It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Court Says No More Automatic Right to Lawyer in US Civil Cases.

page: 1
13
<<   2 >>

log in

join
share:

posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 09:26 PM
link   
In a nutshell, with this decision, the Supreme Court has effectively endorsed the expansion of the unjust use of debtors' prisons in America.

In Monday's majority decision, the court ruled that a constitutional amendment "does not automatically require the State to provide counsel at civil contempt proceedings to an indigent noncustodial parent who is subject to a child support order, even if that individual faces incarceration."
www.activistpost.com...
news.yahoo.com...
globalpoliticalawakening.blogspot.com...

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US Supreme Court ruled Monday that states did not have an automatic duty to provide counsel in civil courts in the case of a divorced father who was jailed for failing to pay child support.

So how does someone defend themselves if they can't afford a lawyer which costs much more than what is actually owed?

And what about the case of an innocent person not being able to afford a lawyer, gets caught up in a legal battle that they don't understand because they haven't been to law school...and now the innocent person goes to jail anyway. Is this the plan?

The ruling "undermines the fundamental fairness of our justice system, putting Americans in danger of losing their liberty simply because they cannot afford a lawyer," it said in a statement.


In the case before the Supreme Court, Michael Turner had been ordered to pay $51.73 a week in child support. But he had regularly fallen behind, and spent short spells in prison.

$51.73? When did America start putting people in jail for owing a few dollars, or a few hundred dollars?

On his fifth infraction, the South Carolina family court sentenced him to six months in jail. But on his release he was $5,728 in arrears, and was then sentenced to 12 months in jail.

So put him in prison for a few hundred dollars, he can't work and the bill gets bigger. Now put him in jail for the bigger debt...and oh yeah, he can't pay for a lawyer to fight the injustice of this outcome. HE CAN'T WIN!

This looks like a plan to put anyone in jail that doesn't have money. ANYONE.

Scenario: Round up 100 people that don't have the funds to pay a lawyer, charge them with...let's say trespassing. Can't pay the ticket? Go to jail and work for the corporation that owns the private rights to hold you. Make profit for them while working on their farms, factories whatever. Sound crazy? Maybe so but all the laws are in place to make it an actual reality.

Turner appealed arguing his constitutional rights had been violated as he had not been given access to free counsel -- as is normal in criminal cases -- to argue that he had been unable to pay the funds due during his jail term.

What is happening here is getting clearer every day. These debtor prisons will all be corporate controlled people holders. They will be paid by the Govt. (Your taxes) to keep these dangerous debtors in prison. But they also profit off their work inside producing products or doing community services, for which they are paid again.

It now pays to keep people in prison rather than let them loose on the streets. And what happened to the right to legal counsel, whether you can afford it or not?

Is this not a right?

And again:

"With this decision, the Supreme Court has effectively endorsed the expansion of the unjust use of debtors' prisons in America," it added.


What happened here? Bit by bit, Americans are losing their rights.

defensewiki.ibj.org...
Article 14, Section 3 -

* Under Article 14, section 3, the ICCPR guarantees the following rights to the accused in a criminal trial:
o To be promptly informed of the charge against him in a language that he understands;
o To communicate with a lawyer of his own choosing and have enough time to prepare for his defence;
o To be tried promptly;
o To defend himself in court or have a lawyer defend him in court; to be informed of his right to legal counsel if he does not know of that right; and to have a lawyer assigned to his case if the accused cannot otherwise afford a lawyer;
o To question opposing witnesses and to call witnesses for his side of the case;
o To have the assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court;
o To refrain from making any self-incriminating statements.


edit on 20-6-2011 by jude11 because: (no reason given)




posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 09:29 PM
link   
reply to post by jude11
 


So now People who can't afford a lawyer, don't get one?

Money= Freedom

Welcome to Fascism



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 09:32 PM
link   

Originally posted by TheUniverse
reply to post by jude11
 


So now People who can't afford a lawyer, don't get one?

Money= Freedom

Welcome to Fascism


If you're innocent and can't afford a lawyer to prove it, you go to jail anyway.

That's the scary part.



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 09:32 PM
link   
So, basically, the court has ruled that a federal constitutional amendment doesn't apply to states in certain cases. Isn't that magical?



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 09:47 PM
link   
I do agree with Breyer in this finding:


Breyer's opinion found that Turner did not get due process in his case, but said a lawyer was not an automatic requirement.

