Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Jack-Booted Thugs, Part II

Amidst all the buzz generated by the Don Siegelman story on 60 Minutes, we've departed for a while from my own story as a victim of corrupt Republicans. But let's return to that subject because a lot is happening on the home front--literally.

In a previous post, we noted that George W. Bush might be remembered more for the domestic terrorism he sponsored than for the international terrorism he supposedly fought. I've seen the tactics of the modern GOP in an up close and personal way.

What tools of terrorism are Loyal Bushies employing against my wife and me in Shelby County, Alabama?

In Part I of this post, I noted that the Republican honchos in my home county, so far, have relied on bogus legal documents.

It started with what is known as a writ of execution, and I posted about our receipt of this document here. A writ of execution, when used legitimately, means a judgment has been found against you in court and the opposing party is trying to collect. The writ of execution sent to us listed our two cars and our house as property to be seized in order to satisfy the judgment debt I allegedly owed.

What was the amount of this enormous debt that could only be satisfied by threatening to take our cars and house? Well, the original "debt" was $1,525, and it was incurred in the summer of 2004. By the time the writ of execution arrived in September 2007, $30 in court costs and $674.64 in interest had been added on for a grand total of $2,229.64.

A couple of points to make at this point:

* Neither my criminally inclined neighbor (to whom the alleged "debt" was owned) nor his ethically challenged attorney had ever made any effort to collect this debt. For more than three years, I never received a phone call, a letter, nothing, saying, "Hey Bub, you need to pay up." Not quite sure how interest and court costs can be added on a debt that the creditor has made no effort to collect.

* The careful reader might have this obvious question: Why would someone threaten to seize your cars and house to satisfy a debt of roughly $1,500? If that sounds fishy to you, join the crowd.

The terrorism was just starting with the writ of execution. It was followed by at least 10 to 12 phone calls, all to my wife's cell phone, placed by Shelby County deputies Eddie Moore and Bubba Caldwell. (Strange that they would call my wife when she was not a party to the lawsuit in question; my number is listed in this thing we call a phonebook.) In one call, Bubba Caldwell (or Caldell, not sure of spelling) specifically threatened to come to our house any moment to seize our car. I posted about that charming call here.

When threats to take our cars didn't cause us to do whatever it is Shelby County authorities want us to do, we received a notice of levy. That missive was taped to our garage door, and I posted about it here. It informed us that Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry intended to advertise and sell our house in order to satisfy this alleged debt of $1,525.

Now, our house is hardly a mansion, but it is worth considerably more than $1,525. So why would Shelby County's esteemed sheriff feel it was necessary to seize and sell our house to satisfy a debt of such a relatively paltry sum? And why would he threaten to take such a drastic step when no one has even bothered to send a simple letter asking me to pay?

It seems that Shelby County GOPers have studied at the Alice Martin/Mark Fuller School of Drama. They always seem to take the most dramatic course of action possible. Perhaps Martin and Fuller picked that one up from Osama bin Laden; seems to be a prime choice in the terrorists' playbook.

I've found that when you are dealing with corrupt Republicans in Alabama, it's hard to know whether to cry or laugh. You want to cry at the thought that people who claim to be patriots and "conservatives" would so abuse our system of government. But you want to laugh because they are such bozos. As bad as they are at governance, they might be even worse when it comes to cheating. They make little, if any, attempt to hide their corrupt motives. Consider:

* The judgment itself, the one in the amount of $1,525 is unconstitutional--That is if you consider the U.S. Constitution to be applicable in Shelby County, Alabama. (And that's a big "if" when you are dealing with a certain breed of Alabama Republican.) Without going into too many details, all of us are guaranteed due process and equal protection of the law under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. A major part of due process includes the right to have your case heard by an impartial arbiter, a neutral judge, if you will. Seeing as how every judge who was involved in my case committed federal crimes, unlawfully favoring the opposing party, I think it's safe to say I did not receive due process or equal protection. So we have absurdity No. 1: The judgment against me is unconstitutional.

* The writ of execution itself is invalid--If you have a legitimate judgment against you, it would be a good idea to become familiar with Rule 69 of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure (ARCP). That outlines the procedure for issuance of a writ of execution, which the judgment creditor can use to come after you, the judgment debtor. But the writ has to be done a certain way. It must include two items--the writ itself and what is called a "Notice of Right to Claim Exemption From Execution." (Form 92, ARCP.) Contrary to what Shelby County Clerk Mary Harris and Sheriff Chris Curry evidently want me to believe, they cannot just haul off and start seizing anything they want--at least not by law. (And that's assuming state law applies in Shelby County--another big "if;" I wasn't kidding when I referred to this place as a banana republic.) A judgment debtor has a right to claim certain property as exempt from seizure or sale. And by law, a judgment debtor must be notified of that right. A writ of execution without that notice is about as worthless as a used hot-dog wrapper. Absurdity No. 2: The writ of execution against me is invalid.

