J. Tony Serra is the epitome of counter-cultural hero. He has spent his life defending society's marginalized citizens in the courtroom. His role in the Chol Soo Lee case was depicted in the film True Believer and he has gained national prominence for his closing argument techniques. He is a life-long tax resister who has spent time in federal prison in protest of what he percieves to be an unjust political and legal system. Tony Serra has been a criminal defense attorney for over 45 years. He has been involved with numerous high profile cases including the Black Panthers and the Hell's Angels. He is the reciepient of numerous awards including an ACLU Civil Liberties Award and Lawyer of the Year from the Criminal Trial Lawyers Association.Recently he was incarcerated for federal taxes he decided not to offer a federal government he considers hostile to the poor, immigrants, Native Americans, and folks who enjoy a bit of inner transportation by means of forbidden substances. WALKING THE CIRCLE-PRISON CHRONICLES-J. Tony Serra
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Talk, radio. You are now listening to true murder, the most shocking killers in true crime, history and the authors that have written about them: Gacy, Bundy, Dahmer, the night Stalker Dtk every week, another fascinating author talking about the most shocking and infamous killers in true crime, history, true murder, with your host journalist and author Dan Zupansky. Good evening. This is your host that Dan Zoo pass key for the program. True murder, the most shocking dealers in true crime, history and the authors that have written about them: J, Tony's,
Where is the epitome of counterculture hero? Hi, I'm Jay Farner, ceo of Quicken Loans, thirty percent of Americans who are planning home improvements of five thousand dollars or more will pay for those renovations with a high interest credit card. That may not be a great idea, a better idea, maybe to take cash out of your home with a Quicken loans. Thirty year fixed rate mortgage. The rate today in our thirty year, fixed rate mortgage is three point. Ninety nine percent APR four point: eight percent call us today at eight hundred Quicken or go to rocketmortgage dot com right. Subject: change one point: twenty five percent of receive this kind of cost information conditions call Linda, listen, updates and the number thirty his bed, his life, defending societies marginalized citizens in the courtroom, his room. All in the choose. Uli case was depicted in the film true believer and he was game.
He has gained national prominence for his closing argument techniques. He is a lifelong tax resistor, who has spent time in federal prison in protest of what he perceives to be an unjust political and legal system. Tony Sarah has been a criminal defense attorney for over forty five years. He's been involved with numerous high profile cases, including the black Panthers, and the Hells angels. Here's the recipient of numerous awards, including an ACLU civil Liberty's award and lawyer of the year from the criminal trial lawyers Association, recently he was incarcerated for federal taxes. He decided not to offer a federal government. He considers hostile to the poor immigrants native Americans and folks who enjoy a bit of inner transportation by means of forbidden substances. The book featuring this evening is walking the circle prison chronicles with
special guest attorney and author J Tony Serra. Good evening. Sarah. Hello. This is tony. Sarah, how are very good thank you just missed your your glowing introduction, but we just basically gave a synopsis of your career a little bit anyway, just a little bit and what this book is about and that about your tax reason So the guardians takes it what they call a grain of salt be cause, I think, all of these kind of exaggerated. You know salutations. Sometimes you know or pure hyperbola, but I'm delighted that you're interviewing, you know me about the book and It was
in a heartfelt experience that actually created the opportunity to write it well. Great now, they'll tell us just a little bit now tell us what for those people that don't know, what's the difference between attacks Rees, MR an a taxi vader and tell us what your your basically, your philosophy is. What did it? What is it about taxes that you a boar, tell us what your position is, a federal tat. All right do. One tax evasion is more appropriate to tax evasion. Is a felony tax evasion you nowhere would not. Allow me to continue practice. Is not. You know something that stems from what I'll call you know: political ideology, tax evasion or tax cheaters that under report you know with knowledge their income or over,
no. Their deductions are not valid. Blah blah blah but I don't do that at all. I'm a mayor, Mister meat and then one of the little you know vignettes and the book talk about that I have been tax, resistor tax, resistors one who either doesn't pay or doesn't file for my, maybe first twenty years. I didn't file for the six hundred and twenty years. You know I haven't paid I've been through executed three times or two of those times. I ended up in Lompoc prison camp. The bar does not California bars very compassionate, very you know pathetic when it comes to an idealistic position, so my position. Is you know, philosophic political,
ideological that has nothing to do with cheating the government. That is nothing to do with understating my income or overstaying. My deductions, I just fail, you know too pay previously. I merely failed to file its there are huge difference, an I don't going to be a lot of people confuse it. I think it's the same thing. I don't know, I'm not attack. You know, evasion on not invading anything, I'm just not God damn pain it. So what is my view? My view on? in taxation. Is you know, know I could write it. Even chapters and chapters on it but, in a nutshell, the way tax, historically, for the most part was imposed. Is when, like the roman sure other. You know
imperialistically oriented countries invaded and conquered they exacted an annual tax from the defeated from the victims from the of anguished the conquerors, you know, demanded their tribute and if couldn't pay brought your see. You know your silver, you brought your gold, you know, but your son, who was inducted into their army in lieu of payment, so it's uh, we've been a relationship between Victor and vanquished oh press or, and those who are oppressed, translated into public time and present. Look demension now in present time the millionaires
one percenters the people that the occupied movement is directing their energies toward that corporations. The international corporations, the domestic corporations- they don't pay tax if they can't carve some niche that protects them. Then they pass it on to the consumer, sweep a ultimately their tax. It is only to war, cooking class. That pays tax is only the poor people who pay. Tax, it is only you know the ninety nine percent of us who oppose the one percent who really you know, control everything in this so called democracy that pay the tax. Well, I'm a free man- I'm not you know, I haven't been conquered, I'm I'm going to pay their tax, I'm not going to support
dwars wars, I'm not going to support the corporations that stand behind their wars, I'm not going to wage endless war, not with my money in order you know to become like oil rich. So you know it's ' pervasive view Anna views, taxation as something that is You know placed on a class of people who have not in No, the police local crowd or the wherewithal chew resistant, and I just symbolically have made this? I call it my peanut principle. I've been doing that. I don't know nearly fifty years. Every ten years and get prosecuted it be costing some missed. Dinner be cause, there's no moral turpitude I get suspended while I'm doing my time, thirty four
four hundred and fifty six months, whatever it's been, but then, when I'm out I'm free to practice- and And when I'm in when this expansions lifted. I'm free to practice. And therefore I practice while I'm in I practice after I get out the bar you know even solicited the last time I was in Glen Park, prison camp, which you know was a couple years ago and that the book came out of the experiences that I had there, but the bar the caliph. On your bar solicited a the article based on my experience there that list did areas of reform where reform. In you know the federal prison system from my perspective was acquired. So not only is the bar understanding compassion it. You know an Underst
this- is not moral turpitude and it's a principle they're interested in it and they're interested in you know prison reform and they know allow articles to be written in the prison officials, at least at the camp? I was in, they don't allow media to come in. They don't allow photographs to be taken. They don't allow. You know, interviews to occur, it's a no. No, they don't want prisoners writing about. Sometime install. You know, conditions in the from my perspective, this label waiver that occurs there, but the part so powerful that that all of the rules got swept away over there. Out there they're taking pictures of me pictures of the facility interviewing Maine, so you know it just shows. California is beautiful. The bar you know is, from my perspective, fair balanced. You know not not constricting any of my first dementia.
