Home Loans for Poor Leave Some Feeling Misled By Michael Kanell The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Home Loans for Poor Leave Some Feeling Misled
By Michael Kanell
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
August 2, 2016

Al Butts and his wife thought they were becoming homeowners when, in 2011, they moved into their Decatur, Ga., residence.

“It sounded too good to be true, because it was such an achievement for me,” Butts said. “They said, ‘This is your house.’ ”

The too-good-to-be-true part could be right.

The Butts didn’t have a mortgage loan on the home but rather something called a “land contract,” a little-known form of lending marketed to people who can’t get regular financing.

People with a land contract put money down, make regular payments plus interest, and pay taxes and insurance. If they make payments all the way to the end of the contract, they will own the home. If they don’t they can be evicted and lose everything they put into it.

That’s what could happen to Butts and his wife, who this summer got an eviction threat after some late payments.

“It’s a 30-year contract. You could make payments every month and lose it in year 29,” said Kristin Tullos of Decatur Legal Aid, which is representing the couple as they try to stay in the home.

Georgia, like most states, does not regulate land contracts, which are also known as “contract for deed.” Critics generally do not argue that they are illegal. But they say companies offering them target credit-starved, minority neighborhoods and deceive consumers. The deals typically carry interest rates well above those for mortgages.

Fueled by housing crisis

The practice was fueled by the housing crisis, which put millions of homes on the market at huge discounts while also savaging consumers’ credit ratings.

No one has recent numbers, but 3.5 million people bought a home through a land contract in 2009, according to the U.S. Census. “Evidence suggests that land contracts are making a resurgence in the wake of the foreclosure crisis,” a recent report from the National Consumer Law Center said.

Equity firms and real estate companies bought thousands of depressed properties as investments, renting them until the market made a resale lucrative.

A small group of companies have added “contract for deed” deals as a profitable variation aimed at minorities, according to the group’s report.

Dallas-based Harbour Portfolio Advisors — the name on the Butts’ deed — is one of the largest with an estimated 6,700 properties in five states.

Calls from the AJC to Harbour over the past several weeks were not returned, but earlier this year, a lawyer for Harbour told the New York Times that the company’s business model is “to purchase unproductive residential properties and sell them to other people who will make them productive again.”

Local attorneys say there’s no indication Harbour set out to exploit minorities. But in choosing low-income, foreclosure-afflicted areas and appealing to people who cannot get traditional mortgages, Harbour ends up with a clientele that is largely black.

In metro Atlanta, Harbour had 94 properties, in Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb, Gwinnett, Clayton and Rockdale counties, the report said. “The common theme is that land contracts were being sold predominantly to borrowers of color.”

Shut out of mortgages

From the 1930s to 1950s, when blacks were shut out of many mortgage programs, land contracts were often the most common form of home-buying. But the contracts did not fulfill their promise then — and still don’t, the Law Center report concluded.

“Then, as now, homeownership through these deals was often a mirage, and buyers lost their homes, their down payments, their sweat equity, and the money they paid for repairs, maintenance, insurance, and interest,” the report said.

For depressed areas, the impact is not all bad — it puts people into houses that might otherwise be vacant, said Deirdre Oakley, sociology professor and housing expert at Georgia State University.

But for people who aspire to own a home, it isn’t a good deal due to the risk and interest charged, she said.

A big motive for buying a home is to build equity — to gain wealth as the property value rises. With a contract for deed, the consumer only gains if he or she completes the full payment schedule and becomes the owner.

“They are basically like renters but also paying interest and insurance and taxes and paying for repairs,” Oakley said. “You are giving them a chance to own a home, but you are not giving them much of a chance.”

For the deal to be at all fair, customers need to know exactly what they are getting into, said Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow, a national real estate research firm.

“They target people who are less informed. They are often taken advantage of,” she said.

Al Butts doesn’t claim to be blameless, but he feels misled.

‘Flim-flam from the git-go’

“I told them right up front I was on a fixed income, and I have made up every payment I’ve been late on,” he said. “The way I think of it, it was a flim-flam from the git-go. It was like we were their cash-cow.”

Irene Cole and her husband thought they were buying an East Point home from Harbour in 2013 for $49,000. They put $1,500 down, agreed to a 9.9 interest rate on the rest and started paying $605.92 a month.

“We were told that the house was ours,” Cole said.

Their land contract was sold, however, and they dealt with a series of other companies. They had a disagreement with one about which bank account the company was taking money from — when it came from the wrong account, there wasn’t enough money.

Later, they missed some payments but say they weren’t sure who to send a check to.

Now, they’ve received notice that their house is scheduled for a foreclosure hearing. They are working with attorneys at Legal Aid to fight the foreclosure.

They first sought to refinance through Home Safe Georgia, a state program aimed at helping people avoid foreclosure.

“But when we went to Home Safe Georgia,” Cole said, “they said we can’t help you because you don’t own the property.”
© 2016 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency

Supreme Court refuses to hear challenge to Connecticut, New York weapons ban

The Supreme Court is allowing the different States to pass and uphold gun ban laws.

