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Criminal Law

Criminal Law and Drug Crimes

August 9, 2018

Have you or a loved one been arrested for a drug crime? If so, you must know this is a very serious offense. It’s not something you will be able to handle yourself. You will need to hire a good criminal law attorney who knows the laws when a drug crime has been committed.

One of the reasons why the law prosecutes drug criminals so heavily is because violence often accompanies the crime. Drug addiction is an evil which changes the lives and personalities of people. They do things they would not ordinarily do.

Because of all this, many states have waged war – on drugs and offenders. The destruction trail which drugs forge is well-documented. Attorneys who specialize in criminal law know, more than anyone, what drug addiction can do to a life and a family. They work tirelessly to help the drug addict avoid great loses such as his freedom, his family or his life.

If you’re convicted of a drug crime, you may face a lengthy prison term, heavy fines, probation and service in the community. You must also enroll in a drug treatment course.

A good attorney may also obtain a plea bargain for the person arrested for the drug crime. A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecutor and the defendant. The defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for a reduced charge. This is common and is often used to avoid an excessively long and expensive trial period.

If you’re using drugs, you must be aware of these other consequences:

– You may have a lifelong criminal record.

– Your career opportunities will be diminished or may even be eliminated.

– You may not be able to obtain employment ever again.

– Certain licenses will be unobtainable such as driving certain vehicles or owning a firearm.

– You may not be able to get a travel visa.

– Socially, you may be discriminated against in your neighborhood or with friends and even family.

– After your time of sentencing is up, if you ever get arrested again, you’ll be dubbed a repeat offender and your penalties will be stiffer.

A word of advice if you or someone you know has been charged with a drug crime – don’t make another move until you’ve contacted an attorney.

It’s been estimated that almost 70% of people already in prison in America are there due to drug-related crimes. Whether your crime is related to marijuana, distributing drugs, selling to minors or possessing any narcotic, a criminal law attorney is who you will need to defend your case. Even if you’ve been charged with a drug crime, you still have rights according to the Constitution. You need to have those rights protected.

Drug crime convictions can be frightening and very serious. But, with the right criminal law attorney by your side, it can be less scary and hopefully have a positive outcome.


Gay Lesbian Rights

Legal Issues of Gay and Lesbian Pregnancy

July 14, 2018

When Sharon Bottoms lost custody of her two-year-old son in 1993, she was appalled by the decision of the court system. Sharon’s sexual orientation was the sole reason the court pulled the young child from his home and placed him in the legal custody of his maternal grandmother. Many changes in the legal rights of gay men and lesbians have occurred since that fateful day in 1993, but there remain many of legal obstacles for gay men and lesbians who want to become parents. Most of the legal issues surround the adoption or foster care system, but pregnancy can still be a legally demanding choice.

Getting the Facts Straight

Legal officials and court system once lived by the idea that gay men and lesbian parents would raise children who were gay, molest their children or provide home environments that were detrimental to the successful development of a child. Most court systems have retired these stereotypical ideas thanks to research and clinical studies proving the beliefs improbable or impossible.

Today, gay men and lesbians have the option of surrogacy or pregnancy. For gay men, adoption is the only viable option and comes with legal issues such as dual adoption and legal adoption after surrogacy. In the past legal authorities allowed only one gay male parent to adopt a child. The partner held no legal rights to the child and did not qualify as a legal guardian. This legal obstacle is about more than sexual orientation. When an adoption is legally approved, the first parent loses legal rights to the child. In the case of a gay or lesbian relationship, giving one partner legal rights would then take legal rights away from the second partner. Stepparent adoption laws have existed for quite some time but only covered heterosexual parents until the second parent law was passed.

In some states, gay and lesbian couples have the right to adopt a child together. Both parents are protected and legal rights are assumed as a couple. Due to legal marriage issues in many states, if a partnership is broken, both parents keep legal guardianship.

Lesbians have the option of adopting or giving birth personally. Second parent laws cover lesbian couples who wish to share custody of the biological child. Not every state has adopted the second parent law and thus gay and lesbian couples may have to relocate to a state supporting second parent laws to dually adopt a child.

