1. Free Legal Help, Legal Forms and Lawyers. TheLaw.com has been providing free legal assistance online since 1995. Our most popular destinations for legal help are below. It only takes a minute to join our legal community!

    Dismiss Notice

Should I pay this $500 civil demand?

Discussion in 'Juvenile Crime, Law & Court' started by Scarlett101, Aug 12, 2014.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. CdwJava

    CdwJava Moderator

    Messages:
    4,388
    Likes Received:
    329
    Trophy Points:
    83

    With the justice system slammed to a halt due to declining budgets and shrinking resources, prosecutions for property crimes are exceedingly unlikely in many states - especially in CA. As a result, civil suits and civil demands have become the most common recourse that a retailer has against thieves. The courts are not and CAN not hold the thieves accountable as they and the associated police and prosecutorial agencies often lack the resources to pursue petty crimes. In fact, a number of larger agencies in my state do not even respond to property crime offense calls any longer, so the criminal prosecution option does not - for practical purposes of deterrence and restitution - exist. (In my county, by way of example, they are not filing on low level misdemeanors at all - and even felony property crimes like grand theft are not being prosecuted until near the end of the statute of limitations.)

    No one is saying that a civil demand FORCES a person to pay up. The LAW exists to allow the merchant to make such a demand under the law. Of course the person receiving the notice can decline to pay just as anyone receiving a claim for damages in small claims or other civil court is free to decline or ignore the claim. After said denial, the plaintiff (victim) then has the option of pursuing the matter through a civil suit or collections (as is appropriate under the law) using the laws of the state as they exist. The defendant receiving the notice has to ask themselves how lucky they feel ... do they pay the demand, as is, or run the risk of paying much, much more after a civil suit or dealing with the issue through collections.

    It is as the law allows. And it is you and I who pay the cost of these miscreants and their continued plundering and pillaging of merchants to the tune of billions and billions of dollars each year. Personally, I am all for prosecuting AND forcing the miscreant thieves to pay restitution many times over. But, the costs of the state pursuing this against the suspect is more often than not prohibitive, these days. So, we are left with the civil angle from the merchants.
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    34,515
    Likes Received:
    5,808
    Trophy Points:
    113

    As far as I know (after speaking with my county bar association), no one in my county has ever been sued for a civil demand. A call to a couple nearby county bar associations, same answer, no one has ever been sued using the threat of a civil demand.

    I also spoke to the presiding district court judge in our county this morning, he says the matter has never been litigated in our county, or any county in Texas, as far as he knows. If he ever received such a case, he'd reject it summarily under Texas law.

    In fact, as Mighty Moose so eloquently put it, remedies already exist under our laws for merchants to take legal action in an attempt to recoup alleged losses. The win here goes to lawyers, who create the laws under which we all must live. Most of those laws either ignore us, or abuse us. We have the best constitution known to man. Then we fritz with it and create laws no one understands.
     
  3. shrinkmaster

    shrinkmaster Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,740
    Likes Received:
    294
    Trophy Points:
    83
    As stated before and in link provided yes the % of companies that actual sue is very low. No one has denied that. Its still a risk. Some recovery services P & R come to mind can be very aggressive. However this is LAW as a member of the BAR (as AJ states) or a member of Law Enforcement (MM) I find it odd you both condone ignoring law. If I disagree on the law that forbids me to beat me neighbor senseless I should ignore it? Why should honest people pay for the cost to protect store merchandise? Yes I am aware (more than some of you) that there is no force of la win these demand letters. However if one ignores the letter (like any other bill) the cost will rise and the place you owe the money to has option to sue. then the cost will get really high! There are also other options available that can be long term and severe as well
     
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    34,515
    Likes Received:
    5,808
    Trophy Points:
    113

    For the uninformed, no merchant can recover anything using these DEMAND letters.
    They can demand, and people can ignore.
    AS MM stated, its highly doubtful that an alleged shoplifter could ever pay a dime of these DEMANDS.
    As far as being a lawyer, having spent my life defending the rights of the little guy, I don't see the law as black or white.
    The law has many shades of gray.
    Beyond that, we have a constitution.

