Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Xbox Murder

July 19, 2014 by  
Filed under Legal Tips

It happened on August 6, 2004. A gruesome murder. At approximately 1am, six individuals were stabbed and then beaten to their deaths. The murdered victims were Michelle Ann Nathan, 19; Erin Belanger, 22; Francisco Ayo-Roman, 30; Anthony Vega, 34; Roberto Gonzalez, 28 and Jonathan Gleason, 17. Most of the victims were asleep when the attack occurred. According to reports, the victims did not fight back.

What in the world could have caused the heartless criminals to violently kill the aforementioned and two small dogs? The shocking answer is a Xbox game. The murderers were squatting at one of the victim’s grandparent’s vacant home. When the Xbox game and some clothing were removed from the home, where they were staying illegally, the boys became enraged.

A clerk at Wal-Mart told investigators that the band of criminals was joking and laughing about killing people. The crew bought baseball bats—this was just two days before the heinous crime. What happened next was simply gruesome. That was almost two years ago. The trial, which had to be moved due to excessive media coverage, is about to get underway.

The prosecution is adamant about seeking the death penalty if the defendants are convicted. To bolster their case, they managed to get one of the crew to flip. His name is Robert Cannon, 19, and he’s going to spill the beans about the destructive events on that fateful August morning. In exchange, Cannon will serve a life sentence. The other three are Troy Victorino, 29; Michael Salas, 20 and Jerone Hunter, 20.

The group is facing six counts of first-degree murder, five counts of mutilating a dead human body and many other felony offenses. Troy Victorino has been labeled as the ringleader. Just before the fatal attacks, he was arrested for beating his friend in the face with a walking stick. Victorino was released on a pitiful $2,500 bond. He was now free to coordinate and strike again.

Due to the bloody evidence in the prosecution’s possession, one can assume that the defendants stand a very good chance at receiving capital punishment if convicted. Since Robert Cannon flipped, the prosecution has a very good case. It will be an uphill battle for the defense. The trial is expected to last about two months. This trial was moved, due to the overwhelming media coverage, to St. Augustine.

Will Riches Come From Your Invention Submission

July 19, 2014 by  
Filed under General

Copyright 2006 Stellar Force

When you have an earth shaking idea, you want to protect it. The reason, of course, is you want to reap the financial rewards from the idea that you came up with.

Money Barriers

There are 4 barriers that you must get through to get to the money on the other side:

1. Is your idea original with you? Often, what you think is your original idea, was actually patented previously. To answer this question, you need to perform a patent search. A good patent search will define what has been patented, that is related to your invention. It can also help you decide how to position your patent between the patents already issued or pending in your subject area.

2. Can you afford the cost of a patent attorney to prepare the patent for you? If you can’t afford the $10,000-$20,000 that a patent attorney will charge to do the whole job, you can do much of the process yourself and save money. However, there are parts of the patent that are essential for a patent attorney to perform. The most important of these are the claims. If the claims are not correctly done, then the patent will likely not be defendable. Strong patents are worth much more money!

3. You must pay the patent office fees for you invention submission. The government fees are something that you can’t get around. Now the waiting begins. It may take up to 2 years before your patent is actually issued. Part of the delay, may be requirements for adjustments to the filed patent by some whimsical patent agent. You must be prepared to make the necessary adjustments that are requested by the patent office. If you don’t respond to their requests in a timely manner, your patent application will be considered abandoned. At least you now have patent pending status.

4. Is your patent commercially feasible? What if you have spent your money and your time to get a patent, and no one feels it is valuable? A little market research before you begin the invention submission patent process is a very good idea. A few questions that you might want to ask are: “What is the demand for your product?” “Are the other products out there that can do the same thing?” “Can it be sold for a price that will yield a satisfactory profit after costs?”

