PolitiStick recently reported on the ordeal of Paul Aker, a man with an outstanding debt for student loans. After decades of having not paid-back his federal student loans, U.S. Marshals showed up at Aker’s house in SWAT-style gear and those “assault rifles” the left loves to hate and hauled Aker off to jail over his debt.
According to the Marshals, this is not an isolated incident as the Marshal’s office in Houston claimed that they intended to serve between 1,200 and 1,500 such warrants for outstanding student loan debts.
Now, with the debtor’s prison back in existence, Americans need to fear the police if they have debt and one man has even died in police custody after he was hauled-off to jail over a debt accrued because he required an ambulance.
Rex Iverson was incarcerated at the Box Elder County Jail in Utah when he could not pay his bail or the $2,376.92 bill to the Tremonton City Ambulance service. Iverson did not have a job, so authorities could not garnish his wages. The next day, Iverson was dead. The cause of death is unknown at this time.
Lifesaving efforts were taken by deputies and he was transported via ambulance to a local hospital where he died.
Presumably, authorities are even more baffled on how to force payment for this latest ambulance ride as they will seemingly stop at nothing to force payment.
“We go to great lengths to never arrest anybody on these warrants,” Elder County Chief Deputy Sheriff Dale Ward claimed. “The reason we do that is we don’t want to run a debtors’ prison. There is no reason for someone to be rotting in jail on a bad debt.”
Still, nonetheless, Iverson was arrested for such a debt.
Though the U.S. long ago abandoned the debtors’ prison system, it has made a revival in a sneaky fashion. Utah calls it a “justice court,” a duo of meaningless words jammed-together without seemingly realizing that all courts are supposed to functions as courts of justice.
Over the last three years, 13 people have been arrested and jailed under similar circumstance in Utah thanks to these “justice courts.”
Of course, those who accumulate debts should be obliged to pay them. However, we, as a nation, have abolished debtors’ prison and calling it another name does not release the government from the obligation it holds to abide by this prohibition.
Though many reading this might rightfully assert, “Well, I would never not pay an ambulance bill, so this isolated incident does not apply to me,” ask yourself: do you have any debt?
Do you have a credit card? A tax bill? Student loans? Even if you regularly pay your bills via automatic withdrawal, if there’s a snafu and payments stop, do you want authorities coming to your house in SWAT gear? It’s not happening now, but maybe soon…
Do you feel comfortable knowing that the government is becoming more and more comfortable incarcerating those who do not pay their bills?