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Critics say private probation punishes poor unfairly

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Maybe nowhere else is the saying "money talks" more true than in courts such as Richmond County State Court.

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Mariette Conner got a $140 ticket in 2007 for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Because she couldn't immediately pay the fine in full, she was placed on probation and ordered to make monthly payments. By the time the Southern Center for Human Rights stepped in to help her, Ms. Conner had paid $185.99. Only $56.99 had been applied to the fine.  File/Staff
File/Staff
Mariette Conner got a $140 ticket in 2007 for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Because she couldn't immediately pay the fine in full, she was placed on probation and ordered to make monthly payments. By the time the Southern Center for Human Rights stepped in to help her, Ms. Conner had paid $185.99. Only $56.99 had been applied to the fine.


Someone who can afford to pay off fines assessed for traffic and other misdemeanor offenses can usually walk out of court a free person. Anyone who can't pay might find himself entangled in the system with a financial debt that keeps growing as he faces the prospect of either paying the court or going to jail.

State Court provides one of the largest sources of revenue for the county, outside of property taxes, by collecting fines from thousands of people cited for traffic offenses and misdemeanors.

It's also a moneymaker for the private probation company that holds the contract to collect those fines and surcharges. Every month that a person remains on probation means more money for the company. And in any month that a probationer cannot pay the monthly charge in full, the probation company can take half of the payment, leaving less money to pay down the court fines.

It's a system that ensnares those without money. Unlike declaring bankruptcy to get out from under high-interest credit card bills or accepting foreclosure to get out of a subprime mortgage loan, the debt to a court is binding and can mean a jail cell if it's not paid.

For years the Southern Center for Human Rights has condemned how the Richmond County State Court operates, suggesting it has fostered a new kind of debtors' prison.

The center says it's not only unfair that the poor end up paying more for the same violations, but it's also unfair because it subjects them to unnecessary risk of incarceration.

That's something that weighed on Mariette Conner.

Ms. Conner said she felt trapped by the system in 2007 when she got a ticket for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Because the 63-year-old assistant minister didn't have the $140 to pay off the ticket immediately, she was placed on probation for a year. Her probation fee and victims' fund payment totaled $39 each month.

Ms. Conner, whose only income is Social Security, had to take two buses to make it to the Sentinel Offender Services office every month. She was able to make only small payments -- once she borrowed the ingredients to bake pies that she sold to raise the money to pay on her fine. Every month she got further behind.

And while she was trying to pay off the fine, Ms. Conner fell behind on her other bills, she said. When she paid just $20 in September 2007, $10 went to Sentinel, $9 went to the victims' fund, and just $1 went to pay on her fine, according to her receipts from Sentinel.

When Ms. Conner said she was falsely accused of missing a report date and threatened with jail in November 2007, the Southern Center for Human Rights stepped in to help her. By then, Ms. Conner had paid $185.99 on her original $140 ticket, but only $56.99 had been applied to the fine. Because she couldn't afford to pay the full amount every month, the money she owed more than doubled. The center petitioned the court to terminate Ms. Conner's probation, and Judge Richard Slaby did so.

A month after Ms. Conner's ordeal ended, she had tears in her eyes.

"I was so scared," she said. The idea of going to jail left her shaking and feeling sick, she said. In her ministry work she has heard many people tell her how they were trapped in the State Court payment system, but they were too afraid to speak out for fear of going to jail, Ms. Conner said on Christmas Eve 2007.

PRIVATE PROFIT

Court and private probation company officials are quick to point out that no one is arrested and jailed for nonpayment alone. But the arrest warrants can allow the sheriff's department to release a violator upon payment of a certain amount of money.

Traffic offenses can lead to time behind bars in Georgia because they are criminal offenses with a maximum punishment just like any misdemeanor offense: one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. If a person can pay off the fine and surcharges, an encounter with the State Court ends, unless a person is facing charges such as drunken driving or domestic violence.

But someone who cannot pay the fine and surcharges on his court date is put on probation. He will be given a payment plan but also must pay a monthly probation supervision fee.

At one time, the county provided probation services for State Court, said Chief Judge Gayle Hamrick. The state later took over, but in 2001 the state stopped providing the services. Richmond County and many others in Georgia hired private companies.

In Richmond County, Sentinel holds the contract. It earns $30 a month from each probationer it collects court-ordered payments from and $35 a month from each probationer who owes money and is enrolled in a court-ordered program. A probationer who is on an electronic monitoring system must also pay a start-up fee and additional fee of $6 to $12 a day.