If you really have faith in your revolutionary idea, then it may be worth exploring whether it will be able to cross the above barriers. The cost that you incur to overcome each of these barriers is your bet that your patent will be a financial success. Your submission of your invention to the patent office may just be your ticket to financial security!

What shows up on a criminal record background check?

July 19, 2014 by  
Filed under General

A criminal record background check can throw up a lot of information on an individual including previous arrests as well as conviction and non-conviction information. The information is obtained from Federal Fugitive files, files from the Department of Corrections prison, state criminal records, databases on sex offenders, and prison parole records. There are various agencies that perform criminal record background checks; these agencies have access to more than 200 million criminal records from all across United States, local courthouses, and the National Criminal File.

The information revealed in criminal record background checks is of critical importance to employers of all kinds. Childcare institutions are extra careful about recruiting personnel and check if the prospect has a record for child molestation. Employers, such as infirmaries and hospitals need to make ensure that their workers do not have a history of violent behavior or drug abuse as they may be required to handle drugs.

Industries that execute government contracts will not want employees with an anti-establishment disposition or with a terrorist connection. The information provided by a criminal record background check can also help neighborhood communities to get an idea about individuals planning to move in. The process of obtaining criminal record information consists of contacting a company that provides such a service; one should have a clear understanding of the type and extent of information required. This helps in obtaining the information quickly and at a lower cost. All the same, there are some free resources as well, such as the local police station that may be maintaining an online database of convicts and sex offenders.

A standard criminal record background check includes the name, race, gender, D.O.B, number of offenses, date of conviction, risk level, and charges. The information provided can be used not only by employers but also by landlords who wish to do a background check on prospective tenants. This is because simple credit checks are no longer considered sufficient; it is perfectly possible for a person to have a good credit record but some other blot on his record.

The growth of the Internet has resulted in burgeoning sex crimes and online frauds. Often face-to-face meetings set up after online acquaintance end up in an unpleasant experience for one party. This can be avoided by running a criminal record background check. At the same time, the Internet has also made it easy for people to look up the backgrounds of others. In fact, many databases provide criminal background checks for people not only in the U.S but also in Canada and the U.K. One should keep in mind that in order to avoid getting caught in a criminal case, a background check from a traditional agency should be obtained. A check done from agencies providing instant checks may not yield complete results.

What is a trademark anyways?

July 19, 2014 by  
Filed under Legal Specials

We’re not necessarily talking about Elvis’ trademark sideburns or Catherine Hepburn’s trademark voice, but that’s not too far from the path.

They’re everywhere you look, and yet do you really know what they are? Trademarks are a strange animal and it’s necessary that you get to know them if you have business endeavors of any kind. Whether you’re making your own trademark or using other trademarks, there’s a whole lot to learn.

The definition of trademark is a pretty simple one. It’s only later that the topic gets complicated. Basically, a trademark is just a sign of some kind that distinguishes a company from all the rest. Trademarks sit under the umbrella of “intellectual property.” A trademark can come in many different forms. Maybe it’s am image or a a turn of phrase. Paris Hilton was recently poked fun at for trademarking the phrase “that’s hot.” Indeed, there’s a lot of controversy over what can and should be trademarked.

Are you thinking about buying some intellectual property? If you do, you will be able to take people to court if they use your trademark without permission. It’s important that your company has a signature and unless it’s protected, it’s useless and can be used by just about anyone. A trademark might seem a simple concept enough, but if you overlook the issue, it could cost you a lot down the road.

When talking about trademarks, you’re bound to get into some murky water. For instance, some marks, logos, phrases, images, etc, become trademarks over time, if by chance they simply grow to become synonymous with a particular product or service. When we think of trademarks in this way, it’s pretty apparent that a trademark is not a narrow concept at all. Anything that conspicuously distinguishes something from something else, in a sense, can technically be a trademark.

