers and mafia. The law does not apply. Only in Florida I have used this.
  19. Clyde

    Clyde Jet Set Tourer Administrator Founding Member

    I notice it on your tagline.......
  20. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Just a little online assurance. Who knows who may be watching?
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