Right and so what I did while I was there last time, because now I'm older, I was like a camp, the gardner? You know watered flowers and their word, the the lawns- and I cleaned up the debris and I planted you- know various cactuses, etc, etc, but it was only about six hours. You see when you're older, I'm over seventy, so they First time I was in the garbage. Cortana. You know I was assigned the garbage. I remember going to the counselor and saying: listen. I didn't help the inmates. I couldn't do civil, if you don't want me to criminal. All I need is a typewriter. You know I can help him with probate and I can help with bankruptcy, and I couldn't handle domestic relations. You know even on the criminal law. I know all of that and then the
state job assignment Sarah garbage garbage. But this time- and I work my ass off- but this time I you know, watered and contemplated and went to the so called library I read eighty novels, I wrote two full book, I wrote poetry, I wrote you know what I call vignettes and you know the editor and publisher's colon prison, chronicles and I you know, served the inmate populace
like you know, a dentist. You know service too many clients table lined up. You know when I'm sitting out there on a bench am kind of interviewing him. I'm hearing their issues, I'm looking at their pellet. You know, beliefs, I'm I'm looking at the whether or not they have habeas corpus relief, I'm going over with them. You know their memorandums of law, I'm helping the jailhouse lawyers perfect their wrists and their appeals. It was just like or if you lock up a doctor in a hospital, a doctor who likes to practice a doctor. You know who is sympathetic and Anna DEN complies with his patients. That's what I was I was. A lawyer in will defense lawyer in a federal prison camp an at a point to practice, and
yeah, it was just fabulous all the people I met and all of the secrets that they shared in every race and every religion really contact me being open with me so you know I regarded as one of the like the rare moments of the my mind, so like a vacation. Yeah yeah, I don't mind, work. I work hard. I work one thousand two hundred and fourteen hours a day, I'm I'm a workaholic, you know and it's all lots in the narrow tunnel division obviously is obscured when you're in a narrow tunnel. So when I get out All of that and then I can't go to court every day, and I can't argue, you know to a judge or jury every day. For me, it's a vacation, but I never gave up the practice of law and I helped everyone. You know to the best of my ability and right beside that I wrote my ass off just you note for self medication and I'm just delighted that I have you know a book that came
out of that experience, and in that book I outline, what I consider like symbolic episodes that I either perceived or I participated in they speak. You know, beyond the what I call it: the method: factors that are illustrated in you know each each vignette or in each chronicle, because their symbolic Becaus their metaphor, but the underlying theme, the underlining theme is, we need reform, so we need change. Prison camps are unfair. Prison camps are slave labor. As soon as I got out, I brought against the the federal your prisons, what's in uh well. It gets to a class action on behalf of Allman inmates who are are incarcerated and forced into the slave labor, and my
request in the action which was filed, San Francisco federal Court was that they be paid. You know minimum wage, seven hundred and fifty an hour instead of the zero dollars and twenty three cents or zero dollars and thirty three cents on. If you really paid big money, getting zero dollars and eighty cents an hour and many people, you know and me in My first went there, they hard, there get thirty they get why you do sweat and there it's dangerous and it sometimes you know it's longer hours than it should be, and God damn they're making millions off that the prison system. You know in terms of the slave. You know late your camps and it's my burbage, they make millions in our place alone. You know they were making steel cables, they were producing milk, they were producing meet there. With cattle there was corn. You know the
there was mechanical you know work all of that benefits the prison system and these prison You know, industries exist in every company is in every federal prison that has a camp and they spread throughout the United States and they thinking, you know millions and millions and they don't want to pay. They want you, I'll, give you zero dollars and twenty three cents a know. If you don't want to be there, then you can go in to do hard time, but all of the people their glue, myself are selected, one nonviolent too no escape risk and you dare I work. This is a working camp. They tell you you're not going to be rehabilitated, we're not here deter. You were here, you know to punish you and you work in this camp. Everyone works, so you know for me.
Maybe just wouldn't it be just you know- I mean just to be safe, the other side of this you know a lot of people that listened read. True crime would listen to show programs like this he's completely biased, but a lot of people know You know yourself, probably better than anyone that a typical court case say that person is a thief: it's not violent, but still it cost the federal government or the state government a lot of money. And incarceration costs a lot of money for correctional officers in the security. At the facility so some people might say you know what zero dollars and twenty three cents an hour. There's no way I would, I would advocate for seven fifty an hour 'cause. I would be competing with somebody that had never gotten in trouble had now I've been on. Side of the law, never cost the government any money. So there is I think there are exactly the ration now let the ninth Circuit of Appeals, Utile eyes too a foam dismissed all of my lawsuit and buy
timeline in Lay language, they said we'd I have to pay you anything you know and yeah it. Just if you take the history of camps, remember Siberia. They worked in Malta, death. The trucks two Siberia killed half of them to me using that either knowingly or unknowingly as an historical model for what's occuring. You know nowadays so, yes I think the majority say good riddance. These people, you know, have committed crime. They are, you know, menace to society, they have to pay their retribution, and these work camps is one manner of doing it. If they don't want to do a work camp, then let them rot. You know in the cell, and that is a domino
view, but that is archaic. That is punitive that is uncivilized. That is unsophisticated. That is immoral. You don't make, you know prisoner slaves will way beyond that. Hopefully, in terms of our most enlightened segment of society, and you know to prison mentality. The guard mentality toward mentality is still way in the past. Well, the thing is too is that they fail miserably, in terms of a prisoner, leaving a system and then having some kind of uh. It's not necessarily go well. Why should these people get any support? But if you put that person out on the street without really a trade, if you work them in a prison. It's not like that's a credit towards a taurus or some skill set that this person will have once they're released. If, if they did work towards something like that, then you can say they got their apprenticeship.