What about those little circles with the “TM” and “R” in them? What do they mean? The “TM” refers to trademark and the “R” refers to a registered trademark. While they serve as gentle reminders that the trademark is protected by law, they aren’t necessary. There are both unregistered and registered trademarks out there, the latter obviously carrying more weight in a court of law. Most of the trademarks you see on TV and in magazines are registered.

Just as with physical property, intellectual property – when handled in court – is dealt with based on its jurisdiction.

There are five basic kinds of trademarks: distinctive, arbitrary, suggestive, descriptive, and generic. On the other hand, there are some symbols that can never be used in trademarks, like national flags. It’s also important to note that national and international trademark law vary, so especially if you are conducing business overseas, you should be aware of that.

A trademark can open your company up to all kinds of business and separate it from the pack, but if it’s not formed carefully, it may misrepresent and misdirect your company. So choose your trademark intelligently and make sure you understand the law backing it up so that you can put it to good work.

What Is A Judgment Lien?

July 19, 2014 by  
Filed under Legal Specials

A judgment lien is a court ordered lien that is placed against the home or property when the homeowner simply fails to pay a debt. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but when the homeowner has a judgment lien against his or her home and wants to sell it, the judgment lien has to be paid in full before the home or property can be sold. Judgment liens can be placed against the property for a variety of reasons such as unpaid credit card bills, utility bills, department store bills, landscaping or home improvement bills, and just about any bill that the homeowner has failed to pay in a reasonable amount of time. Any bill that can cause one to end up in court can result in a judgment lien.

A judgment lien is different than a trust, in that the judgment lien holder cannot foreclose on the home or the property as trust holder can. Judgment lien holders can demand payment, but ultimately they must wait for the homeowner to sell the property before they can expect to be paid the money that they are owed according to the judgment. Luckily for the judgment lien holder, the court will typically assign an interest rate to these liens so that the lien holder is compensated for their waiting as the interest will continue to accrue until the debt is paid in full. Because the majority of people will live in their home for quite some time, the interest can make a judgment lien grow, and grow, and grow over the years so that it is quite large. Imagine what a lien of just $3,000 would grow to over the years if the interest rate were 15% annually and that would be an even bigger amount if the debt were $5,000 or $10,000!

Of course, judgment liens require court action. A creditor will take the homeowner to court where the judge will determine if the homeowner does in fact owe the creditor any money. If the court decides that the creditor is owed the money, and the homeowner will not or cannot make payment, the judge will order that a judgment lien be placed against the property. The judgment lien will then be entered into land records offices for the city or county so that the home cannot be sold without repayment of the debt. Once the lien is filed with the land records office, the judgment lien is said to be attached to the property, meaning that it cannot legally be sold without paying off that lien. If the judgment lien is not listed at the land records office, then it means that the debt or lien is not legally attached to the property and does not need to be paid off to sell the home.

A home or property can have numerous liens against it, which may present a problem when the home is to be sold. Fortunately, the law says that liens will be paid off in the order that they were attached to the property, meaning the first lien will be paid first, the second will be paid second, and so on. This is a law that was basically developed for when a home is foreclosed on. If a foreclosed home is auctioned it will first pay off the first lien, then the second, and the third until there is no money left to pay the debts that are still attached or associated with the home. Of course, all trusts against the house, such as mortgages and home equity loans, would be paid off before the judgment liens, so it’s not uncommon for these liens to simply go unpaid because there is no money remaining to pay these debts after the trusts are paid. If there is not enough money to pay for all of the judgment liens and trusts on the home or property, they are then wiped out and can no longer be collected on. Of course, the auction will usually attempt to pay for all of these debts, and they are paid for until there is no money. The reason for this is that the new owner will not be able to get any home equity loans or second mortgages with judgment liens already on the home. If there is money left over after everything is paid off, the remaining amount would go to the foreclosed homeowner as all debts are paid.

