Evading Jury Duty

Skipping Jury Duty seems like a harmless act.  Sure, most have been tempted to toss their Jury Duty summons in the garbage and pretend it never arrived. What’s the worst that could happen? It’s not like I did anything illegal—false.

If you ignore a Jury Duty summons in Arizona, then the sheriff’s deputy might show up at your door with a bench warrant. Evading jury duty is considered a type of fraud. Fines of up to $2,000 dollars can be levied; jail time is also a possibility.

Arizona is actually lax compared to other states when it comes to the evasion of Jury Duty. In Massachusetts, 48,000 people were fined $2,000 each for missing jury duty. Los Angeles has levied a total of $940,000 in fines over the past year.

Jury Duty Incentive

The most basic incentive for showing up to Jury Duty is the obligation you owe your fellow citizens. In order for justice to be administered, the right to a fair trial with a jury of your peers is an absolute necessity. If that is not enough, often times you can receive pay from your employer while serving as a juror. Moreover, Jury Duty in some cases becomes a paid endeavor, and restaurant coupons and free parking is the norm.

Legitimate Reasons for Skipping Jury Duty

It is estimated that around 25 % of all jury duty summons actually are lost in the mail due to inaccurate or outdated information. Moreover, many have legitimate excuses that bar them from participation in Jury Duty, such as handicap or illness.

What is not a legitimate excuse is missing Jury Duty because of work or school. Your employer cannot reprimand you for being absent from work while serving jury duty; most colleges and university have policies in place for students who miss class due to Jury Duty.

Sport Safety for Children

Children are being exposed to competitive sports at a younger and younger age every year. Kids as young as five begin participating in baseball, basketball, gymnastics, running, swimming, or tennis. All of these activities are no doubt healthy in moderation, but when parents declare their child has what it takes to be an Olympian at age seven, trouble will most likely arise.

Children’s bodies are fragile and perhaps not equipped to handle the rigorous training that is becoming increasingly popular. Moreover, some parents encourage their child to specialize in a sport before trying them all out. As a child, sports are about developing health, teamwork skills, and a desire to win. It is not fair to your child to declare them an Olympian at age six; if they have what it takes to be a professional athlete it will be obvious when their bodies finally develop.

A unique threat to childhood athletes is the pesky affliction of growing pains. It may be too long ago for you to remember the sting, but growing pains are extremely painful and the source of much suffering for children. Taking an anti-inflammatory, soaking the affected region in ice, or showing sympathy for the athlete are the most effective remedies for growing pains. However, there is no cure. Your child will have to suffer.

Repetitive motion injuries are amongst the most common for childhood athletes. The overuse of the shoulder or elbow in baseball leads to tendonitis, a painful injury. Also, a similar injury known as tennis elbow results from excessively swinging a racket in tennis. Sports that incorporate running and jumping also tend to strain the knee. These type of injuries are best treated by rest. Also, exposure to ice and intense heat can ameliorate some of the symptoms.

Lawyers Seek to Defend Justice in College Sexual Assault Misconduct Claims

Colleges have recently come under scrutiny over the frequency of sexual assaults on campus. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has been pushing for increased regulation of sexual assault on campus. Some schools have responded by adopting a standard of clear convincing evidence, dropping the policy of a preponderance of evidence. With the movement towards female empowerment, campus disciplinary procedures have tightened up. However, due process has been abandoned on campuses when addressing student-on-student sexual misconduct. Accused students are often expelled or subject to criminal charges without really having a fair shot to defend themselves.

Colleges have been adopting a policy of clear and convincing evidence in order to protect their image. The process in place at the moment is so lopsided against the defendant that it’s almost silly. Students accused of sexual violence cannot question witnesses directly or indirectly in interviews or hearings. That means a student could be expelled without having any idea who is accusing them of the crime. Moreover, many of these complaints surface a year after the alleged incident. Students claim that some purported victims of sexual violence are not always truthful, and sometimes are seeking revenge for their own poor decisions.

As a result of universities abandonment of the preponderance of evidence requirement, suits will flood in against colleges mishandling sexual violence and harassment investigations. Students victimized by a university commitment to upholding their image rather than administering justice, will be able to sue for monetary damages.

Harvard University attempted to employ a new university wide sexual harassment and violence policy last July, after catching heat for a sexual violence charge that was mishandled at the administrative level. However, 28 law professors from Harvard Law signed a letter published in the Boston globe in which they contended “The policy lacks the most basic elements of fairness and due process” and is “overwhelmingly stacked against the accused.”

Federal Jury Awards $491M in Trial over Funeral Scheme

In St. Louis a federal jury awarded $491 million in damages for a failed prepaid funeral scheme that is not unlike a Ponzi scheme. The company, National Prearranged Services Inc. (NPS) was siphoning money that was supposed to be held in a trust. Those individuals in charge, including trustee Allegiant Bank, allowed officers of NPS to siphon money for their own benefit.