* The notice of levy itself is invalid--Such a notice on real property, like the writ of execution, requires that the judgment debtor be notified of his right to claim exemption from levy. Absurdity No. 3: The notice of levy against me is invalid.

* What about the obvious "solution?"--As I've stated numerous times on this blog, I am not a lawyer. But common sense would seem to dictate that opposing counsel take one of two steps to satisfy a judgment of roughly $1,500: Write a letter demanding that the amount be paid, and if that doesn't work, seek to garnish the debtor's wages. Seems pretty simple, but the other side evidently has no interest in taking that approach. Absurdity No. 4: No one seems interested in garnishment.

* This little matter of jointly owned property--Our house, and our cars, are jointly owned. Again I'm not a lawyer, and I haven't bothered looking up the law on this because the law never matters in Shelby County anyway. But it seems pretty clear that authorities cannot sell our house, when it is jointly owned by my wife--and she was not a party to this lawsuit. And here's what's nutty: We tried to make my wife a party to the lawsuit, or at least my counterclaim. After all, she was harmed every bit as much as I was by our neighbor's wrongful actions. But the Hon. Judge Dan Reeves would not allow it. So the other side made sure my wife was not a party and now they are trying to take away property that she co-owns. As I noted before, this sounds like a story for Oprah: How my husband got sued, and I had my house stolen from me! Absurdity No. 5: My wife is joint owner of our house, and she was not a party to the lawsuit, but Republican honchos are trying to steal her house anyway.

Those are all of the absurdities I can think of, for now. I'm sure I will think of more. But here is the key thing to remember: The point of all of this is terrorism. On 9/11, the folks behind those attacks did not have any interest in the World Trade Center or the Pentagon. There was an ulterior motive behind the attacks on those sites. They wanted to send a message--of fear.

A similar plan is afoot in my battle with the terrorists who run Shelby County, Alabama. They aren't really interested in satisfying a judgment of $1,500. Heck, that "debt" was sitting out there for more than three years, and no one ever made any effort to collect. And if you truly want $1,500, you start with two steps--you demand in writing that it be paid, and if that doesn't work, you attempt to garnish it.

But the terrorists of Shelby County don't want to take such undramatic steps. They want to send a message. And the message is this: "You'd better stop blogging, Bub, because we're not used to someone standing up to us. And we sure as hell aren't used to someone telling the public the truth about our dirty deeds. You and this newfangled blog thing are making us mighty uncomfortable, so we are going to turn to our inner bully in an effort to shut you up--no matter how stupid we look in the process."

Actually, I strongly suspect that this plan goes well beyond Shelby County. I believe this now is being driven by folks with statewide authority. Why do I think that? And who do I think is behind it?

We'll address those questions in a bit.


jackson said...

Seems like you have a pretty good case against these guys. I'm not so lucky.

I just had my bank account wiped out for a debt that had been resolved. Now I can't make my mortgage, and have to borrow money to pay for a lawyer to have it crawl through the courts.

I took out a personal loan during a period of difficulty several years ago, and had trouble making payments because my major client at the time was eradicated when AOL merged with Time Warner. Some time later, to my relief, I got a 1099c which stated my debt had been "cancelled", and I had to add the forgiven amount to my income for that year. What a relief, I thought.

But apparently a debt collector purchased the debt, doubled the amount I owed, and got a judge to make a ruling against me. Then they attached my bank account. I got a notice by snail mail two days later. I got charged $6oo in insufficient funds fees for all the card purchases that posted after my money was swiped. $38 penalty for a $2 service charge.

I've heard of sleazy investors doing the same thing to poor 3rd world countries. When it was obvious that they couldn't repay loans, the president, in a moment of compassion forgave the debt. Then private equity vultures swooped in and bought the carcass of a debt, got a judge to make a ruling, added tons of interest and penalties, and started siezing their assets.

What an immoral racket. Court sanctioned wealth redistribution.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for letting me know about this. Your story is interesting and disturbing, like a lot of things that take place in court. My wife and I have experienced significant financial problems because of this legal mess, and because of that, we've had some experience with third-party debt buyers. I'm going to post about those experiences eventually--actually that could be a whole separate blog. But I've heard they are famous for claiming people owe debts that either they have paid or someone else owes. It's quite a racket.

Anonymous said...

Does your state have an ombudsma? If so you can apply to him for a review of your circumstances and relief. If not you can lodge a complaint with the judicial counsel against the judge for his part in this unjust conspiracy and to the bar association against your neighbours attorney. You should throw everything including the kitchen sink at them so that the information becomes public.

legalschnauzer said...

