Exercising Your Rights During Traffic Stop

Listen to the exchange between the officer and the rider at :45 to 1:04; it’s a simple, effective way to exercise your right to remain silent. Listen also to the officer’s response. He attempts to scare the rider into submission.

Be polite. Be firm. Exercise your right to remain silent.

Watch video here:
exercising your rights during traffic stop

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Attorney service on Thumbtack.com

The legal world is highly competitive – and not just in the courtroom. I recently began marketing my criminal defense, mediation, family law, and bankruptcy services on thumbtack.com. (See listing). Since I also use Avvo.com, Facebook, Wordpress, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other forms of web-based referral marketing, I figured Thumbtack would be worth the effort. The goal, of course, is to keep my firm in the public eye, but I sometimes wonder at what point are there diminishing returns.

Advertising is a must in this day and age. There are so many lawyers competing for clients in Michigan and throughout the U.S. The economy, while allegedly on the mend, has seen big firms lay off senior and mid-level attorneys in droves; those same big firms have also stopped or delayed in hiring new attorneys. This means that there are more and more attorneys opening their own law practices and saturating the marketplace.

A competitive marketplace may seem at first glance to benefit the people in need of legal services; however, upon closer inspection, the opposite may be true. The average consumer usually doesn’t know how to measure the quality of legal representation, the price for that representation, and their own legal needs. For example, open the yellow pages to the “Attorney” section. The ads leaping off of the page were bought by those attorneys with the most advertising dollars. Those ads show descriptions like “30 years of experience”, “100 years of combined experience”, “Aggressive Representation”, “Focusing in Criminal Defense”, “A Full Service Firm”, etc. It all looks pretty good on paper, especially in large ads, but what does the average person looking for an attorney think it really means?

Some firms advertise on television trying to emphasize their reputations, snazzy 800 numbers and catch-phrases in order to set themselves apart from the masses. Some routinely advertise that they fight for the little guy or get results, but they don’t really explain what that means. Some use actors posing as clients who talk about the results obtained. Some use a name of a high-profile attorney with their firm in order to get people to call, then pass the cases on to other attorneys and/or paralegals; the high-profile attorney doesn’t even go to court unless it is a big money or high profile case. I wonder how legal consumers feel about those marketing techniques.

Other firms advertise low ball prices that are completely unrealistic just to get people to call them. But, those fees are unsustainable from a business perspective; they don’t even cover overhead, which means their own marketing is running them out of business or they get so many new clients, they can’t give every one the time and attention they deserve. I wonder how many clients would be eager to retain a firm if they knew that the firm was struggling to keep the doors open, and/or that the firm may not even have the time and resources to devote to each case that it takes in.

As I wrote previously, I recently began marketing my criminal defense, mediation, family law, and bankruptcy services on thumbtack.com. (See listing). I also use Avvo.com, Facebook, WordPress, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other forms of web-based referral marketing. If you have time, please visit my various referral sites to give me feedback. Or, respond here to let me know what kinds of things you would (or do) look for in an attorney in order to meet your legal needs.

My sites are listed here:

Attorney service on Thumbtack.com

The legal world is highly competitive – and not just in the courtroom. I recently began marketing my criminal defense, mediation, family law, and bankruptcy services on thumbtack.com. (See listing). Since I also use Avvo.com, Facebook, Wordpress, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other forms of web-based referral marketing, I figured Thumbtack would be worth the effort. The goal, of course, is to keep my firm in the public eye, but I sometimes wonder at what point are there diminishing returns.

Advertising is a must in this day and age. There are so many lawyers competing for clients in Michigan and throughout the U.S. The economy, while allegedly on the mend, has seen big firms lay off senior and mid-level attorneys in droves; those same big firms have also stopped or delayed in hiring new attorneys. This means that there are more and more attorneys opening their own law practices and saturating the marketplace.

A competitive marketplace may seem at first glance to benefit the people in need of legal services; however, upon closer inspection, the opposite may be true. The average consumer usually doesn’t know how to measure the quality of legal representation, the price for that representation, and their own legal needs. For example, open the yellow pages to the “Attorney” section. The ads leaping off of the page were bought by those attorneys with the most advertising dollars. Those ads show descriptions like “30 years of experience”, “100 years of combined experience”, “Aggressive Representation”, “Focusing in Criminal Defense”, “A Full Service Firm”, etc. It all looks pretty good on paper, especially in large ads, but what does the average person looking for an attorney think it really means?

Some firms advertise on television trying to emphasize their reputations, snazzy 800 numbers and catch-phrases in order to set themselves apart from the masses. Some routinely advertise that they fight for the little guy or get results, but they don’t really explain what that means. Some use actors posing as clients who talk about the results obtained. Some use a name of a high-profile attorney with their firm in order to get people to call, then pass the cases on to other attorneys and/or paralegals; the high-profile attorney doesn’t even go to court unless it is a big money or high profile case. I wonder how legal consumers feel about those marketing techniques.