The 97,000 victims including not only customers, but funeral houses, financial institutions, and insurers will receive a significant settlement. The jury awarded plaintiffs $355 million in compensatory damages, $35.5 million in punitive damages against PNC. Another $100 million was awarded against Forever Enterprises, a defunct company that did not appear in trial. Many of the company’s top executives, including CFO and CLO pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges. Six NPC officials were sentenced to prison terms, spanning from 18 months to ten years.

NPS was in business from 1992 to 2008. The company sold funeral plans that promised to keep the buyers money safe, and increase its value through investments until the time of the funeral. Typically, a deposit of $10,000 cash was given to NPS. This money was supposed to be held in a trust with the potential to increase threefold. Instead, it went into the pockets of company officers. Plaintiffs showed that liabilities had exceeded trust assets since 1990, and NPS was paying for funerals using cash from new customers.

The suit against NPS is a victory for justice. These customers trusted NPS to live up to their end of the bargain and they did not. Moreover, the fact that they took advantage of the dead is an absolute embarrassment and moral atrocity. NPS exploited the most vulnerable people possible. These grave robbers deserve to sit in jail.

Commemorating Cicero

Attorneys everywhere ought to add Cicero to their list of mentors. The famous statesman, lawyer, and philosopher is a marvel of self-sufficiency, and basically responsible for modern prose and grammar conventions. Cicero fought for Rome rather than himself. All lawyers can learn a thing or two about service from Cicero.

Cicero thrived around 100 B.C. during the times of Julius Caesar and the 1st and 2nd triumvirate. He was born into Rome’s upper crust, receiving a quality liberal education from the finest schools. His ability in the classroom instantly attracted attention, and he was offered the chance to study law for free under Quintus Mucius Scaevola. At law school he quickly climbed to the top of the class, outwitting his professors many times with graceful humility. His career was launched with a bang, trying more cases than any young lawyer in Rome. It was not uncommon for Cicero to serve as the prosecution and the defense in the same trial.

Cicero was generally a harmless soul, and in the cutthroat world of the Roman Empire, he eventually paid for his life for his compassion. Only the protection of his country could ignite his aggression; and when he felt the pax romana was threatened, he quickly turned into a ferocious wolf. In 63 BC he discovered a plot to overthrow Caesar and the first triumvirate. He exiled the conspirators and put them to death. However, in 58 BC the second triumvirate took control and exiled Cicero, slaying his daughter for the execution of the conspirators. Cicero was devastated by the loss of his daughter, because she was the only person he ever loved. His grief led him to philosophy, and we owe stoicism and many aspects of modern grammar to this work. He was finally put to death by Octavian and his last words were, “there is nothing proper about what you are doing, soldier, but do try to kill me properly.”

Law Student Involved in Product Liability Case for Diabetes Equipment Malfunction

Law student Abbie Harper from the University of Chicago—considered amongst the top tier law schools in the country— recently was found dead in her Hyde Park apartment. She relied on defective diabetic test strips, which were later recalled post mortem. Also, an incompatibility issue arose with the insulin pump she utilized, says a Business Wire press release.

“Abbie trusted and relied upon her diabetic test strips and glucose monitor. They were her lifeline. We hope this lawsuit makes the diabetic community more aware of the products that we believe failed Abbie, products she trusted to keep her alive,” said her parents in a written statement postponed on the website for Corboy & Demetrio, the law firm representing Harper’s estate in this case.

Product liability cases are very common in American society. Most recently, GM has come under intense scrutiny for crossing the wires associated with air bag functioning and standard ignition. As a result, air bags have triggered while cars are in transit, leading to the unfortunate death of hundreds. Abbie’s case is another example of a large company failing to live up to their end of the bargain. If a big company like GM kills a member of your family due to negligence, then it would be wise to contact a lawyer immediately in order to gain the compensation you deserve.

Harper was known through University of Chicago’s campus for her honesty, and transparent down to earth attitude. She was highly intelligent, compassionate, creative, and full of faith. She was a member of the Christian Legal Society, active in the Law School’s Women’s Mentoring Program, and she enjoyed mentoring undergraduates through the University of Chicago Careers in Law office. She was an avid writer and enjoyed to share her stories with the writing club at University Chicago. She will be missed by all she crossed paths with.

Protecting Yourself after the Accident

You’re cruising down route 66 under a bright Arizona sun saddled upon your favorite hog. You’re lady is on the back clutching your vest tightly for safety. All of a sudden, a car swerves into your lane. You evade catastrophe, maneuvering your bike off the road, aware from serious harm and into a ditch. Obviously you’re hurt. Anytime you are propelled from a moving vehicle at 40 MPH damages are almost inevitable. What’s important to keep in mind during this devastating situation is to stay calm, call the police, and report the accident immediately.

Images can be Invaluable

If you happen to be involved in a motorcycle accident, it is important to take photographs of the accident. If you are too physically impaired to snap a few photos yourself, then it would be wise to call upon a family member or relative to survey the scene. If you are on the other side of things, driving a car that caused a motorcycle crash, then photographing the scene of the accident is also to your benefit.

