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Stephen Clark Harkess

Stephen Harkess’s Answers

8,880 total


  • How do we sue CPS for negligence?

    CPS failed to investigate multiple reports of abuse in my stepdaughters household. Now a child has been murdered and three others put in fostercare. It's taken 6 month to gain custody of the our child but the trama she has gone through is overwhel...

    Stephen’s Answer

    A lawsuit won't get what you are looking for. You cannot successfully sue CPS. Your best bet for changing the system is to contact your state legislators.

    Unfortunately, I don't know that anyone has really figured out how to improve the system. The child protective services system is hopelessly flawed in every state I have ever had contact with. I don't know why. Perhaps it has to do with the people who want to become social workers or something inherent in the work. However, if you can figure out how to improve the system, sit down with your state lawmakers. This isn't something a lawsuit can address.

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  • What will happen if I don't pay my civil demand letter from Walmart?

    I was caught shoplifting a $19.99 charger and they put me into their little room and got my name down and contacted the police. I had to pay a $75.00 ticket. I got my first letter and I ignored it and I just recieved my second one saying they migh...

    Stephen’s Answer

    Usually nothing will happen. Although state law allows a theft victim such as Walmart to seek a judgment for up to $250 (regardless of the value of your theft), this isn't enough to cover what they would need to pay their attorney to sue you. As a result, it is very unlikely that this claim will actually go to court.

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  • Sue or not to sue

    Is there any way I can find out if the lady that hit me has a job before I decide to sue or just settle and get stuck paying some money out of pocket to get my car fixed. I don't want to take her to court if I'm not going to be able to collect.

    Stephen’s Answer

    What you really want to know is whether she has insurance. This is something she should tell you if she does. If there is no insurance there is always the danger that she will file bankruptcy and you will be unable to collect even if she has a job.

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  • Does my son have a case against the correctional facility for not following procedures.

    My son was not given a written notice of what his violation (s) were before his hearing in the correctional facility. Background info: My son was sentenced for OWI and on the Huber program wearing a scram ankle monitor when he was told to rep...

    Stephen’s Answer

    Does he have a case? The answer is - probably not.

    A federal civil rights case for denial of due process would require your son to establish that the government violated his clearly established constitutional rights. A person who has already been convicted of a crime has fewer due process rights than someone who has not been convicted and is still entitled to the presumption of innocence. Given your son was convicted of OWI, it is unlikely that he will be able to establish a violation of clearly established constitutional rights when his participation in the program was terminated. Post conviction, the process he was legally due is simply far less than before his conviction.

    Of course I have no more information than you were able to put in one long paragraph. You may want to schedule a consultation with a civil rights attorney to review your son's case and give you an opinion about his options. However, it is very unlikely that he will be able to successfully sue under these circumstances.

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  • Can an off duty officer?

    I was pulled over last week while driving through a intersection through town, it was a four way yield. Out of no where an unmarked truck pulled me over. The off duty officer wasn't wearing a uniform or didn't show me his badge. He said it was due...

    Stephen’s Answer

    The ticket was issued to you by an on-duty officer. That can happen. That did happen.

    A police officer can issue a ticket based on a witness' statement. The witness does not even need to be a police officer. If you take the case to trial, the witness will have to be called to testify or the ticket will have to be dismissed. The officer who wrote the ticket cannot provide the necessary testimony because he did not actually witness the infraction. If the witness testifies and is believed, that will be enough for the prosecution to win the case.

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  • How can I get retirement money from a financial institution for a decedent if no beneficiary was named?

    The decedent had money deducted through payroll to fund a retirement account. Initial talks with the financial institution holding the retirement account indicate that if no beneficiary was named then they will not release the funds to anyone but...

    Stephen’s Answer

    I cannot imagine that the employer can keep the money. What you need to do is to open an estate for the decedent and have the estate request the money. A probate attorney may be able to help you with this.

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  • Impact of eviction notice on co-signer during month-to-month lease

    Last year, I co-signed on a apartment for a friend. We grew apart, and last week she told me she got eviction papers. The lease expired at the end of May, so I thought I wasn't tied to apartment anymore. After discussing the situation with the ...

    Stephen’s Answer

    You need to read the actual lease. If the lease actually terminates after a year, then you are off the hook. However, most leases provide that the lease continues month to month if the tenant does not leave at the end of the lease. This means that the lease continues in effect until your friend moves out.

    Here is the usual speech - never cosign for any obligation that you don't intend to pay. If the creditor believed that the primary borrower was actually going to pay the debt, they would not have required a cosigner. When you cosign the debt, you are betting that you know more than the creditor does. You are usually going to turn out to be mistaken.

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  • Destruction of property

    SO I have holes in my walls at my Apt also broke my bedroom window. From my ex also a broken dashboard and radio in.my car that my ex broke what can I do ? Do I call the cops take pictures ? this happen about a month ago this person is on probatio...

    Stephen’s Answer

    You can report the damage to the police, although after a month they may be less interested in pursuing the matter. You can also sue your ex for the cost to repair the damage. Small claims court usually makes the most sense.

    If you have children together, it sounds like you will need to retain a family law attorney and seek orders for allocation of parental responsibilities, child support, and parenting time.

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  • New order giving father 50/50 time. What to do to insure $50,000+ arrears owed is still paid to me?

    Since 2008 i have been primary care giver. Judge just awarded him half the time. So no more child support from either party. The other party is in arrears over $53,000+ I do hold a judgment Granted by the courts. What do I need to do to insure...

    Stephen’s Answer

    With your judgment, you can put a lien on any real property in his name, you can garnish his wages, and you can garnish any bank accounts in his name.

    You cannot place a lien on property that he does not own. If you believe that he has fraudulently transferred property to avoid a debt, you would have to file a separate lawsuit to reverse that transaction before you could place a lien on the property.

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  • Can a attorney have papers filed and mailed to any address ? i live out of state and don't have my own mailing address.

    i lived in Illinois and lost everything back in 2008, i just relocated to Arkansas 5 yrs ago . I had an apartment down here but things got way too tight so i ended up not renewing the lease ; i needed an address for jobs so i used a relative mail...

    Stephen’s Answer

    If you still have an active child support case you are supposed to keep the Court updated on the best address to reach you. If you don't, then motions like the one your ex filed will be sent to the last known address. So long as the document is not one that requires personal service (such as a summons or contempt citation) then service is correct.

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