Fish Tank

News of the Day


Monday, March 30, 2015

It's the little things that will get you

So, I'm reading about that German plane crash in the French Alps and I see an article that suggests that it was the co-pilot that caused the plane to take a nose dive right into the mountain killing all 150 passengers.  Apparently, officials reviewing the cockpit audio found that at some point, the pilot left the cockpit and upon return, the co-pilot refused to open the door to let him back in.

What is interesting is that right at the start of this horrible event, before any solid investigation, "officials" insisted that this was not a terrorist act.  Now, I'm thinking maybe they're not so sure.  Yeah, yeah, co-pilot was unstable but if I were a terrorist organization bent on killing people, who better to have as the trigger man than someone who is looking to end it all anyway?  Saves on C-4 expenses, at least.

Anyway, the/a problem with all of the official statements is that if you draw conclusions before you do some background research, you're bound to get burned somewhere down the line - which all reminds me of this guy that came into the library the other day.  Seems guy had been sued by a bank for failing to pay on a credit card (for money had and received).  Seems guy had filed his answer to the complaint (for $435).  Shortly thereafter, guy gets to thinking and discovers that he didn't even have that credit card.  Not only that, but his wife and son didn't have the credit card.  A conundrum, to be sure.

Anyway, guy goes about his business and shortly before trial, guy goes to the Settlement Conference.  Guy addresses the fact that no one in his family has that credit card and, lo and behold, it is discovered that the bank sued the wrong guy (and the lawsuit is subsequently dropped).

Guy was shocked!  Other attorney is shocked!  Heck, I'm shocked at how guy could have let something like this go on without checking.  Guys says to me, "Well, how could I have known?"  Turns out there is a very good way to find stuff out called discovery.  In this case, guy could have used the Breach of Contract Form Interrogatories and gotten some basic information about the other parties case.

Other Discovery resources that come in handy might include:

Bottom line, you never know what's going on until you do a little digging.  Best to do you homework before you go off half-cocked because you don't want to do something that you don't have to do, do you?  Don't know how to proceed?  Start with your local county law Librarian.  We're here to help you because that's what we do. Yeah, we are that good!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mirror, mirror

everyone is a little wacky
When you look in the mirror, what do you see?  Do you see yourself as you see yourself; do you see yourself as everyone else sees you; or do you see yourself as you want everyone to see you?  

Such was the thoughts that were going through my mind as I was talking with a young-ish couple standing in front of my reference desk a while back. 

Seems guy and gal had been out one night drinking like fish. Seems guy decided that, despite the fact that he had had a number of shots of something not 30 minutes prior, he was a capable driver.  Seems 20 minutes into their drive home, guy ran a red light, T-boned an SUV, and killed one of the passengers.

They tell me that shortly before the police showed up on the scene, guy smoothed talked gal to get in the driver's seat because guy's license had been suspended.  With gal in driver's seat and his version of events firmly implanted in gal's mind, the police charged her with vehicular manslaughter. On retrospect gal is now not so happy with her decision and wants to set things right (tell the truth of what happened). Guy is not so much in a forthcoming state of mind and right in front of me they are softly arguing what to do.

For the record, I am not an attorney and as such I was unable to give guy and gal the legal absolution he were so desperately seeking.  I'm also a neutral bystander in all this and sit quietly as they go back and forth.  When I could, I suggested they contact their local bar association and seek an attorney referral for a criminal attorney.

I also suggested they take a look at to look for an attorney specializing in criminal law.  A peer-reviewed website (meaning only the best of the best attorneys are listed (or are allowed to be listed)), lets users search for lawyers using personal names, firm names, or just search for practice areas (such as, as in this case, criminal law) in their state of residence. So, off they go in pursuit of representation to help guy convince gal that his way is better (with her taking the rap).

If you are ever in peril and have need of a soft shoulder on which to cry or just need some killer reference assistance, know that your local county Librarian often has both and is at your local county law library waiting to help you get you where you need to be.

Monday, March 16, 2015

I Did Not Know That!