You raise good points. I don't know if Alabama has an ombudsman. But that sounds like a pretty progressive idea, so I doubt that we have one. We do have a Judicial Inquiry Commission, and it is worthless. I've written multiple complaints about various judges, and the JIC hasn't taken the first step to even investigate. My understanding is that these kinds of commissions are worthless in many states. I filed a bar complaint regarding the opposing lawyer. Even though he has a 30-year history of problems with the bar, they did nothing--evidently because he's not my lawyer. The person I communicated with at the bar said they get so many complaints that they almost have to limit actions to situations where the bad lawyer is harming his own client, not the opposing party.

Anonymous said...

I am I live in a very small town in southeast Alabama and I'm 68 years old. My father was twice a Past President of the Alabama Police Officer's Association, and was the Chariman of our regional Democratic Party down here for years, when I was just a teenager, back in the fifties. He was also Mayor of Ozark, Alabama for fourteen years. I'm not trying to name drop, but I want you to be fully aware that I am NOT one of the KKKarl Rove trained ilk in this State. Be assured that I am a warrior for "Justice" for Don Siegelman, in particular.

I received a message from our Governor,Don Siegelman, just yesterday. On the outside of the envelope, he had hand-written, "Please tell the "Wiregrass" Democrats to write Congress." On the inside was a Zeroxed copy of the NYTimes article of 2-14-08, titled "Time to Vote Contempt," with Gov. Siegelman's personal notes, concerning the article, in the margins. The one thing in those notes of his, that stood out for me, were the words, "All Roads lead to Rove."

I am very distressed to learn you are under attack from Alice Martin and her personal cabal, and other Rove minions implanted in the Alabama Department of Justice after his takeover. They need to be stopped, NOW. In order to accomplish that, we are going to have to DEMAND that the Judicial Committee of the United States Congress moves to stop, once and for all, these political retaliations, designed by "Bush's Brain", KKKarl Rove. I know, as well as you, that it can't be stopped in this extremely RED State, without our combined resources. It can't be stopped at a local, County or State level, unless we focus on Rights Guarenteed under our National Constitution. We simply must move to focus attention on that great crime against all Americans and do, what our elected Governor,(before that midnight Diabold manipulation of voting machines in Baldwin County came in) has asked. WRITE CONGRESS and do it repeatedly. Send details of your recent persecutions to John Conyer,Jr., the Chairman of the House Judicial Committee and ask for JUSTICE in your "politicized" prosecution. It takes time for justice to be realized, but it DOES ACT eventually in our democratic society. Never forget that We ARE the PEOPLE, and our Constitution is firmly based upon our rights, individually and together. The System works, if we can get the dimigods like Bush and Rove out of the way of OUR DEMOCRACY and our right to FREEDOM with Repressentation in a duely elected Congress.

Fight the good fight,and know that a little old "Yeller Dawg Democrat" Lady down here in southeast Alabama has your back, in as much as I am able to cover it. I need to tell you that I have a tattoo...even though I'm a "White girl." It consists, permently, of some asphalt that got embedded in my left knee, when I took a little walk, that wasn't approved by my family, outside of Selma, Alabama in 1963, and I got "shoved" to my knees by an opposing Zealot, who probably didn't have a clue about why she didn't like people like me walking up a highway to petition for voting rights for ALL Alabama Citizens, even those who happened to have a different colored skin than mine or her's.
So, let's get this thing rolling! Step one, Let our Governor go.
Step two, No more silly legal actions against Alabama citizens by the currently, enthroned, minions of KKKarl Rove. Step three, By Act of Congress, restore and reaffirm every American citizen's rights guarenteed under The Bill of Rights, contained within our American Constitution, especially including the right of "Habeus Corpus," and the right to expresstheir oponion uncer the Second Amendment, which gaurentees "Freedom of Expression and of "the press."

Waarmest regards,

Democratic Sabra!

legalschnauzer said...

What a great comment. Thanks so much for writing.

Anonymous said...

Please continue this fight. There is a levelof corruption in Shelby County that you haven't even come close to. Judge Reeves profits from his "family run" Shelby County Work Release. Sentencing defendants, especially those with the greatest earning potential to long stays in the family's little enterprise, is standard. I have all kind of information on the crookedness of this little enterprise. All defendants are sentenced to Shelby County's Probation instead of State Probation as they would be in other counties. Judge Reeves wants to maintain control and keep it profiting Shelby County and all his family members. I pray that with the change in Washington we will see this criminal conspiracy in Columbiana exposed, prosecuted, and preferrably incarcerated!

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for your comment. I've heard about this business with Reeves from 1-2 other people, and I'm working on nailing it down. I would like to speak with you, if you feel comfortable talking about this. And I certainly will protect your privacy. My personal e-mail is Phone is 991-7438. Best regards.