Contact an Attorney

Along with calling the police after involvement in a motor vehicle accident, reaching out to an attorney is essential when involved in an accident. Clients can miss out on thousands of dollars’ worth of damage compensation if they fail to procure the assistance of a licensed attorney. Moreover, having an attorney present when involved in a serious accident can ultimately protect you from criminal charges or other misunderstandings that sometimes occur between drivers and law enforcement. Hold onto any important documentation associated with your accident. This includes medical bills, police reports, or any other paper work involved in an accident. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident call an attorney at Hastings and Hastings today for a free consultation.





Drowsy Driving

In the United States, 250,000 drivers get behind wheel fatigued, every day. Moreover, in a recent poll conducted by the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, it was shown that 54% of all adult drivers had driven while drowsy, while another 28% admitted to actually falling asleep behind the wheel. Of course this is extremely dangerous. Fatalities as a result of driving while fatigued are common and often the norm.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driving while drowsy is responsible for nearly 100,000 crashes, resulting in 1,550 deaths and 40,000 injuries annually. Drivers need to be aware that driving while tired is in some cases worse than driving under the influence. When someone is functioning on improper sleep their judgment and memory is severely impaired. They are dangerous behind the wheel.

Accidents typically occur in the early morning hours, which of course suggest that these individuals are driving after staying up all night. It also often the case that these individuals are impaired by alcohol as well as sleep deprivation. Indeed, the mix of alcohol and sleep deprivation is a deadly combination. The best way to avoid this situation is to abstain completely. Never jump behind the wheel while intoxicated on anything, including a lack of sleep.

If you or a loved one have been victimized by a driver operating a motor vehicle while deprived of sleep, then you may be entitled to compensation for damages. As previously mentioned, driving while tired is as dangerous as driving under the influence. Shift workers and individuals with sleep disorders are particularly prone to these types of accidents. Drinking a few cups of coffee may mitigate the effects initially, but nothing can actually substitute for getting the adequate sleep your body needs.

How the Good Guys Brought a Serial Killer to Justice

Dennis Rader, known as the BTK Killer (Bind, Torture, Kill), was brought to justice after terrorizing the community of Wichita, Kansa between 1974 to 1991. The BTK killer took a hiatus from murdering innocent victims for ten years. It was not until the early 2000’s that Rader resumed sending letters in 2004 to a law enforcement officer, Lt. Ken Landwehr. Ultimately, Rader was brought to justice by his own narcissism.

Lt. Landwehr established contact with Rader, kept up a line of communication with him for years. Ultimately, Rader began to trust Landwehr. He thought that he was genuinely trying to help him. The BTK serial killer could not believe that anyone would want to harm him or bring him to justice. Lt. Landwehr requested information about some of the killings, which he agreed to provide by sending in a floppy drive he deemed untraceable. Finger prints showed up, and within days law enforcement arrived at his house to take him into custody.

At first he was reluctant to confess his crime during his thirty two hour interrogation process. He played a cat and mouse game with Landwehr and the other authorities, often refereeing to BTK in the third person. But eventually he folded, and began completely confessing to the coldblooded murder of ten victims, including two children.

BTK fit the profile of most serial killers. He was a sexual deviant, and he was narcissistic and psychopathic. Landwehr even remarked that Rader was extremely complicit throughout the whole process. He was so self-obsessed that he could not fathom how anyone would want to arrest him or in his own words “betray him.” Some believe that Rader wanted to get caught, for it is uncommon for a serial killer to stop killing abruptly. But the actual cause was that Rader trusted Lt. Landwehr, thinking no one would ever want to deceive him.

Snowboarding and Skiing Safety Tips

Every year, thousands of Arizonians flock to the north, as well as neighboring states such as Utah and Colorado, hoping to glide down a mountain strapped to a board of some sort. Taking in some of the mountain air can be very healthy and satisfying. But amidst the winter wonderland that is skiing and snowboarding lurks veiled risks and dangers. Indeed, every year a handful of tourist will run into a catastrophe that will ruin their trip and possibly their life. A few simple steps can be taken to avoid this calamity, however.

First and foremost, be responsible on the slopes. Sure a Hot Toddy might warm you up on the chairlift, but drinking to excess on the mountain is dangerous and unfair to fellow skiers. Let me remind readers of the beloved musician Sonny Bono, who met his cold bitter end while skiing intoxicated. Just recently a man crashed into the power converter at Snow Bowl, which shut down the entire mountain for the day. To put it simply, don’t drink on the slopes.

Another important safety precaution is the old adage strength in numbers, or the kindergarten concept of the buddy system. Skiing while unaccompanied is dangerous, especially when taking on the more difficult, obscure runs. If you are skiing alone try making a friend on the lift and zooming down a few runs together. A little stranger danger is much better than the alternative, which is freezing to death, scared and alone.

Lastly, wearing a helmet on the slopes is one of the most effective methods for assuring safety. Helmets might look a tad silly. But one will look even sillier knocked out unconscious in the middle of the slopes.  Have fun participating in this winter pastime but always remember to keep safety your number one priority.