Legal Aid

True Stories of LIves Changed by Christian Legal Aid

Saving Lives
A young Seattle widow with a seven-year-old son received Christ during an interview with a Christian legal aid lawyer when she sought and received help against a physically abusive boyfriend. Returning home after the interview, she told her son that he now had a "new mom."

Rehabilitate and Escape Poverty
A restored former alcoholic ex-school teacher received help from a volunteer Christian legal aid lawyer in obtaining the assitance of a lawyer in Michigan to remove an old juvenile larceny conviction from his record. Graduating from a residential rehabilitation program in a gospel rescue mission, he was forced to work at close to minimum wage at McDonalds until the stain from his youthful mistake was removed from his records.

Doug Ammar, Director of the Georgia Justice Project, tells the story of April. “If you could see April today, a year after her college graduation, you’d never believe where she was six years ago. She was a 25-year-old, crack-addicted prostitute with five kids. One afternoon, a ‘John’ refused to pay her $20. An argument broke out, and April grabbed a box cutter and demanded her money. An hour later, she was behind bars facing a life sentence for armed robbery. We represented April in court, and our social service staff stayed close to her while she served time. We were there with help when she kicked her drug habit… earned a GED… regained custody of her kids… and got her first legitimate job. We were in South Carolina last year when she graduated. I don’t know who was more proud: her kids, all of us at the Georgia Justice Project or April herself.  Without people… supporting the Georgia Justice Project, April would likely be behind bars again as a repeat offender – and the odds are five to one that her kids would also be serving time.”

Bruce Strom, Founder and Executive Director of Administer Justice tells us about this recent client: "Her name was Jenny. She stood crying, unable to understand how the police could be taking her children away from her. Anger and fear gripped her soul as she watched her ex-husband put the children in his car under police supervision. None of it seemed real and she did not know where to turn for help. It was at this point that she found Administer Justice and came to us for help.” When I first met Jenny, she was a wreck. Her story was sadly a common one: a controlling ex-husband who was abusing the Domestic Violence Act by using an order of protection against her. To compound Jenny’s tragedy, she was a single mother and could not afford to hire an attorney. Additionally, all the government and private legal aid services providers refused to help her. They all had policies against defending orders of protection. Only Administer Justice was willing and able to help.

Facing the threat of eviction, Terry, a former overnight guest, sought the legal help of Central Union Mission. Terry’s landlord claimed that by incorrectly washing clothes, water was seeping into the apartment below. As a Section VIII tenant, he was justifiably concerned. An eviction meant loss of his housing voucher and possibly back to life on the streets. Central Union's legal staff attempted to contact Terry’s landlord without success. Finally, after many prayers and contact attempts, the landlord agreed to meet. Through mediation, the landlord gave Terry an additional six months to find a new home. We are happy to report that Terry has been approved for a new apartment and will be moving soon. Terry is praising God for answering his prayers.  

One of the attorney volunteers at the CLS Pro Bono Project in Jacksonville, Florida writes: “May I share with you all that I have made two criminal (county) court appearances for my client since the last session and managed to keep him out of jail. The judge also suspended most of the fines and imposed a minimal one to be paid after he graduates from the CRM (rehabilitation program) and has time to get a job and pay the fines. Keep in mind that I do estate planning and probate for a living. As I went before the judge with wide glazed eyes, he seemed to have mercy and the outcome was better than all the criminal lawyers helping me expected. Praise the Lord on this one for sure”

This report comes from the Tulsa Christian Legal Clinic that serves the clients of the Tulsa Dream Center:  "A young indigent mother with two children could not get electric service because PSO said she owed them $400 for a past due bill. The volunteer attorney wrote a letter and made a couple of phone calls, and PSO agreed to erase the debt in full and give her service. Another mother had her car totaled out in a car accident and the most the insurance company would pay was $900.  After a number of letters and phone calls, she ended up receiving $2,000 without having to file a lawsuit. God be given all the glory and praise and we thank Jesus for answering our prayers in these Dream Center cases.”

Dogged by an old Michigan juvenile conviction for larceny, a young school teacher was unable to pursue his profession. He eventually became homeless and discouraged until he was referred by a Christian legal aid volunteer lawyer to a Michigan lawyer to expunge his record so he could resume his teaching and a normal life.

A superintendent on large skyscraper construction projects in a major Canadian city became devastated when his wife of 21 years filed for divorce. He became addicted to drugs, homeless and began sleeping under a bridge. He hungrily accepted God's invitation, presented by a CLA volunteer lawyer, to receive Christ. He then had the inner strength to attempt to escape from poverty and returned to his former employment.

A young woman's job was in jeopardy when her car broke down the second day after purchasing it "as is." The used car dealer refused to repair it until a CLA volunteer lawyer informed the dealer that he was subject to a $1,000 fine because his contract violated the federal Truth In Lending Act. He rapidly did the necessary repairs and the woman was able to drive to work. The real stories of CLA are the lives and hearts that are touched by the Lord.

George, an unemployed, homeless laborer with a paralyzed left arm, received help with a financial probelm on a recent December afternoon from a volunteer Christian legal aid lawyer. But, he also received a much more precious Christmas gift from God. A back-slidden Christian who had seldom attended church nor read his Bible, George's faith had worn thin. George prayed a prayer of repentence and recommitted his life to Christ during the interview. He also was assisted in reestablishing his relationship with a Sunday School class at a nearby church, which had supported him spiritually in the past.

A drug-addicted, homeless ex-waiter received help in getting back his job, a New Testament and a plan for rebuilding his life from a volunteer Christian legal aid lawyer in Honolulu. Later, serving a meal to the volunteer at his restored job on a cruise ship, the waiter said, "I am following Jesus."


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