Information on Fertility and Pregnancy you can Trust.


Gay Lesbian Rights

Hospital Rules and the Rights of Gay and Lesbian Parents

July 14, 2018

Before April 15, 2010 – gay and lesbian couples were given no legal rights in a hospital setting. If a partner was hospitalized for pregnancy related complications, surrogate health issues or any medical problem, partners were only allowed to visit the patient if the hospital was willing to bend the rules and this only occurred on an individual basis. No legal rights were given to gay and lesbian couples in regards to hospitalization, medical care or medical decisions. On April 15, 2010 – President Barack Obama addressed this issue by releasing a statement regarding the status of same sex couples and hospital care. The statement changed the face of the medical community.

Gay and Lesbian Couples Now Have a Say in Visitation

According to the statement published on the White House website, hospitals receiving funding through the Medicaid and Medicare systems were to allow gay and lesbian patients the right to designate who could visit and make medical decisions on their behalf. The decision, while greatly affecting the gay and lesbian community was about more than the rights of people with specific sexual orientations.

In year’s part, widows or widowers could spend their final days in the hospital without the comfort or support of a friend when family members were not around or no longer living. Hospital rights were only extended to immediate family members and while some hospitals or floor nurses chose to bend the rules, these cases were not regulated giving all patients the same legal rights.

The declaration by President Obama does not cover private hospitals and thus gay and lesbian patients in private hospitals may not have the right to designate visitors. There are legally binding “Patient Bills of Right” adopted on state level, however that may impact the rights of all patients, even those in private hospitals. North Carolina, Delaware, Nebraska and Minnesota have all revised the Patient Bill of Rights to reflect the declaration made by President Obama.

Legal issues still exist for gay and lesbian couples. There remain battles to be fought on the path of equality. Giving a patient, whether a gay man or lesbian, the right to make their own personal visitation and health care choices bleeds into other aspects of legality and compassion. While some battles are won, others are being fought in courts across the United States and the world. Gay and lesbian couples do not have all the legal rights of heterosexual couples as of late, and should always review Patient Rights statements before voluntarily going into the hospital.


Property Law

Intellectual Property Law – Patent Law – Invalidity for Obviousness

July 9, 2018

The case of Conor Medsystems Inc v Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc and Another [2007], concerned a patent for a medical device used in operations. The defendants owned a European patent for a device called a ‘stent’ used in coronary angioplasty. The ‘stent’ is inserted into a diseased artery during the procedure to keep the artery open. The claims in the patent concerned a ‘stent’ coated with a polymer loaded with the drug taxol. This drug inhibited the development of tissue which might result in the artery closing.

The defendants licensed the patent of this device to BS, a manufacturer of ‘stents’. The claimant, who is a competitor of BS, sought to have the patent revoked on the grounds that the invention was obvious in the light of prior art. The judge held that it was obvious to have tested taxol, and therefore the patent was invalid for obviousness. The defendant appealed.

The defendant’s appeal was dismissed.

The question to be considered was whether the invention was obvious. In order to make this assessment, a number of factors had to be considered:

§ The attributes and common general knowledge of the skilled man;

§ The difference between the claim and the prior art; and

§ Whether there was a motive provided or hinted by the prior art.

It was also held that:-

§ Sometimes the commercial success of an invention could demonstrate that the idea was particularly good, whereas in other situations the fact that the idea may have been ‘obvious to try’ could come into an assessment. The most important factor however was the nature of the invention.

§ The judge’s decision should stand.

§ This was because the patent had not in any way demonstrated that taxol actually worked to prevent a diseased artery from closing, even though it had been tested. The judge was therefore right to deem the patent invalid for obviousness.


International Law

Sources of International Law and Their Implementation

July 2, 2018

What exactly is law, and how is international law conducted? Law is a set of commands, rules, and regulations that are set to govern a particular society. These commands should be communicated from one person to another to ensure that each and every person has a clear understanding. They are usually authoritative and are issued by an individual, body or an institution. International law on the other hand entails a set of commands widely accepted among nations to govern their activities e.g. international law on pollution that restrict certain acts among all nations that may lead to environmental pollution.

