Many businesses and government agencies give special treatment to people over a certain age. That age limit is usually around 60, 65, or somewhere in between. If you’re a “senior”, an “elder”, or otherwise in that category, you can usually get discounts from private enterprise on things like meals, hotels, and movie tickets. From the government, you can get a lifetime pass to National Parks for only $10.
When it comes to the justice system, seniors don’t get any breaks. If you’re accused of a crime, or sued for damages, the law only cares about your age if you’re a … Read More
When people have a disagreement that can’t be resolved by simply discussing the problem, they may end up going to court for a resolution – especially if the disagreement involves something as important as family issues or large sums of money. Going to court can be very expensive if you hire a lawyer, and it still costs some money (e.g., filing fees) if you don’t hire a lawyer. It’s very time consuming either way, especially if you don’t hire a lawyer.
And it’s not quick; courts are busy, many court systems are underfunded and overburdened, and it can be months … Read More
Think back just a few years, and what events stand out in your memory? Some really big ones may jump out at you: the 2004 Indonesian tsunami; the 2011 Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident. A little more recent and closer to home: Hurricane Katrina, August 2005 (over 1800 dead, over $100 billion in damage). The Joplin, Missouri tornado, May 2011 (over 150 dead, nearly $3 billion).
But when you think about just last year in the United States, the number and frequency of natural disasters becomes more striking. The worst of 2012:
- Hurricane Isaac, August – AL, FL, LA,
… Read More
Bad checks are an expensive and frequent problem for merchants, and even for private individuals on occasion. If you accept a check from someone and it bounces, it may have been an honest mistake; if so, the check writer might re-imburse you as soon as you ask. But if that doesn’t happen, how do you get your money?
It may be difficult, even if you’ve taken the precaution of verifying the check-writer’s identification. You can sue, but that will take a while and cost you time and money in the meantime. To convict the check writer of a crime, the … Read More
With the Trayvon Martin case, including the recent second degree murder charges against George Zimmerman making national news, violent crime is at the forefront of the nation’s consciousness. The Martin/Zimmerman case has raised questions about who the true victim really was. Although we may not know the answer to that question until the case has been resolved, unfortunately there are thousands of crimes committed every day, leaving victims to deal with the aftermath. Often there is so much focus on the perpetrators of crime that the victim gets somewhat left behind by court systems. However, more and more courts are … Read More
Few people have ever heard the term “conflict defender” and fewer still could guess what it means. But it can be an important term for some criminal defendants who cannot afford a lawyer.
Last month we discussed Public Defenders, who provide criminal defense services to indigent defendants. Anyone facing possible loss of liberty is entitled to a free court-appointed lawyer if he or she can’t afford to hire one. A Public Defender’s Office is often the source of the court-appointed lawyer. However, the Public Defender’s Office may not be able to take the case if it presents a conflict … Read More
If you’ve watched more than a handful of crime dramas on TV, you’re familiar with the Miranda warning given when someone is arrested. The exact words may vary a little from state to state, but it’s usually very close to this:
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be held against you in court. You have the right to an attorney, and if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.”
The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights guarantees (among other things) that no person may be compelled … Read More
So you need to do some legal research for a court case in which you’re representing yourself, or you want to look up a particular local statute, or you simply want to read the court’s opinion for the interesting case you just heard about on the news? Now that you know about the existence of your local public law libraries to meet these needs, how do you get started? It can be intimidating to walk into a law library is you are not a law student or a member of the legal profession.
This is where law librarians come in. … Read More
Nobody wants to think about worst case scenarios. We all hope that should we die or become incapacitated, our family and friends would make decisions for us that are in line with our wishes. However, the only way to truly ensure that our wishes are carried out (and the only way to remove as much of the stress of such decision-making from family and friends as possible), is to cement those decisions into a legal document in advance.
Some of the most important documents to have drawn up in advance are a living will or “advance directive,” a health care … Read More
Child support isn’t always an easy subject for divorced parents. Information about how the process works can help ease some of the pain of paying, and of collecting. Every state has an agency that sets up and manages the child support process, but many local courts and county attorneys are part of that process. The obvious role of the court is in setting the amount of child support payments (although in many jurisdictions this is accomplished by alternative disupte resolution without going before a judge). But many local agencies, courts, and county attorneys (or district attorneys, depending on the jurisdiction) … Read More