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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Word of the Month for December 2015: Italian Lottery

it's a numbers game
It's that time of year - to spend recklessly on stuff you don't need for people that don't need it.  Yep, the holiday season is in full swing.  I know this because the other day a close acquaintance handed me a lottery ticket and exclaimed, "Merry Christmas!"  As I gazed down at my "prize," I hearkened back to when the California Lottery was in it's infancy with cries of "it's for the children" ringing out on every commercial. 

In any event, the idea of the lottery was brought home when a young man came into our law library. An enterprising person, young man had been charged with California Penal Code sections 330, 332, 336.9, as well as a few other things associated with developing his own version of the California Lottery (but with dice and cards).  Since the State of California doesn't like direct competition, he was arrested and charged and was now looking for a way to get out of jail free without any consequences.  Uh, yeah.

Of course all of this brings us to our word of the month ITALIAN LOTTERY (aka numbers game). According to Black's Law Dictionary, an ITALIAN LOTTERY is a game 
in which the players typically choose a series of numbers and win if their chosen numbers match a series of number drawn randomly, often the following day.  Numbers games are traditionally associated with organized crime and because of their odds (1:1,000), they are noted for being rigged and making large profits for racketeers.
On it's face, anyone charged with running a numbers game is looking at some hard time in the pokey. What I could suggest to young man is that he take a look at:

While not everyone can enjoy a care-free holiday season, you should know that if ever you're stressing about something, the good folks at your local county law library probably have something that can help you on your merry.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Why wait?!

It's a sign
It never ceases to amaze me how people can wait to do somethings and it, seemingly, doesn't faze them until they get down to the absolutely last day/hour/minute/second it's due and then they're all frantic about getting it done.  For instance, your car registration is due in May.  You get your car registration tags in the mail in March and don't affix it to the car.  How many times do you have to be pulled over by law enforcement before you affix the tags to your car?  3?  12?  250?  When they finally ticket you and you have to go prove you paid your registration?!  Personally, it took me 5 times because, I suspect, the cops were keeping a running tab on my excuses.

Here's another one.  You get a new puppy from a neighbor.  When do you register and license your pet?  When it bites someone?  When it runs away?  After you become emotionally attached to it and you have to go to the pound knowing the odds of finding it in the sea of animals is like 1 in 1,000,000?

One more?  Say you've been sued after your dog bit someone (you know, the one you haven't licensed yet).  Let's say you think to yourself, I've got gobs of time to answer this complaint.  Lots of time.  30 days later, with the clock ticking down to the 11th hour you realize the day of reckoning is upon you and you need to file that answer TODAY!!!  Sad thing is, at this point there is nothing that will save you.  Had you, at least, merely gone to your local county law library the day before, you might have had time to take a look at 

you might now not be sweating bullets.

Yep, had you just given yourself some time to read and digest (the operative word being "digest") the information on how to respond to your legal problem, you would have been able to withstand the legal onslaught.  Next time, might I suggest running over to your local county law library and seek the assistance of a "qualified" library employee (i.e. Law Librarian).  We will, in the very least, be able to point you in the right direction before you absolutely, positively have to have whatever it was you were looking for.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

That's why

You can never have too many lawyer jokes
You ever wondered why there are so many lawyer jokes?  I suspect one reason is because people are tired of hearing about all the frivolous lawsuits that are being thrown around.  Of course, that's not so much an issue with attorney as with the greed of people, in general.  Another reason, then, is that attorneys have ungodly amounts of power at their fingertips that just boggle the mind of most common people.  Because they have so much power they know how to skirt around or find loopholes through the laws that most common people are subjected.

Take, for instance, the recent shake up at the California State Bar.  Seems the (former) State Bar manager (John Noonen) submitted a 40-page internal whistleblower complaint alleging misconduct by Chief Trial Counsel Jayne Kim as well as a number of other issues dealing with attorney discipline.  Subsequently, Mr. Noonen was fired from his job.  

