I was under the impression that our society had done away with debtor prisons as we did away with slavery eons ago – but as with slavery, I was wrong with debtors prisons as well. The slavery we now employ is “White Slavery” where we sell/have our youth kidnapped/and/or otherwise lose our children through runaways and other means that effectively allow them to find their way into the clutches of Pimps and other unsavory people whom sell their bodies for profits – a scourge that is claiming in excess of 100,000 children per year. Rather than taking the high road and attempting to do away with archaic laws that attempt to enslave our population, quite the opposite is happening:
Debtors’ Prison Legal In More Than One-Third Of U.S. States
Not paying off debts can eventually land you in jail — at least in a sizable minority of U.S. states.
Borrowers who can’t or don’t pay their debts can be sent to jail in more than one-third of states, the Wall Street Journal reports. Judges may issue a warrant when a borrower either misses court ordered payments or doesn’t show up in court after being sued for payments on outstanding debt. Though there are no national statistics on the practice of jailing debtors, a WSJ analysis found that judges have issued more than 5,000 debt-related warrants since the beginning of 2010.
As high joblessness, slow wage growth and plummeting home values push more Americans into debt, the aftermath of the recession also makes it increasingly difficult for consumers to pay it back, and the collectors of that debt are getting more aggressive as a result.
Some states are attempting to rein in the practice of putting borrowers in jail, even as the number of borrowers threatened with arrest has surged since the financial crisis, according to a separate WSJ report. Washington state’s House of Representatives voted unanimously in March to require debt collection companies to provide proof that borrowers had been notified about lawsuits before judges could issue an arrest warrant.
But, the number of complaints about debt collectors filed to the Federal Trade Commission jumped to 140,036 in 2010 from 104,766 per year in 2008. The FTC has taken 10 debt collection companies to court in the past three years, compared to six companies in the three years before that.
Even as their tactics get more aggressive, the debt collection sector is set to grow. The industry expects to increase by 26 percent over the next three years. MUCH
If it appears I’m picking on Arkansas I am; Now, according to Arkansas Courts:
Under a state law in Arkansas, renters can be imprisoned for failing to pay their rent. According to a report by Human Rights Watch, titled “Pay the Rent or Face Arrest: Abusive Impacts of Arkansas’s Criminal Evictions Law,” hundreds of tenants each year are taken to court, fined and jailed under the state’s “failure to vacate” law.
“The failure-to-vacate law was used to bring charges against more than 1,200 Arkansas tenants in 2012 alone,” read the report. “This figure greatly understates the total number of people impacted by the law. The vast majority of tenants scramble to move out when faced with a 10-day notice to vacate rather than face trial — and with good reason.”
The report continued, “Making matters considerably worse, the law strongly discourages accused tenants from pleading not guilty. Those who do are required to deposit the total amount of rent they allegedly owe with the court, which they forfeit if they are found guilty. Tenants who are unable to deposit the rent amount but plead not guilty anyway face substantially harsher fines and up to 90 days in jail. Tenants who plead guilty face none of this.”
Landlords and corrupt public officials have frequently abused the law, which is unlike landlord-tenant law in any other state in the union. HRW reported, “Several of the tenants interviewed for this report were confronted at home or at work by police officers who had warrants for their arrest. One woman was berated in open court by a district judge, who compared her to a bank robber.” Raw Story (http://s.tt/1zA4N)
Does Debtor’s Prison Still Exist in the United States, and What is an Order of Capias?
by Bankruptcy Law Network
Many times in the past I have been asked by potential clients whether they could be imprisoned for getting behind on credit card payments or failing to pay old debts. Invariably my answer has been in the negative. Of course it has. The concept of the debtors’ prison is extremely antiquated. Evidently, the last known instance of debtor’s prison in the United States was around 1833 when it was eliminated by federal decree. In Great Britain, debtor’s prisons were made unlawful by the Debtors Act of 1869. So, of course I have advised clients and potential clients that incarceration would not follow their inability to pay their debts (with the notable exception, of course, of certain fraudulent debts, child support debts, criminal-related fines and certain tax debts).