Supreme Court refuses to hear challenge to Connecticut, New York weapons ban

Washington Post Report

June 20 at 9:51 AM

The Supreme Court declined Monday to review bans on a lengthy list of firearms that New York and Connecticut have classified as “assault weapons,” the latest example of the justices turning down an opportunity to elaborate on an individual’s right to gun ownership.

With an emotional debate about gun control reigniting across the street at the Capitol, the justices without comment said they would not review lower-court decisions upholding the laws.

Connecticut’s ban was expanded shortly after a gunman used one of the military-style semiautomatic weapons on the list to kill 20 students and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown in 2012.

The decision Monday was not a surprise, as the justices have previously declined to review other lower-court decisions that uphold bans passed by cities and states. Maryland, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and New, Jersey as well as many cities and towns, have similar laws. None of the legal challenges to them have been successful in lower courts.

These prohibitions were enacted after a federal ban expired in 2004. Attempts to revive the federal ban have failed, although advocates are trying in the wake of the massacre at an Orlando nightclub that left 49 victims dead.

What to know about assault-style rifles

The Supreme Court declined Monday to review bans on a lengthy list of firearms that New York and Connecticut have classified as “assault weapons,” the latest example of the justices turning down an opportunity to elaborate on an individual’s right to gun ownership.

With an emotional debate about gun control reigniting across the street at the Capitol, the justices without comment said they would not review lower-court decisions upholding the laws.

Connecticut’s ban was expanded shortly after a gunman used one of the military-style semiautomatic weapons on the list to kill 20 students and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown in 2012.

The decision Monday was not a surprise, as the justices have previously declined to review other lower-court decisions that uphold bans passed by cities and states. Maryland, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and New, Jersey as well as many cities and towns, have similar laws. None of the legal challenges to them have been successful in lower courts.

These prohibitions were enacted after a federal ban expired in 2004. Attempts to revive the federal ban have failed, although advocates are trying in the wake of the massacre at an Orlando nightclub that left 49 victims dead.

What to know about assault-style rifles

Play Video2:21
Orlando shooter Omar Mateen used the assault-style rifle Sig Sauer MCX to kill at least 49 people, authorities say. Here’s what you need to know about the guns some are calling “the gold standard for mass murder.” (Editor’s note: This video has been updated with more specific information.) (Gillian Brockell/The Washington Post)

Like other laws, Connecticut’s ban includes semiautomatic guns and high-capacity magazines, covers popular weapons such as AR-­15s and AK-­47s, and names more than 180 weapons that cannot be sold.

But the individuals and organizations challenging the law said the state is an “outlier” in banning weapons that are popular and protected in the rest of the country.

“In truth, the odd assortment of firearms Connecticut calls ‘assault weapons’ are mechanically identical to any other semiautomatic firearm — arms that, as no one disputes, are exceedingly common and fully protected by the Second Amendment,” the challengers said in their petition to the court.

Gun rights advocates have urged the court to review such bans, saying that they violate the court’s 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which said individuals have a right to gun ownership for self-protection.

After recognizing the individual right for the first time in Heller, which covered the federal enclave of the District, the court made clear in a subsequent case that state and local governments, like Congress, could not prohibit individual gun ownership.

But the court has not shown any interest since then in elaborating on what exactly that right covers. And in the process, the justices have passed up the chance to scrutinize lower-court decisions that have upheld the laws banning certain weapons as well as laws requiring tight restrictions on those who can legally carry guns outside their homes.

When the Supreme Court declined last December to review a lower-court decision upholding such a ban, Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia wrote that a similar law flouts the court’s Second Amendment jurisprudence. Scalia died in February.


So, what it boils down to, is we all just sit on our happy little asses, and let them continue to do this, because some of us are ignorant enough not to realize that any and every semi-automatic, will soon fit into the category of “assault weapons”, the country is lost.

Has anyone actually heard what the govt. considers an assault weapon?  I know, that every time I hear reference to it, in the same sentence, the speaker references “semi-automatic”.  In reality, an assault weapon, is one used by our military.  It is an automatic weapon, not a semi-automatic weapon.  I could be wrong, but don’t think  so.

If I hear one more idiot reference assault weapon and deer hunting, I will scream!  They have already decided that any semi-automatic is an assault weapon.  So what the hell do you plan to kill a deer with?  A 22 rifle?  Anything and everything that has a magazine, a drum, or any other device to feed the weapon, is an assault weapon.  Before you know it, the good ole reliable six shooter will be an assault weapon.

It is now time to really think about it.  The US Supreme Court has bailed on the United States Constitution.  That is reality.  Just like the reality about the Orlando shooter, was being played with by the FBI for more than a year.  Finally, the guy went for it.  Whose idea was it, FBI’s or the shooters?

So what’s going to be boy, yes or no?

 

Amazing What You Can Dig Up On the Web. The web.archive.org website has some really cool stuff to read!

