Tag Archives: SoL

Freedom Fridays and a talk handout on debt remission for justice?

The judicial system considered most of my ancestors to be legal property. As the descendant of slaves who are often presumed to have had less difficulty than others, due to our light complexion, I look at various ways to handle inter-generational wealth, or the lack thereof, and I wonder how to adjust our need for Truth, Reconciliation and restitution to take into account the realities of the various levels of access to resources that different groups of people had (or didn’t have). Racism had its effects, and debt-build up did too, for all poor people.

The ability to build up wealth and pass that on to one’s children requires a fair judicial system that allows one to both build and keep wealth, and then to keep that wealth within a family group safely. Unlike, say, Tulsa, OK in 1921, or many other cases of murder for Black wealth. In studying the book of Deuteronomy, ch. 15, I noticed that the Bible also has much to say about helping people build and keep their wealth.

First, a fair judicial system is a must.

Second, debts cannot be allowed to build up to far for too long.

From a class I taught in DC, in 2012.  (pdf DCBM20AugustReehClass here…)

Shira Jones, DC Beit Midrash, DC JCC, 20 August 2012, Parashat Shoftim
Community is built pillar by pillar, and one of those pillars, as we see this week in this
week´s Parashah, Parashat Shoftim, is having a judiciary system which is fair and
impartial, handing down rules which are applied equally under law, yet expansive enough
to make exemptions when necessary (for instance, in the 6th aliyah, where newlyweds,
conscientious objectors and other young men are excused from going to war).
▪ Na’aseh ve Nishmah: {Laws = formal rules; Minhagim = informal
norms} Shoftim
▪ Rewards and consequences of unity and cooperation vs. separation from
the community: {holding the mountain over our heads} Shavuot
▪ Consensus based buy in from all of the people: {Every Jewish Neshamah
was there}
▪ Intergenerational endurance: {“Na’aseh ve Nishmah”} Parashat Re´eh
Some sources of each of the four pillars where discussed in last year´s Shavuot class,
notes for which are available upon request. We will focus today on the 4th pillar, from
Parashat Re´eh, that of Intergenerational endurance.
One major prerequisite for building lasting community is solving the problem of
short-term insolvency, and also preventing long-term building up of, as the Etz Haim
commentary on this parashah puts it, “a permanent underclass” of impoverished members
of the community. The Biblical mechanism for this is a regular Remission of Debt,
which is commanded Dvarim ch. 15.
Every seven years loans are forgiven
Loans, we learned earlier in Bahar, Lev. 25, must be made interest free to fellow Jews
An interesting repetition in Devarim 15:8 -openly open your hand to him
Why the redundancy? There are two sides to giving a loan
1. Short term financial help
2. long term community responsibility to
a. help the person make a sustainable living
b. create equitable structures that prevent neediness
Loan forgiveness and lending are short term solutions
Structural equity is the long term solution
Time Banking is one example of part of that long term solution
1. interest free, egalitarian equitable structure
2. interconnect various communities
3. since a person can donate time adn withdraw that time later, it gives along term
incentive for each person to contribute to the community and have that time valued and
recognized by the community.
4. over time this strengthens individuals and communities
Thus lending is short term, while Time Banks is part of Teachng a man to fish and
feeding him for a lifetime.
Community and the building of community solidly at the center of Jewish practice.
Chodesh Tov L´Elul, and Gamar Chatima Tovah, posted Teach !   ShiraDest, 8 March, 12016 HE,
Shira Destinie Jones, Mphil, DC “Community Cooperation” Singing Tour Guide

So, it turns out that 1.) debt forgiveness is an old idea, and 2.) a fair judicial system is related to debt, both short and long-term, and all three need to be considered together as part of an inter-related justice system.  Today, the criminal justice system adds to the debt of many people who were incarcerated rather than educated, and even more people, White and Black, suffer from lack of learning via default judgements on Expired Debts (debts past their Statutes of Limitations, or SoL), and medical or health-care related debt (another reason that Europe has higher upward mobility than the USA).

More on my continuing striving with justice, both judicial and economic, next time:

Yassas,   γεια σας!    Salût !  Nos vemos!  Görüşürüz!     ! שָׁלוֹם

Action Items in support of freedom for all that you can take right now:

1.) Search for two different sources to translate the word “Never Again” into your favorite language.