They are a political, but with a criminal record and a big void. I neer on your work record for two or three years. You have a that person has a much harder time me taking it and then, like you, talk about your prison. The prison system to you then they don't care about rehabilitation what they say is one out of two review will be back, we but you know they want you back. They feed on recidivism, they incur You know by not providing education not providing adequate. Library, not really providing job training. They encourage the phenomenon. Recidivism. Don't you know they get paid? Ultimately, the institution gets paid like many schools, or their resources are allotted like, like mini
holes on the outside by how many you know inmates they have. They want inmates inmates is in essence you know there're resource there. There's no way they want to educate them. There's no way they want to rehabilitate them. They want him to come back and therefore it perpetuate You know their system Derek, vacation there. You know capitalizing off this slave waiver, everyone in these camps should be out you know should be released there. Normally, but we call short term are's. You know I only got a ten month sentence and they transition people have been in a long time when they're about ready. You know to leave the transition on through the crew in camp, and let me just be very honest:
or many many people from e you know who have been convicted in the eastern states come out to one park. One box, the pleasuredome they come out be cause their snitches have to God. Damn camp have been MA choose and everyone's looking at each other and who's telling this a new selling that an you know informants are treated very badly when their ascertained, but but the camp you nope, deuces. The camp works in has its quotas, the camping This run like a corporation is run. They have to make their profit. Even if it's only a paper, off that. So you know what I advocate is eliminate Amal and those persons were eligible for prison camp- are definitely eligible for parole. You know let him out
or they put the short term, restore the in the camps. In order to perpetuate the is an industries, that's the only reason there there. What is it go ahead, but isn't it really part of you know you work in the judicial system and again the judicial system. Some and you're a member of the judicial system. You know Even though you have the Criminal defense bar. Ok, that means that I go against most of the time the prosecute. And the judge and the establishment, all you know one bunch right, but I as as, at the same time the is a lawyer. The prosecutor is a lawyer and the judicial, system and if the lawyers, association or those peep will that are lawyers in who make the laws realize that there has been again. We can. We can talk about
this. Your long term marijuana advocate as well. The idea that there pudding nonviolent people in through the court system wasting valuable time deal. With people like that and then you get like you say, put them and put in the work and then making money off their backs. Maybe it starts right with the judicial system taking non violent crime and dealing with it and giving people criminal records and prohibition is a really bad example or a really good example of on violent crime, especially marijuana use. But again maybe it starts the additional system. Now, let's talk a little bit, you were an illiterate described for the for those before we get into prison reform in what you, what you real recommendations, are and what you think worthy injustices in the prison system that need this necessary reform. Let's talk about the correctional it, it was it a prison camp. Is it but
Is it like a correctional center versus a federal penitentiary? Tell us the difference between represented typical current entry school Lompoc. It's Ariel prison. And all of the images you know of unsavory. I don't know, conditions exist there and outside of the yard, that surrounds the federal prison is the camp. The camp I mean you walk, you know, although you're not allowed to, but you could walk it's within walking distance and it kind of hovers over you like some kind of a black. You know feared domain and so it's starkly different in Lompo camp. Here
Was used to be in the sacred grounds so that in the area there's rolling hills and there's trees and there's rivers and there's deer and there's rampant the bird life, it's it's beautiful, the Lyptus trees. You know when the breezes go through 'em, give off the there are eucalyptus oil sent into the flowers abound. The prisoners are mellow, they use their after hours, sometimes to cultivate flowers or make enhance the environment. At least some of them do so. First, it's very beautiful. There are No walls, no bars, there's two huge,
dormitories, pretty darn crowded. I think there's three hundred and fifty of us one hundred and seventy five in each dormitory. You sleep very close. You know I could bunks the one on top of each other, and everyone is very, very close. You know like a funny thing, if you wake up at midnight year, like one hundred and seventy five people snoring- and I don't know, groaning and grunting in terms of their dream life lights, go off a ten. Everyone gets up at six hundred, so you go outside and have a breakfast, and then you go to your job assignment he'd get back in the late afternoon. Normally there's account, and maybe you go to the mail. You you have a dinner, you can re. Do you have free time? I had more luxurious free time be cause. I was signed to the garden detail which only work
actually about six hours a day where I told you last time. I work, maybe eighty nine hours a day with the garbage assignment. So you know the. The conditions are benign, there's not guards with guns, there's guards Kerry a walkie, talkie type the device, and there were there walking around butt in there. In plain clothes and the first time I went to get you out in front, they say look, you're here, because you've been selected, your nonviolent and you're, not in the great risk. However her you know, five percent of you will leave. You have to sneak. Don't sneak away, see that phone over their core camp in out of the five percent will get ninety five percent of you back and you'll be over there and then a point to you know to the draconian looking
old prison, so then you know. For some in the old days. They would allow them to go buses They believed in rehabilitation to local colleges and people were getting degrees. They were doing their homework. It was like fantastic, no more, that howl are, there still is lotsa athletic activity. It's one of the last places that has the irons. That means you know the weight, lifting their inform, weightlifting, there's basketball, there's you know a whole soccer field. There softball fields of there's tennis First time they used to be a musical auditorium where people would go in and play musical instruments. That's gone now, so it's very benign. It's very very easy you can
elevate your consciousness. You can mimic eight, you know no one's going to come around and beat you you don't have to worry about being naked. Do you know in the shower, at everyone's on their best, behavior wife get ready to get out and they know that this is off. This is not the heart doing hard time. My protests that if everyone was incarcerated like back and not forced into classes and took maybe lessons in is a job training and an you Know- was allowed to expand their mind- the ability Tate themselves. I wouldn't be writing this book. I wouldn't be yelling. You know, like a fool, all that. I am right now, but it's not like that. What the there's this image and aesthetic image and image like of sociability, you know an image like big brother is smiling, but right behind,
that it's slave wages right behind that they capitalizing and that's not fair, that's not appropriate! That is something that we outlawed. You know in terms of literature and in terms of philosophy, decades and decades and decades ago, so I will continue in every fashion. I can you know, to seek redress and to protest the conditions at the camp hey. What can I I want the audience to know, let let me read one short vignette just to get the flavor of you know what I wrote Is that ok sure absolutely. Let's see this is This is a short one and it's no and we
