Why Many People in Jail Can't Afford a Lawyer

Posted By Bill Nimmo || 2-Jun-2015

If you are wondering why your family can’t afford a private lawyer, it has a lot to do with the state of our economy. Everybody is talking about it. It's on the TV every day and whenever an election is coming up both sides use it in an attempt to get themselves elected. The fact is that their economic problems have very little to do with who is president and a whole lot to do with what happened back in 2007 with the real estate collapse. Now, I realize this is very technical , but it is important for people to understand what happened so you can have some hope, or at least knowledge as to where we are headed.

Back in the days before 2005 almost anybody with two arms, two legs, a head, and a job could buy a house. You didn’t have to be rich. And so thousands of people across the country were able to buy houses, some very low in price. Well, as more people bought houses the prices began to rise. These prices rose in lower priced homes just like they did in higher priced homes. What that meant is the value of everyone’s house rose dramatically. All across Southern California the value of houses went up and soon a home that was purchased for $75,000 was worth $250,000, then $300,000, and even more. It was a boom time. The new California Gold Rush.

Then as people accumulated value or “equity” in their homes of several hundred thousand dollars ($300,000 – $75,000 = $225,000 in equity), lenders everywhere made it easy to borrow off this value ($225,000). You didn’t have to prove much income to get a “home equity” loan back then. So people started thinking about remodeling, new furniture, trips, and cars. All of this was a great boon to the economy. Construction companies and remodelers were going crazy with work, furniture and household goods manufacturers and retailers were making and selling loads of furniture, and car manufacturers and dealers were selling their products like hotcakes. Jobs were aplenty and we were doing well.

A lot of these loans and equity loans stretched people to the max! The big financial companies started selling “securities” based on these mortgages even though most were very faulty and one day it started to collapse. And when it did you couldn’t sell a home for anywhere near what it was worth. All those companies who were manufacturing and selling things started to slow down rapidly. Construction dried up throwing tens of thousands out of work. The country began to collapse.

Well that collapse has persisted until today. Even though the recession was officially over some time ago we still haven’t caught up enough that the common folk are back working and making a good living. I can say, from watching all of what is known as the “economic indicators” that we are making progress. These economic reports come out weekly and monthly and they measure specifically a number of things that let us know what direction the economy is headed. It is clearly headed upward but it is a slow grind and will be until it catches fire. For instance, last month the country added 160,000 new jobs. Economists say that to have real growth we need to add 250,000 jobs monthly. So we are growing but slowly and we are a long way before we are back to normal.

One of the things that is going on is that Europe and all of its countries are having major economic problems. That affects us because a lot of our American companies sell things to Europe and so those companies are suffering right now. Another thing that is happening in America is that companies and most all businesses are afraid to expand right now. A lot of them are doing okay because they pulled back and shrunk when the economy tanked but they survived. Right now they are “treading water.” They are afraid to add more workers, or plant space, or open new stores, or remodel existing stores, because the economy hasn’t shown enough signs of recovery yet.

For all of you in trouble and in jail, this means your families just don’t have the jobs, or the cash, or the credit card that they can plunk down a few thousand for a lawyer or for bail. I’d like to tell you this is going to change soon, but it is not. Best thing you can do is hope that your overworked public defender can get you the right result or that you can negotiate a good bargain for a good private lawyer to take on your case.