The Advocate
Guarding Justice f0r Alabama's Poor
November, 2017
Our Donors are Heroes to low-income families statewide!
    Your Support to LSA's helps:

  • Keep families safe from domestic violence
  • Prevent foreclosures & illegal evictions
  • Advocate for Veterans and the Elderly 
  • Protect the wages of working poor families
  • Empower citizens through community outreach & education
  • Restore Dignity to low income individuals and families 

Be a Hero! Change a life!
Become a Guardian of Justice today!  

Your donation means so much to the almost one million people living in poverty throughout Alabama!  Over 90% of LSA's budget is spent directly on services to our clients!
Thank You for Supporting our Advocacy
LSA’s mission is to serve low income individuals and families, including victims of domestic violence and the disabled, senior citizens, Veterans and families facing foreclosure and homelessness. LSA uses our social media platforms to update our partners on our community education and legal clinics across the state. Thank you for helping us reach 1000 likes and followers on our Facebook page and your continued interest in our work to ensure access to justice for all Alabamians! 

-Jaffe Pickett, Interim Executive Director
Staff Spotlight: Lydia Villagomez, Central Call Center
Why work for LSA?
I work for LSA because this is the first organization that I’ve worked for that made me feel good about what I do. I answer calls all day for people that are looking for help when they are losing hope. There’s a chance to change their lives. I don’t know if that sounds cheesy or not, but I believe it. 

What is your most memorable experience? 
I'd translated for a Client in a PFA hearing one time. I had not worked face-to-face with very many clients at that time. I admit, I was more than unprepared for how it all unfolded, being that this was my first time. I believe her PFA was granted in the end, but facing the “adverse party” alongside the Client was something I will never forget. It was scary, and in that moment, I understood what it was that we really do at LSA. We defend the unprotected and give people the tools to defend themselves against those that are trying to do them harm.  

What advice can you give to those who are thinking about working with LSA and its offices?  

I would tell anyone who wants to work with us, to be compassionate and patient with our Clients. I would tell them not to be afraid to talk to their superiors about the things they are not sure about, and feel confident that they will understand and be forthcoming with an answer for them. And I would also say that if [supervisors] don’t know the answer, they will do their best to find one for them. This job isn’t easy, but it is rewarding if they'd give it a chance.  

What do you like to do in your spare time?  
  Well, for the most part, I play video games or watch movies at home with my boyfriend and my step son. I also enjoy going out to watch local bands play, and hanging out with my good friends. I like to paint and draw, and write short stories and poems that I’m never going to let anyone read (smile).

* Lydia is an intake specialist for LSA's Central Call Center in Montgomery, AL. She started her career with LSA in 2005. A native of California, Lydia has seven brothers and one sister.
LSA's Call Center is the main entry point for applicants seeking assistance with legal problems. Our staff is skilled at interviewing applicants to determine where the person needs to be referred, to receive the best service possible. If you are in need of free, civil legal help, please call our free intake hotline at: 1-866-456-4995 or apply online: 
Client Success Stories:
Dothan office

Congratulations to Mary Jane Oakley, Staff Attorney in the Dothan Office, who helped a client get a debt not collectible!

Our Advocate had represented a client, who was disabled, in a cessation case where he received an unfavorable decision, as medical evidence did not show that our client continued to be disabled. Our client overpayed. Our Advocate assisted the motion in completing and submitting a request for waiver of collection. The mother of the client later notified our Dothan office, advising us that the Social Security Administration agreed to waive the collection of the $7, 666.42 in overpayments. The mother then provided our office with a copy of the notice for documentation/filing.

Thank you to our Dothan office Advocates for helping to protect a client's wages!
Selma office

Congratulations to Elizabeth Hollie, Staff Attorney in the Selma office, who stopped a wage garnishment!

Our client walked into our Selma Office needing assistance with garnishment. The client, who had moved to Selma from New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, had a garnishment that stemmed from a civil action that began in 2012 to recover a deficiency balance on a repossessed vehicle. A judgment was entered against our client in 2012, and a Writ of Garnishment was filed in 2015. The garnishment, however, did not begin until August 2017. Further, our client did not know about the garnishment until he received his paycheck.

