Monday, September 26, 2016

Gotcha!

Taking a bribe
In recent months (and years), we have read about stories where public "officials" have been caught stealing monies from the public till, OR getting caught accepting bribes, OR getting caught with their pants (or panties) down around their ankles.

Today's story is about an enterprising young man named Juan Lopez, Jr.  Seems Junior worked for the Orange County Superior Court as a Court Clerk.  While not a high profile gig (basically a glorified paper pusher), it was steady work.  For the record, Court Clerk's earn about $27,000 a year.  Not something to laugh at but in Southern California, that's pretty much poverty rate.

So, what's an enterprising Court Clerk going to do to make up the difference?  He's going to do some side work, that's what he's going to do.  In this case, for a "fee," Junior (allegedly) would make criminal cases and traffic tickets disappear.  That's right, disappear.  With a few subtle clicks on the computer, Junior could make it look like people served time, or that criminal charges had been dismissed, or even make it look like entire fines had been paid to the court.

I suspect it's not that people got off so much as monies were being denied to the cash-strapped Superior Court. Want to piss off a bureaucrat?  Take money from them (or ask them to take a pay cut) - which is what Junior was doing and, as such prosecutors are calling this a bribery case (because a "public" employee was taking side monies to effectuate favors for people).

In any case, Junior is looking at some serious time in the pokey.  If he's reading this blog (as he ans everyone should), I would suggest he head over to his local county law library and take a look at:

  • California Criminal Defense Practice (Lexis)
  • California Criminal Law: procedure and practice (CEB)
  • Criminal Law Defense Techniques (Lexis)
  • White Collar Crime (Thomson Reuters)

Moral to the story, I'm guessing they found out when Junior starting driving up in cars he couldn't possibly afford, or wearing clothes he couldn't possibly afford, or going on vacations he couldn't possible afford, or buying a house he couldn't possibly afford.  See a trend here?  If you're going to do something illegally, don't draw attention to yourself.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Where are your children?

Another ostrich hiding their head in the sand
Picture it.  You're unconscious laying in bed.  Dead to the world, you are dreaming of pink clouds and unicorns.  Well, I don't dream about pink clouds and unicorns, but you might. Anyway, around 2AM you get a knock on the door and find two police officers standing there.  Seems, they tell you, your son has been involved in a shooting and he is dead.  My son? Not my son.  My son is safe in his bed.  My son would not be out at all hours.  My son... 

Scary scenario, to be sure, but it's happening more and more.  Just today, I received a notice on my cell phone about yet another homicide of a 17-year-old kid who was gunned down at 1:12AM in a church parking lot of all places.  What I want to know is where were the parents in all this?  Did they know their kid was out after curfew?  I'm betting this isn't the first time kid was out past midnight so, where is the liability of allowing a kid to be out at all hours of the night?!?

Turns out, there are a number of states that have laws to prosecute parents and guardians who fail to supervise kids under their charge.  Under California Penal Code section 272(a)(1):
Every person who commits any act or omits the
performance of any duty, which act or omission causes or tends to cause or encourage any person under the age of 18 years ... to so live as would cause or manifestly tend to cause that person to become or to remain a person within the provisions of Section 300, 601, or 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, or by both fine and imprisonment in a county jail, or may be released on
probation for a period not exceeding five years.
For reference Section 300 of the California Welfare & Institutions Code defines Children subject to Juvenile Court Jurisdiction, Section 601 defines minors who are habitually disobedient or truant (i.e. stay out after curfew), and Section 602 defines laws which, if committed by a person under 18 years of age, makes them wards of the court.

While there are parents out there in parental land who say they can't control their kids; that they aren't responsible if their kids are out late or commit crimes, that's just not true. Acting like an ostrich will not (and/or should not) absolve a parent of liability and saying you didn't see it doesn't make the problem go away.

What is the line, see a problem, fix the problem.  If you think your kid is out of control, seek help.  Do not do as the ostrich and look the other way.  Stand up and seek assistance for your kids.  In the very least, when they're being carted off to prison, they can't say you didn't try.

Monday, September 12, 2016

They must think we're REALLY stupid

Leprosy is contagious
Has anyone out in blogging land ever read the bible?  Not to get into specifics but I remember every time the Bible talked about LEPROSY, everyone stopped what they were doing and started throwing rocks at the infected person.  Remember Ben Hur (the original with Charlton Heston, not the abomination that just came out)?  People threw rocks at the two women who had LEPROSY.  Remember the 10 lepers that Christ healed?  Yeah, I suspect lots of rocks were involved.  Lots and lots of rocks.

Anyway, today's headline reads: "EXPERT:  CHILDREN NOT AT LEPROSY RISK"  Turns out, a little while ago, it was discovered that a couple of kids had gone to a school who had LEPROSY. Immediately, "officials" claimed that there was no risk, that the school was scrubbed down, that LEPROSY is not contagious, and that children were not at risk.  Um, if there was no risk, why were the rooms scrubbed down and why have so many "experts" weighed in on whether there is a risk to kids?  Why, indeed.