no melon calling you no no regrets, I'm just getting the book out. I am in prison, now stripped of Judy Ann responsive. Kiliti ejected from my lawyers life from my family life, Sepa, traded from my loved ones, no wife to touch to talk by routine thunder, indulgences gone, evaporated, too many, my reputation tarnished to others, a waste of time and abandonment of purpose. I am an exile, isolated in rejected, but none of the above touches me deeply, my vanity, my ego go by organs is in penetrable. I have no n, we
I have no shame. Quite the contrary. Prison is my plumage, my bonage, a symbol of my dedication to a principle to a belief. It is my distinction. I wear proudly, the garb of a conflict lawyer serve so few ideals. We wear others, badges of courage and belief. We mouth others, ideas and value systems. We validate clients, acts of courage, order, appliance we enforce others revelation or
cries for change or reform. We stand in other peoples, shoes. We walked behind them, not in front. We change horses to gain the share. My peanut principle, I will not pay. Taxes has been my career banner held high taxes. The plunder of the victorious is the price paid by the defeated is a tribute to the conqueror. The ruling class pays no tax, only the vanquished in modern times the working class pays Ia I'm a free man. I will not pay their tax. That is why prison is not for me is so blood. Disgrace the mark of loste salvation a place for depression, a time of repentance or contrition. I exalt in prison. I'm not here, be cause of moral deficio, see. I am here becaus of moral consistency.
I find the prison life reinforcing. I find the prisoners fascinating. I read I write and Medicaid I have new freedom is now see them to think outside of legalese see them to find new vocabulary. For goodness, beauty, love and honour. I can be innocent again idealistic simple. I can thrive on romantic fallacy. I retrench in sentiment. Comraderie. I am a man among men who have faced danger and punishment. No common minds in prison. Creative minds only know boo. Bourgeois here, no Safeway lifestyles, no cowards. I enlarge in prison. I do not diminish. We here are all proud to be anti establishment, Anti Authority
and I sheep, and I can for miss. We are individualistic. We rage at societies, norms. We are the angry semantic. This don't pity us pity yourselves. So you kind of get my uh attitude from that. That's why I chose it and You can see the types of persons that I respect. Ultimately, in life itself Why don't you know ultimately respect those who just line up behind the societies dictated social, moral motifs, the sheep? These people have lived, you know
with courage, dairy were all on the cutting edge. They were high risk takers day have imagined nation, a mini. You know come from impoverish conditions. The only way that they can work up so surely is through outlaw activity. EE, my dinner face, you know I've been fifty years of what would I do? Is I go in the jail every day? I go into court every bury. So these are my people. These are the people I represent. I see the virtues in society sees the wise, but I see the strength I see you know is the human values that they manifest that I see there comraderie. I I see the way they bond together. I see the same Grevy Ances in Soc that they see and therefore you know for me, it only strengthens me I told you I came out. I went right into a murder trial. You know the
the first week I was out. I was selecting the jury in a murder trial and I was filing my civil action against the Bureau of prisons. You know for minimum wage, so it is only instills in me, more Muno motivation. Coming anger and frustration at the inequities that exist both in the you called it. The judicial Muno system, which favor the wealthy favored, a white collar, etc, etc. You know to the prison where is one level of the other year harassed your exploited you're, subjected to a lot of sadistic unnecessary treatment? You know it's like you descended in the down many many circles and Dante's inferno and you know you're screaming at the shadows. You know the thing is I I agree with the you know the vast majority of what your
but I want to make a couple of these points and let me ask what you have to say about this as well: there's a big difference again between the non violent criminal, the person, that's a tax resistor, the persons uh in on drunk driving, there's person on various nonviolent crimes. Crimes if people even perceive safer as your neighborhood part dealer, as it is not this with the disreputable so but there's a big difference between some of the people that the fence, lawyers, the fan and madness- programs called true murder, so we're talking about a lot of violent crime rate. The social pack you know you don't find the type that you evidently you know are killed by chance? Camp is for nonviolent non IST wait list. So it's uh whole different, Milu,
yeah society very severely with violence. I was at a camp. There are, there may be people way in their past and committing violent acts, but they're ready to get out someone twenty twenty years, they're ready to get out so on their on their best behavior. So you know, I you know what you saying now you send it. You know a number of times. What do you do with the violent offender is alright to work. You know him to the bone. Well, that's not what they're doing they're not going afk so in punishing the violent offender by making him a slave, you know wage participant, those people,
still locked up there in the more you know, a medium to every security prisons. Their life is far more curtail. They don't have delivered keys that camp people have. So you know your applying a concept that is more applicable to real prisons than camps camps, or you know SUI generous day. Are you know it devour men, a large country patterned? After, as I indicated the support Buryin way, you know, except the obviously, it's all easy, Now. So people look like I understand the perspective of paying your day when There really is some kind of you know violent behavior. That person. It has to be separate. You don't have to put him in a steel cage. You know no one has no one belongs in a steel cage. Your dog doesn't belong in a steel cage, so leave
the violent people do not belong in the cell in the path logical, a sociopath ik. They have to be, separated if they're gonna keep you know harming people. Of course they have to separated, but you Don't treat you know human like an animal, because the causative factors is what determines for the most part. Behavior and most of the course and factors that determine behavior are outside their control. In the volition of the person manifest into behavior,
you know, I'm in the sixties, everyone with interested in quotation, sociological, you no good cycle logical course. Asian they would win sentencing. They were interested in the background. The family was a dysfunctional. Was it impoverish? You know what I did he get enough education, they would looking for the reasons they wouldn't accord conditions out, of which you know outlaw behaviour occurred. Now they don't give a damn. You know that the main ingredients and punishment is how much do you know how many felony How many counts are. Did the defendant performing the act? violence. Did he heard someone? Did he assault from one, a cetera cetera? But but it is
more punishment we retro grated. We ve gone backwards in terms of the evolution you know, of a controlling human behavior, don't get my friend or culture. I'm talking, you know bout uh Qualit, North America call it european. We are bred into a culture of violence. Don't you understand? Every everything in the media focuses violence and fires, the movie industry. You know, violence, the sports, you know the boxing and I don't know how this cage kind of boxing wrestling everywhere. You look They are forcing in terms of recreation, forcing in terms 'cause. You know media. We can't
The violence we are and militarist company were telling people all over the world. Every day we ve perfected. The order of killing all the out to do is you'll, be somewhere in the United States Pusher button, and then you know there's a year a drone, that's going to kill a village in Afghanistan, we are rude, We are sadistic. We are, you know, motivated by what all core prime war Niall instinct. Rather than reason. And then an you know, moral precepts as culture and then we said- oh, you know, let's punish these people who participate in violence. We've we've created the violence, we you know have propagated violence We worship violence in this in this country and I'm overgeneralizing, but it is.