You can look for judgment liens at the land records office, though you will typically not find them listed with trusts. Investors or homeowners looking to sell their home will have to look into both trusts and judgments, as they are listed in different areas. Investors can often be caught off guard when they realize how much debt is attached to the home, and sellers are often startled at old judgment liens that they had forgotten about and don’t want to afford to pay off in order to sell their home. It’s a good idea to go over all of this information before one bids on a home or attempts to sell it or put it on the market.

Judgment liens are not something that anyone wants put against their home, but they are common enough. There comes a time for many people when they simply cannot pay a bill, and a judgment lien is ordered. Making a continued effort to pay down the debt is a great idea so that you don’t acquire large interest fees in addition to the initial dollar amount of the lien. The homeowner does not have to wait until the home is sold to pay off the lien, instead they can be paid off as soon as possible. The judgment lien is simply put in place so that the home cannot be sold without the debt being paid, and when you look at it from the creditors point of view, this is a great tool to ensure that you’ll eventually be paid the amount you are owed in addition to an interest fee that will pay you for waiting.

What happens if you get arrested in Thailand?

July 19, 2014 by  
Filed under General

Although consular officers cannot serve as attorneys or give legal advice, they can provide a list of local attorneys and help you find legal representation. However, neither the Department of State nor the U.S. Consulate can assume any responsibility for the caliber, competence, or professional integrity of these attorneys.

A consular officer will do whatever he/she can to protect your legitimate interests and ensure that you are not discriminated against under local law. A consular officer cannot release prisoners, provide guarantees of their comportment, or provide funds for bail. If you are arrested, immediately ask that a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy be notified. If you are turned down, keep asking–politely, but persistently. If unsuccessful, try to have someone get in touch with us on your behalf.

Upon learning of your arrest, a U.S. Consular Officer will visit you, provide a list of local attorneys, inform the Department of State of your arrest and, if requested, contact family or friends in the U.S. or elsewhere. Consuls can help you transfer money, food, and clothing from your family and friends. They will also try to get relief if you are held under inhumane or unhealthful conditions or are treated less equitably than others in the same situation.

What does it take to be a Lawyer?

July 19, 2014 by  
Filed under General

When you see all these handsome Lawyers in TV series like LA Law, sitting in their fancy offices, driving these flashy cars, have you ever realized what they have been through in terms of time, years of education, money, Certifications etc’.

Let me Describe to you the Lawyers course of training. Formal educational requirements for lawyers include a 4-year college degree, 3 years in law school, and the passing of a written bar examination.

Competition for admission to most law schools is intense. prospective lawyers should develop proficiency in writing and speaking, reading, researching, analyzing, and thinking logically—skills needed to succeed both in law school and in the profession.

Regardless of major, a multidisciplinary background is recommended. Courses in English, foreign languages, public speaking, government, philosophy, history, economics, mathematics, and computer science, among others, are useful. Students interested in a particular aspect of law may find related courses helpful. For example, prospective patent lawyers need a strong background in engineering or science, and future tax lawyers must have extensive knowledge of accounting.

Acceptance by most law schools depends on the applicant’s ability to demonstrate an aptitude for the study of law, usually through good undergraduate grades, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), the quality of the applicant’s undergraduate school, any prior work experience, and, sometimes, a personal interview.

During the first year or year and a half of law school, students usually study core courses, such as constitutional law, contracts, property law, torts, civil procedure, and legal writing. In the remaining time, they may elect specialized courses in fields such as tax, labor, or corporate law. Law students often acquire practical experience by participating in school-sponsored legal clinic activities; in the school’s moot court competitions, in which students conduct appellate arguments; in practice trials under the supervision of experienced lawyers and judges; and through research and writing on legal issues for the school’s law journal.

Law school graduates receive the degree of juris doctor (J.D.) as the first professional degree. Advanced law degrees may be desirable for those planning to specialize, research, or teach. Some law students pursue joint degree programs, which usually require an additional semester or year of study. Joint degree programs are offered in a number of areas, including law and business administration or public administration.

