Re: Small Claims Court
Not quite, Helen.
Originally Posted by HoosierHelen
As an old attorney of mine used to be fond of saying, "This isn't England. We don't have debtors' prisons."
However, one can be incarcerated for failing to abide by a judge's orders.
In Mrs. Slotz's case, my guess is that her debtor never appeared in court when ordered. So the debtor was in contempt of court for failing to follow a judge's orders by showing up in court, and NOT for failing to pay the bill.
Here's the typical timeline in an uncomplicated lawsuit:
1) File suit
2) Attend the first hearing to decide the merits of the suit. If the defendant doesn't show up (which is often the case), a default judgment is entered against him.
3) If the defendant still doesn't pay up, another hearing is held to ascertain what income and seizable assets the defendant has. This is where the plaintiff finds out where the defendant works to get a garnishment order, or if the defendant is expecting any payoffs in the near future. If the defendant doesn't show up for that hearing, then:
4) A "Rule to Show Cause" hearing is held where the defendant is ordered to appear in front of the judge to give "good cause" why he didn't show up for the LAST hearing. Generally speaking, if the defendant shows up for that one, he usually isn't punished but rather whatever the previous hearing would have entailed is covered. If, however, the defendant fails to show for this hearing, then:
5) A body attachment is filed against him. This is effectively an arrest warrant. You may see people in the Police Blotter arrested for "Civil Contempt of Court". This is probably why. They were not arrested for not paying their bills. They were arrested for ignoring several judge's orders to appear in court.
Apples are good,
Oranges are bad,
Lemons are rude,
Bananas are perverted,
And kumquats are just, plain evil...