But has my advice been accurate? Recently I was confronted with an “Order of Capias” issued by a county trial level court here in Pennsylvania. This order was essentially a “bench warrant” issued by a Judge in a far away county. The Order of Capias required a sheriff to immediately arrest the debtor and take him to this far away county to answer to the Judge.
In order to better understand the context of this Order of Capias, what follows is a brief chronological history of the procedures employed by the debt collection lawyer to obtain this strange Order:
- Civil lawsuit was filed against the debtor in the name of a debt buyer. The underlying debt happened to be an old credit card debt.
- The Debtor failed to answer the complaint in a timely fashion thus leading to the issuance of a default judgment in favor of the debt buyer.
- The lawyer for the debt buyer proceeded to use discovery procedures “in aid of execution of the judgment”. These procedures empower the debt collection lawyer to send “interrogatories” to the debtor and to schedule the debtor for a deposition. The purpose of this is to locate any assets which the debtor may have and which may be amenable to execution.
- The debt collection lawyer noticed the debtor for a deposition. The deposition was of course located at the debt collection lawyer’s office on the opposite side of the state. The debtor attempted to reschedule, but the debt collection lawyer refused.
- When the debtor failed to attend the deposition, the debt collection lawyer filed two motions with the court, the end result being the Order of Capias warranting the arrest and subsequent incarceration of the debtor.
While procedures such as these are frightening (and very unusual), there are very powerful tools at the disposal of a debtor who is subject to such a scenario. Of course, the most powerful of these tools is the bankruptcy code itself. The filing of a bankruptcy petition leads to the immediate imposition of the Automatic Stay to prevent the further execution of judgments in this manner.
Another such tool is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The utility of this law should never be underestimated; however, it does require a trained lawyer to understand this law’s implications and use it to the debtor’s best advantage. When used correctly, it can even be more powerful than the Bankruptcy Code, as it can permit the debtor to “take the offense.” MUCH MORE
I’ve written this brief article to illustrate an important point; we appear to be going backwards in this nation rather than forward. We have Radical Republicans whose sole goal is to make women miserable and stop any type of abortion, even when the woman has been raped and the pregnancy is the result of that rape. How can we call ourselves a “modernized” society when we are able to launch a “War on Women” that begins with inception of the zygote within their womb and then, when many of these women, who are poor and uneducated, need money and help in rearing these children, however, the Republican manta in regard abortion has nothing to do with helping to sustain the life they state is so valuable; in fact, once the child in born, they turn their back on said woman, unless she places that child up for adoption to a family that is worthy to raise such a child, otherwise the child, mother, and his/her siblings could die of starvation as far as they care – and each day this War on the fair sex gets worse and worse, as if their mere existence were a thorn in the political sides of mostly men whom champion these ridiculous causes and slights on women- who themselves once came from such a woman whey call Mom and would just as soon as kill you if you slander, bring them into the conversation, or otherwise remind them that at one time, they were as vulnerable and needy as those whom they now wage their never-ending war against and hope that one day, their form of the American Taliban will flourish and usher in a new Amerika that they can use to control and own the women that they so fervently hate in the darkest recesses of their minds.
We are witnessing these trends because of the radicalization of the Republican Party. I live in the Deep South, so I am not a Republican hater; in fact, I have lived amongst them for almost three decades, and those whom are true conservatives live and die by their version of true Christianity, and hope to one day reclaim their political Party are in the majority but unfortunately, appear to hold the minority voice in matters that count toward the body politic. It is up to them, the true Republicans that inhabit my homeland to stand us and be heard! To allow the likes of Paul Ryan, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Rilry and Ann Coulter hijack their party for moneyed reasons is akin to treason – and if they have hopes of again coming to the forefront of politics, they need to be heard, find a Speaker of the House that isn’t a mouthpiece for Tea Party Terrorists that would rather see our nation fail than lose their absurd battle that has no winners except the destruction of all that we hold-up to be the America we are striving to save – and last but not least, they need to lead a movement to impeach, prosecute, and replace a Supreme Court that has betrayed the American people in favor of their Corporate Sponsors. It’s a daunting task, but one that I believe they have the intentional fortitude to win; losing isn’t an option, as if they lose, we all lose, and then the American we all love and cherish will be nothing more than a memory of radicals that were always intent on her destruction.