After graduation, lawyers must keep informed about legal and nonlegal developments that affect their practice. Currently, 40 States and jurisdictions mandate continuing legal education (CLE). Many law schools and State and local bar associations provide continuing education courses that help lawyers stay abreast of recent developments.

The practice of law involves a great deal of responsibility. Individuals planning careers in law should like to work with people and be able to win the respect and confidence of their clients, associates, and the public. Perseverance, creativity, and reasoning ability also are essential to lawyers, who often analyze complex cases and handle new and unique legal problems.

Lawyers held about 695,000 jobs in 2002. About 3 out of 4 lawyers practiced privately, either in law firms or in solo practices. Most of the remaining lawyers held positions in government and with corporations and nonprofit organizations.

Trademark Registration in India

July 19, 2014 by  
Filed under Legal Specials

A trademark refers to any word , symbol or letters or a combination of these that is used to mark the product so as to distinguish it from the product of another producer. The trademark is useful to make the public aware of the producer or the source of the product. Trademarks play a significant role in product marketing and thus there are certain rules laid down for the registration of trademarks. Every country or nation has a set of rules governing the registration of trademarks. India also has laid down a set of laws governing the registration of trademarks. For trademarks registeration in India the owner has to file an application in writing with the Registrar of Trade Marks in the required format.

Different states of India have their own particular offices wherein one can file the application for trademark registration . For instance for trademarks registration in Chennai , one has to file the application as per the prescribed format and make the payment of the fees either by cash, bank draft , money order or postal order favouring “Deputy Registrar of Trade marks”, Chennai. For any other information related to the registration of trademarks in Chennai the Deputy Registrar of Trademarks at the Trade Marks Registry in Rajaji Bhavan , Chennai may be contacted.

How to file trademark application in India
The Trade Marks Act, 1999 governs all the matters related to trademarks and holds good throughout India. By registering a particular trademark the person gets exclusive rights for its use. Although it is not compulsory by law to register a trademark , registering the trademark provides legal protection to it.

The trademark offices in India are situated at five places namely , Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Kolkota, Delhi and Chennai. For the registration of a trademark, the application must be filed in Form TM-1 in any of the five offices of the Trademarks Registry within whose jurisdiction the business office would fall. A fee of Rs. 2500/- must accompany the application form. The application is then processed to check if the trademark is unique and not one that is already registered. If found valid then the next step would involve the publishing of the trademark in the Trade Marks Journal allowing others a chance to raise objection, if any. If it is found that there is no objection from anybody then it is registered as a valid trademark and a certificate is duly issued. In case of any objection and the application rejected by the authority the applicant has a chance for appeal to the Intellectual Property Appellate Board.

The general term for which a trademark is registered is for 10 years after which it has to be renewed . One can renew it for another 10 years after the expiry of the first 10 years. In case a registered trademark is not renewed then it is deleted from the register of trademarks.

Registering a trademark although not compulsory as per the law , is beneficial due to the legal protection that it offers.

Tips to Hire a Good Personal Injury Attorney

July 19, 2014 by  
Filed under Legal Specials

Wondering what to do when you have been in an accident, a slip and fall, or a workplace injury? If you have already spoken with in insurance provider for your insurer, it may be time to consider a personal injury attorney.

The danger in running right out and hiring a personal injury attorney immediately after injury is that you will have to pay for their services out of whatever payout you ultimately get. So, it is typically wise to first speak with the relevant insurance provider and only then turn to legal alternatives. While speaking to the insurance company will in many situations resolve the issue completely, there may be some situations in which the insurance company either denies your claim entirely or decides to compensate you in a matter that is from your perspective insufficient. In such situations, the premium that you pay out to a personal injury attorney will come back to you in settlement damages many times over.

