In Prosecutors, Debt Collectors Find a Partner. Government Allow Creditors to Use Their Stationary

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In Prosecutors, Debt Collectors Find a Partner. Government Allow Creditors to Use Their Stationary

In Prosecutors, Debt Collectors Find a Partner. Government Allow Creditors to Use Their Stationary

NYT-

The letters are sent by the thousands to people across the country who have written bad checks, threatening them with jail if they do not pay up.

They bear the seal and signature of the local district attorney’s office. But there is a catch: the letters are from debt-collection companies, which the prosecutors allow to use their letterhead. In return, the companies try to collect not only the unpaid check, but also high fees from debtors for a class on budgeting and financial responsibility, some of which goes back to the district attorneys’ offices.

The practice, which has spread to more than 300 district attorneys’ offices in recent years, shocked Angela Yartz when she was threatened with conviction over a $47.95 check to Walmart. A single mother in San Mateo, Calif., Ms. Yartz said she learned the check had bounced only when she opened a letter in February, signed by the Alameda County district attorney, informing her that unless she paid $280.05 — including $180 for a “financial accountability” class — she could be jailed for up to one year.

[NEW YORK TIMES]

image:

Noah Berger for The New York Times

Collection notices.

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2 Responses to “In Prosecutors, Debt Collectors Find a Partner. Government Allow Creditors to Use Their Stationary”

  1. nydeemarie says:

    State? County? If I were them…I wouldn’t risk the liability…

    A private party may be engaged in “state action” if the act which deprived federal rights could not have occurred but for the existence of a governmental framework requiring government approval or action. In North Georgia Finishing, Inc. v. Di-Chem, Inc.,/107/ the Court found state action in a private party’s invocation of a court-ordered attachment that failed to afford due process to the debtor. Similarly, in Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Company, the Court held that a creditor who invokes prejudgment attachment remedies requiring the participation of a court clerk and a sheriff, acts under color of state law./108/ In contrast, in Flagg Brothers v. Brooks, involving a prejudgment attachment authorized by state law but not requiring the intervention of a court, no state action was found./109/ Finally, in Edmondson v. Leesville Concrete Company, the Court found that a private attorney using peremptory challenges in a jury trial in a racially biased manner was a “state actor” because his act—use of peremptory challenges¾could exist only in the judicial context and with the approval of a state judge./110/ The rule of these cases is that a private party becomes a state actor if he or she uses a state procedure requiring some state intervention.

  2. nydeemarie says:

    hmmm…

    and what about the counties that have refused to go after the MERS fraud and interference?

    is that another ” but for” the existence of a governmental framework??

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