Monday, May 22, 2017

Inconvenient Truths

illegal means it's against the law
I teach a class on the "how" of legal research.  In one of my post-class discussions, one vocal person emphasized her point on immigration saying, "They can't deport them all!" referring to the recent call to deport illegal aliens.

Two things came to mind.  First, she's right.  I mean, even if "they" deport all the people who broke the immigration laws of the United States by slipping past border patrol illegally, there will always be more who will slip past border patrol.  There's a never ending supply of scofflaws in the land of the "free".

Second thing, is that illegal immigration is illegal.  If you're in a country illegally, that means you broke the law.  Forget the reasons why you came here illegally, if you're going break one law that is inconvenient, odds are you are going to ignore other laws that you think are inconvenient. 

For example, how many people out there in blogland exceed the posted speed limit on the highway.  I know, I have, on occasion (particularly on this one two-way 55mph road in the middle of nowhere California.  No cows, no people, no buildings, no cops - and I'm going drive 55?!). Fact is, most everyone blows past the posted speed limit on occasion because....well, who cares?  What an inconvenient law, right?!

How about anti-drug laws?  Up until recently, smoking pot was illegal in most all states - unless you were a politician.  I mean, it's almost become a national pastime for politicians to come out saying they are pot smokers (kind of coming-out-of-the-closet was a thing 10 years ago).  What an inconvenient law, right?!

How about prostitution?  For all the laws on the books (state and federal), it still happens.  Heck, if you don't watch where you're walking, you'll get propositioned by some of the strangest people.  The other day, I was hit on.  Turns out, the person who propositioned me was an undercover cop looking to arrest anyone who acquiesced to her requests (but like I told her, my wife would stomp her silly if she didn't leave me alone).  

So, while prostitution continues to be a thriving business, what with an never ending supply of johns, cops will keep trying to catch people who drop their guard.  I guess it keeps the courts busy enforcing yet another inconvenient law.

Bottom line, illegal is illegal.  I'm sorry, but that's the way it is.  If you're going to flaunt the laws, then don't be angry when you get caught.  In fact, you should pat the cop on the back when s/he gives you a ticket.  They finally caught you, you scofflaw you.

Monday, May 15, 2017

I just don't get it

Things that don't mix: burgers and raw eggs
So, the other day I was at a restaurant and ordered a $5 burger.  Yeah, I know; Carl's Jr makes fun of those guys all the time.  Anyway, when I got my burger, I noticed yellow stuff running down the side.  I ask the server what gives and she says, "Oh, that's the egg yolk."  Uh huh...

Apparently putting a near raw egg on top of a burger is the "in" thing now.  Sad that since it really does nothing to the flavor and actually makes me gag.  Raw egg?!?  Who thought that one up??  I mean, yuk on a galactic scale!

Other things that have me questioning the sanity of humanity:

  • Women who wear see-through dresses.  I mean, what's the point?
  • Invisible jeans.  Again, what's the point?
  • People who park in front of the sign that says NO PARKING; TOWED AT OWNERS EXPENSE.
  • Guys who wear a baseball cap backwards and then complain the sun is too bright.
  • Women who keep buying bigger bags because they filled up their last one.
  • Women who pay $100 for a haircut whereas guys only pay $10.
  • Twerking.
  • People who say they don't care where we eat, until you make a suggestion.
  • Parents who can't say "no" to their kids and then complain that their kids are out of control.
  • Why anyone would ask Gordon Ramsay to visit their restaurant.
  • How people driving in California forget how to drive when it rains.
  • People who still search Google when they need to find something of a legal nature.

So, we had a young lady come into the library the other day. Claims that the judge is an idiot for granting summary judgment against her.  Fair enough but then lady says she had searched for an example of a complaint on Google and filed it.  Doesn't matter that the example was from a complaint filed in Georgia and she was in California.  Yeah, maybe the judge wasn't so stupid, after all.

Turned out the judge was none too impressed by her failing to follow the basic rules of court (particularly those that related to the formatting of legal documents) and suggested she go to the law library instead of relying on the Internet for her legal research needs.  To the law library she went and is now asking for help to reverse the summary judgment.  Really?  Reverse it?