Pages tagged “georgia”

https://web.archive.org/web/20150220025509/http://www.stateintegrity.org/tags/georgia?page=2

Opinion: Ethics enforcement is not a partisan issue
POSTED ON STATE INTEGRITY IN THE NEWS · MAY 02, 2012 10:06 AM

State integrity news for Georgia, from the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

On Wednesday, the Senate Rules Committee will meet to consider evidence that state Sen. Don Balfour, Republican chairman of the Senate Rules Committee and one of the most powerful people in the Legislature, has also filed repeated false claims for travel reimbursements and committee-related pay.

Ethics reform and ethics enforcement is not and should not be a partisan issue. And while neither party is immune, it is the party that holds power that is more likely to be seduced and tempted, and also more likely to feel more or less immune by virtue of the authority that they wield.

Read the rest of the story at the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
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Georgia Gov. Deal signs new open records law
POSTED ON STATE INTEGRITY IN THE NEWS · APRIL 18, 2012 9:32 AM
State integrity news for Georgia, from the Athens Banner-Herald:

Gov. Nathan Deal on Tuesday signed into law a sweeping overhaul of the state’s open-records rules, touting the measure as among several legislative successes from this year’s General Assembly session.

The measure, which takes effect July 1, reduces the cost of obtaining public documents and stiffens penalties for illegally withholding public information. But it narrows the period of time when the public can scrutinize university president candidates.

Read the rest of the story at the Athens-Banner Herald.
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Georgia legislators got $867,000 worth of gifts from lobbyists
POSTED ON STATE INTEGRITY IN THE NEWS · APRIL 09, 2012 10:54 AM

State integrity news for Georgia, from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s analysis of lobbyist disclosures for the legislative session just ended finds that lobbyists spent $866,747 — the equivalent of $9,525 per day — on gifts for lawmakers from Jan. 1 through March 31.

This rain of meals, tickets, trips and golf outings fell even as a statewide coalition called the Georgia Alliance for Ethics Reform pressed lawmakers to limit lobbyists’ gifts to $100 per event.

Read the rest of the story at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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Georgia ethics bill “gutted” by legislature
POSTED ON STATE INTEGRITY IN THE NEWS · MARCH 29, 2012 10:18 AM


State integrity news for Georgia, from the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

When this newspaper noted last week that a new report judged Georgia to have the weakest anti-corruption laws in the nation, state Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, pushed out a photo of the front page headline via Twitter. On Tuesday, the Senate Rules Committee gutted a measure sponsored by McKoon that merely paired a few lawmakers with citizens interested in tougher ethics laws to form a study committee.

The civilians were stripped from the committee, and membership reshuffled to eliminate McKoon – a member of Common Cause at home.

Read the rest of the story at the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
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Georgia Ranks Dead Last in State-by-State Ethics Study: The View from Both Sides
POSTED ON STATE INTEGRITY IN THE NEWS · MARCH 20, 2012 3:59 PM · 1 REACTION


State Integrity news from Georgia from WABE:

On March 19th, the Center for Public Integrity released a state-by-state ranking of ethics laws and enforcement. The report was a joint project of CPI, Public Radio International, and Global Integrity. WABE’s Denis O’Hayer got in-depth reviews of the report from both sides: Jim Walls, the Atlanta-based journalist who compiled the Georgia report, and Rick Thompson, a former executive secretary of the State Ethics Commission.

Hear the discussion from WABE – Atlanta.
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Georgia ranks last in corruption prevention
POSTED ON STATE INTEGRITY IN THE NEWS · MARCH 19, 2012 9:41 PM


State integrity news for Georgia, from the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

A new report measuring states on the strength of their laws on public corruption and government openness ranks Georgia last in the nation, a grade state officials dismissed as a biased hit job.

Georgia scored at or near the bottom in a number of categories in the study, including conflict-of-interest laws for civil servants, enforcement of ethics rules and government procurement laws.

Read the rest of the story at the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
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Survey: Georgia last in U.S. ethics laws enforcement
POSTED ON STATE INTEGRITY IN THE NEWS · MARCH 19, 2012 2:10 PM · 1 REACTION
State Integrity news for Georgia from WABE:

Georgia ranks dead last in a major new state-by-state survey of ethics laws and enforcement. The State Integrity Investigation is a joint project of the Center for Public Integrity, Public Radio International, and Global Integrity.

The Georgia report was compiled by Jim Walls, a former editor of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution’s investigative team, who now writes his own blog, Atlanta Unfiltered. Walls sharply criticized the enforcement of the State’s ethics laws, including the 2010 measure written by Republican House Speaker David Ralston.

Hear more from WABE – Atlanta.
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Paying for accountability: Founding and funding a new ethics commission in Georgia
POSTED ON STATE INTEGRITY BLOG · FEBRUARY 08, 2012 3:02 PM
In 2011, the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission assessed $7 million worth of fines for campaign finance violations. But because the commission, formerly known as the Georgia State Ethics Commission, couldn’t afford to send out notices by certified mail, fines against politicians, officials, and parties were cut to a total of around $1 million.

The inability of the commission to pay for a service essential to its duties is, to Georgia Senator Doug Stoner (D-Smyrna), indicative of a larger issue. The disgust was obvious in Stoner’s voice as he explained how the state of Georgia gave up $6 million in revenue. “The fact that the ethics commission could not send out certified mail should tell you that we have a problem,” Stoner said.