What I want to know is, where are the rocks?  If LEPROSY was such a big deal in the Bible, why isn't it treated as such now?!? Turns out, regardless of what the "experts" say, LEPROSY is still a big deal.  Yes, it can be treated but, contrary to what the "experts" are saying, it is contagious.  While treatable, it is not generally found in the United States but is limited to a few countries around the world.  

What countries?  Well, Syria, for one - which makes me wonder if this jump to calm jittery parents about how NOT contagious LEPROSY is is to shift the focus from the influx of Syrian refugees and the failure of the obama administration to vet any of these refugees for, oh, I don't know....infectious diseases that have not been found in the United States for over a century!?!  Yeah, that's a legacy that's not easily forgotten.

What I'm betting is that this is all an attempt at keeping people from filing lawsuits against the state (or federal government, as the case may be). Heck, people sue government entities all the time for far less things like tripping on an uneven sidewalk.  Three really great resources to help people file actions against government entities are:

What "we the people" are left with are "experts" and "officials" who have a agenda to obfuscate issues so that we don't see the whole picture.  Best advice I can give is to ignore what the "experts" are saying and go with your gut.  If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, odds are it's a duck (and LEPROSY is still contagious).

Monday, September 5, 2016

Word of the Month for September 2016: Burglary

Smoke Signals tell you where you are
This world gets weirder and weirder all the time. Today, for instance, I got a post in my local online group about a guy (not the owner) who broke into a persons house and then, because he was cold, started a fire in the fire place.  Basically, he burgled the house and then sent up smoke signals showing police where they could find him.

Not to be topped, a while back, there was the story of the guy who broke into a house because he was hungry.  While hunger is a huge motivating factor, what is key is that they guy broke into a house not his own ignoring all consequences to get his immediate needs fulfilled.

As it turns out there is a single unifying theme to these cases is BURGLARY.  According to Black's Law Dictionary, BURGLARY is defined as:
1. The common-law offense of breaking and entering another's dwelling at night with the intent to commit a felony. 2. The modern statutory offense of breaking and entering any building - not just a dwelling, and not only at night - with the intent to commit a felony.
So, in both instances above, the two guys entered into into the house not their own, with the intent to acquire or use property not their own.  

This, of course, leads us to the third scenario brought to my attention today.  Seems young lady was interested in starting a business mowing people's lawns.  Not having a lawnmower, young lady sought out the contents of her neighbor's shed and acquired neighbor's riding lawn mower. Young lady got caught and mother was standing in front of me inquiring what resources she could use to extricate her daughter from the pokey.  

Quicker than you can say rubber baby buggy bumter (see, I can't even spell it right), I suggested she take a look at:


Mom really didn't appreciate that I pointed the last one out but, based on the facts as she laid them out, I figured young lady might want to know where she's headed and how she can protect herself when/if she gets there.  In any event, it never hurts to know - and knowing is half the battle!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Mirror, mirror

Selfies are the new age mirrors
What is with people who take selfies?  Don't these people have a mirror to look in?!  In order of stupidity, here are some of the dumbest selfies I've read, to date:

  • Justin Bahler:  A bank robber who took a selfie (and got arrested for the bank robbery).
  • Adam Howe:  Robbed a church (a church, really?!?) and took a selfie to document the event (and got arrested for robbery).
  • Jess Ewald: Stole a smartphone and took a selfie with it (and got arrested for grand theft).
  • Ashley Keast:  Took a selfie whilst robbing a house (and got arrested for robbery).
  • La Vorne Lee ("Lee") Bennett:  Took a selfie after robbing a guy (and got arrested for robbery).
  • Kayleigh Hill: Took a selfie after running on the field at the College World Series (and got arrested for trespassing and fined $1,500).
  • Tyquan Solomon and Terrance Sistrunk: Mugged a guy and stole his $205 cell phone (and were arrested for robbery).

And then there is #8) Christal McGee: Using Snapchat, recorded herself traveling 107 mph, lost control of her car, and crashed into another vehicle. Too bad perspective was lost on her as she continued to take selfies after the accident. In fact, she also took a selfie when she was in the ambulance with the caption: Lucky to be alive.

Can't say the same thing for the victim of the other vehicle (that she struck) as he's now dealing with traumatic brain injuries - but at least she got her 15 minutes of fame, right?  I mean, that's the whole point to taking and posting selfies, isn't it; to point attention to a person who is, otherwise, dull and boring that no one will ever notice?

Facing charges related to reckless driving, Ms. McGee is (or should be) looking at some serious prison time as well as being financially destitute (or at least her folks are what with Ms. McGee being a teenager, and all).

Now that Ms. McGee (and her folks) are looking at some hard decisions, might I suggest they (or you, as the case may be) head on over to your/their local county law library and take a look at some resources that can help them/you in their/your time of need:
Yep, sure are a number of self-absorbed people out there (not counting politicians).  Good thing your local county law library is well stocked with materials to help you when you get struck with an ill-advised need to take a selfie.