The 14th Amendment’s due process clause allows a state to provide fewer procedural protections to civil contempt defendants than in a criminal case, which is governed by the Sixth Amendment, Breyer said. He noted that both parties in a child support case are often unrepresented by lawyers, and providing a lawyer to just the noncustodial parent “could create an asymmetry of representation” altering significantly the nature of the proceeding.

Source.

But I also agree with the ABA in this view:


The ABA had argued in an amicus brief that poor people should have the right to a lawyer in civil contempt proceedings carrying a threat of jail time. The case is Turner v. Rogers.

Same source as above.

Fairness in legal representation of the two parties involved in a case is definitely a 'must have'. But if the government is threatening incarceration on one of the parties of the case if they lose, which to me makes it a criminal case and not a civil one, they definitely deserve legal counsel.



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 09:47 PM
link   

Originally posted by gnosticquasar
So, basically, the court has ruled that a federal constitutional amendment doesn't apply to states in certain cases. Isn't that magical?


I find myself getting more shocked every day at what is unfolding in America.

Americans fought for the rights of many Nations to now have them taken away from themselves.



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 09:50 PM
link   
Debtors prison, prosecution for poorness?

Sounds like a dream come true for a sizable number of our fellow posters here



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 09:50 PM
link   
So how many have made the connection between this and privatization of everything? This is a move to make the civil courts do the dirty work for corporate interests.If they own it and you do something to it they sue in civil court where you have no chance of defense. You are left with a judgement that you can never repay and spend your life as a work serf for a prison company.Of course this is only for those who survive Fukushima, the GOM, and all the coming earth changes we are seeing.
seed



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 09:51 PM
link   

Originally posted by Ferris.Bueller.II
I do agree with Breyer in this finding:


Breyer's opinion found that Turner did not get due process in his case, but said a lawyer was not an automatic requirement.

The 14th Amendment’s due process clause allows a state to provide fewer procedural protections to civil contempt defendants than in a criminal case, which is governed by the Sixth Amendment, Breyer said. He noted that both parties in a child support case are often unrepresented by lawyers, and providing a lawyer to just the noncustodial parent “could create an asymmetry of representation” altering significantly the nature of the proceeding.

Source.

But I also agree with the ABA in this view:


The ABA had argued in an amicus brief that poor people should have the right to a lawyer in civil contempt proceedings carrying a threat of jail time. The case is Turner v. Rogers.

Same source as above.

Fairness in legal representation of the two parties involved in a case is definitely a 'must have'. But if the government is threatening incarceration on one of the parties of the case if they lose, which to me makes it a criminal case and not a civil one, they definitely deserve legal counsel.


I agree also.

If there is not only the chance of incarceration but of foreclosure, insurance claims, medical malpractice etc. The list goes on as to why a lawyer may be needed in such cases and if this case is used to set a precedence for future inclusions, it's a slippery slope.



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 09:52 PM
link   
reply to post by Ferris.Bueller.II
 


Doesn't the Attorney General division represent the custodial parent?

2nd



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 09:59 PM
link   
reply to post by jude11
 


good post jude11. wow, this is an all-time low for American citizens. TTBOMK to qualify for no-cost legal representation one has to prove their income is under $13,500/yr in NJ. can you imagine? even then i believe they slap you with a non-refundable up-front fee to get the paperwork rolling just to consider you. unbelievable.

reminds me of receiving a ticket for illegal parking -- in my own driveway -- last year. i beat the ticket in court, then had to pay 3/4 the cost of the ticket for "cost of court" anyway. they screw you, cradle to grave.



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 10:01 PM
link   

Originally posted by jam321
reply to post by Ferris.Bueller.II
 


Doesn't the Attorney General division represent the custodial parent?

2nd


I have no idea, and I bet it's different from state to state. But if the AG does provide an attorney to the custodial parent in cases such as this, it sounds to me that legal counsel would also have to be provided to the noncustodial parent.



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 10:04 PM
link   
They are also making sure the child never receives any support- because they are pilfering it out of the parent's pockets.

It defeats the purpose of the whole case!



Candy money from a baby's daddy...

edit on 20/6/2011 by Planet teleX because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 10:08 PM
link   

Originally posted by Planet teleX
They are also making sure the child never receives any support- because they are pilfering it out of the parent's pockets.

It defeats the purpose of the whole case!


Yup, so many angles on this that I missed that one.

Doesn't make any sense at all...except for the privatized for-profit-prisons of course.