In response, Stoner is proposing an overhaul package that would mean a dramatic upgrade in how the state polices its political spending.
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Read more
Georgia bill would reward government whistleblowers
POSTED ON STATE INTEGRITY IN THE NEWS · FEBRUARY 01, 2012 11:22 AM
Corruption news for Georgia, from the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

The Most Intriguing Bill of the Day award goes to HB 822, a hand-crafted, bipartisan bill that would give informers a financial incentive to rat out government fraud, whether in the state Medicaid program or in your local city hall.

Penalties would be “a civil penalty of not less than $5,500 and not more than $11,000 for each false statement or fraudulent claim, plus three times the amount of damages which the state or local government sustains.” Plus attorney fees. A private citizen – presumably not part of the fraud — can file an action, and if successful would “receive at least 15 percent but not more than 25 percent of the proceeds of the civil action or settlement of the claim.”

Read the rest of the story at the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
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Georgia judge Amanda Williams resigns to avoid ethics charges

POSTED ON STATE INTEGRITY IN THE NEWS · DECEMBER 20, 2011 2:09 PM
Corruption news for Georgia, from This American Life:

Judge Amanda Williams, who was the subject of our episode “Very Tough Love” has announced that she’ll resign from the bench as of January 2nd. Because she’s stepping down, ethics charges brought against her by the state’s Judicial Qualifications Commission will be dropped.

Earlier this month, the Commission added two charges to the original 12 counts it filed in November. One of those counts accused Judge Williams (pictured, right) of allowing her lawyer in the case, John Ossick, to represent litigants in cases she was still presiding over from the bench. The other accused her of putting a man into drug court even though there were no drug charges against him, because he was the nephew of attorney Jim Bishop.

Read the rest of the story at This American Life.
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Atlanta Attorneys Are On a Roll For Disciplinary Action, Bout Time Some Get Caught Up in Their Crimes!

Two Lawyers Hit With Default Judgment in Suits by Clients

Greg Land, Daily Report

Robert Thompson JR Vert 201412121516
Atlanta Attorney Robert Thompson Jr.
John Disney/Staff

Two Georgia attorneys—both under suspension by the State Bar of Georgia—have defaulted on a 2013 suit filed by a Douglas County couple who say they paid the lawyers thousands of dollars to forestall foreclosure proceedings only to lose their home when neither lawyer performed any services.

One of the defendants is attorney Robert Thompson Jr., who was suspended earlier this year after failing to respond to an ongoing investigation by the bar’s disciplinary committee. Thompson also was arrested in February and charged with misappropriating $37,440 of a client’s funds; his then-attorney told the Daily Report he had paid back more than $30,000 of the money.

A criminal charge of theft by conversion is pending against Thompson in Fulton County Superior Court. The phone number for his firm, the Thompson Law Group, has been disconnected.

The other attorney, Rodd Walton, has no disciplinary record with the bar but is under suspension for nonpayment of dues. Walton was arrested in 2009 when he attempted to enter the Cobb County Courthouse with a loaded handgun on the day he was to attend a hearing concerning a motion for reconsideration after being ordered to pay a former client $43,000 in restitution and attorney fees.

When his 2009 arrest was reported in this newspaper, a website for Walton’s Legacy Law Group said he was a former deputy counsel for Glock Inc., the maker of the gun he was carrying when he was arrested. On Thursday there was no immediate response to a message left on Legacy’s phone system, and no email is listed for Walton with the bar.

In the Fulton County suit, Michael and Cindy Bentley’s pro se complaint said they fell behind on their mortgage and in October 2011 paid Walton $3,000 to fight foreclosure proceedings. Walton “did absolutely nothing” on their behalf, it said, and when they requested information on their case he demanded another $3,500.

The Bentleys refused and demanded their $3,000 back. Walton first agreed, then told them he would refund nothing, it said.

In March 2012, they retained Thompson for $5,750. He “did nothing for a full year,” then demanded $500 to file a complaint. Thompson filed the complaint but failed to respond to the mortgage bank’s motion to dismiss or to inform the Bentleys that it had been filed, according to their complaint.

The bank’s motion went unanswered, and the court granted it by default. The Bentleys’ house was foreclosed.

Neither lawyer responded to the Bentleys’ suit, and they too moved for a default judgment. According to an order entered Thursday by State Court Judge Patsy Porter, Thompson appeared at an Oct. 15 hearing on the default motion and said that he had filed an answer with the clerk but that it had not been uploaded to the court’s e-filing system.

Porter instructed Thompson to upload a copy of his answer, but he failed to do so, she wrote.

ENENews: “Fukushima fallout…Nearly triple the highest level reported anywhere on West Coast”

With TEPCO having finally given up fighting the onslaught of radiation pouring into the Pacific Ocean, and considering the breeder reactors were creating weapons grade plutonium, it ain’t over, and may never be over.  Our govt. don’t care enough to be honest with us.  Down the road, several years from now, when all of us, lying there dying from cancer, think back on it, we will put two and two together.  Some of us will anyway, and will know that the horrible death we are being put through, was the Japanese’s way of payback for nuking them!