Turns out a "friend" suggested she take a look a Motions for Reconsideration.  So, I suggested she take a look at 

For the record, none of these are free online.  You have to either own a subscription to them or know someone who does.  Turns out, your local county law library is your one stop shop for all things legal.

So, when next you need to file a complaint, or motion, or just need to do a little legal research, please, please, please don't (just) use Google.  Head on over to your local county law library and let your local county law Librarian help you get your act together.

But don't listen to me.  You go ahead and Google to your hearts desire.  We'll be here when you have your proverbial head handed to you on a silver platter - yet again.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Always something to talk about

California has always been wierd
Did you realize that I've been blogging almost six (6) full years? Heck, most bloggers don't last more than a few months before they run out of things to talk about but not me. Law and legal things are like that - always something to talk about.  Doggone it but how can I not blog when there are so many law things to talk about?  For example...

  • Did you know that according to North Dakota law (under NDCC, 39-07-01) a horse is deemed a vehicle?  So, if you're drunk and riding a horse in North Dakota, you're gonna get a ticket.
  • Did you know that you can be fined $500 under Louisiana Revised code (under LA Rev Stat § 14:68.6) for instructing a pizza delivery person to deliver a pizza to your friend without them knowing?  That's an expensive prank.
  • Did you know that it is against the law in Texas (under V.T.C.A., Penal Code Section 48.02) to sell your eyes?  I don't know about my eyes, but I've got a great body!
  • Did you know that it is against the law in Utah (under U.C.A. 1953 Sec 76-6-105) to cause a catastrophe?  Not just a skirmish - but a full blown catastrophe.
  • Did you know that it is against the law in Florida (under F.S.A. section 847.0145) to sell your children (or anyone, I suspect)?  I mean, why is that even an issue?!
Did you also know that in Oregon, it, apparently, is against the law to criticize the law using math without a license? Yeah, that's pretty looney.  I mean, I would expect to hear about something like this from one of the southern states, but Oregon?

Apparently, Oregon resident Mats Järlström's wife was caught running a red light after being photographed by a traffic camera.  Mr. Järlström (who claimed to be an "professional" Engineer) argued that "the equation which governs the timers were out of date."

As it turned out, while Mr. Järlström is an Electrical Engineer (like my father before me), he was not a state licensed Electrical Engineer and so was fined for saying he was AND for criticizing the law using math. So, picture it, you're wife has to pay the fine (for running a red light) and now you get to pay a contempt fine of $500 (for using math in court).

You know, I've always known Oregon to be a bit off (what with there being a law prohibiting you pumping your own gas, but now?  I mean, I've never been good at math but getting fined for using math is pretty loony tunes (bordering on a 1st Amendment issue).  Dang but if it wasn't for the dedication of Oregon law Librarians, the whole state would be destined for one huge handbasket.

Anyway, I guess the moral to all this if you're going to live in a particular state, pay attention to the crazier laws you are going to have to live under.  I mean, really - fined for using math?!?  Who would have thunk?

Monday, May 1, 2017

Word of the Month for May 2017: Bigamy

Bigamous marriage
Imagine you are on vacation hiking in China.  That's right, China. Anyway, you're hiking around China and some people kidnap you, drag you to a foreign country, and force you to teach their leader how to speak English. Sounds a bit far fetched but that's exactly what happened to David Sneddon.  Seems David was hiking in China, kidnapped by North Korean agents and then forced to tutor now leader Kim Jong Un how to speak English.

While that really sucks, it reminds me of a guy who came into the library a while back. Seems guy had found the love of his life while vacationing in Las Vegas.  She was blond, blue eyed, busty, and had legs that went up to her neck.  At least that's what the picture he had looked like.  He was so smitten, that he had opened credit cards in her name and gave her access to his checking account.

Sad, then, when his world came crashing down after only two weeks.  Seems he became suspicious when he saw gross amounts of money fly out of his checking account(s).  Guy hired an investigator look into things and, as it turns out, guy had been conned.  

Seems Blond girl was funneling money to her husband in Jersey.  You heard right, husband.  Hot chick was already married when she married Guy in Vegas!