Ms. Conner suggested it would be better for the State Court judges to require community service instead of fines.

That happens a lot, said Sentinel's Augusta-area manager, Crystal Page. If a probationer has a financial hardship, her office can substitute community service for the payment, she said. Ms. Page estimated her office converted more than $800,000 to community service in the past two years. The company is willing to work with people, Ms. Page said. It succeeds when a probationer successfully completes all the court-ordered conditions. Once that is done, the probationer moves to unsupervised status, which means he is still on probation but no longer reporting in or paying the monthly supervision fees, Ms. Page said.

The worst thing a probationer can do is fail to report to his Sentinel probation officer, Ms. Page said. Even if he doesn't have the money to pay on the fine or fees, he must report when required. It's a violation of office policy for a probation officer to threaten a probationer because he can't make a payment, Ms. Page said.

Steve Queen, the vice president of Sentinel, said being honest in its dealings with courts and probationers is good business and builds the company's reputation. Mistakes can happen, but it's not company policy to threaten anyone or create conditions where a probationer is set up to fail, he said.

One former Sentinel probation officer testified under oath at a Richmond County Superior Court hearing that he was fired because he did not meet company expectations for the number of warrants he applied for each week.

THE ISSUE OF FAIRNESS

Augusta attorney John "Jack" Long, a longtime critic of the use of private probation companies, contends that it can never be fair for a private company in the business of making money to have the ability to send people to jail. Sentinel officers can obtain nonbondable arrest warrants against probationers.

Mr. Long took a pro bono case in order to launch a legal challenge to the way State Court operates. While he won on one level by convincing a judge to reverse his client's drunken driving conviction, the judge sidestepped the larger constitutional issues he raised about the fairness of how people are treated in State Court. The case is pending before the Georgia Supreme Court.

"I personally think that the court will affirm the grant of habeas (also find in favor of his client)," Mr. Long wrote in an e-mail. "As to the constitutional issues, they have the ability to dodge them," which he thinks is unfortunate.

"I think that the problem with outsourcing probation services is that it involves the wrong incentives. Private businesses want to make a profit, and that is the way businesses operate. Courts are supposed to dispense justice, not be looked upon as cash registers for the government."

According to the most recent Sentinel report provided to State Court, the company supervised probationers with a total of 25,198 cases in the second quarter of 2009. Sentinel also collected $552,629 for the court.

Taxpayers, however, won't know how much Sentinel makes for its services. It is not subject to Georgia's Open Records Act because the General Assembly specifically exempted private probation companies in 2006.

Ms. Page estimated there are about 5,000 probationers at any point, and just more than 3,000 of them are compliant -- meaning they are paying on the fines and fees, and doing anything else required by the court. If just those who are compliant pay the minimum supervision fee, the company would collect more than $1 million a year in Richmond County.

But many people can't or don't pay their fees or complete court-order programs, such as defensive driving school. More than 10,000 warrants are outstanding for the arrest of probationers who aren't following the rules. Some of those warrants date back to 1998.

Locking up all of those people could bankrupt the county. Although Richmond County State Court makes money, it also contributes to one of the county's largest expenses -- running the county jails, at a time when the sheriff's department is looking at a $5.9 million deficit next year.

Richmond County's overcrowded jails generally hold about 1,000 people. On one day in May, for example, a computer breakdown of inmates showed 225 of the inmates had misdemeanor probation violations. It costs about $50 a day to jail a person. If those misdemeanor probation violators were jailed for a single month, it would cost taxpayers $337,500.

TAXPAYERS' EXPENSE

In dozens of cases The Augusta Chronicle examined, it would have been cheaper for taxpayers to pay off the probation violators' fines and fees than pay for their time in jail.

Nearly every weekday in State Court at least a few people are brought in handcuffed and shackled, wearing the jail's cotton jumpsuits. Most ended up in jail because they were stopped for a new offense and the arresting officers discovered the nonbondable probation violation warrant. To get out of jail, they have to convince the judge that they can do better. Many are sent back to jail, where they stay unless and until they pay a certain amount on their fines and fees.

Some will stay until they pay the start-up cost for electronic monitoring. Judge David Watkins revoked one woman's probation this summer after repeated domestic violence incidents. The judge said it was obvious to him there was a serious alcohol problem and the only way he felt comfortable -- that she would be less likely to be a threat to others -- was if she was on an alcohol monitoring system.

