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Monday, April 8, 2013

Does Kerrville Daily Times Really Cover the News? Modern Debtor Prisons.

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.
Booking Date:
April 5, 2013
Where booked:
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.


  1. Now the KDT prints the story after reading your blog. Good Job Richard.

    Yes the KDT, and all county officials probably read your blog. You scare the hell out of them.

  2. Thanks; on the other hand, KDT was only five days late in getting around to it.

  3. One could imagine an internal KDT discussion where they discussed your post in the context of whether to print the story. I know the KDT is or was owned by a family that has conservative political ties and I often wonder if Kerrville is a media testing ground for propaganda techniques.

    The family referenced above owns a chain of small town newspapers. If I was in the propaganda or psych ops business, I would certainly look to chain of small town newspapers as a source. Does it play in Peoria?

  4. It's time that a good gun carrying conservative fights back against you socialists. No such thing as a minor crime when a dude drives drunk, speed, runs red lights, etc., and thereby endangers my wife and children. If you drink "anything, don't drive". Period. Most people in Municipal Court are "thugs" or just plain stupid. Just take a good look at them. Good people pay their fines and accept responsibility for their actions. She stupiods try to wheel and deal their way out of the fine - why not, they don't work anyway, and if they do work, they work standing in lines for their food stamps, welfare, or just anything free. Not free really, my taxes pay for their existence. Earned Income Credit is the biggest give-away in history. If a dummy can make $12,000 a year and declare three children as Dependants, the not so dumb dummy can collect five or six thousand dollars in free money on his tax return. Better yet, the mommy and daddy have six kids, pretend to be separated, each declares Head of Household on their taxes, and wow-wee-gee, they get a total of ten to twelve thousand in free money if they can make a few thousand a year in "earned income". Good trick - thanks alot tax preparers and the nanny boys in Wash D.C.

  5. Socialists? Yes we carry guns too, and we advocate arming poor people and union members. Our weapon of choice is the Kalashnikov.

    Have nice day.

  6. When I practiced law, a Defendant did not have to appear at every docket call. The lawyer appeared in the Defendant's behalf so that the poor bastard would not have to miss work, school, Dr.'s appointments, etc. The deal is wear them down and get the guy on probation. Then the State owns the Defendant. Community Service equals forced labor - like China. Fines and costs and DWI school, etc. puts such a burden on the Defendant that he either can't do it or just gives-up. The defendant probably loses his Driver's License in the process. How does he work (or get back and forth from work, or DWI School, etc.) without a license. Maybe he can afford a lawyer to get him an occupational licanse with super high insurance. More money. He may be required to get his car equipped with a breath test machine. Yet more money. We know who pays the money, but who receives the money? The State, the Probation Department, The DWI school, the Breath Test People, the Piss People, and the Defense Lawyers. Best bet is to not hire a lawyer and plead to jail and fines and work the fines out in jail. Might take a while, but pretty much all is lost anyway. Fill the jails with no revenue for anyone and shortly, tough DWI laws no longer make sense. That is how I see it.