Judge stops eviction of homeowner with disabilities

Picture of Supporters gather outside courthouse on April 4 for S. Baxter Jones.
Supporters gather outside courthouse on April 4 for S. Baxter Jones (front, second from right). WW photo: Abayomi Azikiwe

By on April 4, 2013

Detroit — S. Baxter Jones appeared before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Walter Shapero on April 4 in a desperate attempt to stop his eviction from his home. Shapero, in a move that stunned many attorneys, gave Jones a 30-day adjournment, thus keeping the homeowner with disabilities from becoming another victim of Wells Fargo Bank and the federal government’s Fannie Mae agency.

The courtroom was filled with supporters, who sat in hushed silence straining to hear Jones’ remarks. Activists in wheelchairs and with service dogs representing Warriors on Wheels; members of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions and Utility Shutoffs; It Takes A Village Y’all; and the Detroit Eviction Defense had rallied to an appeal to “pack the court” that had gone out over social media.

Jones had been severely injured in an accident in 2005. He was well known in Detroit as a school teacher who coached students in track and field. After his injuries, Jones fell behind on the mortgage for his Jackson, Mich., home while waiting for Social Security payments to begin. His appeal for a forbearance from his bank was callously ignored and foreclosure followed.

Jones addressed the judge with clear but labored speech. He explained the circumstances that had brought him to this point and appealed for the chance to keep his home. A written statement that Jones had prepared, appealing for justice that doesn’t benefit greed but rather those in need, was read to the court by a supporter.

Judge Shapero overruled the objections of the attorney for Fannie Mae, who listed all the “proper” legal steps taken by her client to put Jones out of his home. The judge agreed that the law was clear, but stated that “the law isn’t everything.” He ordered the 30-day adjournment until the court could appoint an attorney to assist Jones on a pro bono basis.

Jones and his supporters ask people to bombard both Wells Fargo and Fannie Mae with calls and emails demanding that they stop the eviction and negotiate with S. Baxter Jones so that he can keep his home. Call Wells Fargo Bank at 800-853-8516 and Fannie Mae at 312-368-6200 in reference to Loan # 025-301-6042, address 8789 Rexford Road, Jackson, Michigan 49201.

Go to Moratorium-Mi.org for more information and to watch a powerful video of S. Baxter Jones discussing his situation.

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