f/k/a . . . the archives

October 6, 2003

Tracking Down the Source of Wacky Debtor Legalisms

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 6:52 am


Don’t you hate it when a writer complains about all the dangerous stuff out there on the internet, but doesn’t provide even one link to substantiate the claim?  Well, I do, and I was too wound up for sleeping at about 4 AM today, when I encountered the ABA Journal articleSay What? Web’s Loopy Lingo: Debtors Hop on the Internet for Bogus Legalisms and Wacky Wording (by Margaret Graham Tebo, Oct. 6, 2003).  So, I did some of reporter Tebo’s homework through the sophisticated research technique of sticking her “whacky” phrases into my Google task bar window, in the hope of finding the sources of alleged UPL.

 

It looks like I found a few places for bar counsel and other deputies in the unauthorized practice police to start foraging.  Indeed, I might have scrounged up some work for the Texas UPL posse, which embarrassed itself by going after self-help software in Nolo v. Texas [check out our Unauthorized Practice Resources page]

 

According to the Journal article, lawyers for creditors, including Austin attorney Manuel H. Newburger, have been facing a myriad of strange new defenses.


  • Debtors were responding to collection attempts with letters—crammed with legalese—claiming that under UCC Art. 1, the debtors were their own creditors, and the debts were therefore invalid.
  • “Other debtors claimed they had copyrighted their names and refused permission for the creditor to use the names on court filings, collection letters or other documents.”
  • Still other debtors — dubbed the “comma people” — claimed that documents were invalid if a comma was placed after their name, while many used similar out-of context legal phrases, like “notice to the principal is notice to the agent,” or “implied contract by waiver of tort.”
  • Another subset of debtors claimed that they owed no debt because the original loan was not made in gold or silver, the only legitimate legal tender; and
  • Probably the most aggravating group, retaliated by placing commercial liens on the lawyers and employees of the creditors (including the IRS)

Attorney Newburger advocates taking a hardline.   According to the Journal, he says creditor attorneys should demand to know where the debtor got the forms and pseudo-legal language:



“Someone’s out there committing the unauthorized practice of law, and the way to stop this nonsense is to pursue the perpetrators.”


For me, it seems a bit incongruous that lawyers for creditors are complaining about documents “crammed with legalese.”   Nonetheless, frivolous claims are just as unacceptable when brought by pro-se consumers as when brought by corporate counsel or tort lawyers.   Furthermore, if the debtors are in fact acting in good faith after being coached or instructed by non-lawyers, UPL investigations may indeed be in order.


With that in mind, I suggest bar counsel or association “consumer protection” committees take a look at:


1) The Verified Actual and Constructive Notice of one “Jon Carl; Munson II,” and his Affidavit for Post Judgment Relief, filed in Montgomery County, Maryland, which contain frequent use of the phrase “Notice to the Principal is Notice to the Agent (citing Exodus 20:15, 16), and claim that the original loan is invalid because not made in gold.


2) A constitutional challenge  to the legality of child support, in California, by Charles Lindsay; Cheney Jr., SuiJuris-At Law. 

3) The article SLAVES, WHINERS, EVADERS, REDNECKS, MEN & WOMEN, by Don Smith, which gives advice about dealing with debt collectors of all types, including the IRS.  Its introduction states that “Don Smith is editor of AntiShyster [and] is a legal practitioner who sometimes uses a letterhead which states ‘Unauthorized Practice of Law’.”

4) AntiShyster Magazine, and its policy statement on Legal Advice:



The ONLY legal advice that Suspicions and/or AntiShyster news magazines and web sites offer is this:


Any attempt to learn to cope with our modern judicial system must be tempered with the sure and certain knowledge that modern “law” is always a crapshoot. That is, nothing – not even brown paper bags filled with hundred dollar bills and handed to the judge – will absolutely guarantee your victory in a judicial trial or administrative hearing. The most you can ever hope for is to improve the probability that you may win.