Her problem, however, is that she doesn't have the $208 for the start-up fee or the additional $12 daily probation monitoring fee. She's still sitting in jail, and taxpayers are paying about $50 a day until someone finds the money for her or until she completes her revoked sentence.

Judge Watkins acknowledges there's an issue when a person with money can get out of jail and on the monitoring system while someone who's poor stays incarcerated. The question, he said, is who can pay for those too poor to pay for themselves. If it's cheaper for taxpayers to pay for the electronic monitoring than keeping someone in jail, "it's a no-brainer to me," Judge Watkins said.

Judge Hamrick said he sees no reason to apologize because someone repeatedly gets into trouble and racks up fines and fees, which a person must pay or go to jail. Maybe it isn't fair that poor people end up paying more and facing jail time more often than those with money, but, he said, it also isn't right to let someone go unpunished based on finances. It's not a simple issue. State Court judges throughout Georgia struggle with it constantly, he said.

As long as traffic violations are criminal offenses in Georgia, state and municipal court judges will be setting fines and sentencing people to jail for minor offenses, he said. And the mandatory sentencing laws themselves are Draconian, he said. A first offense of driving without a license is a mandatory $500 fine; a second offense is a $1,000 fine, Judge Hamrick said. Judges can't change that.

Georgia is the only state in the country that punishes a simple traffic offense by as much as a year in jail, according to a study prepared for the Georgia Supreme Court.

COSTS ACCUMULATE

Until recently, those accused of traffic offenses usually just pleaded guilty without the help of an attorney.

But in 2002 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in an Alabama case that every state must provide legal counsel to anyone who could face imprisonment immediately or anytime in the future for any violation of probation. It applies to every felony, traffic ticket and city ordinance violation that might involve jail time.

Now attorneys are to be appointed, although former Sentinel probation officer Kathleen Gibson, who was terminated in 2002, said the way that issue is treated in court discourages people from asking for a public defender. Richmond County State Court is all about the money, Ms. Gibson said.

A part of her job was explaining how much money probationers would have to pay each month.

"The shock on their faces when they come in to set up (a payment plan) ... is something to see," Ms. Gibson said. "It is hard explaining it to most of them.

"Tack on the time it takes for community service, DUI school, anger management or whatever else is added to the sentence -- because they have to pay for the classes also -- and the months just drag on by with fees piling up. ... It is no wonder most them cannot pay and end up back in jail."

Sentinel officials vehemently denied any push to file probation-violation warrants. Just the opposite is true because a probationer in jail isn't paying fines or fees.

The State Court's chief judge said he believes Sentinel is doing a good job enforcing the court orders. Judge Hamrick said he would prefer such a duty be completed by a government agency, but when Augusta commissioners were given the option to re-establish a probation department or outsource to a private company, they chose the latter.

When he was a city commissioner from 2001 to 2005, Bobby Hankerson says, he got dozens of calls from people who were afraid they were going to go to jail because they couldn't afford to pay their fines and fees.

It's not that all were blameless, but some appeared helplessly trapped, he said.

"It is sort of like a revolving charge card in that there was no end to it," Mr. Hankerson said, adding that it's like getting a $35 late fee every month on a $15 payment. "It never ends."

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

RELATED STORY

5 people ensnared in the probation system

ONLINE EXTRA

View these documents in PDF format:

Mariette Conner's receipts: Receipt 1, Receipt 2

An alcohol monitoring program information sheet

Sentinel Offender Services activity report

WHO IS SENTINEL?

Sentinel Offender Services is a privately owned company created in Marietta, Ga., in 1993 that employs more than 400 people. The president and CEO is Robert Contestable.

Sentinel began with monitoring services but expanded in providing probation services in Georgia when the state law was changed to privatize misdemeanor probation services.

Sentinel's contract with Augusta allows it to charge a $30 monthly probation supervision fee when it collects only money for the court. It can charge $35 a month for cases in which it also has supervision or monitoring services for conditions other than money. Sentinel may also charge a $15 enrollment fee. If a monthly payment is not enough to cover both the fine payments and monthly supervision fee, Sentinel is allowed to take half of the money paid.

BIG BUSINESS

The fines and surcharges assessed of people charged with minor, misdemeanor offenses, including traffic violations, brings in a lot of money.

In 2009, the Augusta city budget expects $3.4 million from Richmond County State Court alone.

