Can Non-Citizens File Bankruptcy?

There is a lot of discussion now about whether people from foreign countries who live and work in the United States without seeking citizenship should be entitled to the same rights as citizens. Since these non-citizens are consumers who almost certainly will accumulate debt, they may wonder if they can seek relief from their debts under the bankruptcy laws, or whether that right is specifically limited to people who are citizens.

Actually, the bankruptcy laws allow non-citizens to file. The Bankruptcy Code defines “a debtor” as “a person that resides or has a domicile, place of business, or property in the United States,” without requiring that person be a citizen. Therefore, the right to seek relief under the bankruptcy laws is available to both citizens and non-citizens, so long as they can prove they make their home here.

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How Changing the Character of your Assets to Protect Them Can Work Against You

An interesting situation came up recently in an online discussion between bankruptcy attorneys.  A client had received a workers’ compensation award of several thousand dollars within the past few months.  He used it to buy his girlfriend a car, and then filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy to wipe out his creditors.

If the money had remained in his bank account, he could have claimed it as exempt, meaning it would have been protected from claims by the bankruptcy trustee on behalf of his creditors.  Workers’ compensation benefits are sheltered from being seized by creditors under both Ohio and federal exemption laws.

However, the workers’ compensation award is not in the bank anymore.  He had to identify it, however, on his Statement of Financial Affairs where he was asked 1) what monies he’s received over the past 3 years other than from his employment,  2) what payments he’s made that benefited an “insider”, 3) what gifts of over $600 he has made to any person within the two years before he filed, and/or 4) what transfers of property he’s made.  If he fails to disclose that information, his bankruptcy filing will be fraudulent. Therefore, the Trustee is going to see the award he received, and will inquire as to what it was used for.  A gift to his girlfriend to purchase a car is not exempt from the reach of the Trustee.  Moreover, the attorneys believe, probably rightly, that the car was put into the girlfriend’s name purposefully to protect it from the man’s creditors. [Read more…]

Ohio’s Safe Haven Law

It’s hard to witness the current media storm surrounding Brooke Skylar Richardson and not wonder whether she (and/or her family) was aware of Ohio’s Safe Haven Law. In case you are from outside the Southwest Ohio area or live in a vacuum, Richardson is the 18-year-old Carlisle woman who was accused of giving birth to a baby several days after her high school prom, killing it, burning the body and burying it in her backyard. She has been indicted for Aggravated Murder, Involuntary Manslaughter, Endangering Children, Tampering with Evidence, and Abuse of a Corpse. The case is set to go to trial sometime in the next several months.

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Second District Court of Appeals Holds that Suppression of Defendant’s Statements to Police was Proper

On May 19, 2017, the Second District Court of Appeals issued a decision affirming the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court’s ruling suppressing statements made to a detective at the Huber Heights Police Department.

In the case of State v. Villegas, 2017-Ohio-2887, Villegas was arrested outside a Huber Heights shopping center, having been found in possession of dozens of counterfeit or cloned credit cards in his vehicle. Villegas was taken to the Huber Heights Police Department, where he was placed in a holding cell. Villegas was later taken to an interview room in the detective section of the police department, where a detective read Villegas his Miranda rights using a pre-interview form. Villegas declined to speak to the detective, and he did not initial or sign the form. The detective asked no additional questions, and Villegas did not request an attorney. Villegas was then escorted back to the holding cell.

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Ohio Supreme Court finds the Warrantless Search of Student’s Unattended Book Bag did not violate the Fourth Amendment

On May 11, 2017, the Ohio Supreme Court issued a decision in State v. Polk, reversing the decisions of the Franklin Court of Common Pleas and the Tenth District Court of Appeals.  The facts are as follows: A school bus driver found a book bag that was left on the bus.  The driver removed the bag from the bus and turned it over to the school safety officer.  The school had an unwritten policy to search unattended book bags to identify the owners and to ensure that there was no contraband contained in the book bags.  [Read more…]

Second District Court of Appeals Holds Canine Sniff Invalid

On May 5, 2017, the Second District Court of Appeals issued a decision affirming the Darke County Common Pleas Court’s ruling suppressing evidence obtained from a canine sniff of a suspect’s vehicle during a traffic stop.

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Fifth District Court of Appeals Holds that Consent Search Invalid

On March 22, 2017, the Fifth District Court of Appeals issued a decision affirming the Perry County Common Pleas Court’s ruling suppressing evidence obtained from the consent to search a suspect’s purse.

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CAN YOU BE SUED FOR HELPING SOMEONE IN AN EMERGENCY?

Most of us are sympathetic if we see someone involved in an emergency situation.  If we witnessed a car crash where people appeared to be injured, we would not hesitate to phone for help.  If we saw someone fall off a ladder, we would call 911.  But have you ever considered whether you’d be the type of person who might try to take some action to save a victim from some peril he was in?

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WILL A BANKRUPTCY FILING AFFECT MY FUTURE CREDIT RATING?

You may be thinking that your debts are out of control, and that perhaps you should be looking into filing a bankruptcy. On the other hand, you are concerned that if you do file a bankruptcy, then your credit rating will take a big hit. How a bankruptcy would affect your credit score is a valid issue to consider, and is actually one of the most common concerns people have when considering how to deal with their debts.

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OBES CLAIMS IT OVERPAID MY UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION, AND IS TRYING TO COLLECT IT BACK FROM ME. CAN A BANKRUPTCY HELP ME OUT?

The employment situation in Ohio was pretty bleak for the past few years. You may have found yourself out of a job with no replacement in sight and mounting bills that had to be paid. Or you may have employment that is seasonable, such as landscaping or construction, and have to rely on unemployment compensation to cover the periods when you’re not able to do your work. For whatever reason, you applied to the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services (OBES), and were awarded a weekly benefit amount. [Read more…]