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The Return of Debtor's Prisons: Collection Agencies Now Want Deadbeats Arrested

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Newsjock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-11 10:55 PM
Original message
The Return of Debtor's Prisons: Collection Agencies Now Want Deadbeats Arrested
http://www.businessinsider.com/the-return-of-debtors-prisons-collection-agencies-now-want-deadbeats-arrested-and-sent-to-the-big-house-2011-11

As if life wasn't already tense enough for Americans who can't pay their debts, collection agencies are now taking advantage of archaic state laws to have some debtors arrested and sent to jail.

More than one-third of US states allow debtors to be arrested and jailed, says Jessica Silver-Greenberg in the Wall Street Journal.

Judges typically grant arrest warrants when the debtors have failed to show up for court dates or failed to make court-ordered payments.

... In September, a 53 year-old woman named Vivian Joy was stopped for a broken tail-light in Champaign, Illinois. And then, because the cops discovered that she still hadn't paid $2,200 to a collection agency, she was cuffed and carted off to jail.
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-11 10:58 PM
Response to Original message
1. How will they ever collect the debt
if the debtor is in prison, unable to work and earn money?
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rpannier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-11 11:10 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Picking tomatoes, cleaning bathrooms
You know the work they fire others who are getting paid in order save money
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sam11111 Donating Member (638 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-11 11:16 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. relatives pay
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undeterred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-11 11:31 PM
Response to Reply #1
10. And it costs the country millions to keep people who are out of a job
in prison instead of on unemployment.
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cyglet Donating Member (256 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-11 11:00 PM
Response to Original message
2. Don't they tell the rest of us
that it's a civil matter that belongs in conciliation court?
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msongs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-11 11:09 PM
Response to Original message
3. No court judgement/order, NO DEBT collections allowed. Prove the debt or forget about it nt
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rpannier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-11 11:13 PM
Response to Original message
5. There's a possibility here
People go to jail when they don't pay their debts
Corporations and business are people
So, when corporations and businesses can't pay they should go to jail

After a few CEOs go, watch how quickly these laws change
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-11 11:16 PM
Response to Original message
7. And as soon as the Republicans privatize all prisons, they'll jump
right on board. All the poor will be in pens, working for their "owners" for free.

America. :puke:
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sam11111 Donating Member (638 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-11 11:19 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. a Progressive economy would have NO debts...no loans ever needed
Edited on Tue Nov-22-11 11:25 PM by sam11111
Free college
Free Dr's
Jobs for all
fat SS
free coverall insurance

US wealth is 295 trillion (discovry channel "What's america worth?" Sun Nov 13 ).... We have the money for all that free stuff.
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Downwinder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-11 11:18 PM
Response to Original message
8. Be interesting to see if they lock up insurance companies
that won't pay workman's comp. claims in Texas.
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jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 12:14 AM
Response to Original message
11. There is not enough room in prison for all of us. They are already
full of pot smokers.
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guitar man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 08:16 AM
Response to Reply #11
19. +1000
:applause:
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Denver Progressive Donating Member (97 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 02:22 AM
Response to Original message
12. This same thing happened to me last year, except I paid the debt and still ended up in jail!
I had an old debt to a credit card company that I couldn't pay after suffering from health problems and losing my job. The bill went to collections, and soon enough I was served with an order to appear in court. After a few generous family members offered to lend me the money, I contacted the collection company before the court date to see if I could work something out with them.
I was told that if I paid the debt in full, then they would drop the law suit and I would not have to appear in court.So,I paid the debt off completely and went about my life.

Fast forward 10 years later, I am asleep in bed at 3AM and I hear a loud knock at my door. I opened the door and there before me stood a police officer who had apparently had been running plates in my apartment parking lot looking for people with warrants. He said that my name had come up and that I had a warrant out for my arrest on a civil matter. He arrested me on the spot.

After four hours in jail and $500 in bail, I found out that the debt collector did indeed drop the law suit as they said they would. My lawyer said that although the debt collectors are usually able to get a judge to dismiss the order to appear in court, it just so happened that my judge was the only judge in the state of Colorado that doesn't do this, so you still must appear in court. This meant that I had been in contempt of court and unknowingly had a warrant out for my arrest for the past ten years on a debt that had already been paid off.

When I went to court, the lawyers for the debt collector told the judge that the debt was paid and asked that the case be dismissed(Later I found out that this particular debt collector had already been in trouble with this judge in the past for telling other folks that they too would not have to appear in court if they paid their debt in full). After receiving a verbal tongue lashing from the judge for failing to appear, telling me that I deserved to be in jail, he agreed to dismiss the case and ordered me to pay $150 in court costs.

Now in all fairness,should I have checked and double checked myself to be sure that I didn't have to appear in court?
Yes and believe me, lesson learned. But I wanted to share this story to let others know that people are indeed going to debtors jail/prison, and that other people are definitely making money off of situations like my own. In fact, it is somewhat of a win-win situation for all involved except the debtor.
The state wins because of the bail,court and jail fees it receives,and the debt collector wins because they get their money as well. In fact, I ended up spending more on the lawyers fees and court costs etc, then I owed on the original debt. And in the end, the debtor simply comes away a little poorer then they were to begin with.
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Kaleko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 02:48 AM
Response to Reply #12
14. Many here will understand what you have been through
and sympathize with you.

I hope you are made to feel welcome to DU, Denver Progressive.

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Denver Progressive Donating Member (97 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 03:22 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. Thank you for your kind words and
welcome Kaleko, it is much appreciated!
:hug:
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Rex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 02:24 AM
Response to Original message
13. They would have to start with the 1% crowd.
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exboyfil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 05:31 AM
Response to Original message
16. My grandmother is 87 years old and in a nursing home
with dementia and basically unable to use her arms and legs. When I started handling her business affairs, she had over $30K in credit card debt. She is Title 19 with no assets. I told the credit card companies this at the time. They have now served her twice. The first time I went to arbritation with one of them as her durable power of attorney after explaining the situation with the court. At least in our state if you do not show up you get a default judgement (good luck collecting it in her case). At arbritration the lawyeer what I was prepared to offer. I said nothing since she has no assets.

Any state that that goes beyond a default judgement is barbaric. At that point garnishment laws should take over. Note Social Security and Railroad Retirement is exempt from garnishment at least in my state.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 05:32 AM
Response to Original message
17. Then collect from the government to enrich the
owners of the private prisons! What a great racket.

Maybe they should review history and think about history repeating itself.
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NNN0LHI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 06:16 AM
Response to Original message
18. Few guys where I worked used to get arrested for non-payment of child support all the time
That was over 30 years ago. Cops would come right in the plant and haul them away.

Don
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