By June 30, 2008, state courts throughout Georgia had collected $119,714,899. Municipal courts, often traffic courts in Georgia, collected another $195,311,522.

According to the statewide report, more than $231 million of the money collected by state courts went into local governments' general funds.

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justus4
113
Points
justus4 11/15/09 - 05:01 am
0
0
Nothing new here...the
Unpublished

Nothing new here...the article verifies what many of us have known for years, that the criminal justice system is applied unfairly, unequally, and is designed to ruin the lives of a particular segment of the population. It's an easy conclusion to make, especially if one has only a passing knowledge of the Constitution. For example, facing one's accusor is almost impossible when talking about corrupt police because they won't show up at court, then the judge holds it against U if U persist in wanting to get a trial. He will use his powers to make U pay, because he thinks U are being a wiseguy and shoud just PAY the fines and get out. And sit through the traffic court - Wow! It's blatant and obvious that minorities are in a terrible position and MOST don't even care that much. It demoralizes them over time and their lives are actually ruined because not paying the fines leads to warrants, which leads to jail, which leads to a host of other problems that have an accumulative effect, which leads to hopelessness and ultimately a more serious criminal lifestyle. However, it's all by design and well incorporated into so-called "justice" that is making someone rich. Great country, uh?

JohnTaurus
0
Points
JohnTaurus 11/15/09 - 05:09 am
0
0
Racketeering by any other

Racketeering by any other name is still racketerring. It is an extortion process enacted against the families of the persons caught up in this fraud. A thief, in uniform with a badge or dressed in a mask, is still a thief.

Probationeers usually lack transportation and jobs when released. They are ordered to report here and there and pay this and that. How can they without transportation or jobs? The family is extorted by the state to meet the needs of people on probation. When in jail, the family must furnish soap, shampoo and other hygenic products. Extortion by any other name.

It is an extortion racket operated by the government to raise revenue and human beings are the raw material of this factory.

jackragg
0
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jackragg 11/15/09 - 05:13 am
0
0
Wow. I am amazed by this

Wow. I am amazed by this article and even more so the comments. I don't need a whole paragraph to sum this up like you all do. You don't want to pay the money? Then stay the hell out of trouble.

grinder48
2051
Points
grinder48 11/15/09 - 06:46 am
0
0
there will always be
Unpublished

there will always be differences between people with money and people without regarding the outcome of events. If you make everything the same w/o regards to ability to pay, you have socialism. Get an education, work, and make money, pay your fines. or buy a car. or a house. Don't work, don't make money, you'll be excused from paying fines, given a house, a car, etc.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 11/15/09 - 07:15 am
0
0
When you make good choices in

When you make good choices in life and make the sacrifices necessary to gain a measure of financial flexibility, (education/income/budget) and operate within the confines of the law, all of this bleeding heart b.s. becomes moot. The struggles of the county and state to deal with those that don't recognize the reason to operate within the law or don't recognize the responsibility of paying ones debts or operating within a budget, are easy to second guess. The same old social question seems to come up, "who will be responsible for those that refuse to be responsible for themselves?" Or the politically incorrect question,"if you become a ward of the state, do your rights and privileges change?"

halffull
0
Points
halffull 11/15/09 - 07:18 am
0
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This is a long overdue

This is a long overdue revelation. This kind of setup lends itself to the revolving door that we see with criminals. The goal of the private company rightly so is to make money, so by any legal means necessary. The way this place makes money is keeping criminals criminal. If you don't have the monthly payment and don't show up they suspend the license. Get stopped in the wrong neighborhood; back in jail, make bail, new fine added, and it is perpetual.
We see who the CEO is but who are the stockholders? Are they judges and lawyers who feed the system.
There has got to be a better way!!!

jericojones
0
Points
jericojones 11/15/09 - 07:21 am
0
0
If you can't do the time,

If you can't do the time, don't do the crime--simple!

afadel
547
Points
afadel 11/15/09 - 07:27 am
0
0
The Reagan-Gingrich-Bush war

The Reagan-Gingrich-Bush war on the poor, welfare to the rich continues in Augusta, GA.

