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Foreclosure Crisis + Legal Aid Cuts = @#$%! (Mother Jones)

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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-14-11 08:27 AM
Original message
Foreclosure Crisis + Legal Aid Cuts = @#$%! (Mother Jones)
By Kat Aaron



"Marilyn Hopper learned the hard way what happens to people who can't afford a lawyer.

Back in 2009, Hopper, a pleasant, diminutive 57-year-old from Detroit, was sued by a company called Midland Funding over a $1,700 credit card debt, which grew to $2,400 with fees and interest. She missed the initial court hearing at Michigan's 36th District Court and in her absence, the judge gave the company permission to take $700 a month from her paycheck.

That got her attention fast. When she showed up in court this past November to contest the judgment, she explained that the hearing notice had been delivered to her old addressa home she'd lost to foreclosure. Over the objections of Midland's pink-suited young attorney, Hopper convinced the judge to reduce the garnishment from her paycheck to $200 a month, but the company's past withdrawals had left her nearly destitute. "I was subjected to undue hardship because they were taking such a large chunk," she told me. When I asked whether she'd considered hiring a lawyer, Hopper sighed. "Most of them want $4,000 up front, and who has $4,000 lying around?"

Traditionally, people with little money could turn to Legal Services Corporation (LSC), the federally mandated nonprofit that supports free legal-aid programs in hundreds of communities. But over the past few years, a perfect storm of conservative attacks, shrinking budgets, and recessionary demand for legal services has left those who can least afford it fending for themselves against the financial behemoths."

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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-14-11 08:47 AM
Response to Original message
1. it's not an accident they take legal services from the poor. nt
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-14-11 08:49 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. It sure isn't.
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-14-11 09:19 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. no it isn't
nt
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cilla4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-14-11 09:11 AM
Response to Original message
3. I serve on a Board in my state (Washington)
commissioned by our state Supreme Court that would open the practice of law to non-attorneys in order to expand access to justice by creating a licensure for trained, bonded "legal technicians" to serve poor and moderate income folks at affordable rates. This idea is being fought heavily by attorneys in our state. It's a constant uphill battle to do anything to address this problem!
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-14-11 09:17 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Thank you for your efforts!!!
We need the ability to seek redress. To exercise our right to justice.
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cilla4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-15-11 09:13 AM
Response to Reply #4
13. Well, I'm afraid with all the attorney resistance,
are efforts will come to naught...!
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suffragette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-14-11 09:23 AM
Response to Original message
6. And it sounds from the article like it's going to be even worse soon
and that at a time when more people than ever would qualify:
"Now, in Michigan, a third of our 10 million population would qualify for legal aid." That's about 18,500 potential clients per legal aid lawyer.


K&R
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-14-11 10:57 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Yep. Can't afford a lawyer, you can't afford to stand up for your rights
Edited on Mon Feb-14-11 10:58 AM by Solly Mack
...then 'rights' belong only to those who who can afford them....and fewer and fewer people standing up for their rights means those rights will be easier to trample....to be taken away. And it is getting worse.

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suffragette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-14-11 11:47 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. Yep, and those who live by taking advantage of others
are very aware of this and will trample people to dust.

K&R again to the post.

And to hearts!
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logosoco Donating Member (372 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-14-11 11:15 AM
Response to Original message
8. My mom has worked for Legal Services since the early 70s,
she is finally retiring this year (at age 76!). They have done so much good for the people here in St. Louis. It is a shame that these services are being cut. Many of them are the elderly, immigrants and disabled. I don't know what will happen to them now.
What kind of country do the rich people who don't want to pay taxes think they are going to end up with? It is the good people of this country that has made it so great. What will happen when they are all gone, or living without resources?
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suffragette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-14-11 11:34 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Your mom's a hero in my book
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-15-11 05:51 AM
Response to Reply #8
12. I second what suffragette said.
They think they'll always be able to buy their way out of any inconvenience.
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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-14-11 12:26 PM
Response to Original message
10. k&r
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