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 10:55 PM
link   
reply to post by jude11
 





In Monday's majority decision, the court ruled that a constitutional amendment "does not automatically require the State to provide counsel at civil contempt proceedings to an indigent noncustodial parent who is subject to a child support order, even if that individual faces incarceration."


Wait, i am not sure i understand, so perhaps someone can clear it up for me: If someone faces incarceration stemming from a civil case does that make it a criminal offense??? Such as paying child support...

Not sure i get this. Criminal cases are brought by the state, and civil by civilians, more or less, and if a person fails to ay child support he or she can get taken to court by the ex spouse for violoation of the law (about paying child support), in which case the person can then be sentenced to jail for failure to pay, which is CRIMINAL offense, no? So, if the guy or girl is getting sentenced to state jail/custody it must be a law being broken, which therefore makes it criminal, in which case the man or woman should then be entitled to a lawyer, no? So, when the civil proceeding changes from child support being owed to breaking the LAW about paying child support, that makes it a criminal offense (hence JAIL), so how is this guy NOT afforded a lawyer if he is jailed on a charge????

Am i missing something, or can someone better explain this to me, cause this seems fishy.

How can a guy be charged or sentenced by the state without legally being able to have representation??? Again, it seems that if it is a CIVIL case....the state could rule in the plaintiff's favor's but for jail it sees there must be a criminal offense?????

????

Doesn't the civil case turn into a criminal case when there is a law about paying child support, and a person is found guilty and therefore in violation of the law, because violation of the law (and therefore incarceration) is criminal..


I am completely confused by this ruling, the law in general, and how this is in any way constitutional (surprise surprise)...

Not that the constitutionality matters, this day and age....



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 11:10 PM
link   

Originally posted by Liquesence
reply to post by jude11
 





In Monday's majority decision, the court ruled that a constitutional amendment "does not automatically require the State to provide counsel at civil contempt proceedings to an indigent noncustodial parent who is subject to a child support order, even if that individual faces incarceration."


Wait, i am not sure i understand, so perhaps someone can clear it up for me: If someone faces incarceration stemming from a civil case does that make it a criminal offense??? Such as paying child support...

Not sure i get this. Criminal cases are brought by the state, and civil by civilians, more or less, and if a person fails to ay child support he or she can get taken to court by the ex spouse for violoation of the law (about paying child support), in which case the person can then be sentenced to jail for failure to pay, which is CRIMINAL offense, no? So, if the guy or girl is getting sentenced to state jail/custody it must be a law being broken, which therefore makes it criminal, in which case the man or woman should then be entitled to a lawyer, no? So, when the civil proceeding changes from child support being owed to breaking the LAW about paying child support, that makes it a criminal offense (hence JAIL), so how is this guy NOT afforded a lawyer if he is jailed on a charge????

Am i missing something, or can someone better explain this to me, cause this seems fishy.

How can a guy be charged or sentenced by the state without legally being able to have representation??? Again, it seems that if it is a CIVIL case....the state could rule in the plaintiff's favor's but for jail it sees there must be a criminal offense?????

????

Doesn't the civil case turn into a criminal case when there is a law about paying child support, and a person is found guilty and therefore in violation of the law, because violation of the law (and therefore incarceration) is criminal..


I am completely confused by this ruling, the law in general, and how this is in any way constitutional (surprise surprise)...

Not that the constitutionality matters, this day and age....



In short...you're right on all points.

There are an increasing number of people going to jail for debts. Not a criminal offense. Now in Civil cases it seems, you are not entitled to a defense lawyer.

As I mentioned, the scariest thing is that innocent people will go to jail because they couldn't afford a lawyer.

Now, after you get out, you have it on your record that you spent time in jail as a bonus.

There are so many ways to interpret what's going on here but I'm not a lawyer so I'm hoping one shows up on this thread.



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 11:23 PM
link   
The thing I find surprising about this thread, is that you guys seem to assume that everyone had an "automatic right" to free legal counsel in civil cases to begin with. That has never been the case in the United States. Furthermore, failure to pay child support is "civil contempt" so a there isn't even, necessarily, a legal right to a trial, though you do get a chance to explain your circumstances to a judge.


Michael Turner was incarcerated for one year because of his failure to pay court-ordered child support. Although his inability to pay would have constituted a legal defense to incarceration, Mr. Turner was unable to prove his inability to pay to the court.

Source

There was nothing in the article indicating that Mr. Turner was unable to pay his child support, or that he was indigent. What it did say was that "Mr. Turner was unable to prove his inability to pay to the court".