Sources of International law

Sources entail material and processes through which rules and regulations governing a specific society are developed. They have many factors that influence their development process ranging from political, social, and economical theories. These factors include:

1. The Statute of the International Court of Justice

According to article 38 of the statute that states that, the court should apply the following in deciding dispute-settling measures

– The international conventions that entails establishment of rules that are well recognized by all contesting states

– The international customs to represent the general practice and conduct usually accepted as law

– All general principles recognized by civilized nations

– The judicial decisions of qualified publicist of the various involved nations

2. Conventions and treaties

Treaties are agreement between two or more nations on particular procedures. They cover a wide scope of human life ranging from political, social, economic, and family issues. Signing of a treaty shows that the state accepts to comply with the treaties provision in good faith. They are usually voluntary undertaking which signify being bound to a commitment and creating reliance interest to related parties.

3. Customs as source of international law

They are accepted if; the behavior is widespread among states, practices are followed for an insignificant period, and if practitioners as required by law. They are many problems in deciding whether the customary law is widespread among states or has sufficient duration in time. This however requires that the application of customary law be tested to reconcile the universality of rights and obligations among states.

4. General principles of law

It is intended to incorporate the principles of law, which states that wrongs should have consequences, defendants, and claimants. They state that, whoever does wrong have the right to defend them. Therefore these principles are brought together to form a commonly accepted law.


Civil Law

Civil Law Vs Common Law

June 13, 2018

Every country in today’s society has laws that are established within their country that they must follow. If people do not follow these rules then they face the appropriate consequences for disobeying them. Some countries are run similar and others are run very differently. There are two major traditional laws which are civil and common law. These are the two most frequent laws throughout the world. Civil is the most familiar amongst countries especially in Europe and Asia. Common law is more natural amongst North America. Both of these were historically established many years ago. There are several differences between the two laws but they do overlap with some similarities also.

The term civil law derives from the Latin word ius civile, the law applicable to all Roman citizens. This was established in the sixteenth century. Europe was the first to adopt this law and almost all of Europe taught this at all their universities. Civil law is considered codified. Each civil law country has their own codes to determine the different punishments for each of the categories of law. Some examples of these codes are procedural, substantive, and penal. Procedural law determines what actions constitutes a criminal act, substantive law establishes which are required of criminal or civil prosecution, and penal law decides the proper penalties. It is the judge’s job to gather the facts of the case and distinguish the correct codes that apply to the case.

The main countries that civil law is in today are China, Japan, Germany, France, and Spain. Each of these countries has a written constitution. One major difference between civil law and common law is that it is required for the country to always have a written constitution. On the other hand common law doesn’t always have one. An issue that one can argue is that civil law is not as effective because it is broken up into different codes and not just one whole. But civil law having several codes to put input into these issues helps with a final decision.

Common law is similar but also very different from civil law. This law is uncodified which means there is no compilation of legal rules and statutes. These laws are also known as case laws or precedent. A key difference between the two laws is that the common laws have been developed based on results that have occurred in older court cases. For example, when there is a case that the parties disagree on then they refer back to precedential decisions of relevant courts and follow the reasoning used by those courts. It is considered more complicated than many other simplified systems because there are several different courts within the system but not all have the same power of jurisdiction. Some courts having more powers than others can cause issues within these rules because not everyone has an equal say.

Common law was established in the middle ages in the King’s Court. It exists in the United States today but its origin is England. It mainly exists in North America but is also spread amongst a few other countries. It was adopted by the states following the American Revolution. There were many guidelines throughout the world during this time but common law took dominance during the seventeenth century.

Most countries are based off some sort of tradition from that past. These two laws, common and civil, were both established around the sixteenth century. They have shaped the way most countries make their judicial decisions. Countries in South America, Europe, and Asia follow civil law which was founded in the sixteenth century by the Romans. Civil law is codified which means they have continuously updated legal codes that apply to all issues that could be brought up in court. Countries in North America and several in Africa follow the common law which was founded in the late Middle Ages in England. Common law is mainly based off of precedent decisions made by judges and are maintained through records of the courts. These laws are what shape countries’ societies today.