JohnQPublic
5
Points
JohnQPublic 11/15/09 - 07:42 am
0
0
I'm all for fines if someone

I'm all for fines if someone breaks the law but Sentinel is setting them up for futher failure and jailtime by tacking on all those extra costs. Also, if the county is making $3.4 million from fines, in addition to the company profiting too, it won't end. It's too big of a money maker. The answer is to keep your nose clean and stay out of trouble and stay out of court! And hello, poor people DO have the ability to not get in trouble with the law in the first place!

nofrills
0
Points
nofrills 11/15/09 - 07:46 am
0
0
It’s not that simple just to

It’s not that simple just to not do the crime, you can get busted for crossing the street or I guess you never had an ex lie about you... The system needs to be fixed; they have no dispute resolution so if you question what they are doing you can be rearrested. You not allowed to question them or you will be arrested. It’s a money pit that needs to be fixed fast and not forgotten. I have been there for a speeding ticket and because this young man was twenty dollars short they were going to put him in jail until he could reach a friend or family member to come pay in his behalf. Thank god I was able to give him the money to stop this strong arm robbery. The problem with that was I was next in line to pay and boy did that woman treat me like crap but I had a pocketful of twenties and made sure she saw it. I told her she should be ashamed and she wanted to have me arrested for disorderly conduct. I wonder how many poor people have been trapped like the young man in front of me. Fix the problem or be voted out in 2010. You have been served warning by the people….

jericojones
0
Points
jericojones 11/15/09 - 07:47 am
0
0
afadel, yeah right, haven't

afadel, yeah right, haven't you heard, those people have been gone. Maybe you need to start about 2006.

jericojones
0
Points
jericojones 11/15/09 - 07:49 am
0
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Seems a large number of the

Seems a large number of the violators are the "poor" or maybe a better term "entitlement" crowd????

JohnTaurus
0
Points
JohnTaurus 11/15/09 - 07:54 am
0
0
There is no one that hasn't

There is no one that hasn't broken the law at some time. The fortunate never got caught and became judges, lawyers, police, etc.

freespeech
0
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freespeech 11/15/09 - 07:56 am
0
0
It is not true that a

It is not true that a probation officer can issue an arrest warrant, only a JUDGE can. If someone can't afford to pay and don't have a mile long history of crime that can ask the judge for community service instead to reduce fines. The probation officer ONLY enforces what the JUDGE ordered. People that break the laws of our land and do crime always want to place blame on others. Probation officers are only doing a job (that means working!) that the state doesn't want to do. They do not have any arrest powers or powers to impose fines, only the courts do that.

nofrills
0
Points
nofrills 11/15/09 - 08:08 am
0
0
You must have never been down

You must have never been down at the courthouse to make comments like that freespeech. They have their own network to expedite whatever they want. If they want a warrant for you they call the police to come get you then while you’re sitting there being held by a officer of the law they go get the warrant. Now if you’re in the pay your fine line in the courthouse then they just say go sit on the bench and they will get back to you and then they go to the judge’s office and get the warrant signed. I was there and heard every word they told this young man and nothing about payment arrangements. They have their own system worked out.

jericojones
0
Points
jericojones 11/15/09 - 08:15 am
0
0
nofrills, how much was your

nofrills, how much was your fine? I do believe the probation fee is a racket, but this article was not about a proation company. It is about a law. However, what does one recommend for these repeat offenders? My answer is, don't break the law!!

CobaltGeorge
175104
Points
CobaltGeorge 11/15/09 - 08:21 am
0
0
Only when poor people learn

Only when poor people learn or realize that the laws of this land apply to them also and stop breaking them, will debates like this end. "The Law is The Law" and not a racial issue. Period.

UncleBill
6
Points
UncleBill 11/15/09 - 08:23 am
0
0
Yes it is an unfortuante

Yes it is an unfortuante situation for those who can't pay. Yes if they stayed out of trouble in the first place they wouldn't have the problem. The private probation system exists so that the state (read that to mean taxpayers) don't have to pay the expenses. Seems I recall as a youth, in a different time and state, the rule was when the judge slammed the gavel you paid the fine or went to jail right then. So if you, your family or friends didn't fork over the cash to the clerk, off you went to the cooler. We could do that again. They could sit in jail until someone couged up the cash. Problem is that costs the tax payers money; so who's gonna pay in the long run?