    Need I remind anyone that certain laws violated our nation's core principles at one time or another in our history: slavery, unequal treatment for women, the way we have treated Native Americans, homosexuals, recent changes in marijuana laws, health care law changes, welfare law changes, and even our constitution that still classifies Native American men and African American men as 3/5 of a person, making no mention of women.

    Our nation's disenfranchisement of women continued until 1920 when they were finally granted the universal right to vote, by the very male dominated institutions that had denied them that basic right from our nation's inception. The earlier exceptions were Utah and Wyoming, granting suffrage to women in 1869 as territories.

    The issue of the way we have denied rights to minorities is infamous, continuing to this day. We have made vast improvements, but occasionally we lose our way. In my humble opinion, we've done that with these demand letters. As I've said, the remedy exists for all of us to sue each other when we are wronged.

    As far as losses incurred by businesses, that's why society funds and retains great police forces and prosecutors to arrest and charge wrong doers. If one state is struggling with debt, that doesn't deny the merchant redress. He or she can simply work with their legislators and city leaders to ensure the police respond to every crime.

    Again, I apologize to the OP for assisting in highjacking this thread. I will continue to advise people of their right to do or not to do a thing. Ultimately it is their choice as to whatever they select when a choice is presented. If the various state legislators decide that DEMAND LETTERS must be obeyed, I'll be on the side of those challenging the legality of such laws. The reason these letters can be ignored is that they deprive the target of DUE PROCESS. Only a court, after DUE PROCESS has issued can deprive a person of their property, their liberty, or their treasure.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014
  5. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

    Messages:
    11,483
    Likes Received:
    2,027
    Trophy Points:
    113

    I don't condone the criminal act of stealing, but I recognize that civil demand laws carry no obligation of compliance. A person who does not pay a civil demand is NOT breaking the law and there is no penalty. Sure they might face a higher fine IF the business seeks prosecution and IF convicted, but a person is entitled to due process. With legal assistance the accused might even negotiate a lesser penalty.
    Civil demand letters can be ignored all day long. They essentially say, "Pretty please pay us."
    "No" is a perfectly legitimate and acceptable answer, or even no answer all.
    A subpoena to appear in court is an order which carries an obligation to comply. I would never suggest a person ignore a legal order from the court. There is no obligation to take any action until the court orders it.
     
  6. shrinkmaster

    shrinkmaster Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,740
    Likes Received:
    294
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Two points then I will leave this issue for another thread as it always comes up. By the way I stand by my comment on you advising others to ignore laws

    Point one up until a little while ago AJ did not even know what civil demand was so he is not in position to advise on it in my view
    Point two I already said that the letters carry no force of law so why keep repeating it? The force of law comes from "if" retailer sues.
     
  7. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

    Messages:
    11,483
    Likes Received:
    2,027
    Trophy Points:
    113

    If the letters have no force of law then there is absolutely nothing wrong with people ignoring them.
    If you take issue with informing people they can ignore the demand letters then it seems you don't truly understand there is no force of law behind them. That is why it keeps getting repeated. It is absolutely their right to ignore demand letters and refuse to pay.
     
  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    34,515
    Likes Received:
    5,808
    Trophy Points:
    113

    If a person or entity exercises its right to sue another person or entity, that isn't a force of law.
    That's simply an exercise of an individual right, to bring a lawsuit.
    If a judge rules in favor of the plaintiff, so what?
    Now the plaintiff must collect on their judgment.
    That's a very difficult, if not impossible process.
    A judgment isn't a court order decreeing that XXXX must pay DDDD.
    The court order declares that BOBBY owes JUDY $2,400.
    Now JUDY'S adventure begins, collecting against that judgment.
    The court can't even force you to pay a civil debt.
    That's just not how our law works.
    Civil demands will go the way of many fads, they'll simply fade away.
    Once that happens, if thefts increase, the state will no longer be able to abdicate its responsibility to prosecute alleged wrongdoers.
    If convicted of a crime, it's nearly impossible to run or evade apprehension for very long these days.
    Then we have another problem, paying to house the convicted miscreants.

    Maybe our great leaders will fix theft crimes the way they fixed marijuana crimes, legalize them. Sheesh...
     

Share This Page

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.