Criminal Law

Criminal Law – Unspoken Rules of Power and Privilege in Washington DC – Operating Above the Law

June 11, 2018

When we were in high school we were taught that no one is above the law, but as we get into adulthood we realize that some people operate above the law, and whether or not they are above the law or not, we realize that there are unspoken rules of power and privilege particularly in Washington DC.

In fact, there have been senators, and congressmen who have been caught taking bribes, cheating on their taxes, and other things, but rather than being arrested, they are taken into a committee where supposedly they are judged by their own peers.

Unfortunately, with all the corruption Washington DC their peers are not exactly the epitome of integrity, or of the ethical fiber and make up as the Waltons on TV. Not to mention the fact that if a committee member goes lightly on them, they will have political favors in the future for letting them off the hook.

In other words, folks that have created criminal violations are able to negotiate their own settlement, and take unspoken bribes to maintain their freedom, and their seat in the Senate or Congress. We all know why this is wrong, but we also all know it goes on in Washington DC.

Now then, because of all the nasty politics politicians are often targeted as criminals, even if they haven’t committed a crime. And obviously they cannot afford the lawyers to defend themselves every time the political opposition charges them with something. Nevertheless, whereas that too is a reality, no one should be above the law, and we shouldn’t have criminals representing us in our great Republic.

Okay so, we all know the unspoken rules of power and privilege, and often we pretend they don’t exist, but they do. They even exist legally in Washington DC, because that’s how the law works, and that’s how things are done. Are they right or wrong?

It depends on the individual and the situation of course. However, criminal law in Washington DC is a lot different than criminal law in your local county courthouse. Please consider all this.


Criminal Law

Criminal Law: The Making of a Criminal

June 7, 2018

Is there really a formula on how one becomes a criminal? If yes, what is it? Is there a step-by-step process one can willingly or unwillingly take to get to this notorious path? If yes, how is it done? Is there a checklist that has all the traits on how one can become a legit criminal? If yes, who makes the list? But in reality, there is none. According to a psychologist that has worked with and talked to people who have been found guilty for certain criminal acts against criminal law, all of them have different histories and backgrounds. The only thing most of them have in common is a dark and difficult childhood.

Generally speaking, a bad childhood says to trigger one’s criminal instincts. But we should all consider that the term “bad childhood” is relative and that it differs from one person to another. Bad childhood could be in the form of child abuse, consequences of being in a broken home or the act of child labor. It has different faces, and not all of them result to performance of the worst criminal law offences in history. In fact, some children who have such experience essentially strive to become different people – so different from their ugly pasts. However, when it is consistently fed with multiple misfortunes and discomfort, the worst thing could happen.

Psychological incapacity

Some people who have committed crimes is psychologically unstable. This reason considers a strong and enough reason that provokes a person to commit a crime. This state is a result of either nature or nurture – or even both. Nature means a person’s psychological problem may result from defects of genetics, while the other one may result from harsh and difficult environments. Either way, a psychological claim in court is considers valid stating the submissions of complete medical and psychological documents required. A lot of criminal lawyers pull the string towards psychological defense to make their side of the case in a better advantage.

Addiction to chemical substance

Another proven and tested trigger to the non-stop production of criminals is the abuse of alcohol and drugs. Drinking moderately and taking in prescribed drugs do not really give to the bigger problem. But when people start to take advantage of what seems to become easily accessible, that’s when abuse begins to build-up. Excessive intake of the said substances instantly gives people high and carefree feeling. Ironically, it triggers one to become too impulsive and irate. These become violence, theft, rape, fraud, drunk driving and others when translated into actions. One should not give these substances a chance to manipulate his or her life to the point of violating criminal law.

Past victimization

Who could be more vengeful than those who were victims of crime themselves? They are the ones who have “hands-on” experience on how it feels like to become hurt, abused and cheated on. Some victims remain fixated to such traumatic experiences that they are able to imbibe the same logic to the people they have hatred for. Criminal law becomes a blurry vision.



Is It Illegal to Download Free Music?