In searching the court records, our Advocate determined that Section 6-6-450 of the Alabama Code was violated. In a case titled Tinnin v. Tinnin, the Court ruled that Section 6-6-450 mandates, as part of substantive and procedural Due Process, that the Clerk must send a copy of the Garnishee's Answer to the Judgment Debtor in order for the Court to acquire jurisdiction over any seized property, including wages. Our client had not received a copy of the Garnishee's Answer. In addition to filing a Motion to Stay Garnishment, for Stay of Condemnation Order, and Declaration of Claim Exemptions, our Advocate filed a Rule 60 Motion to Vacate the Condemnation Order and Order Return of Wages.

The Judge granted the Stay of Garnishment, and set a hearing on our Advocate's Motion to Vacate. Five days before the hearing, the opposing Party's counsel consented to the Claim of Exemption, and filed a Motion to set aside the condemnation order. Our client's paycheck was saved! Additionally, our client will have those funds that were garnished, returned to him from the Court!

Congratulations to our Selma Office Advocates for helping to stop a wage garnishment, and getting previously garnished wages, returned! 
Mobile office

Congratulations to Rachele Reis, Staff Attorney in the Mobile office, who was able to get a client's bankruptcy debt declared not collectible!

Our client received a bankruptcy discharge of about $61,000, including an old mortgage foreclosure balance and a judgment her bank account had been garnished for, which were damaging her credit.

Congratulations to our Mobile office Advocates who kept a client from owing a large debt!

Voter Rights Restoration Clinics
Huntsville Office/Nov. 3
Mobile office/Nov. 20
From L-R: Kathy Jones of WLRH Radio Huntsville; and volunteers Claudia Moreno and Dr. Frances Koe, M.D. of Wills Valley Family Medicine of Collinsville; and Kathy Lauderdale. Wills Valley Family Medicine sponsored the clinic on Nov. 3.
Birmingham office Staff Attorney Jonathan Barry-Blocker assists someone during the Clinic.
Huntsville office Advocates Laurie McFalls, Staff Attorney; and Holly Ray, Managing Attorney, assisted clients during a Voting Rights Restoration Clinic held in Collinsville.
Fort Payne, AL resident U. Grant (left) assists someone during a Voting Rights Restoration Clinic held Nov. 3.
Mobile office Managing Attorney Ann Brown (left) and Staff Attorney Penny Slawkowski assist a Mobile resident during a Voter Rights Restoration Clinic held Nov. 20 inside the Waterfront Rescue Mission in Mobile, AL.
Mobile office Staff Attorney Sherri Thomas (right) assists someone during the clinic held Nov. 20.
(From L-R): Sherri Thomas, Staff Attorney, Mobile office; Ann Brown, Managing Attorney, Mobile office; Penny Slawkowski, Staff Attorney, Mobile office; D.C.-based Attorney Blair Bowie; Attorney LaWanda O'Bannon, Vernon Crawford Bar Association; and Dru Clark, Staff Attorney, Mobile office.
Staff Attorney Dru Clark (left) assists someone during the Voter Rights Restoration Clinic in Mobile, AL.
  Upcoming Events

Voting Rights Restoration Clinic
Friday, Dec. 1st: 1 pm - 3 pm
Upper Sand Mountain Parish, Sylvania, AL 35988
"Know Your Rights, Restore Your Rights, and Make a Difference!"
This season is all about giving, and it's a perfect time to support Legal Services Alabama to help low income individuals and families in need of free legal services! Consider donating to LSA today!

If you are a federal employee or a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, when making a donation to the Combined Federal Campaign, please designate Legal Services Alabama as your charity of choice using CFC #69651

Thank you for providing Help & Hope to low-income people throughout Alabama!  

Support our Veteran Services 
  LSA provides free, civil legal services to Veterans!   
LSA continues providing legal services to Veterans by offering on site services through a partnership with the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System. LSA is dedicated to providing holistic solutions to the root issues plaguing low-income and homeless Veterans. Perry Myer, Montgomery office staff attorney and a call center intake specialist will be available on Wednesdays at two VA locations to provide legal assistance to Veterans!
*Montgomery VA Medical Center on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

*Tuskegee VA on the first, third, and fifth Wednesday of each month from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
The Advocate is published monthly by Desiree Taylor, Communications & Community Development Coordinator