A major theme. It is a major theme and you know the good and strong young people think that when they joined the armed services, that they're fighting for freedom and democracy, and you know to spread spread round the world. Let's call it, you know the american idealism, you know bullshit, what they're doing is openly working for the oil companies, the Germany of oil controls in most of the and I'll call it major economic motifs in on the globe and and uh there stronger. Ultimately, the corporations. You know the oil corporations there stronger than any any individual country. No one opposes them and they work in conjunction with nationalities. With you know, countries that
violence, I'll be asked, and in our democracy were allowed. You know to have well, you call the lobbyists were allowed to have. You know the pressure groups, people you know who don't money, look spect some reciprocity, so our former military or form of capitalism are form of materialism is not consistent with the basic principles that the United States likes to believe that it possesses and manner. Yeah, so desires to spread to other countries. So I'm
to make a generic apology for violent behavior and I'm saying there's causal precedence that create it, and that is beyond the control of the person who participates in it. Don't blame him so much blame the conditions that spawned it, the races, some, the poverty. You know the DIS psychological dysfunction terms of family line, the lack of employment that lack of education play not you'll, go after that reform that an you, fine, it is less violence, there be less crime there less outlaws and less need for any form of penal institutions that In my view, I'm a very biased man. I've been fighting, you know the establishment, all my life on behalf of defendants who are over charge which wrongly charged. You know selected Becaus of re.
Reasons not related to the crime. I'm in court today here there's a he's on the goddamn stand. He says- and this is a white community in northern California, he says. Oh, I was surveilling. You know this parking lot. What did you see this on Hispanic and he was looking, in the cars. Oh you soon, this panic and was that part of the probable cause that problem. No, no, not that. Why did work home in Hispanic, then you know my point is races you know, is still alive an well a profiling. You know the person who then become targets for law enforcement is alive and well the
if you count how many times law enforcement has assaulted and shot and even killed alleged suspects. You would see that that statistic is rising every decade we are under the the domination of all. Those quasi military in terms of police. You know, force we used to call them the thin blue line. Since you know nine hundred and eleven, they are a thick blue wall. There no longer affair,
in blue line, and the thick wall is a wall between citizen Trian. Ultimately, their constitutional rights were being squeezed out of our constitutional rights, Becaus Everyones, afraid, oh there's, domestic terrorist there's international terrorists over you know: there's a cartel there. There's a street gangs there's drive by shootings, aren't we all afraid or do you want to give up the jury trial? Oh, of course you know, there's a movement to make it less than unanimous. Do you care about the fourth amendment? You know Well, I don't have any guns, I don't have any explosive, I don't have any drugs. Of course we don't care anymore about the fourth amendment it goes on and on like that, I can't win a case where the there is police brutality any longer they the juries, will empathize with law enforcement be cause. They are in the state of fear therein
here be cause the media. You know propagates, ultimately, the through you know news reports, the Cetera Cetera, today a propagating message fear and trembling. So I you know, I don't know I'm old and under Plans for fifty years, I'm still going to vigorously do it, but it's harder and harder to win constitutional. No rights are shrinking and shrinking the courts become rubber stamps for law enforcement. The discretion of judges is minimal, the legislature determines punishment and the charging authority.
Executive, you know the district attorneys and prosecutors and law enforcement when they determined the charge they determine what the punishment is be cause. Most of the time it's statutory you've heard about mandatory sentence scene, the discretion of the courts is tie down, it is limited. There used to be in our country what we call try, part right system of checks and balances. There was the executive, there was the legislative and there was the judicial Nenad. Any longer. The judicial has been swallowed by the executive and the legislative and truly
each year, the executive manifest more and more power each year were going. Your ultimate liege, Lord, like tyranny by democracy and older mentally toward what I want to say is very similar to the past, to tell it during governments in other countries were going in that direction, because our constitutional rights, or are shrinking wildly executive. The law enforcement the DEA in the FBI and the CIA, and you know those homeland security and the local marks. They have more more than a than ever had, and you know their arrogant and boastful about it. So you know there's a lot that has to be changed, I'm just one like one peanut voice. My little thing you know is tax resistance. The little
book that I wrote you know is a plea for reform in the penal. You know system specifically targeting the work camps And you know tomorrow, I'm in court and I'll be screaming at someone again. That's my life goal also. The speak is the force when I call justice in the criminal justice system. Now only you have went on a tirade estimate question last minute I read my great one of the reform you're one of sorry, you're very adamant about. Is you say you want turn parole to the federal prison system I didn't know that the federal prison system had abandoned parole till about absolutely eliminative Prole every time
Federale prisoners sentence. They tell him, there's no more pro, So you do eighty five percent so my whole day, she did, roughly speaking the third roughly speaking of your time in a federal system who, when they have and in parole, you're up there at eighty five percent. So obviously they, like you, save illuminated rehabilitation in programs, although all that business totally eliminated, they have drug rehab. So anyone who has documented alcohol or drug problems and quotes is eligible, although they don't have enough seats. What the pro Grimm is is unadulterated, you know, no no mind. You know controlled its brain wash.