Other firms advertise low ball prices that are completely unrealistic just to get people to call them. But, those fees are unsustainable from a business perspective; they don’t even cover overhead, which means their own marketing is running them out of business or they get so many new clients, they can’t give every one the time and attention they deserve. I wonder how many clients would be eager to retain a firm if they knew that the firm was struggling to keep the doors open, and/or that the firm may not even have the time and resources to devote to each case that it takes in.

As I wrote previously, I recently began marketing my criminal defense, mediation, family law, and bankruptcy services on thumbtack.com. (See listing). I also use Avvo.com, Facebook, WordPress, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other forms of web-based referral marketing. If you have time, please visit my various referral sites to give me feedback. Or, respond here to let me know what kinds of things you would (or do) look for in an attorney in order to meet your legal needs.

My sites are listed here:

Police GPS Tracking Okay’d

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit says criminals can’t “complain” when police use a device’s features to catch them.

The device feature the police used was the GPS on Skinner’s cell phone.

Read more here: US v. Skinner

New York Law Journal Article about Brady Violations

What are Brady violations? “Brady” refers to a seminal US Supreme Court case from 1963; wherein, the prosecutor withheld evidence critical to the defense of the accused, which resulted in his conviction. See: Brady v. Maryland, 373 US 83 (1963). The accused, Mr. Brady, challenged his conviction – unsuccessfully. However, his case established a core due process principle that the prosecutor cannot withhold exculpatory evidence that is material to the guilt or punishment of a person accused of a crime. Exculpatory evidence is “material” if “there is a reasonable probability that his conviction or sentence would have been different had these materials been disclosed.”Brady evidence includes statements of witnesses or physical evidence that conflicts with the prosecution’s witnesses,and evidence that could allow the defense to impeach the credibility of a prosecution witness.

However, Brady violations continue to this day. The net effect is that people are wrongfully convicted and innocent people suffer imprisonment or worse. “The withholding of information favorable to the accused is abhorrent, as it violates the core principles of Brady, and is contrary to the duty of a prosecutor to seek justice—not merely convictions.” Perhaps if Brady violations didn’t happen this map would look very different.

Read more here: A Personal Reflection on Brady Violations.

Going to Illinois to exercise your First Amendment Rights?

illinoisduilawyer

The Seventh Circuit Appellate Court has ruled that the Illinois Eavesdropping statute, which makes it a Class One Felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison for videorecording a police officer, is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Tribune states that:

A federal appeals court in Chicago ruled today that Illinois’ eavesdropping law “likely violates” the First Amendment and ordered that authorities be banned from enforcing it.

The ruling from the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago is the strongest blow yet to the law, which is one of the strictest in the country and makes it illegal for people to audio record police officers in public without their consent…

In August, a Cook County jury acquitted a woman who had been charged for recording Chicago police internal affairs investigators she believed were trying to dissuade her from filing a sexual…

View original post 127 more words

Supremes Give License to Strip

What’s newsworthy today? The American Country Music Awards, Katie Couric, Autism Speaks, and Miranda Lambert are all trending on Google right now. That means people are searching and spreading the word about these hot topics. Meanwhile, your civil liberties were undermined today by a 5-4 decision in the US Supreme Court.

Read case here: 10-945
Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of County of Burlington This case basically says you are subject to an invasive strip search when you are jailed even if the arresting officers have no reason to believe you are hiding contraband in your oh-so-private parts.

Before you discount that with a flippant remark like, “I don’t care. I don’t do anything illegal and would never be arrested”, think again. All it takes is an accusation for you to be on the wrong side of the law these days. Then, you could be spreading your tender parts instead of the likes of the American Country Music Awards, Katie Couric, Autism Speaks, or Miranda Lambert.

Lying Liars and the Lies They Tell

Unfortunately, this happens far too frequently but oftentimes there is no record of the police interaction with the defendant. It comes down to a citizen’s word against the police. He said, she said…

Police departments like it that way. Many police departments use dashcams, but destroy the videos after 30 days. Ask yourself how that policy is justified in this technological era with digital video and harddrives with 1 terabyte or more; not to mention easy-to-use thumbdrives with 50+ GB of storage space. It’s not like the old VHS days…

Sometimes the video is “lost” or has video but no audio. Some police departments, like Taylor, MI, have started removing their dashcams from their patrol vehicles. They claim cost drives the decision, but perhaps it has more to do with the fact that video/recordings tell no lies.

Looking for Work? Read This and Grow a Spine.

If you’re in the job market, everyone knows times are tough. People are desperate. We have high unemployment and tons of people are underemployed. Employers have become more selective in their hiring decisions. They ask intrusive questions. They make unreasonable requests. What can you do about it?

Well, for starters, you can read the following blog post from “Simple Justice: A New York Criminal Defense Blog”. It’s called “Password Politics“. If you want to know what to do when you’re faced with the problem above, read the post (click on the link) and remember: be part of the solution not the problem.

HyperSmash.com

Video: This Could Happen to You

This could happen to you.

Watch the video. What the officer does is absolutely wrong. He shows complete disregard for the truth and the Constitution. He should be fired.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, do what the driver did. Be respectful. Ask if you are free to leave. And, when the officer asks to search, tell him, “no.” The officer might still search – just like Officer Reichart did – but you’ll have great material to share with your lawyer.