2.) Share your thoughts on #1 with us in the comments, here, please.

3.) Write a blog post or tweet that discusses racism, tells a good story, or just makes a difference. I’m working on that through my historical fantasy #WiP, #WhoByFireIWill. Once published, donate one or more copies to your local public library, as I intend to do.

Dear Readers, any additional ideas toward learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning as part of on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind? 

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!, Teach and Learn (Lesson Plans)!


Preptober (October, Prep for NaNoWriMo!)

2020 CE, which is 12020 HE

(The previous lesson plan since this post, and the most recent lesson plan…)

Tr Tuesdays is now “True compassion” Tuesdays, on legal & financial self-defense, from Dr. King’s words we all should have read back in 1968 (or at the age to ‘get it’…) during Sukkot/Tabernacles…

Predatory Landlords, Debt, and Repairing the World

Here is an unfortunately still relevant post on tenants being evicted via bogus service papers, in the District, now, despite MD’s 2016 update requiring more evidence to file against debtors, apparently:


Dr. King said that,

“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. ”

The question is how does such “restructuring” happen?

Following up on my earlier post regarding debt as a problem of financial self-defense, particularly in the case of apartment renters who are forced to live in a lemon or face Breach of Lease, Biblical Law may have something to say about the long term consequences of artificially pushing people into debt (talking about otherwise frugal folks who do not spend profligately).

I respectfully submit that we have had one possible tool in our hands for several thousand years, and it may need to be examined in the context of our present debt crisis -the release of debts, both short term and long term, at different times.  Below is a handout from one of several talks I gave on the relationship between debt and community building, this one from the book of Deuteronomy: DCBM20August_Reeh_Class.

AfterNote: while debts do “expire” at different times in each state and DC according to the type of debt, only two states actually “extinguish” expired debts, and only Maryland prohibits lawsuits being brought against debtors for already expired debts!              Lawmakers in every country need to act to prevent this sort of financial and emotional bullying (in the case of landlords, offering apartments which do not suit, and then reneging on promises to fix issues, while in other cases, offering credit knowing that those who accept are at a relative disadvantage).
In the USA, each state regulates how long one can be sued for a debt, but even then, if the debtor does not know to defend, or is unable for some reason to go to court even if h/she knows, oftentimes creditors sue illegally and win. Now this cannot happen in MD, but the original creditors are still free to harass up to and beyond the Statute of Limitation (‘expiration’) of the debt.

May we look to our collective good, as one Human Race, and to the potential of each and every Human Being.

Read, Write, Dream, Walk !

my resume: JonesPolicyResumePublic
June 26th, 12017 HE


So, it turns out that ‘gutter service,’ aka tossing the papers in the gutter and telling the court the person was served, still happens despite what I read about some jurisdictions raising the bar for filings, and that default judgements are still rendered on faulty bases.   This is where both knowledge of the laws around specific debt-related issues, by locality, and the transportation and health to get there are critical. 

More on my continuing striving with legal and financial self-defense education next week, friends:

Yassas,   γεια σας!    Salût !  Nos vemos!  Görüşürüz!     ! שָׁלוֹם

Action Items in support of literacy and legal/financial self-defense that you can take right now:

1.) Search for two different resources to tell the SoL in your state for the 4 types of debt,

2.) Share them with us in the comments, here, please.

3.) Share your thoughts on how you found and whether or why (or why not) you trust each of the resources you found,

4.) Write a blog post or tweet about it, or just, tell a good story, that makes a difference.

Dear Readers, any additional ideas toward learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning as part of on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind? 

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!, Teach and Learn (Lesson Plans)!


September, 12020 HE

(The current lesson plan since this post, and the second most recent lesson plan…)

Mean Monday? Invisible Children vulnerable to invisible debts: Action Items to help

Orphans like Çilek deserve protection, especially if they cannot do magic to protect themselves!

(from free book Invisible Children, KARA:)

“In your Child Protection System is there a volunteer program from a local law school that assigns a volunteer attorney to an abused child? I’ve met some well- meaning and bright attorneys who genuinely care for their clients this way. If not, are there adequate public legal representation for abandoned children?”

Kids who grow up ‘invisible,’ especially those without stable and functional families who protect and give them middle class cultural capital, like dinner table discussion of financial laws and mutual funds, are especially vulnerable to predatory lenders and debt collectors.