Therefore, do not depend on the articles, links or advertisements within Suspicions or  AntiShyster news magazines or web sites to illustrate anything more than the opinions or experiences of others trying to escape, survive, improve, attack, or even make sense of “the best judicial system in the world”.  


But don’t be discouraged; there’s not another precisely accurate publication on law in the entire U.S.A. – except the Bible.


5) The article Commercial Liens: A Most Potent Weapon, edited by Terra Libra staff.


Some of these legal theories may be familiar to the followers of our esteemed Instapundit, who might be able to point the UPL authorities to a few other likely suspects (even if it means revealing a source). 



P.S. to Mom:  I wanted to show off my new expertise on the Rules of Pig Scrambles, but it just never came up for this posting.  Please don’t worry about my having another sleepless night weblogging.  I would have been awake anyway, and maybe those UPL zealots will go check out the debtor wackos, and leave the serious self-help and alternative legal services providers alone.  I regret that I have but one night to give for my consumers. 

22 Comments

  1. You may be giving Manny Newburger an unfair shake when you characterize him as a lawyer for creditors and tangentially associate him with the practice of creditors’ letters being filled with legalese. Newburger taught my Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act course as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas. My understanding is that his practice is mixed. He practices DTPA and debt collection law on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants, debtors and creditors. He’s a stand-up guy. My bet is that his motives are pure in advocating a hardline approach to unauthorized practice of law in response to these bogus defenses.

    Comment by The Curmudgeonly Clerk — October 6, 2003 @ 10:56 am

  2. You may be giving Manny Newburger an unfair shake when you characterize him as a lawyer for creditors and tangentially associate him with the practice of creditors’ letters being filled with legalese. Newburger taught my Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act course as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas. My understanding is that his practice is mixed. He practices DTPA and debt collection law on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants, debtors and creditors. He’s a stand-up guy. My bet is that his motives are pure in advocating a hardline approach to unauthorized practice of law in response to these bogus defenses.

    Comment by The Curmudgeonly Clerk — October 6, 2003 @ 10:56 am

  3. Gosh, C.C., Your Comment is meant as a joke, right?

    I’ve been accused of maligning lawyers before and plead guilty as charged, but never for saying that an attorney who represents creditors (and is interviewed for an article that he probably inspired, because of his status as a lawyer for creditors)is — dare I say it — a “lawyer for creditors.”

    If you think “lawyer for creditors” is unfair mudslinging, you have a very thin skin and a very big Mama Bear protective instinct for your former professors. I thought Curmudgeons were supposed to be crusty and resentful, not so sweetly sentimental.

    As far as my thinking that creditor pleadings and creditor documents are filled with an abundance of legalese, I’ll let the record speak for itself.

    Finally, I didn’t question Mr. Newberger’s motives at all in calling for a hard line. In fact, I said that frivolous claims by debtors were unacceptable. Plus, I stayed up doing research into the wee hours finding the possible sources of the alleged UPL.

    Talk about unfair shakes. I’m feeling sooooo misunderstood.

    Comment by David Giacalone — October 6, 2003 @ 1:07 pm

  4. Gosh, C.C., Your Comment is meant as a joke, right?

    I’ve been accused of maligning lawyers before and plead guilty as charged, but never for saying that an attorney who represents creditors (and is interviewed for an article that he probably inspired, because of his status as a lawyer for creditors)is — dare I say it — a “lawyer for creditors.”

    If you think “lawyer for creditors” is unfair mudslinging, you have a very thin skin and a very big Mama Bear protective instinct for your former professors. I thought Curmudgeons were supposed to be crusty and resentful, not so sweetly sentimental.

    As far as my thinking that creditor pleadings and creditor documents are filled with an abundance of legalese, I’ll let the record speak for itself.