Fukushima fallout on vegetation in South Florida exceeded gov’t notification limit by over 1,000% — Nearly triple the highest level reported anywhere on West Coast

Published: November 27th, 2014 at 8:39 am ET
By ENENews
http://enenews.com/radioactive-vegetation-south-florida-1000-above-nrc-reporting-level-due-fukushima-fallout

Florida Power & Light Company, St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant Units 1 & 2 (St. Lucie, FL) — 2011 Annual Radiological Environmental Operating Report, submitted to U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission:

BROADLEAF VEGETATION: Brazilian Pepper from location H59 — 10-20 miles S/SSE of reactors on south end of Hutchinson Island, [30 miles north of Palm Beach]

Iodine-131 on 22-Mar: 1,220 pCi/kg (wet weight)
Iodine-131 on 29-Mar: 605 pCi/kg
Iodine-131 on 06-Apr: 242 pCi/kg
Iodine-131 on 13-Apr: 136 pCi/kg
Iodine-131 on 20-Apr: 79 pCi/kg
Iodine-131 on 26-Apr: 45 pCi/kg
Iodine-131 on 03-May: 21 pCi/kg
Iodine-131 is “attributed to the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plants event. Elevated levels of radioiodine were measured through-out the U.S.”
NRC Reporting Level for Vegetation = 100 pCi/kg (wet weight)
H 59 J

NRC Reporting Level: “The concentration value in an environmental sample, if exceeded, which must be reported to the NRC.”
Veg CA

The highest I-131 level reported in vegetation from the West Coast is 462 pCi/kg in Central California. The March 22 South Florida sample is nearly triple that amount.

See also: Emergency radiation testing used at Democrat and Republican conventions after Fukushima; Also for Obama Inauguration — Seafood, meat, vegetables, milk, water checked for nuclear waste, while top officials agree to publicly downplay crisis — 80% of milk samples by Orlando, FL had ‘significant’ Cs-137

Published: November 27th, 2014 at 8:39 am ET
By ENENews
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OCCUPY.COM Expose Courts Blocking the Public From Sitting In On Trials In Georgia Courts, What Better Way to Show How Corrupt The Courts Are?

OCCUPY.COM EXPOSES GEORGIA’S COURTS DENYING THE PUBLIC ACCESS TO COURT PROCEEDINGS!

I am quite pleased that someone took notice. The Judges in Georgia are akin to little despots. No doubt, a Judge is God in their Courtroom, but they don’t have the right to Deny the public access, so that they can violate one’s Civil and Constitutional Rights while they sneakily do it.

accused flanked by attorneys at sentencing court

EXPOSED: GEORGIA’S COURTS ARE BREAKING THE LAW BY DENYING PUBLIC ACCESS
TUE, 9/24/2013 – BY TANYA GLOVER

Courtrooms aren’t just a place where justice is served and legal decisions are made. They are also a place for the public to go and see how the justice system works: people enjoy viewing trials and hearings, even if they have no personal stake in them. Viewing public trials is the public’s legal right.

However, revelations by a judicial oversight commission in Georgia show that numerous judges in the state, including some in Atlanta, are violating the law by denying public access to courtrooms in cases ranging from bail hearings to standard trials.

There are some cases in which closing courtrooms to the public is legal, and the circumstances for this are carefully outlined in official Georgia State documents that make the points for legality clear. But according to a recent report in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, investigations by the state’s judicial oversight commission found the practice of sealing off courtroom access widespread across Georgia — and in most cases, illegally.

Instead of typical open courts, there are now signs posted on courtroom doors stating access is denied to either the general public or specific groups of people, including kids. Bailiffs sometimes stand in place of the signs, blocking entry to the court despite people’s legal right to go in, said Robert Ingram, an attorney from Marietta, Ga., and chairman of the state’s Judicial Qualifications Commission.

“We’ve had our own investigators and commissioners go out and visit a courtroom and they have been greeted by a bailiff or a deputy sheriff and been told to state their business or otherwise they don’t need to be there,” Ingram said.

But why the closed rooms and bans on view judicial proceedings in the first place? Under Georgia’s law, closing off or banning someone from the courtroom can be done at a judge’s discretion. For instance, an unruly or disruptive person, whether child or adult, can be removed. Or there may be a case not considered proper for people under the age of 18 to attend.

More often, however, judges these days claim they are keeping out the public because of lack of space in the courtroom. One instance that put this closed court behavior in the spotlight was the jury selection for Andrea Sneiderman, in which DeKalb Superior Court Judge Gregory Adams lifted the public ban stating that people who wished to be present for the selection had the right to do so.

Seemingly arbitrary court closures by judges in the Peach State are nothing new. Back in 2011, Barbra Mobley, a DeKalb County State Court Judge, resigned after investigations were launched by the Judicial Qualifications Commission alleging that her court featured bailiffs questioning people illegally about why they wanted to observe the cases on the docket.

The phenomenon is occurring statewide. In both Crisp and Ben Hill counties, the Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) filed suit against the practice of closing courts to the public. In those counties, it’s been common that courts remain closed off even to the family members of both victims and the accused, other than their attendance at guilt pleas during the trials’ conclusions.