It is preaching from and outside look call it scientific view past. And refuted penal themes we talked about marijuana. You know the federal government does not recognize any Med call efficacy in marijuana. We have, Seventeen states now you know
have recognised medical marijuana. We have, I think, because it's an election year, the feds are crawling all over I'm in Colorado in Montana, in New Jersey, in those specially in California, north and south they're gone after the landlord. You know, they're going after people after a bomb says, we won't prosecuted your state legal. If your state you know were requirements, are if you're, dispensary or collective in and you're, in compliance with the stakes standard, we won't touch bullshit. They have gone
after you know, state legal in Josh from my perspective, to make it a point for the election of all my house under his reign, he has prosecuted, you know more marijuana people. He has made more marijuana martyrs than any other president before him all the time you know espousing out of one side of his mouth or we won't prosecute if it's state legal, while you know at the other side, revved up, and you know they've destroyed a lot of the states rights in terms of allowing the state to have medical marijuana they by taking down all of the dispensary's, and from my perspective you know, that's a huge traje t. So no, you know there's so many ways to be outrage: a criminal defense lawyer in those.
Everyday by some form of inequity in some form the discrimination some form of what would I call it over Celis prosecution over a Punic. If judges be it because they started in the sixtys in the sixties. You know who was the golden age of law, judges, one or the throw out cases, the constitution and the United States? The first amendment Second amendment before the man and the fifth amendment: sixty men were strong in n. You know, jurors were looked at home. On Forsman weighed the testimony evaluated the credibility, that's all been washed away now and I'm a so last one of the few are, I don't know you know one of the five percent. From the old school, where courtroom perform
Romans oration, you know emotion, passion Was always sought as an attribute of good lawyering? Now man they wanna shut? You down raise your voice. Missis Hale, you put your hand up laws, just three or put your hand back at the podium. You know your questions. Member, give. Your tone is argument that they clean up down on you. They don't want you to win. You think that the judges, the referee, noted judges the goal. We you know you you could buy their evidence after you get find the prosecution you the analogy like a soccer game, you see the goal. The goal is that Jews going to find not guilty. Then you find that the judge it becomes. The goalie he's talking you you know, prom!
moralistic perspectives, not from legal perspective. He might think the guy is guilty. He ankle and allow a jury to find not guilty, so he you know, becomes the arbiter of justice by how he handles objections. How we handled you know the attorney Howie Kurt Ails, you know you're, license. So to speak to for what I call forensic latitude, is. This is sad man. You would think by this time, hey and I'm over seven. You only shoot for fifty years that I would feel a piece, a piece with my profession at peace. You know with the system at these, you know with the notion of punishment. Where what has occurred 60s has only increased my ass
anger, frustration and outrage. You know you heard in that little vignette. I used the word semantic fist, you know what I'm proud of a semantic fist and I'll do it. Until I die or goes penile, neither of which are imminent from my arrogant, no self appraisal so There's lot. You know for criminal lawyers weren't office of twenty. We all do criminal defense. We have young lawyers who haven't graduated That's like your waiver bar results to Maine. Up to me, were you know? I have forty five years plus experience in we all share the knot. Playing the very similar ideology were not in it. You know, for the money were in it for the justice that we perceive is lacking were in it from
ideological platform, not from some kind of the merchandising perspective lot of lawyers merchandise their cases. I remember when I started unnecessary. You know you're trying to miss any cases, you're not going to make any money like that, while you're doing the trial for six weeks, you know I'm getting sixteen clients, you know and the underlying theme is go to jury trial killed your client out. You know compromise, take a deal, don't file motions. I feel a lot of work. You can't make any money if you're going to spend anytime finally motions and going to jury trial an I've had I'm paraphrasing it, but those themes have been given to me by peer group. Poop in by older lawyers like aren't you, the first but doing make a buck. So when the defense you know bar is so delete
their advocacy, is so compromised their selfishness in green dominates their representation. Then we've lost everything we So we don't have a dog in the fight any longer and in the one of my biggest grievances, when I called a snitch warrior out a snitch Lori specializes, you know I have a client. Well, if you do brief, if you tell someone, if you go to the grand jury, if you set him up on the telephone, you know I can get, you know very reduced sentence and there's a whole new specialty out there. You know, I call it and it's Lori and they don't they don't file motions. They don't go to trial. They just roll their client roll means become a cooperating witness, become an informant. You know. And uh they get me you can see they get huge. You know box of what
never leniency in terms of sentence ng, and you know, what's more prep just the money is liberty and freedom and you know if I went out, pretend and I paid one thousand and thirty- ten dollars for a witness, you know, and a material witness I'll give twenty thousand I be prosecuted. I'd, be I'd, be google slides- prison for supporting perjury, but they pay with. More valuable commodity than money they play with you years of freedom. You know in it, since it untreated. The informance system is infiltrated the court system, killer. You know of much of criminal jurisprudence. Is informants cooperate witnesses,
all kinds of informances, percipient, participatory, there's material, there's reliable their sources of information. We have more log pertaining to informance than any other country in the history of our globe, and it is disgrace and You know ultimately impairs the credibility of the entire system and you know, oh I deal with them in most every drug case, the informance, but it's spread in various. I don't participate to win in the White collar crime there there all you know as fast as they can they're, given statements against people in order to gain leniency and obviously, when all you really want to do is reduce your sentence will say anything the same your own skin, you'll, say anything and so they lie informing fly. They are
turn curious. They will kill a prosecutor. What is necessary so that they can get their deal. So you know I'm angry about that. The system went to hell and when I first started I even after face three or four snitches in a Jew free trial. You know in a drug case or any other kind of case now two days everyone's, you know lining up to becoming an informant they're. Getting quick a snitch lawyer there running into the list attorneys office there, making their statements that incriminate everyone and they're getting their leniency, and that is A6 system, and so you know there's another reform issue that doesn't obtain the prison? But you know they give this camp which is luxury for some. They give that to the end. Mormons, who have to do a little bit of time and you nazi not