This, of course, brings us to our word of the month: BIGAMY.  According to Black's Law Dictionary, BIGAMY is 
The act of marrying one person while legally married to another.  Bigamy is distinct from adultery.  It is a criminal offense if it is committed knowingly.
Guy, now heartbroken, wanted revenge.  So, I suggest that in addition to filing a complaint with the District Attorney (bigamous marriage, and all), I also suggested he take a look at:
I guess the moral to this story is, look before you leap.  At least give the nuptials a cooling period before you hand over the keys to the kingdom.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Show me the money!

Money is never boring
The other day, this guy comes into the law library happy as a clam.  Seems he had filed a civil action and, subsequently, won a judgment against his arch enemy (his ex-muther-in-law) and was now looking to collect on the judgment. See, just because you win a case doesn't mean that you will get anything.  Most people don't like to hand over their cash; so sometimes you have to press the issue.  While most law libraries have resources on how to collect on a judgment such as:
...I was able to point guy to what he needed to deal with his collection issues (because I used to do this know, before I was an omnipotent law Librarian).  For those, who find themselves trying to collect a debt, following are some ways to help you collect a judgment:
  1. Levy execution on the debtors wages.  Typically called a "wage garnishment," this order tells the debtor's employer to give the sheriff the money out of the debtor's wages (who then give it to you). To do this, complete a Writ of Execution for and submit to the court clerk (who will issue the order). You will also have to pay the fee for the Earnings Withholding Order.  This one is embarrassing to the debtor and annoying for an employer (who may then want to fire the debtor making it harder for you to collect money).
  2. Levy execution on the debtor's checking or other bank account (i.e. Bank Levy).  Basically, you're taking money from the debtor's band account.  Get a Writ of Execution from the clerk and pay the fee.
  3. Record an Abstract of Judgment.  Filed against land owned by the debtor, this instrument places a lien on the land so that if they land is ever sold, you will get your judgment before the seller (i.e. the debtor) gets any sales proceeds.  At least, that's how it's supposed to work, in theory.  Request an Abstract of Judgment from the court clerk and pay the filing fee.
  4. Have the sheriff do a "till tap."  If the debtor is a business with a cash register, the sheriff can go to the business and tap the till - basically, take out the amount of the judgment.  Complete and Writ of Execution, have the clerk issues it, pay the fee, and take it to the sheriff.  If there isn't enough cash when the sheriff taps the till, you can instruct the sheriff to go back (of course, you'll have to pay a fee each time the sheriff makes an attempt).
  5. Put a "keeper" in the business.  Actually, this one is a bit iffy because no one likes having a stranger on premises taking their money. What happens is that you pay to have a person to stay on the premises and collect cash, checks and bank credit card drafts as money comes into the business.  You'll need a Writ of Execution, have the clerk issue it, and take it to the sheriff.
  6. Conduct a "Judgment Debtor's Examination."  In this case, the judgment debtor is ordered to appear in court to answer your questions about their salary, bank accounts, property, and anything else that can be used to pay the judgment.  You can subpoena the debtor's bank books, property deeds, paycheck stubs, and other similar documents and require the debtor to bring them to the hearing.  Based on the answers to your questions, you can have the judge order the debtor turn over their assets to cover the judgment.  You'll need to pay a fee and complete a Subpoena Duces Tecum and an Application and Order to Appear for Examination form.  The Application and Order form must be served on the judgment debtor and the debtor must be within 150 miles of the court for the court to have jurisdiction over the debtor.
  7. Suspend debtor's driver's license.  While this doesn't actually collect any money, it does have the effect of annoying the living heck out of people into getting you your money.  In the instance where you were in a car accident and obtained a judgement for $750 (or less) and the judgment wasn't paid in 90 days after the judgment becomes final, you can complete form DL 17 and file it with the Department of Motor Vehicles.  This will suspend a license for 90 days.  If the judgment is over $1,000, the suspension can last indefinitely until the judgment is paid.
  8. Submit an Abstract of Judgment with one of the three credit reporting companies.  While this may not get you your dough any time soon, it will have the effect of preventing the person(s) owing the money from ever renting an apartment (few landlords like renting to deadbeats with judgments on their record).
So, there you have it.  You need answers to questions, we have answers to questions.  It's just that simple.  So, head on over to your local county law library to get on your path of financial enlightenment.