Further investigations have showed that closed courts are more common than first thought. According Gerry Weber of SCHR, this is causing a major problem with transparency. “A closed courtroom is one that is less accountable to the public. What is done behind closed doors can be different to what is done in the cold light of day,” he said.

Many judges are following the closed court lead, including Judge T. Jackson Bedford of the Fulton County Superior Court, Judge Clarence Seeliger of the DeKalb County Superior Court, and Judge Patsy Porter of Fulton State Court. Attempts by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to contact these servants of the people were unsuccessful, as were the attempts made by Occupy.com.

There are some positive signs as well, however. Judge Christopher Brasher of Fulton Superior Court says he was unaware that the practice of closing courts was occurring in his courtroom, and quickly put a stop to it. Brasher attributed the action to “overzealous deputies, who provide security and order.” He has since ordered that no one be keep out of the court, and that no signs excluding any specific group be put up without his written consent.

Judges Todd Markle and Robert McBurney, both of Fulton Superior Court, say they were not aware the public was being deterred with signs from entering their courts, and that this step was taken without their permission. However, there is debate about the judges’ knowledge of the situation. Each county sheriff’s department is responsible for court security, and Fulton County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Tracy Flanagan says they do not make or affix signs nor are signs permitted without the consent of the presiding judge.

The Judicial Qualifications Commission issued an opinion on the matter, from the commission’s director Jeff Davis who said massive amounts of complaints have come from the public about access to courtrooms. “Our efforts to educate judges about these issues have resulted in the type of response we would have anticipated,” said Davis.

“Judges are complying with the opinion and modifying practices accordingly. Since the issuance of our Opinion, we have been encouraged by the response of judges and the willingness to bring their courts into full compliance with the law.”

Corrupt Judge In DeKalb County Georgia Superior Court, Judge Cynthia J Becker In the Spotlight!

Of all the times I have bitched about DeKalb County and Georgia Courts being corrupt as hell, I ain’t the only one saying it!  I knew that GA Power bought and paid for Judge Becker in DeKalb County Superior Court.  It was a cut and dry case, we won.  GA Power claimed to have an easement over our property.  They had a document that had the wrong Land Lot and wrong District, the street was spelled wrong.  She would not rule on the document, and GA Power claimed that we wanted a ruling on the ultimate issue.  There was only one issue, whether or not they had a legal easement.  The didn’t.

In the end, Becker gave GA Power easement over our whole property, when we had been dismissed with prejudice two years before she ruled.  She only dismissed with prejudice because she would not grant recusal, and she ended up being named a defendant in our Federal Court case.  She can’t rule over our property, when there is no longer a Plaintiff, and the case was not an in rem case. I am curious how much she was paid to do all that she did to us.

Now… check this out:

From:  http://www.ajc.com/news/news/breaking-news/judge-in-dekalb-schools-corruption-case-responds-t/nh4f4/

Judge in DeKalb schools corruption case responds to criticism

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DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Becker on Monday acknowledged that she was the subject of a state judicial investigation but she also disputed allegations that she had met improperly with attorneys for a former school construction official and her ex-husband who were convicted of racketeering.

Becker has been at the center of a back-and-forth of rulings, orders and motions concerning her decisions in the misdemeanor case against former DeKalb School Superintendent Crawford Lewis and the felony cases against Pat Reid and architect Tony Pope, who prosecutors said manipulated school construction projects to enrich themselves. The State Court of Appeals has weighed in several times in response to orders Becker has issued and motions filed by District Attorney Robert James, who accused the judge of 14 years of improprieties.

It began when Becker refused to support a plea deal of 12 months probation in exchange for Lewis’ truthful testimony against Reid and Pope; Lewis struck the deal to avoid a possible felony racketeering case and decades in prison. Becker sentenced Lewis to jail, instead of probation, because she said she did not believe him, setting of the flurry of legal filings over the past year.

 

Last Friday, James wrote a filing with the Georgia Court of Appeals that Becker was biased and had tipped off defense lawyers before throwing out Reid’s and Pope’s convictions and ordering the two released from prison immediately. That would give Pope’s lawyers a chance to recall their notice of appeal and replace it with a motion for a new trial, which would keep the case under Becker’s control.

On Monday, in a statement emailed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Becker responded to some of those criticisms.

Becker said there was nothing improper about contacting Reid’s and Pope’s attorneys because she was only asking for information about where they were serving their prison sentences so she would know where to send the order that they be released pending a new trial.

Becker overturned their convictions because she said they were based on testimony she thought was untruthful, but the state Court of Appeals followed up by saying her order should not be enforced until a hearing.

In her statement, Becker ticked off the allegations raised in the DA’s filing but she also acknowledged that the Judicial Qualifications Commission was investigating “the procedural actions in case.” But she learned of the JQC review weeks before the back-and-forth that started with the court of appeals last month. She did not elaborate on what issue was before the JQC and she declined to comment beyond what she had written.

“To my knowledge, prior to last week, no allegations of misconduct had been filed by anyone,” Becker said.