to know their informants, as I said there, mostly from other states, so you know there there's an underpinning the underpinning. When you look in the animal system you see slave labor in judicial system. You see a system that predicates true on informant testimony an informant information both of those things are intolerable in a civilized society. Well, we have you say that the snitch system is is pervasive in the judicial. So and again there. People would argue that there wouldn't be very many prosecutions, success, prosecutions of say, organized crime without those very informants. So something I would say: listen, I understand it. The the liberation of informants and there
sort of prominence in the system is, is disturbing and on, as you say, destructive disruptive, unfair or unjust, but there has to be some argument for some informants. Otherwise, you really wouldn't have many cases without some type of informant. You know that not all of us are completely disagree with that statement. The traditional loads of investigation have expanded along you know, with our technological advances. They have so many other ways to investigate now,
in the wiretaps and search warrants in you know extremely technical forms of surveillance. They can, you know, then get a warrant now to sneak and peek means you go in you, leaving the warrant sealed and no one knows I've had cases where they have wired. You know put a water under the bed of suspect in his wife so that they get here. You know their bedroom conversation, the law has it. Allowed. It's opened up so many forms of investigation that you do not have to rely on what is unreliable per se tool it an informant who is being given ten years off the sentence. Twenty years off the sentence sometimes paid you know, money sometimes relocated, some,
times never revealed an informant behind the scene. You know sometimes uninformative penetrated some kind of an organization. Ann is old, Similarly, the one who provokes in the conduct a Provoca tour. You know someone says I do allow these occupied cases. You know our office does and there's types in the system and it in ITALY, so that will go and penetrate these groups in urged them on the commit crimes. It's a form of entrapment in a lot of times. The people who are there, I'm talking about occupy you look at the personal life, is crazy and We are, ultimately, you find out the reason informant he's a Provoca tour and he encouraging criminal activity. That's the way law enforcement is investigating his buy them. Creating the you know the crime. So
I might see the worse. You know they come to me when Pieces are bad or were government, you know, is outta control or snitches or lying, so I may have in the biased view, with jaded view. I see all of the ugly things. I don't see the good things I don't see need the police officer, walking the streets and you know shining apples and talking with children and guiding in them across an intersection. What I see is the law officers. You know who have transgressed two are in essence but you know either the bullies or or cowards, and even though there Their behavior is disrespectful, So you know I have a. Admittedly I have a jaundiced view, but I will
can you to represent a minority. You see if you eliminate all of the minorities, I'm talking ideological minorities, then the mark, Place a volunteer diminishes in the earner totalitarian state, so you now it's important to rush to wear law enforcement is the most. You know the pervasive to rush to the medical marijuana cases. To rush to the cases where there is and inform and who's going to perjure himself to rush to the cases where there is police brutality. So I court those kind of cases, I'm not you know doing cases that easy any longer be cause. I've been around a long time and I've done an awful lot of jury work. I get the most difficult ones and I guess it sex. You know my attitude, my Adam. Two guys have indicated over and over again- and you know in our conversation,
is very anti law enforcement vera, the anti a sorority I've been one of those Do you know with that kind of a philosophy who has survived within the system? I'm You know alive and well I do the good fight everyday. So when they Illinois, made that class of lawyers, the open it Lee eliminate dissent. And dissent is the most important variable in the free soc. So I know it's a torch that has to be passed on, it'll, be dark for days and then there will be, you know so, many days, and you wait and hope that you facilitate Do you evolution for more freedom? You know more economic, good stability for more people,
yeah. It's just very elusive goal that you openly flight. Four. Now I just wanted to ask you know because you've alluded to, but I'm not sure if everybody in the audience is aware of this. You have this idealistic viewpoint and I apply I do for your convictions now, when you take what's the criteria for you taking cases. If it's not about profit. These cases pro bono Is that what you do? Well, let's go back into my history. I I don't know what call de facto marxus. So I don't believe in capitalism, an I don't believe in profit show in the 60s I
took what I call an informal vow of poverty. What does that mean? One thing advantage? I will never buy anything new. And as of the last ten years I bought anything so you know I'm known for my suit sound of salvation army and my big callers and my own, ties in four holes in my soles and shoe for maybe my butt ox. You know protruding through a hole in my back pants and I'm an average. Therefore I do not seek profit Obviously I have an office. I have secretaries that I have all the computers. You know we have all kinds of expenses I have. But not to bank sometime
so just grab a case, so I can pay the God Damn rent, but other than that yeah, I live very frugally. I weather in San Francisco ca. I pay four hundred and twenty dollars a month rent be cause of rent control. It's the little apt I we have nothing new. I don't have money in the bank, I don't have credit cards, I don't have insurance, I don't have squad. I don't want anything from them them being the established I am a free man. I am independent. I can think an act. You know within the scope of my ideology. I won't pay their taxes but
You know, I'm considered the best pro boat of lawyer available for most and I'm the beginning, much just say: eighty percent pro bono in the middle ears- let's say fifty percent pro bono now I would say, probably about only two thousand and twenty five percent pro bono, but some of the cases are really large political cases that take many many months. I sometimes will you know, take from Peter to pay Paul IE I will take. A pain case so that I can put money in Chu case, I believe in a political case, and so it's nothing for me. This, let's just say, charge someone who has money used. You know as it's a crime, let's say greed and enough info. I need to take twenty grand from him and put it into a pro bono case, be cause
pro bono case. It means nothing. You know that the lawyers pro bono, you've gotta, have investigation. You've got to have expert witnesses. You have to no pain have any times for various investigatory techniques. You have to have researchers for motions. Sadly. Sadly, it takes money to practice to defy. Tend to engage. You know in adversarial proceedings, the government has unlimited funding the poor public defenders around the country, or you know there starving compared to the resources that are available to the federal and state prosecutors, and you know, there's lawyers of every good lawyers work only for money and there's not enough
pro bono lawyers, not enough idealistic worst on a flea. You know young cause oriented lawyers on enough lawyers lining up for the Occupy movement, not a lot less lawyers. You know representing the ninety nine percenters on the Floyer's and you know representing phone cases where there is no obvious constitutional imperfections or forms of races in the cetera, cetera, so you know we're in a struggle in the judicial process. We're dominate goodbye prosecution. This country is, I indicated, is going. You know each decade closer and closer to reform its Attalla, Terrian, ISM and the rights that we are, you know, surrendering daily that I'm talking
