In Nazi Germany, a poor person might go to jail, for no crime except being lower case, poor, without contacts. Under those conditions, it was easy to get caught in a complex array of devious, cruel laws designed to squeeze money out of decent people whose only crime was being caught in that kind of raging poverty. However, you wouldn't think being JAILED FOR BEING POOR could happen in AMERICA, land of the Free. It did and does. The ACLU stepped in and put a stop to it THIS TIME. But when it's your turn in the barrel? Will the ACLU be there for all of us?
Judge Must Release Woman Sentenced to Jail for Being Poor, ACLU Says in Court Papers
The ACLU of Michigan is happy to announce that Edwina Nowlin was released today after being represented by the ACLU at an emergency hearing in Delta County Probate Court.
DETROIT – The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan asked for an emergency hearing today on behalf of an Escanaba woman sentenced to 30 days in jail because she is too poor to reimburse the court for her son’s stay in a juvenile detention facility.
“Like many people in these desperate economic times, Ms. Nowlin was laid off from work, lost her home and is destitute,” said Michael J. Steinberg, ACLU of Michigan Legal Director. “Jailing her because of her poverty is not only unconstitutional, it’s unconscionable and a shameful waste of resources. It is not a crime to be poor in this country and the government must stop resurrecting debtor’s prisons from the dustbin of history.”
In December 2008, Ms. Nowlin’s 16-year-old son was sentenced to the Bay Pines Center and Ms. Nowlin was ordered to pay $104 per month for his lodging. At the time of this order, Ms. Nowlin was homeless and working part-time with a friend after being laid off from her job. She told the court that she was unable to pay the ordered amount, however the judge found her in contempt for failing to pay. In addition, Ms. Nowlin’s requests for a court appointed attorney were denied.
Since March 3, 2009, Ms. Nowlin has been serving her sentence at the Delta County Jail. On March 6, 2009, she was released for one day to work. Once released she picked up her $178.53 check from work thinking that she now could pay the $104.00 to get out of jail. However, upon her return to jail that evening, the sheriff forced her to sign over her check to the jail to cover $120.00 for “room and board.” She was also charged $22 for a drug test and the booking fee.
According to the ACLU’s motion: “This country did away with debtors’ prisons more than a century ago. The imprisonment of Ms. Nowlin because she is too destitute to make payments to the court is a miscarriage of justice.”
In representing Ms. Nowlin, the ACLU of Michigan argues that the court unconstitutionally sentenced Ms. Nowlin to a debtors’ prison without assessing her ability to pay the court. Additionally, the court violated her rights by denying her request for a court appointed lawyer.
Recently, the ACLU of Michigan represented David Sutton of Detroit whose probation was extended because he could not afford his supervision fees. Mr. Sutton has no assets and his only income is the $262 monthly disability check he receives from the government. In 2003, Sutton was sentenced to probation for a year following a conviction in Wayne County Circuit Court. He performed community service and fulfilled all the conditions of his probation except one – he was not able to pay the supervision fee. Consequently, a Wayne County Circuit Court judge extended his probation year after year. In February, the ACLU successfully represented him at a hearing where the state had moved to revoke his probation once again.
NOW, what I'm saying is, the Justice System can do terrible things. We need PRO BONO LAWYERS who can pounce on the SYSTEM, sue, get millions and create MORE PRO BONO OFFICES across America.
This horror below would merit a HUGAMONGUS CASH SETTLEMENT
DOG RESCUER GETS 18 MONTHS IN JAIL, FINE OF $400,000.00
Zsuzsa Blakely, Natural Hygiene writer, teacher and lecturer, vegan activist, animal activist had rescued 17 dogs. She was arrested for the sheer number of animals as it exceeds the 3 one is allowed to have by Los Angeles. Weirdly they charged her with animal abuse and she was given 18 months in jail and a huge fine calculated to take her home away. Same value as the home. ASPCA was demanding that sum for care of her l7 rescued dogs while this was in the courts. SEE STORY ON THIS: Los Angeles prosecutor Donald Cojek ignored the saint that she was to nail that money so the SPCA and state of California made huge money off an innocent animal lover which she was and is. See similar story at the BLONDI SYNDROME page where you see Cojek in on another bust to cover his own participation in a phony for profits kitten rescue charity. His best pal, Michael Bell, ran it out of Monika's Gift Shop in Woodland Hills.
For MORE RIPOFFS plied by CITIES on the poor, see how ANGRY NEIGHBORS can NAIL YOU TO A WALL stick you in jail, load you with fines, achieve revenge and there's no legal way out. PROSECUTORS and ARRESTING OFFICERS will SIDE WITH THE PERSON WHO PHONES THEM UP FIRST! See HOW CITY SNOOKERS YOU, how COPS can STEAL YOUR CAR; CHECKPOINT CHARLIES ostensibly seeking drunks let them find poor people with no up-to-date reg and they then PART II of how they STEAL YOUR CAR, auction it off. Bus pass is 60$ a month! Too costly? 20 days a month work rides can be more as bus is $1.50 one trip, No more bus transfers, either. Each cross town extra bus is another $1.50!
In addition to Steinberg, Ms. Nowlin is represented by Karl Numinen of Pence and Numinen, P.C. in Marquette. A real John Grisham kind of character, I'll bet. If you haven't read Street Lawyer and The Client, you must. We need more lawyers in it to do this kind of work.* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *<=== BACK TO THE FRUGAL TIPS and CHEAPO LIFESTYLE WEBPAGE
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