nofrills
0
Points
nofrills 11/15/09 - 08:28 am
0
0
This kid was only 19 and came

This kid was only 19 and came from a good family that happens to be poor. He caught a speeding ticket in a work zone and tried to fight it by saying it was night time and nobody was working. The judge hit him with a 350.00 fine, 4 points and didn’t bat an eyelid. I had a 55 in a 35 ticket but made a deal before court with the officer to reduce it to 50.00 and no points. The kid had 330.00 to pay and because he was short they were going to detain him and give him one year of probation at 35.00 a month and 12 months to pay his fine off. I felt this kid was being strong armed by the law and quickly stuck my nose in where it didn’t belong and gave the kid a twenty. This made the lady at the desk crazy. I was threatened and talked to like I was the enemy of the state. It’s a racket that needs fixing. As far as repeat offenders I am open for suggestions but this kid was trapped and not a repeat offender

JohnQPublic
5
Points
JohnQPublic 11/15/09 - 08:32 am
0
0
Nofrills, Conner was not

Nofrills, Conner was not crossing the street! The charge was, "Ms. Conner said she felt trapped by the system in 2007 when she got a ticket for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk." She almost ran someone over! There is a big difference.

UrbanMeyerHater
2
Points
UrbanMeyerHater 11/15/09 - 08:41 am
0
0
Hey, Justus, dont do the

Hey, Justus, dont do the crime if you cant do the time.

nofrills
0
Points
nofrills 11/15/09 - 08:48 am
0
0
I agree but the story is on

I agree but the story is on private probation punish the poor and I was giving a true story and agreeing the system needs fixing. I got away with my ticket because I had money on the spot. This kid who has a dad oversea and a mom working to pay the bills is not a bad kid. I have met the family and they are really good people. The son is a good student at ASU but a young man who loves driving as many of us did when we were young. He agrees he made a mistake and agrees he should pay the fine. I disagree how the system was handling it. Adding 420.00 of debt to a kid who is 20.00 short is robbery!

JohnQPublic
5
Points
JohnQPublic 11/15/09 - 08:52 am
0
0
"I got away with my ticket

"I got away with my ticket because I had money on the spot." Lousy mentality. You didn't "get away" with anything. You paid a fine for breaking the law.

CobaltGeorge
175104
Points
CobaltGeorge 11/15/09 - 08:52 am
0
0
There is no doubt that Ms

There is no doubt that Ms Conner felt in her mind, she was being unjustly charged and felt it was a racist action. The $140.00 fine would have been the same for anybody else that broke this law. You mean to tell me that Ms Conner did not have 7 friends who would do without their "Frils" for one day that could have loan $20.00 each to help her pay the fine, It would all have been history then. No, it much better to have a big issue with name calling, Right.

RushLimbuttbubba
0
Points
RushLimbuttbubba 11/15/09 - 08:54 am
0
0
Cbolt...What is the diference

Cbolt...What is the diference when "people with money" or "rich People" commit crimes and " They do commit crimes" ? What problems do they cause? Who is paying for the Bernie Madoffs of the country? What are your thoughts you can share? Thanks!

Buttbubba

John Locke
354
Points
John Locke 11/15/09 - 08:57 am
0
0
....sniff, sniff, "The

....sniff, sniff, "The Reagan-Gingrich-Bush war on the poor, welfare to the rich continues in Augusta, GA.Posted by afadel" WHAAAAA!!! sniff, sniff, WHAAAA!!. Everybody is mean to me, WHAAA!!!, I just took some stuff cause I didn't have money, WHAAA, that's not fair!! sniff, sniff, WHAAAA, that person should have stayed out of the cross walk so I could drive my way WHAAA, sniff, sniff.....that's not fair!

nofrills
0
Points
nofrills 11/15/09 - 08:59 am
0
0
I see I cant pick a jury of

I see I cant pick a jury of my peers here so I bid you all a good day!

CobaltGeorge
175104
Points
CobaltGeorge 11/15/09 - 09:06 am
0
0
Yes, "rich People" like

Yes, "rich People" like Bernie Madoffs who are [filtered word]humans do commit crimes and even have the ones he destroyed pay for his support is not right. I think Billions of dollars is not the same apples to apples as $140.00.

jericojones
0
Points
jericojones 11/15/09 - 09:12 am
0
0
Uncle Bill, put them on a

Uncle Bill, put them on a chain gang cleaning the road ways, public parks and other public areas. That way, they have to pay for their keep!

jericojones
0
Points
jericojones 11/15/09 - 09:15 am
0
0
nofrills, I know he

nofrills, I know he appreciated tghe 20, but did he learn a lesson? Furthermore, I am sure he had time to raise the money between the ticket and court day. Appears he wanted to fight the ticket and didn't come prepared to fight it nor pay if he lost. This is the problem with youth today!

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