I did not know that
Did you know that...
  • 111,111,111 X 111,111,111 = 12345678987654321?
  • Did you know that during the middle ages, a slice of lemon was served with fish because it was thought the juice would dissolve any bones that were accidentally swallowed?
  • Did you know the word "tattoo" is one of the most misspelled words in the English language?
  • Did you know that when members of a choir sing, their heart rates become synchronized along with the melody and rhythm?
  • Did you know rockstar Alice Cooper used to babysit Keanu Reeves?
  • Did you know that from 1850 to 1940 marijuana was listed by the United States Phamacopedia as a useful medicine for nausea, rheumatism, and labor pains and was easily obtained at the local general store or pharmacy?
Did you also know that you could recover property that you left behind at a former tenancy?  Yes, you can.  For instance, say your mother's cousins aunt's mother's uncle twice removed became sick and he called you and asks you to come help him out until he recovers fully.  Being a dutiful relative, you break your lease and leave all your stuff behind in your rush to help.  Six months later you come back and you want to get your stuff but the landlord want's to hold it ransom until he gets the balance of the rent.  What are you going to do?

What I suggest you do is to go to your local county law library and take a look at California Forms of Pleading and Practice (Lexis), and look in Chapter 333 (Landlord Tenant), and look at section 333.93 (Request for abandoned property) and section 333.95 (Complaint to recover abandoned property after notice).  See?  Easy peasy.

The thing is, regardless of the problem(s) you face in life, odds are the good folks at your local county law library know where to lead you to help you find answers.  Yeah, we are that good.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Experience is the best teacher

Do the crime, do the time
Have you ever noticed that there are some things you just don't do?  Don't argue with a cop; don't wolf whistle at Gloria Allred; and never, ever get a law Librarian mad at you.  Yeah, that last one will zing you every time in ways you can't even imagine.  See, the thing with getting a law Librarian angry is that we've spent years researching the law.  We know where the law is and how it can/should be applied.  Get a law Librarian mad at you and one of two things will happen: we won't "be able" to find anything or we will literally bury you in information in under 3 minutes (in an "oh yeah - well, I'll show you" moment).

For example, recently I became a victim of identity theft.  Some schlep got a hold of my personal data tried to get credit cards in my name and buy really, REALLY expensive stuff.  See, this is how the game works.  Bad guy(s) get your data, they fill out applications for credit cards online, then, before anyone even sends out the credit card they call a company with a purchase request.  When asked what their card number is, Bad Guy(s) say they don't have a credit card but they have all the identifying information.  Company then checks the information and either allows the purchase or not.  So far, I've only had one company that let the purchase go through (to the tune of a couple thousand dollars). 

Because I got dinged by these schleps, my legal research mojo kicked in BIG time and I was off looking for all things identity theft; books, law review articles, codes, forms, practice aids - anything I could get my hands on.  In little under 15 minutes I had amassed a small pile of resources on the subject and felt impressed to write a blog about what I had found because maybe you've been a victim of Identity Theft?  Maybe you have a friend who was a victim of Identity Theft?  While there are laws all over the country that deal with identity theft, your local county law library is probably your best, most excellent resource to find information on the topic of Identity Theft.  Might I suggest you go to your local county law library and take a look at the variety of primary and secondary legal authorities your local county law library has at its disposal, as they relate to Identity Theft, for you to use, like:

Books and Other Media:

Law Review Articles:
  • 29 Cal. Law. 40; Petitioning for factual innocence.  Brian Dinday (June 2009).
  • 21 Harv. J. L. & Tech 97; Identity Theft: Making the Known Unknowns Known. Chris Jay Hoofnagle. Vol. 21, No. 1, Fall 2007.
  • 34 Hastings Comm. & Ent. L. J. 275; Parody or Identity Theft: The Highwire Act of Digital Doppelgangers in California. 
  • 27 Los Angeles Lawyer 21; Practice Tips: New California Identity Theft Legislation.
  • 30 L.A. Law. 64; Taking tougher actions against identity theft. Kathryn Kolts Showers. Aug. 2007.
  • 36 L.A. Law 12; Practice Tips: Addressing the Problem of Bogus Liens. December 2013.
  • 33 McGeorge L.Rev. 219; With or without authorization, it's still identify theft. Lance M. Davis. 2002.
  • 40 McGeorge L. Rev. 476; Identity thieves get more than they bargained for: Victims' venue.  Nathaniel H. Clark. 2009.
  • 29 NCJ Int'l L & Comm Reg 671; The Fear Factor: Privacy, Fear and the Changing Hegemoney of the American People and the Right to Privacy. Summery 2004.
  • 29 Touro L. R. 455; Identity Theft on Social Networking Sites: Developing Issues of Internet Impersonation. Maksim Reznik. Vol. 29, No. 1, Art. 12, 2013.
  • 42 Trial Law Guide 107; Attorney may be held liable under federal Fair Credit Reporting Act for obtaining opponent's credit report for use in litigation. Winter 1999.
  • 47 USF L. Rev. 737; Cyberbullying and California's Response.  

