Welcome to my blog and the reference point in my fight against an archaic, unjust family court system in Marshall County, Alabama. I plan on posting my thoughts, items of interest, and resources I find helpful in hopes that it can be helpful to someone else. Now take a deep breath. Here I go...

Please visit http://www.alfra.org for the only organization in Alabama that promotes the concept that children need each of their fit parents.

Monday, August 29, 2011

My friends, we need your help!

The Department of Human Resources and the State of Alabama have a dirty little secret when it comes to child custody and support cases. Though not actually secret, it is not well known either. Buried in amendments to the Social Security Act is a law which established the Title IV-D Program. It was designed to assist the States in enforcing uncollected child support obligations, thereby reducing the number of people receiving welfare benefits. Recent amendments brought changes to the Title IV-D Program which would destroy lives, trample upon due process rights, and provide incentive payments to the States, seemingly, most successful in doing the most damage in the lives of its citizens.

The law in its current form provides payment to any State which meets certain percentage rates of success in five different categories: establishing paternity, establishing child support orders, collection of current child support, collection of support arrearages, and cost-effectiveness. $70 billion of your Federal tax dollars is allocated for this incentive program yearly. The State of Alabama receives approx. $64 million per year.

This is how it works. If Alabama has at least an eighty percent success rate on all five categories, the Federal government pays the State two dollars for every one dollar of child support money collected under this program (accordingly, the incentive goes down in proportion with the success rate). The law stipulates that each state must create a central disbursement center through which all child support is to be paid. Under the law, the State's "incentive pool" is two times the amount of child support money paid into these disbursement centers for each fiscal year.

Through this program, the State is provided with massive financial incentives to separate the child and the non-custodial parent (often the father) as much as possible. The less time the non-custodial parent spends with the child providing direct support, the more child support that the State can enforce on Alabama fathers. Then Uncle Sam gives each State their take of Judas's thirty pieces of silver. The reason why the Alabama Children's Family Act (2011 Ala. Legislature Senate Bill 196), which provides for equal parenting time, died in the Senate is because the Court's often enforced "Standard Visitation" (a mere fifty-two days a year - "every other weekend") is a literal cash windfall for the State. Does this not represent a significant conflict of interest?

That's not all. In an effort to improve "cost-effectiveness" - the fifth incentive category, Congress has passed laws granting the States the power to circumvent the due process rights of non-custodial parents in the collection of child support. In my case, two false affidavits filed by my first ex-wife with DHR, was all the due process needed for that agency to wreak havoc upon my personal finances. Utilizing the nefarious administrative wage garnishment and administrative tax offset, DHR confiscated almost ten thousand dollars of my wages over three years without judicial review. Family court judges refused to meet with me, as did the district attorney's office. I have spent the last few years studying Federal and State law relating to child support and wage garnishment. However, there is one item I cannot find. Can someone point out to me the part of the U.S. Constitution that declares our rights are to be upheld only if it is cost-effective to the government?

What about those single moms it was suppose to help? There are many cases where DHR refuses to take action, due to it not being cost-effective to enforce the support. Apparently, if you do not have a regular paycheck, it becomes too difficult to enforce. Just ask my mother, she has been owed over $140,000 accumulating over twenty years for my sister and I. Our friends at DHR have had very little success enforcing that order. The difference? I am involved in my daughters' lives and hold down a regular job. Score one for the real deadbeat dads out there. "Doing the right thing" simply makes me an easy target for DHR's self-serving greed.

I would like to state my appreciation for Senator Clay Scofield's support of SB196. I hope our Senator will continue his support in the upcoming session and see it through to a full vote in both houses. This bill would break that conflict of interest which exists to deprive Alabama fathers of the precious time they have while their children are growing up. I am preparing to challenge the constitutionality of administrative garnishments and offsets in Federal court. The Constitution is specific, and the courts have repeatedly upheld the due process rights of citizens where deprivation of property rights are involved. It is not enough. I need your voice to add to the call for equal rights for parents in Alabama. Please check http://marshallcountybroke.blogspot.com for updates. You can contact me directly to help or if you have had a like experience.

