We Need a Justice System, Not a Legal System (an Inside Look)

In the United States, above all things, the legal system should be fair, but instead, it is big business.

Additionally, engaging the legal system should not be a major financial decision, but for millions of people in America, it is. Yet, it is also difficult to imagine that this grim reality was one of the original goals defined by those apt gentlemen who created and signed the Declaration of Independence as they chased the dream of a country that could consistently provide the opportunities of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in equal doses to all.

Unfortunately, the legal system that has evolved in the United States, does guarantee equal protection, representation or opportunity to each and every citizen. Perhaps, upon being founded, the legal system should have been foregone and instead replaced by the notions of a justice system. In a justice system, the fair assumption would be that justice as determined by reasonable peers, would prevail. In stark contrast to a justice system, the modern legal system permits those individuals with the most money to prevail. And this, quite simply does not often lend itself to any form of justice, regardless of how remote that form may long to be.

If a person Googles, “average cost per hour for an attorney”, that person will learn that an attorney in rural areas may earn between $100 and $200 per hour, while the slicker, big city attorneys are in the average range of $400 to $600 per hour. Extrapolating this information over a 40 hour work week for one year, the lowest paid full-time lawyers on the attorney totem pole are earning over $200,000 a year ($100 per hour x 40 hours per week x 52 weeks per year = $208,000). When considering this dim reality, it quickly becomes obvious that the average citizen does not possess the means to pay even the cheapest attorney for any significant length of time.

Upon further examination of the facts, we must consider salaries and wages. The minimum wage varies from state to state. As per the 2016 National Conference of State Legislatures, two states have now passed laws to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. California was the first state to pass such laws. This state has now formally required employers to pay $15 per hour by January 1, 2022. New York quickly followed suit, passing legislation requiring employers to pay $15 per hour by July 1, 2020. This means that once the minimum wage is actually increased, earners in each of these states, will be able to afford an inexpensive rural attorney for 39 days by spending an entire year of wages earned ($15 per hour x 40 hours per week x 52 weeks per year = $31,200 annually / $100 per hour for an attorney = 312 total hours / 8 hours per work day = 39 days). However, if someone in a big city needs to hire an attorney and is making $15 per hour, that person can afford an attorney for less than 10 days by spending an entire year of wages earned ($15 per hour x 40 hours per week x 52 weeks per year = $31,200 annually / $400 per hour for an attorney = 78 total hours / 8 hours per work day = 9.75 days). Clearly the minimum wage earner will not have fair or adequate representation, for any real length of time in the current legal (not justice) system, against any sizable entity whose coffers may be ever so scantily lined with rotting cash.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the real (inflation adjusted) median household income in the United States was $51,939 (or $24.97 per hour) in 2013. The United States Consumer Law Attorney Fee Survey Report for 2013-2014, published statistics on attorney’s fees by geographical region. It also separated small firms and large firms into different categories. The lowest average hourly rate available from any law firm in the United States, is $253 (available in the Pacific States of AK, HI and WA), which is billed by small firms. Whereas, the biggest average hourly rate required by law firms in the United States is $546, billed by large firms in North East (CT, MA, MD, ME, NH, RI and VT). This means that the average American income, at the cheapest average hourly rate in the United States, would be able to afford legal representation for less than 26 days ($51,939 annually / $253 per hour for an attorney = 205.29 total hours / 8 hours per work day = 25.66 days), while the lowly, average, full time attorney billing $253 per hour earns $526,240 per year ($253 per hour x 40 hours per week x 52 weeks per year).

And, if a person happens to be in need of legal representation or was falsely accused of a crime and is in need of a defense, that person faces a painful reality. But, don’t forget that this pendulum swings both ways, just ask O.J. Simpson, who perhaps bought his way out of a murder conviction by spending an exorbitant amount of money on attorney fees.

Also, please be aware that this disparity does not stop with these details. Moving away from the low and average range for attorney’s fees, forces our attention only in the upward direction. A large group of attorneys easily make over $1,000 per hour and many of those proponents of a fair legal system claim to bill at double that amount. For example, the notorious bankruptcy attorney Theodore Olsen (although I bet all of his friends just call him Teddy the Bankruptcy Bear) is on record for billing $1,800 per hour, according to court filings in the LightSquared Inc., wireless network bankruptcy case filed in 2012. But the thick, brown, gravy train doesn’t stop to even glance at that billable fee as it trucks on down golden plated tracks. Berge Setrakian and Ralph Ferrara were both reported to make approximately $12.5 million in 2011. Again, simple math tells us that a person earning $12.5 million, who works 40 hours a week for 52 weeks per year, is earning $6,009.62 per hour, which makes a teacher’s salary pale in humble comparison.

Additional figures that do not bode well for most Americans in need of legal representation are the following supplementary facts. As per the U.S. Embassy.gov website, the average time for a jury trial is 4 days for civil cases and 5 days for criminal cases (at least, in 2009). However, cases do not start in trial and they often take a substantial amount of time to get there. To help illustrate this point, a person must first be arraigned. After arraignment, the preliminary hearing phase usually takes 5 to 6 days. In the case of misdemeanor charges, the next step in the legal system is the motions and hearing phase. This typically takes 3 months, but may also exceed 2 years, during which time an attorney is billing the client to file court documents and respond to documents filed by the opposition’s legal team. Based on this reality, the average American may run completely out of cash long before the case ever makes it to trial, in which case, justice is not part of the destination and possibly never even made it onto the legal landscape map.