    Finally, I didn’t question Mr. Newberger’s motives at all in calling for a hard line. In fact, I said that frivolous claims by debtors were unacceptable. Plus, I stayed up doing research into the wee hours finding the possible sources of the alleged UPL.

    Talk about unfair shakes. I’m feeling sooooo misunderstood.

    Comment by David Giacalone — October 6, 2003 @ 1:07 pm

  5. Yes, you may have caught me exhibiting my own biases re: non-commercial creditors’ lawyers. Not that I am bitter or anything. (Note: Prior sentence should be read: Clerk is in fact extremely bitter re: creditors’ lawyers.)It is weird to hear Newburger described as a “lawyer for creditors” though. It wouldn’t necessarily be inaccurate to refer to a criminal defense attorneys as lawyers for criminals given conviction rates, but the former sounds better than the latter. With my admitted bias, “lawyer for creditors” (as opposed to, say, “consumer law lawyer”) struck me in much the same way.But the bias is admittedly all mine and not yours. I simply projected my position into your words–a not altogether infrequent failing of readers (including this one). Allow me to extend my apologies for any offense given.

    Comment by The Curmudgeonly Clerk — October 6, 2003 @ 2:26 pm

  6. Yes, you may have caught me exhibiting my own biases re: non-commercial creditors’ lawyers. Not that I am bitter or anything. (Note: Prior sentence should be read: Clerk is in fact extremely bitter re: creditors’ lawyers.)It is weird to hear Newburger described as a “lawyer for creditors” though. It wouldn’t necessarily be inaccurate to refer to a criminal defense attorneys as lawyers for criminals given conviction rates, but the former sounds better than the latter. With my admitted bias, “lawyer for creditors” (as opposed to, say, “consumer law lawyer”) struck me in much the same way.But the bias is admittedly all mine and not yours. I simply projected my position into your words–a not altogether infrequent failing of readers (including this one). Allow me to extend my apologies for any offense given.

    Comment by The Curmudgeonly Clerk — October 6, 2003 @ 2:26 pm

  7. We all have our biases.  There was certainly no offense taken — just a good opportunity for me to point out someone else’s.
     
    While I guess you have to call criminal defense lawyers “lawyers for alleged criminals” or “lawyers for criminal defendants,” I’m pretty sure “lawyers for alleged creditors” would not be an appellation preferred by creditors’ lawyers.   Thanks for reading and commenting.  Come on back.

    Comment by David Giacalone — October 6, 2003 @ 8:00 pm

  8. We all have our biases.  There was certainly no offense taken — just a good opportunity for me to point out someone else’s.
     
    While I guess you have to call criminal defense lawyers “lawyers for alleged criminals” or “lawyers for criminal defendants,” I’m pretty sure “lawyers for alleged creditors” would not be an appellation preferred by creditors’ lawyers.   Thanks for reading and commenting.  Come on back.

    Comment by David Giacalone — October 6, 2003 @ 8:00 pm

  9. This is a comment on some of the suggested culprits mentioned in: “Tracking Down the Source of Wacky Debtor Legalisms”

    I am amazed that two of the groups mentioned are people I know personally. Specifically, “Charles Lindsay; Cheney Jr” and the principle author/editor of “AntiShyster” (now “Suspicions”) magazine are both people I have personally corresponded with in the past. Both of these men, and myself, have been railroaded into prison for significant chunks of time. We are all labeled as constitutionalists.

    Substantially, all the label “constitutionalist” means is that we are all fanatics who want the government to act as a system of law rather then as a system of privileged people. When the original 13th amendment, (aka “Titles of Nobility Amendment”), was “lost” around 1865 when the wholly fraudulent amendment currently called the 14th amendment was installed, the esquires marched in to relieve Americans of the burden of comprehending their legal system, and begin the long process of stripping us of all substantial rights. As an esquire, you probably don’t subscribe to this historical view. To constitutionalists, this historical perspective is more then ample justification for practicing law. We regard esquires as persons who have lost their rights as a U.S. citizen (as required by the original 13th amendment). As far as we are concerned, esquires are actively engaged in treason.