Becker wrote that the district attorney had filed a “written, supposedly confidential, complaint with the JQC” that the media reported. “The confidentiality of that process has been breached by others. I stand by my decisions and I will accept any lawful correction of any purported errors,” Becker wrote.

The Court of Appeals said Becker had to list the reasons she believed Lewis lied during his testimony, which she did in a subsequent order. The DA countered in another brief, saying she did not give specifics.

“I have, in each and every case before me, made findings of fact based on the evidence as I heard it,” Becker said. “I have then applied the law to those facts in making my decisions. I have never considered the position any individual held, who the lawyers were, the socio-economic status, political agendas or any inappropriate matter. I have made decisions based on the law, period.”

Becker then writes about conversations she had with Reid’s and Pope’s lawyers before she issued an order overturning their convictions and setting a new trial. Becker ruled that the two should be released from prison in the meanwhile. Reid was sentenced to 15 years and Pope was serving eight years. They were convicted of manipulating school contracts to benefit Pope and his firm.

“I called their attorneys to verify the exact locations of each defendant,” Becker wrote. “It was important that the orders (for their release) go directly to those prisons…. There was no need to involve the DA’s office in that procedural communications, just as there had been no need to involve the attorneys for Pope and Reid months earlier when the district attorneys and defendant Lewis’ attorneys met with me in my office with the proposed plea deal.

She wrote that while some had said this issue could end her judicial career, it has long been her plan to resign from the seat she has held 14 years because she is getting married next spring.

“I am happily exchanging the very public life of a judge for a very private life with my husband,” Becker wrote.

The judge said she will give the governor “my letter of resignation after closing out professional obligations later this year as planned.”

Now The News Is Told That They Are Not to Continue Reporting on Ebola, WHY?

From a Trusted News Source..

Earlier today we were contacted by a customer asking if we had received a tap on the shoulder by the CDC telling us to stop reporting on developments concerning Ebola. This individual’s motivation was the sudden drop off in message traffic from our service over the past 10 days.

220px Ebola virus virion

For the record, NO, we have not received such a request, nor would we comply.

But the inquiry raises important questions:

Why has the overall tempo of Ebola stories slowed to a trickle?

Why has the overall tempo of suspected case reports from hospitals and health departments dropped off?

You may recall that on 10/21 AlertsUSA sent the following SMS message to subscriber mobile devices:

“FLASH: CDC insider tells AlertsUSA that U.S. hospitals being advised to NOT publicly report suspected / confirmed Ebola cases using privacy laws as shield.”

This evening we were informed that Obama Administration efforts to squash reporting on suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola in the U.S. goes much further. Then consider the following single sentence from a Forbes news story published late on 11/2:

“The Associated Press and other press outlets have agreed not to report on suspected cases of Ebola in the United States until a positive viral RNA test is completed.”

http://onforb.es/1EevzcF

And there you have it.

1. Control the source of the news (hospitals and health departments).

2. Control the propagation of the news (mainstream news outlets and wire services).

It would seem that our new Ebola Czar has been hard at work behind the curtain.

The takeaway here is concerning on multiple levels and should serve to highlight, yet again, that mainstream reporting and information sharing by public agencies is not quite as free and independent as the public may think.

Despite this blackout of sorts,receives a steady stream of information from other sources nationally and globally. Before anything is reported to you, we always seek secondary and tertiary confirmation so as to maintain accuracy. This directly translates into trust in the service.

We deal in black and white facts. No grey matter. No rumors.

That said, healthcare workers, public health professionals and members of the armed services have privately have informed us of the details of numerous additional CONFIRMED cases of Ebola quietly being treated at medical facilities in multiple locations across the U.S.. Many of these have been transported to CONUS from abroad. But without solid confirmation upon which we can stake the reputation of the company, the blowback could be significant.

JPMorgan Chase said the US Department of Justice was probing its foreign exchange operations

http://en.ria.ru/business/20141104/195078092/JPMorgan-Faces-Up-to-59-Bln-in-Losses-Over-US-Criminal-Probe.html

MOSCOW, November 4 (RIA Novosti) – America’s largest banking company JPMorgan Chase said the US Department of Justice was probing its foreign exchange operations, with legal procedures expected to cost it up to $5.9 billion, Reuters said on Tuesday.

195078045

The agency cited JPMorgan as saying in its regulatory filing that US criminal investigators were looking into its spot foreign-exchange trading business and associated controls.
It added the bank has been in talks with the Justice Department but noted there was “no assurance” that these negotiations would eventually lead to a settlement.
JPMorgan Chase is a multinational banking and financial services holding company with assets estimated at a total of $2.5 trillion.
Throughout its 14-year-long history, the company has stood accused of mortgage overcharging, alleged manipulations of the energy market, sanctions violations and obstruction of justice by its employees.

Excerpts from Tragedy and Hope Selected by henrymakow.com

Insider Confirmed Conspiracy is No “Theory”

Thursday, October 16, 2014 9:49
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(Before It’s News)

1625cfrquigley.jpg
Caroll Quigley (1910-1977) taught at Princeton, Harvard and Georgetown Universities. In his book,Tragedy and Hope, (1966) he confirmed that private merchant bankers create money out of nothing and control world affairs to their advantage.

