It's a sad day in the Hill Country when a descendant of one of the founders of Kerrville and the YO Ranch, Capt. Gus Scheiner, gets busted for hog and goat rustling. Walter Richard Schreiner, Jr.'s mug shot is posted on Lookwhogotbusted.com. Mugshot details:
Schreiner, Walter Richard, Jr.
April 5, 2013
Kerr County, TX
Charges: BURNET CO/THEFT >=10 SHEEP/SWINE/GOAT <$100K If our local paper reported it, I missed it. I guaranty that if a poor Mexican or black or even poor white got busted for stealing livestock, it would be on the front page. Modern Debtors' Prisons?
AP reports in an article titled ACLU: Ohio Illegally Jailing Debtors that hundreds of people are being jailed for failing to pay fines and costs:
"COLUMBUS, Ohio — Several courts in Ohio are illegally jailing people because they are too poor to pay their debts and often deny defendants a hearing to determine if they’re financially capable of paying what they owe, according to an investigation released Thursday by the Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
The ACLU likens the problem to modern-day debtors’ prisons. Jailing people for debt pushes poor defendants farther into poverty and costs counties more than the actual debt because of the cost of arresting and incarcerating individuals, the report said."
This happens right here in Kerr County. A defendant who is convicted, by plea bargain or trial, for minor crimes gets stuck with court costs (average $400), fines, and if he had a court appointed lawyer, lawyer fees, then has to pay $65 a month to the probation department, and pay for drug testing. It adds up to hundreds of dollars a month. If they don't pay, the prosecutors file a motion to revoke. I've currently got a client who has been on probation for 10 years, was within a month of finishing, and the DA filed to revoke for missing payments seven years ago (and other alleged violations). This is all on top of the requirement to do unpaid community service, sometimes over 100 hrs over the term of the probation.
If you want to see the system in action, go down to the courthouse on motion day when one of the three criminal courts is in session and see how many people are caught in the net. Some are true thugs, some are average people who made a mistake, some are innocent, but they all sit down there all morning, away from work or school, waiting for their case to be called. The system grinds them down. A defendant from out of town, say Brownsville, who gets arrested for DWI or possession of marijuana, may have to come to court four or five times before his case is resolved. A lot of people give up and plead guilty because they can't keep missing work.