At any other place, this would be a classic case of retaliation.  But we're not at any other place - this is the State Bar (the place where law and ethics is supposed to hang out).  Of course, the State Bar denies any wrongdoing (what with being ethical, and all) and stated that:
The Bar has not and will not engage in retaliation against its employees, takes all complaints seriously, and has acted on those complaints promptly and comprehensively.
In layman's terms, this reads we didn't screw up but if we did screw up we didn't screw up.  Confused?  Sounds like they are, too, and are looking to do a little CYA (given the fact that this seems to be the second such complaint is as many years by former State Bar EO Joe Dunn).  Might I suggest these esteemed attorneys stop with the legal-speak, say they're sorry (i.e. we did screw up) and move on.  That, of course, won't probably ever happen.  I mean, when have you ever heard a politician apologize for anything? 

Since (I suspect) little will change, the only thing left to do is to let the lawyer jokes commence.  Thus:
  • Q: What do you call 100 lawyers skydiving?  A: Skeet.
  • Q: How many lawyer jokes are there?  A: 3.  The rest are true stories.
  • Q: What's the difference between a good lawyer and a great lawyer? A: A good lawyer knows the law; a great lawyer knows the judge.
  • Q: What do you call a lawyer who has gone bad?  A: Senator.
  • Q: What do you get when you cross a bad politician with a crooked lawyer?  A: Chelsea Clinton.
  • Q: How do you get a group of lawyers to smile for a photo?  A: Say, "Fees!"

Monday, November 16, 2015

How does he do it?!?

A career is a job you like
When you were young(er), what did you want to be?  A teacher?  A policeman?  A fireman?  An astronaut?  Turns out, I wanted to be all of those and, as it turns out, working as a Librarian I am able to do just that.  Almost daily I get to teach people how to do their own legal research; I keep the peace in and around the library; I'm having to put out fires all over the place; and some of those legal research questions are pretty far out in space.

The thing that gets a lot of people is the fact that I'm able to help darn near everyone who comes in the door and I'm able to do it all because I daily practice fielding funky research questions.  

For instance, remember a while back the NSA got fingered for tapping into the email system?  Yeah, that Snowden guy finked on the Feds about collecting data.  Well, we had a guy come in with a similar (albeit, less Federally entangled) issue.  Seems he had had an employee who had been hired from by a rival and he found out this employee has been divulging certain trade secrets and was looking to stop the flow of information.  Quick as a wink, I lead him over to 

Another one?  A while back, a lady came into the library claiming her plastic surgeon botched a "simple" implant procedure and now she has a chest that looks like Tori Spelling.  None too happy about that, she is wanting information about medical malpractice.  While I don't know anything about medical malpractice, I do know what I have a couple of resources directly on point so lickety split I lead lady over to 
she's off and running with her lawsuit.

One minute I'm helping someone find information about medical malpractice.  Next, I'll switch gears and find resources on forming a corporation.  Five minutes later, I'm over in the employment section helping someone fight a wrongful termination.  Whatever the purpose or issue, know that your local county law librarian is here and there to help you get to your personal legal nirvana.

Monday, November 9, 2015


Bow ties are cool
On a near daily basis, I wear "freestyle" bow ties .  Love 'em, I do.  I like them because they look nice and they stay out of my way when I bend over (and being a researcher, I bend over a lot).  I have bow ties with leopard print, cow print, zebra print, and skull print (for Halloween).  I have striped ties, solid color ties, pattern ties, and even some with multiple colors.  For instance, today, I'm wearing a bow tie that has four separate panels/colors: red, blue, orange and green.  Yep - pretty freakin awesome, if you ask me!

As I was tying my tie today, I got to thinking that this four panel tie was a lot like a personal injury case.  Sure it is.  Say you're in a car accident.  There's your point of view, the other driver's point of view, the cop on the scene's point of view, and the witnesses point of view(s).  Everyone sees things differently and reports as such.  To help get your point of view in order, were you to visit my law library, I might suggest you take a gander at:
Maybe you're in a family law dispute.  There's your perspective, your ex's perspective, the kid(s) perspective, the judge's perspective, the bailiff's perspective, the court clerk's perspective, and (whether you and/or your ex hires an attorney) the attorney's perspective.  Lots of stories floating around - no wonder courts are so adversarial.  Were you to visit my law library, I might suggest the following to help align your perspective:
Yep, doesn't really matter what area of law or life you're dealing with, everyone has their own perspective on how "it" happened.  If ever you're in need of a change in perspective or need a perspective adjustment, know that your local county law Librarian has just what you need to help get you going again.