 

“There does exist, and has existed for a
generation, an international Anglophile network which operates, to some
extent, in the way the … Right believes the Communists act. In fact,
this network, which we may identify as the Round Table Groups, has no
aversion to cooperating with the Communists, or any other groups, and
frequently does so. I know of the operations of this
network because I have studied it for twenty years and was permitted for
two years, in the early 1960′s, to examine its papers and secret
records.” Tragedy and Hope p. 960

Excerpts from Tragedy and Hope
Selected by henrymakow.com

Pg. 48-49:

In effect, this creation of paper claims greater than the reserves available means that bankers were creating money out of nothing. The same thing could be done in another way, not by note-issuing banks but by deposit banks. Deposit bankers discovered that orders and checks drawn against deposits by depositors and given to third persons were often not cashed by the latter but were deposited to their own accounts. Thus there were no actual movements of funds, and payments were made simply by bookkeeping transactions on the accounts.

Accordingly, it was necessary for the banker to keep on hand in actual money (gold, certificates, and notes) no more than the fraction of deposits likely to be drawn upon and cashed; the rest could be used for loans, and if these loans were made by creating a deposit for the borrower, who in turn would draw checks upon it rather than withdraw it in money, such “created deposits” or loans could also be covered adequately by retaining reserves to only a fraction of their value. Such created deposits also were a creation of money out of nothing, although bankers usually refused to express their actions, either note issuing or deposit lending, in these terms. William Paterson, however, on obtaining the charter of the Bank of England in 1694, to use the moneys he had won in privateering, said, “The Bank hath benefit of interest on all moneys which it creates out of nothing.” This was repeated by Sir Edward Holden, founder of the Midland Bank, on December 18, 1907, and is, of course, generally admitted today.

Pg. 51: The merchant bankers of London had already at hand in 1810-1850 the Stock Exchange, the Bank of England, and the London money market when the needs of advancing industrialism called all of these into the industrial world which they had hitherto ignored. In time they brought into their financial network the provincial banking centers, organized as commercial banks and savings banks, as well as insurance companies, to form all of these into a single financial system on an international scale which manipulated the quantity and flow of money so that they were able to influence, if not control, governments on one side and industries on the other.

The men who did this, looking backward toward the period of dynastic monarchy in which they had their own roots, aspired to establish dynasties of international bankers and were at least as successful at this as were many of the dynastic political rulers. The greatest of these dynasties, of course, were the descendants of Meyer Amschel Rothschild (1743-1812) of Frankfort, whose male descendants, for at least two generations, generally married first cousins or even nieces. Rothschild’s five sons, established at branches in Vienna, London, Naples, and Paris, as well as Frankfort, cooperated together in ways which other international banking dynasties copied but rarely excelled.

Pg. 52: The names of some of these banking families are familiar to all of us and should be more so. They include Raring, Lazard, Erlanger, Warburg, Schroder, Seligman, the Speyers, Mirabaud, Mallet, Fould, and above all Rothschild and Morgan. …

Pg. 324: The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences.

The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank, in the hands of men like Montagu Norman of the Bank of England, Benjamin Strong of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, Charles Rist of the Bank of France, and Hjalmar Schacht of the Reichsbank, sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world.

Pg. 326-327: It must not be felt that these heads of the world’s chief central banks were themselves substantive powers in world finance. They were not. Rather, they were the technicians and agents of the dominant investment bankers of their own countries, who had raised them up and were perfectly capable of throwing them down. The substantive financial powers of the world were in the hands of these investment bankers (also called “international” or “merchant” bankers) who remained largely behind the scenes in their own unincorporated private banks. These formed a system of international cooperation and national dominance which was more private, more powerful, and more secret than that of their agents in the central banks.

Source: http://henrymakow.com/2014/10/Insider-Confirmed-Conspiracy-is-No-Theory.html

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Tactical Panda’s Bullet Points

Where we keep you up to date with the latest information in the 2A community!

FightForeclosure.net

Your "Pro Se" Foreclosure Fight Solution!

Journey of a reformed man

Freedom is a state of mind

depolreablesunite

Where Deplorables Hang Out

SCOTUS Predictions

A United States Supreme Court Blog

Great Bear Blog

Pacific Wild is a conservation voice dedicated to ensuring that the Great Bear Rainforest remains one of the planet’s greatest cradles of biodiversity.

Red Wolves

an animal's eyes can speak a great language

save the wolves!

by not killing them.

Save the Wolves

you reap what sow

Wolf4life

Save The Wolves

Protect The Wolves

Help Protect YOUR Wolves

BlueFeatherSpirit

"Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, Only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money can not be eaten."

Save the wolves

Merry Christmas! @SaveTheWolves

The Wildlife Journalist®

The Independent Voice Of Wildlife Conservation

Gold Goats 'n Guns

Speaking Truth, Destroying Narratives about Politics, Markets and Culture

Observing Hermann

“Was interessiert mich mein Geschwätz von gestern?”

World Animals Voice

Animal news from around the world.

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Films

Wolves of Douglas County WI Films LLC

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