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UNSEALED: The US Sought To Change The Historical Record Of A Court Proceeding

UNSEALED: The US Sought To Change The Historical Record Of A Court Proceeding

| August 6, 2014

A few weeks ago we fought a battle for transparency in our flagship NSA spying case, Jewel v. NSA. But, ironically, we weren’t able to tell you anything about it until now.

On June 6, the court held a long hearing in Jewel in a crowded, open courtroom, widely covered by the press. We were even on the local TV news on two stations. At the end, the Judge ordered both sides to request a transcript since he ordered us to do additional briefing. But when it was over, the government secretly, and surprisingly sought permission to “remove” classified information from the transcript, and even indicated that it wanted to do so secretly, so the public could never even know that they had done so.

We rightly considered this an outrageous request and vigorously opposed it. The public has a First Amendment right not only to attend the hearing but to have an accurate transcript of it. Moreover, the federal law governing court reporting requires that “each session of the court” be “recorded verbatim” and that the transcript be certified by the court reporter as “a correct statement of the testimony taken and the proceedings had.” 28 U.S.C. § 753(b).

The Court allowed the government a first look at the transcript and indicated that it was going to hold the government to a very high standard and would not allow the government to manufacture a misleading transcript by hiding the fact of any redactions.Ultimately, the government said that it had *not* revealed classified information at the hearing and removed its request.But the incident speaks volumes about the dangers of allowing the government free rein to claim secrecy in court proceedings and otherwise.

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Creditor Harassment

Creditor Harassment

| June 9, 2014

Even the most responsible people sometimes find themselves in circumstances that make it difficult to pay their debts. Unemployment, an unexpected emergency, or a prolonged illness can eat into your savings or income and leave you in a position where you’re barely able to afford to keep a roof over your head. If this has happened to you, you are certainly not alone. At some point in their lives, most people find themselves in a position where they have credit cards or other bills that are overdue.

If you don’t know what to expect, things can get scary when the creditors start calling. This is why you need to know your rights and how to deal with collection agencies. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) defines what creditors may and may not do when attempting to collect debts. Make no mistake about it, many collection agents will willfully violate this act in an attempt to get you to agree to pay them.Creditor Harassment

Below is a list of some of the deceptive and abusive practices that are prohibited under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act:

  • Calling before 8 am or after 9 pm
  • Continuing to call or send you letters after you’ve notified them in writing to cease contact. They may contact you one additional time to inform you that they are either pursuing legal action or ceasing collection efforts.
  • Contacting you at your place of employment after you’ve told them not to
  • Threatening arrest
  • Threatening legal action if they do not intend to sue you or are legally unable to do so (i.e., Statute of Limitations has expired)
  • Use of abusive or profane language
  • Discussing your debt with third parties other than your attorney or spouse
  • Deceitful practices such as a debt collector claiming to be law enforcement or an attorney
  • Misrepresenting the debt
  • Intentionally reporting false information to the credit bureaus

If a debt collector violates the FDCPA, you can file a civil suit against them for actual damages.

Below is a short video that explains how you should handle creditor harassment.