Until there are enough pro bono lawyers giving free legal and financial clinics, the rest of us can help in these ways:

1.)  ask local community colleges to offer free legal and financial clinics on your state’s statutes of limitations, contract and debt related laws, and consumer protection laws.

2.)  ask your law-makers to prohibit law suits on expired (aka Time Barred) debts.

3.)   ask your law-makers to lower the Statutes of Limitations on verbal and written contracts, which are often how kids unknowingly get into debt and end up in collections.

4.)  Write your own story (or novel) showing a world where kids get the protection they need, in multiple ways…

Please share your ideas for increasing Legal and Financial Literacy and opportunity for ALL of us!

This post is dedicated to my Great Great grandparents Wayne Anthony, murdered for succeeding, and his wife Maude Eleanor West Manzilla, who never gave up her legal suit to clear his name of the suicide charge by the life insurance company, and worked valiantly to keep her family together. Their descendants continue their work.

Quotes for a related post came from a recent ProPublica article co-published with The New Yorker.

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness, & #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4:
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !

#PublicDomainInfrastructure #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19

September, 12020 HE

Quand t’es amené au cour pour rien avoir fait… When you are brought to court for no crime…

Click here for English…

“-Architecte Numérobis !

-Oh !
C’est pas la peine de me pousser !”

… ça s’appelle (aux états unis) un “Body Attachment” -ce qui permet de t’envoyer au tribunal sans avoir commis un délit. Et le problème avec ça c’est que il y à plein des procès contre le démunies mais pas contre les riches. Souvent, les jugements par défaut sont obtenus sur les dettes qui sont bien au-delà de leurs statuts de limitations, mais les accusés ne pouvaient pas se défendre par un manque de savoir ou un manque de capacité à se défendre, et donc perdu soit par défaut, malgré la poursuite étant techniquement illégal. En suite ça mène à encore plus des soucies d’argent et même en prison, sûr tout quand on à des diversions pour ce qui peuvent payer, mais des procès et aux prison pour ce qui n’ont pas les moyens de payer pour éviter les procès. Après ça, le système de justice criminel a son propre montage des dettes, encore pire.

Des solutions possibles: Qu’on fait pas amené au tribunal pour des dettes, qu’après un temps limite, il n’y aura pas des procès pour des dettes, et sûr tout pas de paiements pour éviter les procès légaux. Et comment se fait-t-on pour éviter tous ces maux ? On incite les gouvernements de donner un Revenu de Base a tout le monde, augmenté par des Monnaies Locales. Et ça, c’est fait par la coopération humain. Même la Reine ne le peut pas nier.

“-Architecte Numérobis !

You don’t need to push me!”

… that is called (in the United States) a “Body Attachment” -which lets you be taken into custody without having committed a crime. The problem with that is that there is a greatly disproportionate rate of civil justice system debt collection litigation against the poor, rather than against wealthier debtors. Often default judgments are obtained on debts which are well past their Statutes of Limitations, but defendants were unable, due to lack of knowledge or lack of ability (illness, fear, no time off from work, lack of transportation, etc…) to defend, and thus lost by default, despite the lawsuit being technically illegal to begin with. This can lead to further financial problems, and even to jail time for those who end up in the Criminal Justice system. Particularly unjust is Pre-Trial Diversion, also known as Pre-Trial Intervention. Those who can afford to pay for Pre-Trial Diversions get all charges dropped, while those who cannot afford to pay go to trial and even to prison. To make matters worse, the criminal justice system has its own structure of debts on top of civil debts.

Some possible solutions to this arbitrary abuse of our justice system are: abolishing “Body Attachment” in the case of civil debt judgments, prohibiting lawsuit filings on time-barred debts, and above all, eliminating payment for Pre-Trial Diversion/Intervention. But how can we potentially prevent all of these problems at their source? We could encourage governments to provide a universal Basic Income, even if only in a Local Currency, potentially backed by partial acceptance for payment of local taxes, as many municipalities have done. This provides a floor on poverty, a floor on desperation, and a chance at avoiding the civil debts that often presage criminal justice system involvement, in our uneven set of systems. Even the Queen could not deny that.

Read, Write, Dream, Walk !


February 20th, 12018 HE