In 2008, I told the Marshall County DHR director, Wayne Sellers, "I will not give up until these injustices are corrected" when I provided them with proof of payment for my child support. They ignored my receipts, and DHR took most of my money based upon a lie and pursuant to a Federal law which promotes the separation of fathers and their children along with unconstitutionally aggressive collection practices, both for the financial benefit of the State. This is our court system and our government. These people are too self-serving to not comply with the people's collective voice, if only for self-preservation. If you will stand with me, we can make this wheel the squeakiest. That oil of liberty, SB 196 and the demise of administrative garnishment orders would restore the rights of our neighbors and promote the best interests of Alabama children. My friends, we need your help!

Brad Patterson
bradleyspatterson@gmail.com

Friday, August 26, 2011

"...let Facts be submitted to a candid World."

On December 13, 2007 my first ex-wife filed a false affidavit with the Marshall County Department of Human Resources.  In said false affidavit, she claimed that at that time, I was in arrears on my child support for a total of $800.00 which was a fabrication.  The filing of the false affidavit constitutes perjury under the law.  DHR refused to prosecute her, despite - after some time - admitting that there had been a mistake when they determined I owed past due support.  It was only after I threatened the Marshall County DHR Director with filing a Writ of Mandamus which would force him to perform his official duties that I got some kind of relief.  Shortly thereafter I started receiving the first of many refund checks from the State of Alabama.

Since that time I have been ridiculed for not paying my child support (which I actually had paid), mired in neverending debt with no help in sight due to excessive and unlawful wage garnishments, had my constitutional rights to own property and those of due process trampled upon or outright ignored, and was almost thrown in jail for not paying child support that I had in fact paid.  The following posts are ledgers detailing payments from July, 2006 when I was first ordered to pay child support, through the nightmare that was the administrative wage garnishment and tax offset, all the way to the present day.  To date, the Marshall County Department of Human Resources has forced me to overpay my child support by $1,221.50 without any regard for my due process or property rights.  They refuse my claims that I was forced to overpay though the following ledgers clearly show the financial oppression which I have lived through these last few years.  You make have to click below to see all the ledgers on the same page:

http://marshallcountybroke.blogspot.com/

"...let Facts be submitted to a candid World."          

THE YEAR IN TYRANNY...

Under review/being updated

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A person's wages are that person's property.

When a person enters into a work agreement with an employer, whether verbal or written, it is an agreement to exchange labor for pay.  In today's society, most workers are paid one of four ways, but almost always using the same unit of pay.  Workers are paid in U.S. Dollars in the form of cash, check, paycard, or direct deposit.  Some workers are paid an hourly wage, others are paid a salaried wage.  An hourly wage is paid in one hour increments, often with no guarantee of the number of hours to be worked.  An hourly wage worker is paid one-and-a-half times the originally agreed upon rate of hourly pay when their work hours exceed forty hours in a given workweek.  Salaried wage workers are paid a flat rate for a given period of time, despite the number of hours worked.  Salary wage workers are not paid overtime if they exceed forty hours in a given workweek.  However, most salary jobs have a minimum hours worked requirement and the employer will often times convert the employees wages to an equivalent hourly wage if the minimum hours requirement is not met.  My employer does it on a regular basis.  Therefore, in practical application, the distinction exists solely to prevent the employer from having to pay the employee the overtime wage for workweeks that exceed the forty hour threshold.

I am a salary worker.  I get paid on a biweekly basis at a previously agreed upon rate, which has been increased through merit raises.  According to the terms of the work agreement, I will be paid my salary as long as I work a minimum of forty-six hours per week for two weeks for as long as I continue my employment with the company.  The payweek is Sunday through Saturday, though I am not paid until the Thursday following the second Saturday in a pay cycle.  Due to having met the minimum hours worked requirement for the prior two weeks, reason may show that my pay becomes my property at the end of the last day of work for that pay period.  There is not a Court in this country that would allow an employer to not pay a person their wages when the employee is due the wages because the wages are earned, which is to say, he fulfilled his obligations in the work agreement.  The wages, therefore, become the property of the employee upon fulfillment of his obligations in the work agreement despite possession still being with the employer.  As a result, an employees wages fall under the protections of the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution once they are earned.  Consequently, the employee enjoys to same due process rights for wages earned but unpaid as the person would if it was property already in his possession. 

