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Old 12-12-2013, 04:47 PM
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txshellie txshellie is offline
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Debtor's Prison, Seriously?

Help me on this one folks.

Apparently you can get arrested if you have an unpaid debt for as little as $250.

As a sheriff's deputy dumped the contents of Joy Uhlmeyer's purse into a sealed bag, she begged to know why she had just been arrested while driving home to Richfield after an Easter visit with her elderly mother.

No one had an answer. Uhlmeyer spent a sleepless night in a frigid Anoka County holding cell, her hands tucked under her armpits for warmth. Then, handcuffed in a squad car, she was taken to downtown Minneapolis for booking. Finally, after 16 hours in limbo, jail officials fingerprinted Uhlmeyer and explained her offense -- missing a court hearing over an unpaid debt. "They have no right to do this to me," said the 57-year-old patient care advocate, her voice as soft as a whisper. "Not for a stupid credit card."


Read the article and weigh in with your opinion.

One thing I would like to have known - especially in the case of the first woman mentioned - is how much was the debt for? What was it for - was it lifesaving surgery or an overwhelming handbag habit? Just for reference.

I guess that bears asking, "Does it matter what they bought?"

I would have liked the story to be more balanced. I think people forget that using a credit card really is spending money.

Which bears the question, "If you don't pay it back, is it stealing?"

That being said, I guess I think there has to be some way other than endangering a person's work status to get paid a debt.

I look forward to what you might have to say.....

By the way, why is it that citizens are thrown in jail but nobody gets jailtime when Detroit defaults on it's MASSIVE debt?
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Old 12-12-2013, 05:00 PM
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It isn't and wasn't about the debt. It was, is and should be about
missing a court hearing over an unpaid debt.
when you get a summons your butt should appear. Failure to do so is contempt of court. Show up and there is nothing they can really do to you for not paying a bill.
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Old 12-13-2013, 04:53 AM
imbilly imbilly is offline
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It doesn't sound to me like these people are receiving a summons from the court, just phone calls or notices from debt collection agencies.

In any case, an arrest is an act of violence under the color of the law. It shouldn't be used to collect a debt. There would be less contempt for courts and law enforcement in this country if they stopped behaving in such contemptible ways. Bravo to those jurisdictions that aren't playing the stooge for these large companies.


P.S. My opinion this morning is probably colored by the news story about the young man that killed four people and ended up being sent to a spa by a judge as well a the story about Michael Morton and the 25 years he spent in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Seems to me that more and more "justice" is for sale.

Last edited by imbilly; 12-13-2013 at 04:58 AM.
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Old 12-15-2013, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by imbilly View Post
It doesn't sound to me like these people are receiving a summons from the court, just phone calls or notices from debt collection agencies.
From what I was able to gather, the arrests are being made after a civil warrant is issued (basically a summons to appear in court) then the judge issues (a bench warrant of some sort? - I'm not clear here) when you don't show up for your court date. One person in the article even basically said that she knew she had a civil warrant but didn't think she could be arrested for it.

So, there IS a warrant, but.. how are you notified?

Delivery methods of civil warrants can vary greatly by state or county. When I just researched how it's done in Texas, I found one county website saying that the sheriff might tack a civil warrant onto your front door.

Last edited by Katt; 12-15-2013 at 08:48 PM. Reason: clarity
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