debtor

10:36am

Wed May 8, 2013
Economy/Labor/Biz

East Bay Express: Debtor's purgatory

People who can't afford to hire an attorney have virtually no chance in court against well-heeled lawyers for banks and debt collection companies.
Erika Pino

Felipa Martinez is a petite woman to begin with, but standing beneath the dais in Contra Costa Superior Court she looked even tinier. Martinez had arrived with her adult daughter in tow, partly for visual assistance (a degenerative eye condition has left her unable to take the bus by herself), partly for translation (she speaks just enough English to get by), and partly for emotional support. The daughter grasped Martinez' shoulder while Judge Steven K. Austin rifled through a stack of old bank statements and receipts.

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