In short, a person's wages become that person's property once they are earned, and despite that person not immediately having possession of them.

Monday, August 8, 2011

tyranny and oppression

This is its ugly face in America today...

31 U.S.C., 3720D, administrative wage garnishments

The continued destruction of American property rights

The history of nations show that when governments are of limited resources, often as a result of their own vices, the property of its citizens become subject to seizure through force or tax to pay “the public debt.” Our forefathers clearly understood this, and instituted constitutional protections to prevent deprivation of property rights without due process of law. Being among those sacred “certain unalienable Rights,” an American citizen's right to own property, and to be unimpaired in that ownership, is viewed as the foundation of individual liberty.

It is no secret that at this time, our Federal government is on the verge of insolvency. Reckless spending and unbalanced budgets by our national leaders have gripped the nation in the throes of recession. Now more than ever, my fellow citizens, we should be vigilant in taking the steps necessary to protect our interests and future happiness by voicing our concerns in the public councils. The ballot box is where the future of this country will be won or lost, but by no means should our cause start or end on election day. Our elected leaders should come to know us by name and opinion, not by party. Government abuses and usurpations should be resisted where ever they are found, so as to strengthen the position of the people.

It is in this spirit that I relate to you what I believe to be a grave injustice against the rights retained by the American people and protected in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. In violation of those provisions, Congress has passed laws granting the government the power to confiscate your property, in the form of your wages, without due process of law for any debt it says you owe. The sleight of hand which Congress utilizes for this purpose is the administrative wage garnishment.

31 U.S.C., 3720D grants government agencies sweeping powers to involuntarily confiscate your wages if the government believes you owe a debt, to the government or a person. This law provides for a mirage of due process-like requirements, stopping well short of actual due process and without any judicial review. Here is no such “strict scrutiny” as the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled must be applied regarding the constitutional rights of the people.

The tyranny and oppression of the administrative wage garnishment has affected me personally. Despite proof of payment and in violation of other Federal and State laws, two administrative wage garnishment orders have been enforced against me. The first resulted in the seizure of almost three thousand dollars by an agency of this State. After spending six infuriating months in a law library, I walked into the Marshall County DHR director's office, demanded repayment or threatened to file a court order against him and his agency. I started receiving refund checks a few days later. The second, by the state of Kentucky for a student loan I have struggled to pay due to the first administrative order, reduced me to poverty.

Since we no longer have a public law library in this county thanks to the actions of fence jumping Judge Howard Hawk, I did a week's worth of legal research online to put a stop to the second unlawful seizure which ended at $3,283.28. I recently received a refund check for almost two thousand dollars, well short of what was taken. As my struggle continues, I see plainly the danger these laws pose to our personal property rights. It is my most fervent wish that no one experience the nightmare that I have recently endured.

Please visit marshallcountybroke.blogspot.com or contact me so that together we may take action to preserve those rights endowed to us by our Creator, not government. What the government does not grant, the government cannot take away. That is, unless it is our wages. Hopefully, it will never happen to you, but shouldn't we stand together to stop it....just to make sure?

-as submitted to the Arab Tribune 8/8/11

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I won the battle, but this time it's war...

When I opened my mailbox the other day, I braced myself.  I knew the contents of the letter I now held in my hand would have a huge impact on my quality of life in the coming weeks, months, years.  It had travelled to me all the way from the Bluegrass State of Kentucky at the offices of the Kentucky Higher Education Association, "the Student Loan People."  They are a guaranty agency for federal student loans.  I have a student loan with them from my time at Wallace State Community College.