    That Adask, Cheney and myself have all spent significant amounts of time in jail for no cause, underscores the violence necessary to support our quasi-monarchist system. Adask and Cheney spent about a year in jail. I have spent about 103 days getting to a trial and it took a jury of 12 people, eight minutes to unanimously find me innocent. The point is that we are a persecuted minority who have paid dearly to try to get our system of government back on track. (Mostly, to no avail… the system is well beyond sick. It looks like riga mortis has set in…)

    It seems to me, that the ”AntiShyster Magazine, and its policy statement on Legal Advice” is an excellent disclaimer. Why do you have a problem with non-esquires studying the law? Esquires seem to want everyone to obey the law except their own privileged group. It’s bad enough that they have made a mockery of the U.S. constitution by voiding the “Titles of Nobility Amendment”. In California, they are even making a mockery of the Bar Associations rules and the state laws which are necessary to maintain discipline within the ranks of the esquires.

    If you want to go after people who are really doing substantial damage through the “Unauthorized Practice of Law”, you should go after the various temporarily appointed “judges” in California who are inactive members of the bar. Briefly, some corrupt counties have bogus judges who are reserved to dispense particularly egregious injustice on dissidents or other undesirables. They cannot legally practice law, but since they are the de-facto law in some counties, the fact that they are bogus makes no difference.

    In California, an inactive member of the bar cannot practice law or hold office. This law is necessary as the only means for the bar association to discipline itself and cope with dishonest or corrupt esquires. Many judges and commissioners in Butte County are known to be in violation of this law. I personally, had one such “judge” sign an order that eliminated my lawful custody of my daughter. This same “judge”, (Steven Richard McNelis, of Durham, California, and bar number 64393 is an Inactive Bar Member), was also assigned to hear my “Order to Show Cause for Contempt of Court” because he is not a legitimate “judge”. Unsurprisingly, he exonerated himself, signed an order eliminating custody of my daughter, and commented that I could expect worse in the future if my paperwork continued it’s “current pattern”.

    There is probably little point complaining to you people. You are the de-facto tyrants running this god-forsaken empire. It is incredibly ironic to see a www site where esquire ethics is seriously regarded. I thought Harvard had lots of smart people with an educated historical perspective.

    Comment by Jack B. — November 7, 2003 @ 4:45 pm

  10. This is a comment on some of the suggested culprits mentioned in: “Tracking Down the Source of Wacky Debtor Legalisms”

    I am amazed that two of the groups mentioned are people I know personally. Specifically, “Charles Lindsay; Cheney Jr” and the principle author/editor of “AntiShyster” (now “Suspicions”) magazine are both people I have personally corresponded with in the past. Both of these men, and myself, have been railroaded into prison for significant chunks of time. We are all labeled as constitutionalists.

    Substantially, all the label “constitutionalist” means is that we are all fanatics who want the government to act as a system of law rather then as a system of privileged people. When the original 13th amendment, (aka “Titles of Nobility Amendment”), was “lost” around 1865 when the wholly fraudulent amendment currently called the 14th amendment was installed, the esquires marched in to relieve Americans of the burden of comprehending their legal system, and begin the long process of stripping us of all substantial rights. As an esquire, you probably don’t subscribe to this historical view. To constitutionalists, this historical perspective is more then ample justification for practicing law. We regard esquires as persons who have lost their rights as a U.S. citizen (as required by the original 13th amendment). As far as we are concerned, esquires are actively engaged in treason.