constitutional rights, search and seizure rights. You know, writes the pertain. To course, confessions run mirandize confessions. Those things are not. You know litigated to the degree that they should lack of resources, lack of persons of lawyers of principle in uh. Lawyers are only in it for a buck. All of those kind of things and I you know, that's what I see and that's what I rage against that's my little contribution to the subculture of the legal world now before we, we wrap up we're almost out of time. Really it's been great listening to your personal philosophy, but again tell us
a little bit more about what the book really is, though, because, as you want, it will be necessary to quickly again The best way you know is to get a little taste of it hold on a minute. I have the book only a real short one. The lawn waterer- and this about not all of them. Somehow I selected two there were about me. Not all of them are in fact not many of them, or maybe I watched the ones about the law on water, the sun stores like lava from the sky, a solitaire e Green uniformed man stand. It's apart alone. What bring the vast empty, equally green, lawn white, tangled hair
holes from under. I am equally white baseball cap, shielding him from the sun on or inch holes in this right hand extend. Is the rays of water to the grass. This is a prison camp. He isn't he borders lawns all day in the burning heat he is in a trance. His thoughts are melting, his eyes dry. With tears look through hold on. I just lost my picture his yeah. He is in a trance his. Thoughts are melting. His eyes brim with tears, look through the spring flooding from his holes sees visions He sees shiny black Crowes through it is wonderful. These are lawyers they uh
taking flight from his mind. He sees rainbows in the water spray. These are his children of shining colors Dcs droplets from a face. It is the face of his beloved. She smiles love from the liquid prison. He now he talks to her. He talk to the water flowing, he says: Vicki, I love you So you know what is it it's little episodes, some of them are they document conditions. First, paragraph absences There is no physical love in prison, the most singularly meaningful vacancy in an inmates existence. It is true, privation celibacy is the death of a vital core of human life. The ramc
occasions our profound no contact with your made. No physical affection, though touching of flesh, no softness, no caress a soft voice, a warm body whole been feeling petty nor all eliminated from the inmates experience. Can anyone imagine how that destroys the balance between physical and emotional attributes of a man's personality when Levis missing when open and then at the entering into male existence there a number reactions visible at prison camp sublimation is one over eating. Over exercising over sleepy masturbation, pin up of sexual stimulating major porno magazines. Take the place of natural feelings. Homosexuality occurs in prison, but I think not a camp coordinator of the male psyche is another consequence of solid
see the inmate becomes embittered defensive, obscene language and behaviour sexus in his pronouncements. The ability to be caring or to extend softness is lost, depression lonesome. This isolation can also occur. Whine furloughs home. Why not conjugal visits he does. Society destroyed the vital light of the instincts to love an reproduction by inmates. Why, for the illuminated from the gene pool of evolution. Shame on us so yeah you can see. I don't know the tone is in sometimes evangelistic but You know I try to put my finger on the sensitive areas that develop as a concept, when's a prison life an and no one else has done this kind of thing many many books are written on prisons. You know those are coughed up the weekly. Now
How other book you know examines the episodes in pattern in a prison camp is in campus different, so this book- My perspective as sociological significance, anyone who's interested, for instance, in t You know, then the penal system, anyone who's like probation officers or judge is, or you know, prosecutors, they should read it to understand what occurs to a human being in prison. Do you understand that everything, Google gave are prosecutors. Life he's got one thing as an objective to put someone in a steel cage for as long as he can. You know never been married, doesn't understand. He doesn't know the human condition he doesn't know like the valuable merits of someone you know's behaviors, ultimately been criminal.
It's something really. You know that exposes the policies of prison life, so You know, I'm not saying it's great literature, I'm a god. Damn lawyer, I'm not I'm not a writer, but it does documentary episodes that are meaningful and must be uh. Stood by anyone who works in her about you know. The criminal justice system and the prison system. Well, it's a very interesting read that Sony walking the circle prison chronicles, a grizzly, decompress baby can what's the best way to get this book, I know everybody knows: Marden, noble and Amazon online about it. If they want is where I think the frankly I don't know, I think they have their own distribution system. So you gotta, look up grisly peak hand,
I I'm assuming that you know somewhere under that that'll tell what stores have it and how it can be gotten, and I think it's actually doing pretty good at this point, but I don't think it is available. You know, on Amazon, etc. I think that's so fashion and still distributes to book stores and and I think it's grizzly peaks- been in existence for a long time and they published great number of books, but it's Berkeley and it's academic and its political and many of the books have been controversial so in there I'm actually proud to have been selected by them. They select only those people that and have an ideology. I think that they respect yeah. It's it's a interesting publisher for sure, and the other book it look, you know I I turned what it could be: an ordeal
for many. It would have been an ordeal, a painful experience into something. That's pontoffel, you know so The boy has carnival but I call it a value in May in turn the whole system. You know my whole experiencing from something that could've been negative it into some very positive. So you know I I'm just very appreciative that sleep we chose to publish it, it's a fine work too and is very poetic. That's just from the big nets that you read as well. That's very poetic because you you're looking at things from a very upbeat and positive situation, you said you just did: did you went in there like a lego vacation, but it really was a rest, the valuable rest and sort of a contemplated period. For you to be able in in you It is a beautiful place, basically, ironically, but you turn this into a very positive paws
time in your life to be able to produce this work, and I will to tell people to that if they missed the program earlier, you were on months ago with Paulette Frankel. Frankl, and they could look up that program in the archives it is an excellent interview with Paul letting yourself to talking more about the unique perspective that you have and that you brought to this book and that you bring to your, and you bring to your career as a defense attorney. So I want to thank you very much for this interview and uh sharing, walking the circle to prison. Chronicles with us Anet Reciprocal Dan. Thank you very much for having me on new show. Well, thank you very much, and you have a very good evening and I hope to talk to you in the near future. Thank you very much. Tony have a good my friend goodnight. Thank you goodnight.
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Transcript generated on 2019-11-25.