Under the seal of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the name of the Governor of the State, Steven L. Beshear, Melissa F. Justice responded to my second cease and desist letter since the beginning of July, when I discovered that the administrative wage garnishment order they were executing against me not only violated Federal law, but very likely was altogether unconstitutional.  As is noted in this blog, I am garnished to the hilt in child support, how could it be that they could confiscate another $300 a month?  $3,283 is the total amount unlawfully taken.  You might remember an earlier post about another administrative garnishment order which resulted in the unlawful confiscation of $3,000 over a six month time period by our good friends at DHR.  This time it took ten months to shake KHEAA off (due to my ignorance of the law concerning garnishments).  You can't know everything.  I know quite a bit about wage garnishment law now, and this check for $1,915.19 from KHEAA can attest to it.

It took DHR a year and a half before they came close to paying back all my money (a few hundred dollars in interest was not refunded).  KHEAA acted a little faster, beating the deadline I gave them in my first letter by three days.  You do the math, though, it is way short of what they took.  So the fight continues.  You would think that getting the check in the mail would be an enjoyable experience, and while I can say I have definitely gotten worse things in the mail than an almost $2,000 check, it really was bittersweet.  Sure, I may have been able to fight off the hydra which is the administrative garnishment order, now for a second time.  However, I am sure there are many others, especially in this economy, who are living under the oppression of this type of garnishment and have not taken the legal classes I have nor are as interested in the U.S. Constitution.  So why exactly are these administrative wage garnishment orders so nefarious?  Simply put, they are unconstitutional.

Congress recently granted the government and student loan guaranty agencies the ability to garnish a person's wages for any debt they claim is owed to the government or child support without any judicial oversight or approval.  They claim that seeking approval through the court system is too burdensome on the government and it is an effort to increase collection rates.  On the face of it, it sounds reasonable.  Doing anything in the Court system is costly and time consuming.  It probably does slow down collections and probably prevents some of them as well.  Everybody knows the U.S. government is broke.  Sounds great right?  Well, there's one problem...the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.           

Yes, it may be costly and burdensome, but the fact of the matter remains that it is required by the U.S. Constitution.  It matters not that Congress passed the law for any reason granting this tyrannical power to unlawfully confiscate a person's wages, which is his property.  Congress is bound by the chains of the Constitution more so than any.  The laws they pass cannot circumvent constitutional protections.  It flies in the face of everything this country was founded upon. 

I have had my property unlawfully confiscated with no regard for my rights of due process by two separate state government agencies.  It is time I attempt to put a stop to it once and for all.  I believe if I can get this before a Federal judge (with the intention of going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary), it will ultimately be found to violate the Constitution.  That would be a major victory in favor of American property rights.  Hopefully, it would also prevent anyone from ever experiencing the nightmare I have lived the last three and a half years due to false affidavits and unlawful garnishment orders.  They have been garnishing me into poverty with no regard for my rights of due process.  Even worse, they openly acknowledge that the due process clause of the Constitution is being circumvented.

I am not going to take it anymore and I will not rest until I make sure no one else has to take it either.  It is certainly a complex situation, and I am going to need all the help of friends, family, and attorneys I can get.  Most of all, with God's blessing and guidance, I believe I can see this through to the end and be successful in overturning the tyrannical and oppressive monster that is the adminstrative garnishment order.  It can wreak havoc on your life, destroy your sense of security, and literally force you into poverty.  It has done all and more to me.

Never again, and not to anyone.  That is the goal.  I believe in the U.S. Constitution.  As a southern man, the only two documents I hold closer to my heart is the Holy Bible and the Declaration of Independence, in that order.  How could it be that they think they can just trample all over something so revered?  Indeed, the sole source of their authority for any action.  To confiscate a citizen's property without due process of law is despicable not to mention specifically prohibited.

This is my Lexington and Concord.  The States of Alabama and Kentucky have run roughshod over my rights long enough.  I will not back down until they are stopped in their designs to circumvent the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.  Join me!  Ben Franklin's famous revolutionary drawing stated, "Join or Die."  Luckily in our day and time, hopefully nothing fatal will result from the battles to come on this issue.  However, it is oddly appropriate when slightly altered...

JOIN or PAY.            

The right of property is essential to individual liberty.  This is a founding principle upon which the American government was built, and it has been reaffirmed countless times by the judiciary.  Yet, our right or property, and individual liberty, is constantly under attack and currently being infringed upon.  This infuriates me.  As my brother Patrick Henry once said:

"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"