    That Adask, Cheney and myself have all spent significant amounts of time in jail for no cause, underscores the violence necessary to support our quasi-monarchist system. Adask and Cheney spent about a year in jail. I have spent about 103 days getting to a trial and it took a jury of 12 people, eight minutes to unanimously find me innocent. The point is that we are a persecuted minority who have paid dearly to try to get our system of government back on track. (Mostly, to no avail… the system is well beyond sick. It looks like riga mortis has set in…)

    It seems to me, that the ”AntiShyster Magazine, and its policy statement on Legal Advice” is an excellent disclaimer. Why do you have a problem with non-esquires studying the law? Esquires seem to want everyone to obey the law except their own privileged group. It’s bad enough that they have made a mockery of the U.S. constitution by voiding the “Titles of Nobility Amendment”. In California, they are even making a mockery of the Bar Associations rules and the state laws which are necessary to maintain discipline within the ranks of the esquires.

    If you want to go after people who are really doing substantial damage through the “Unauthorized Practice of Law”, you should go after the various temporarily appointed “judges” in California who are inactive members of the bar. Briefly, some corrupt counties have bogus judges who are reserved to dispense particularly egregious injustice on dissidents or other undesirables. They cannot legally practice law, but since they are the de-facto law in some counties, the fact that they are bogus makes no difference.

    In California, an inactive member of the bar cannot practice law or hold office. This law is necessary as the only means for the bar association to discipline itself and cope with dishonest or corrupt esquires. Many judges and commissioners in Butte County are known to be in violation of this law. I personally, had one such “judge” sign an order that eliminated my lawful custody of my daughter. This same “judge”, (Steven Richard McNelis, of Durham, California, and bar number 64393 is an Inactive Bar Member), was also assigned to hear my “Order to Show Cause for Contempt of Court” because he is not a legitimate “judge”. Unsurprisingly, he exonerated himself, signed an order eliminating custody of my daughter, and commented that I could expect worse in the future if my paperwork continued it’s “current pattern”.

    There is probably little point complaining to you people. You are the de-facto tyrants running this god-forsaken empire. It is incredibly ironic to see a www site where esquire ethics is seriously regarded. I thought Harvard had lots of smart people with an educated historical perspective.

    Comment by Jack B. — November 7, 2003 @ 4:45 pm

  11. Sounds like that whole “sovereign citizen” movement–they believe that coming off the gold standard was illegal, that there was no authority to set up the Federal Reserve Bank, and that if your name is written all in capital letters it represents not you but some record of you the government holds. They call it the “straw man.” It’s a very strange group, often anti-gov’t militia types believe this stuff. Some won’t get driver’s licenses or in any way hold a “contract” with the state, including their address. They will only receive mail c/o their address. They don’t think they have to pay taxes. I think that one lady at We the People is being charged for that. There are many websites that will describe this stuff…look up “Straw Man” theory. It’s bizarre. And they all think there is a conspiracy not to tell anyone about this in law school. I know someone who has gotten out of countless traffic tickets using the theory that by not speaking to the judge and claiming no jurisdiction over him as a sovereign citizen,that he can not be proceeded against. It’s worked for him, but I think the judges just got sick of him, personally.

    Comment by LR — February 1, 2004 @ 12:51 pm

  12. Sounds like that whole “sovereign citizen” movement–they believe that coming off the gold standard was illegal, that there was no authority to set up the Federal Reserve Bank, and that if your name is written all in capital letters it represents not you but some record of you the government holds. They call it the “straw man.” It’s a very strange group, often anti-gov’t militia types believe this stuff. Some won’t get driver’s licenses or in any way hold a “contract” with the state, including their address. They will only receive mail c/o their address. They don’t think they have to pay taxes. I think that one lady at We the People is being charged for that. There are many websites that will describe this stuff…look up “Straw Man” theory. It’s bizarre. And they all think there is a conspiracy not to tell anyone about this in law school. I know someone who has gotten out of countless traffic tickets using the theory that by not speaking to the judge and claiming no jurisdiction over him as a sovereign citizen,that he can not be proceeded against. It’s worked for him, but I think the judges just got sick of him, personally.

    Comment by LR — February 1, 2004 @ 12:51 pm

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