On his fifth infraction, the South Carolina family court sentenced him to six months in jail. But on his release he was $5,728 in arrears, and was then sentenced to 12 months in jail.

Same source as above.

It's fairly obvious that Mr. Turner wasn't even trying to make the court ordered support payments in the past. Apparently the judge wasn't too happy with his actions upon being released, so he sent him back to jail because this "deadbeat" still hadn't shown any effort towards finding a job. Maybe he told the judge he wasn't going to pay. The bottom line is, we don't know what happened in court.

I have been to court three times because of none payment of child support. Twice I was able to show that I hadn't been working, through no fault of my own, and that I was once again employed, or that I was faithfully searching for a job. The third time I was able to prove to the judge that my ex was just using the Child Support Enforcement lawyer to screw with me. She almost got jailed for contempt over that. I had to represent myself each time, even though she had a "state" lawyer.

All the Supreme Court did was affirm that there was no mandatory obligation for a court appointed attorney in a civil contempt case, rather you are indigent or not. That's all there is to that ruling.

See ya, Milt



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 11:34 PM
link   
reply to post by Liquesence
 


The key is the word "contempt". Judges in the United States can send you to jail for contempt without a trial. Contempt is basically a refusal to do what a court, or judge ORDERS you to do. If a judge tells you to be quiet in the court room, and you refuse to, you WILL VERY LIKELY go to jail. And no, you won't get a trial first.

See ya, Milt



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 11:47 PM
link   
reply to post by BenReclused
 


You brought quite a bit to think about and to help assess this situation (at least for me). I, for one, however, never said there was a "right" to counsel in civil proceedings, but my own confusion about the fine line (to me) between civil and criminal). And, according to your post, it seems to me that a "civil contempt" is, in part, a violation of a "lawful order" given by a judge, which, to me, a violation of a lawful order makes that an unlawful act, even if there is not law, per se, decreeing said action illegal. This brings me back to the original point: Unlawful=illegal. ????? Even if a "law" has not been passed, even if left to the judge's discretion, it still smells fishy.

How can judges just sentence people to jail when a law has not been broken, and judges cannot (legally) make their own laws, they simply enforce existing laws/statutes/etc, or imply their interpretation thereof; Even so, it seems that some for someone to be sentenced a law has to be broken, or else, we return to the OP: debtors prisons, which, if there are no laws, seems to be a entirely different situation that, if unchallenged, potentially presents a HUGE problem for many people. It seems to me like the "civil contempt" is a slippery slope, and, i still see failure to comply with a "lawful order" to be unlawful, and therefore criminal, in which case a lawyer should be available.

Of course, does a person have a right to counsel after conviction or only after being charged? This might make difference, and i also am no lawyer, hence my ignorance confusion, and questions. If it is a simple case of charge v. conviction, that might make more sense....

Regardless, something still does not seem right..."Civil contempt" or not....

'Cause the whole point in incarceration is legal violation, whether law, order statute, etc...

Troubling, but i am also not a lawyer...



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 11:57 PM
link   

Originally posted by BenReclused
reply to post by Liquesence
 


The key is the word "contempt". Judges in the United States can send you to jail for contempt without a trial. Contempt is basically a refusal to do what a court, or judge ORDERS you to do. If a judge tells you to be quiet in the court room, and you refuse to, you WILL VERY LIKELY go to jail. And no, you won't get a trial first.

See ya, Milt


True

... but contempt is a violation of a lawful order, correct. And a violation of a lawful order is unlawful? So judges can determine what is lawful and what is not. I am familiar with what you speak, but not that i think about it more, it seems even more sinister. Judges shouldn't be able to designate what is lawful or unlawful, as they should be the enforcers of existing law, not those who make it to fit the circumstances, regardless. If a person is incarceration for failure to pay child support that person should (IMO) be able to get an attorney to challenge that incarceration, even if it the judge's ruling (and see, this is where the legal system gets complicated, because....can they appeal? as other convicts can when sentenced, but they do not get counsel to appeal it if they cannot afford it???).

It's not so cut and dry....

Kinda like cops and their "lawful orders," i guess the legal system grants special privileges to these people to determine what is right or wrong in certain instances according to their discretion...Doesn't sound much like a legal system, and affirms why things have gotten so out of hand....

The more i read about the legal and judicial system the more disgusted i get....



new topics

top topics



 
13
<<   2 >>

log in

join