For business, this dynamic is even worse, because numerous states permit an individual to file “pro per” on behalf of a business. This means an individual or owner chooses to represent him/herself, even though state laws might clearly require a business to be represented by an attorney in a court of law. In systems such as these, the individual may file the case on behalf of a company and begin paying court fees only to learn at a later date that an attorney is required to move the case forward. These legal systems actually cause financial harm and damage to the suffering individual in addition to the actual damages that motivated the case to be filed in the first place. With a minimal amount of expectations, one should be able to assume that engaging the legal system, unto itself, should not inflict a greater financial wound on the already injured party, but it does.

That said, it isn’t just the structure of the laws that make a mockery of the legal system, it is also the system itself. Fortunately, in an effort to dive deeper into the vastness of this overwhelming problem, we may also turn to the US Federal Government for more insight. Twice each year, it publishes statistics on the Federal Court System. Please note however, that these statistics do not include any of the non-federal courts, such as the state and municipal courts.

First, understand that there are 9 different Federal Court Systems:
1. U.S. Courts of Appeals
2. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
3. U.S. District Courts – Civil
4. U.S. District Courts – Criminal
5. Federal Probation System Courts
6. U.S. Bankruptcy Courts
7. Federal Pre-Trial Service Courts
8. U.S. District Courts – Grand and Petit Jurors
9. the U.S. Federal Courts.

And, let’s not forget that the first court on that lists, consists of thirteen different courts:
1. U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
2. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
3. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
4. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
5. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
6. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
7. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
8. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
9. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
10. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
11. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
12. U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
13. Supreme Court of the United States (Court of Last Resort)

After a quick glance, it becomes quite apparent that an individual not only needs an attorney to understand the laws and the intention of those laws, a person may also need the assistance of an attorney to grasp the purpose of each of these courts and the appropriate place to begin seeking “justice” by filing a case in the proper court, since there are soooooo many to choose from.

Truly, it is unfortunate that a person literally has no individual rights unless that person knows the law and most Americans can’t afford to pay an attorney to know the law. So then, how free is the land of the free and the home of the brave when freedom and fair legal representation require money to attain?

Prepaid Legal – Can You Still Make Money With This Opportunity?

There Are Moral, Ethical and Legal Reasons You Should Never Pay Credit Card Debt Again

There are legal, moral and ethical reasons for never paying credit card debt again. Most people struggle to pay card accounts without ever considering reasons why they should never pay the account again. Even federal law provides a legal exit strategy so you can stop paying, restore your credit score and even receive a reward from telemarketers for trying to take your money illegally.

If you check your preference of religious literature whether you are Christian, Islam, Hindu, Buddhist or other you will find it is not considered a good thing to be a lender or to charge interest making the debtor a slave to the master having the money. All religions say it is better to give than to receive and debt should be forgiven in time.

When card companies issue a card account to you it is often backed by an insurance policy and after six months of nonpayment the account is written off and the bank collects on the policy. The bank also takes a tax loss that exists solely on paper because no actual monetary loss occurred. Not one penny was lost by the bank because no money was loaned to you.

If you have trouble understanding this difficult concept please use the search term “the gig is up – money, the Federal Reserve and you” for an eye opening video history lesson presented at the University Of Colorado School Of Law. This 90 min. seminar will change your life forever.

Having had this ah-ha moment watching the gig, let’s move quickly ahead to see how plastic cards are the biggest deception of modern times. Use the search term “the Chicago debacle” to see how banks spread cards by mailing them to millions of people creating a monumental fraud (similar to the recent bailouts) that caused Congress of the mid-1960s to consider making plastic totally illegal.

If you think you’re beginning to smell a rat, there’s more! Banks write off your account and it is cased closed but to get real money from real people they sell your account information to a collection agency and it is those collectors that are needlessly feared by the American public.

Here is another very important concept to understand. Our legal system does not provide any rights to a collector who knowingly buys an uncollectible debt and then tries to take your money. It’s like buying a burning house from a homeowner as he stands on the street in front of the fire and then trying to sue him for fire damages. This is the reason collectors are considered telemarketers trying to convince you to pay them for the resulting damages.

There is a technical issue here and that is the reason you never ever admit you owe the collector in any way. If you do make some admission, it establishes a contract. Never give them any information on the phone and should they write you a collection notice you simply demand proof of any debt. It’s very simple but they use scare tactics to make you talk. He voluntarily paid a few cents on the dollar for your burning house then wants to collect the entire value so do not tell him you will pay anything!

Now let’s get back to those angry congressmen in the mid-60s who wrote the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act so that these telemarketers end up paying you if they violate a very strict set of rules. You can see just a few of the rules using the search term “FTC debt video” which was bought and paid for by the card lobbyists but it does not lessen the intent of the law.

Get a digital recorder and record those collection calls. Acknowledge your name and absolutely nothing more! Let the telemarketer (collector) violate your rights repeatedly since even the most minor violation is worth at least $1000. If there is colorful language you can collect a lot of money! Use search terms such as “man wins $1.5 million from collector” or “woman sues collector wins $8.1 million” to see actual results.

Fear of your credit score is easily overcome because every credit reporting agency is operating outside federal law. Section 609 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act says they must have verifiable proof that what they are reporting is true. It’s just like the money scam, they don’t have one single shred of legal proof and therefore must remove whatever information you wish to have removed or be fined by the US government.

No matter how you look at it, now that the veil of deception has been lifted, there are moral, ethical, legal and even religious reasons you should never pay another penny on any credit card debt. In this whirlwind education you may not have realized that when you stop paying some trivial amount our national debt is decreased by the small amount of your plastic account. Be a good citizen and help the government pay off what “we the people” supposedly owe.