Now, once you are convinced that you need a personal injury attorney, you have to put forth the effort of first finding the right person for your case. Here are a few tips on selecting the right attorney for you:

There are a number of online databases of local and regional personal injury attorneys. While most of these are pay per listing or free submission, some actually do provide reviewing services. Even here, however, be wary of putting too much stock in a website’s recommendation as this information can be easily manipulated.

Using this online database and your local yellow pages as a sort of general list, it then becomes imperative to narrow this list by looking at the credentials of a particular attorney. Probably the best way to do this is to call your local legal aid clinic, which is free. While these individuals are not in the business of providing recommendations, the bar in a particular city for personal injury usually consists of about fifty to one hundred attorneys, so amongst attorneys word gets around pretty quickly as to who is good and who is not.

Another good resource is your city bar association. Your city bar will keep more general information about who has not been sanctioned by courts for malpractice and typically keeps a short list of recommended attorneys. But again, take this list with a grain of salt as there are manipulations going on behind the scenes here as well. Often a better tack is just to have a list of three or four attorneys you are considering and then call the bar association to hear their thoughts on each one.

Referrals can be good if you know someone in the legal community. But if not, the best you will get out of a referral is a sort of ‘he/she isn’t incompetent.’ Because let’s face it, most clients have no idea whether the settlement they received was in actuality the best they could have.

The final test should always be to meet with the attorney. In such a meeting you can discuss the payment method (contingency or flat-fee), but more importantly you want to try to assess if this individual seems competent. Note things like, what law school he/she attended? Did they pass the bar on their first try? How long have they been practicing personal injury in your state? Will they let you speak with some of their most recent clients? All of these factors taken together should give you a general impression of whether your personal injury attorney is competent, if not good.

The Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

July 19, 2014 by  
Filed under Legal Specials

The Bill of Rights exist in many different countries today to protect the people who are within the territorial boundary of the countries’ government from unlawful actions that may deprive a person’s right to live, security, and other necessities needed to survive. Originating from the British’s Bill of Rights, which was literally a bill that was proposed and passed by Parliament in 1689 to protect the basic rights of the people. To effectively have the Bill of Rights into play it must be constantly be enforced by the government that it is trying to restrict.

The concept of the Bill of Rights is very popular with the population of countries that hold such a law in their constitution. Such one country is the United States of America in which the United States Bill of Rights protects the residents of the country from its own government from Federal to the local. The United States Bill of Rights was originally a series of amendments brought before the Congress in which ten of the amendments were put into effect in 1791.

The First Amendment which states the freedom of religion, speech, press, peaceful assembly and the right to petition the government is the most popular amendment that is in effect today. Though it may have some restrictions like as long as it does not create an imminent threat to the subject and those within the proximity or unless under warfare, the first amendment is in effect. An example is like shouting the word “fire” as a joke in a crowded area as it can create a widespread panic causing casualties or maybe during wartime some things just should be said or written.

The Second Amendment is in which gives the resident of the United States of America the right to bear arms. An amendment which is criticized today by those who promote gun safety as those who just promote the right to own a firearm have been known to legally abuse this law. As the law was originally in state for the protection of a resident and his or her family from outside forces that would cause harm to them or for hunting, groups such as the NRA use the amendment to be able to own automatic weapons which are mainly used for warfare and not for such measures as it was originally put into use for.

The Third Amendment protects the residents of United States of being forced to quarter troops in their own property in peacetime or even in wartime unless done in a process which is acceptable under the given circumstances.

The Fourth Amendment protects the resident from unlawful search and seizures in which they cannot be searched without just cause and or without a warrant, and if there is a warrant, the warrant only allows the items stated within the warrant to be seized within the location the warrant gives permission to search and nothing else unless the item in question is in plain sight and unlawful in other words illegal under the current law.

The Fifth Amendment gives the resident due process in which it prevents self-incrimination, double jeopardy, and eminent domain by the government. Where a person cannot convict themselves, be tried for more than once for the same crime, and have the government unlawfully take away property owned by an individual.

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