Legal Encyclopedias:
  • 54 ALR 5th 141; Duress, Necessity, or Conditions of Confinement as Justification for Escape from Prison.
  • 125 ALR 5th 537; Validity, Construction, and Application of State Statutes Relating to Offense of Identity Theft.
  • 68 ALR 6th 527; Criminal Liability for Unauthorized Use of Credit Card Under State Credit Card Statutes.
  • 74 Am. Jur. Proof of Facts 3d 63; Scams and Cons. 
  • 81 Am. Jur. Proof of Facts 3d 113; Identity Theft and Other Misuses of Credit and Debit Cards. 
  • 112 Am. Jur. Trials 1; Litigating Identify Theft Cases.
  • Cal. Jur. 3d Names § Protected Rights in Name; Unauthorized Use of Name.  
  • Cal. Jur. 3d Criminal Law: Crimes Against Property § 375, specific False Personation. Offenses--False Personation to Obtain Credit, Goods, Services, or Medical Information.
  • Corpus Juris Secundum, False Pretenses §§ 1,3, 9 to 26, 30 to 32, 39 to 45.

Treatises and Practice Aids:
  • 7 Banking Law (Matthew Bender), Ch 153, Fair Credit Reporting Act §§ 153.03-153.05.
  • 10 Labor and Employment Law (Matthew Bender), Ch. 257, Applicant Screening § 257.02.
  • 1 Witkin Cal. Crim. Law. 3d, Criminal Elements § 68 Nature, Elements, and Punishment.
  • 2 Witkin Cal. Crim. Law. 3d, Crimes Against Property § 209; Other Impersonation Statutes. 
  • 2 Witkin Cal. Crim. Law. 3d, Crimes Against Property § 209A Personal Information Trafficking.
  • 3 Witkin Cal. Crim. Law. 3d, Punishment § 221, Definitions.
  • 5 Witkin Cal. Summary 10th, Torts § 668 Identity Theft.


  • 5A Am Jur Legal Forms 2d, Consumer Credit Protection Acts § 66:99.
  • 5B Am Jur Pl & Pr Forms (Rev Ed), Collection  and Credit Agencies § 35. 
  • Cal. Forms Pl & Practice (Matthew Bender), Ch 129, Consumer Credit Reporting.
  • Cal. Legal Forms (Matthew Bender), §§ 45.231[1], 92.80[2][m], 92.80[2][v].
  • 6 Fed Procedural Forms L. Ed, Consumer Credit Protection §§ 14:241, 242, 252, 257, 268, 291, and 294.

California and United States Code:

Yep - last thing you want to ever do is get a law Librarian mad at you because we know where the information you need is located.  Heck, we are the gate keepers, the lock makers, and the key holders of information.  If you need it, we have it, and you can find it at your local county law library!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Word of the Month for March 2015: Abuse of the Elderly

Elder Abuse
Don't know if you know but did you know that elder abuse is on the rise?  While Black's Law Dictionary defines Abuse of the Elderly as abuse of a senior citizen (generally those at least 60-65 years old) by a caregiver or relative; examples include deprivation of food, or medication, beatings, oral assaults, and isolation, I'm thinking that that should be broadened to include salespeople who take advantage of lonely old people or legislators who tax social security.

Anyway, I bring this up because the other day this "lady" comes in. Seems a while back "lady" was living with her dad. Apparently "lady" made dad's daily life a living hell what with the occasional beating. I say made because "lady" got arrested and was charged with violating California Penal Code 368 which deals with crimes against elder or dependent adults.  Fast forward a few years.  Dad dies and his estate goes to probate.  This is where "lady" comes in. Seems "lady" made a claim on dad's estate.  Because "lady" had been convicted of Penal Code 368, however, she is not able to get any money out of Dad's estate.  Mad as all get out is "lady."  Can you say wet hen?  

Anyway, "lady" says her criminal attorney "convinced" her to plead guilty to the Penal Code 368 charge.  Because of that advice, "lady" can't collect on Dad's estate so now "lady" wants to go after her former attorney for his "bad" advice. Being the neutral law Librarian that I am (in that I help most anybody who walks through our doors), I suggest she take a look at California Practice Guide: Professional Responsibility (West) and Legal Malpractice (West).

Thing is, law Librarians get a whole lot of people who come in their front doors.  Regardless of what they've done (or done to people) law Librarians are always open to help anyone and everyone.  Yeah, we're like that.