May 20, 2018

The Confusion Surrounding Music Copyright Law

Because there are so many different ways to get free music off the internet, there has become a lot of confusion and conflicting views as to what is legal and what isn’t.

“OK, so it’s illegal to burn a copy of a CD and distribute it. So are you telling me I can’t burn a mix CD and give it to a few of my friends?”

“It’s illegal to download free songs of peer-to-peer websites and servers, but can I download a song from my friend over Dropbox?”

These types of song copying and distribution leave many feeling that the laws are vague and outdated, so they just continue on downloading music illegally.

The increasingly popular technique of “YouTube to mp3” where you grab the mp3 file from a video someone posted of a song has only added to the problem.

Is that illegal too?

Let’s take a look.

The FBI Warning

You know how when you’re watching a movie on a DVD (for those of us who still do that) and on the screen comes that familiar “FBI WARNING” that tells you the material is copyrighted and it’s illegal to make unauthorized copies of said material of any kind… etc.

Well, despite what some outdated articles might say, this copyright (or internet piracy) law also applies to music.

What does that mean?

Redistribution of any kind, without the artists consent, is illegal. And if you participate by knowingly downloading music that is being distributed without the artist’s consent, you are participating in illegal activity.

This article at IBM compared using these third-party sites just to rip music from YouTube, like “using cassette tapes to record songs of the radio”.

And peer-to-peer servers as well as other websites that don’t even technically host the files on their website, are still participating in this illegal activity, and in the future, copyright companies will continue to be cracking down on this activity.

Are There Other Options?

Yes. You are not without hope. There are so many options. Honestly, with all the options out there it’s amazing how many people are still working so hard to download music for free (OK, there’s not that many). I remember those days, myself.

And I cringe at the thought of having to once again edit the properties of each individual song so that it would be neat and orderly on my iPod.

Never again.

While you do have the option of subscribing to a music streaming service as many have, if you’d like to keep listening to your music very cheaply without an internet connection and you want to actually own the songs you’re listening to, I’d recommend a service like Mp3million, where you can download songs for nickels and dimes. These kinds of sites are legal as long as they are paying royalties on the song licenses. And with that said, hopefully you’ll be on your way to continue your music downloading lifestyle without (too much) interruption.

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Gay Lesbian Rights

Gay and Lesbian Parenting – Should My Partner Adopt?

May 12, 2018

The Second Parent law opened the doors for dual parenting in gay and lesbian households. Before the law took effect, gay and lesbian parents were forced to choose which parent would have legal custody of a child or accept the fact that the biological parent was the only legal parent recognized by law. Just because the Second Parent law allows the non-legal partner in a gay or lesbian relationship to apply for legal parental rights, does not mean every couple should take that step.

Legal Binds Between Gay and Lesbian Partners

The legally binding contract of marriage is not available in all states for couples of the same sex. If the couple is not legally married, issues could surface if the couple were to split while having shared custody of a child or children. Once both partners have adopted a child, they are both legally responsible for the health and financial well-being of that child. Moreover, both have legal rights as parents identical to those of heterosexual parents.

The issue is not about acceptance of these parental responsibilities, but of support in terms of hashing out the details of shared parenthood after a relationship has ended. For married heterosexual or homosexual couples, there is a step-by-step process in many states that force parents to go through parenting classes and meet with a mediator if a common agreement on parental rights cannot be found. These classes are often a part of the divorce process.

If a gay or lesbian couple is not legally married, there is no court system needed to end a relationship. However, the adoption of a child continues to bind the two together until the child reaches legal age. When discussing the adoption of a child by the partner, this fact should be thoroughly covered and possibly discussed with an attorney present.

Legal Options for Partner Adoption

If a partners choose to share custody of a child, regardless of the whether one partner is a biological parent or not, a parental agreement may be drawn up by legal counsel. The parental agreement would cover the course of action to be taken after a split, legal rights accepted by both parents and a viable schedule of visitation that could be observed. Similar to a prenuptial agreement, gay and lesbian couples may wish to have this document drawn and signed before allowing a partner to legally adopt a child in the home.