One of my Youtube viewers asked me what I thought about the "straw man" theory of debt defense. I hadn't heard of it before - it seems like people are always coming up with some new, nearly magical solution to the law. They are usually misguided, and the straw man theory certainly is.
I followed several of the links I was given and saw a video of a man declaring the case against him dismissed after the judge declared an
adjournment and left the courtroom. This video claimed that the case had been dismissed.
What is actually far more instructive in the video is the extreme hostility the judge showed to
the guy who kept saying that his name was ___ I forget what it was – he was just giving his first name and refusing to acknowledge his last name.
It wasn’t clear what the advantage of this was supposed to be. What it actually did was almost get him thrown in jail.
Another video involved a guy “surrendering” his straw man to the court! He was being sued for something
and decided to surrender his straw man to the court. Again what this was supposed to accomplish aren't clear, since if everything you supposedly own is supposedly owned by your straw man, then if he loses, you lose.
What it likely to accomplish is a little clearer. Most courts have a rule against filing things that have no
factual or legally defensible basis. If you violate that rule, you are likely to be “sanctioned” – punished. And that is the single most likely outcome of using the straw man defense. I hope the readers of this article have more sense than that.
As far as I can tell, the basis of the straw man theory goes like this. When you are born, you are assigned
various identification markers by government (a birth certificate, for example), and thereafter as you go through
life, pretty much every time you do the things you’re supposed to do, you really just add to this “paper” person.
You are not your NAME. That’s maybe the basic insight of the straw man theory. And if you get sued, it isn’t YOU
getting sued, it’s your NAME.
The fact that it is typical for a pleading to have your name all in capital letters makes NO LEGAL DIFFERENCE at all.
And even if they get your name seriously wrong, and you prove that, the other side would still be allowed to amend the petition
to put your correct name. That’s totally reasonable and practical. Wouldn’t you be outraged if your rights got lost
because you made a typo?
So WHY are there so many of these patently ridiculous “secret methods” or “deep analytical” solutions out there?
I think it is because most people are deeply alienated from the legal process. It seems mystical and mysterious because it is complex and confusing. Life is hard. Magic seems easy.
Luckily, debt law is, largely, not like that. You can know what you are doing. You can learn enough of the way the system works
so that you can use the available legal tools to defend yourself.
It isn’t necessarily easy. Or obvious.
But you can do it.
In fact, as I have often pointed out, the way the debt collection industry works, normal people have a very good chance of defending themselves using the available, logical, and reasonable tools provided by the law. Things like ;discovery, motions to dismiss, and the standard rules of evidence. You HAVE tools available.
Our job is to help you know them and use them.