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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

What's Wrong with "Affordable" Legal Help?


So why is the question even asked? Probably because some people believe legal help should not be affordable, legal help should only be for rich people, or anything affordable simply cannot be any good?  REALLY?!

Everyone knows that money talks. Everyone knows that in personal injury, your attorney will not even charge you upfront for most things; they will take a lien. Why?  Because they will be paid later since your case is so good, supposedly.  In fact, they may end up taking up to 40% of your settlement depending on what is done.  But in family law, and criminal law, such contingency upfront liens are not used.  Most can possibly get a real property lien for attorney fees, so something similar. But not an actual contingency lien. (Those are the ads for if you don't win you don't pay...)  In family law, you will likely end up paying unless there is a way your attorney can get the fees from the other party.

Family law rules have certain criteria on who can get paid their fees, and from where. In many instances, it is the female who does not work, being paid by the male who does work. But not always.  We have seen attorneys implicating that "affordable" is not good, but that a standard is good. Surely most attorneys do not believe that simply because something is affordable, it cannot be up to standard?  That is simply wishful thinking. In family law, we have seen attorneys easily charge $3,000, $4,000, $5000, and client never gets a dime, never even gets into court to be heard, and the paperwork filed probably took about an hour to prepare.

Majority of graduates of national Ivy League colleges or law schools normally don't even bother to practice Family Law in the first place. Family law is a very different type of practice because it requires an incredible amount of people skills, patience, and to some degree, extra effort in the compassion department. It also requires one to be able to handle very difficult emotional clients--which many attorneys simply cannot, will not, or choose not to engage with........

Family law has a very high rate of "burnout" meaning, it is taxing in part, due to the emotional situations that are commonly seen. Clients are usually mad, sad, crying, fighting, bitching, moaning, complaining. That is par for the course-- professional people in divorces, non professional,  all of them.  95% of them are mad. Money issues make them mad, custody law makes them mad. Can we blame them?  Not really.

Just remember that few attorneys want to actually "be"  affordable. Affordable pricing for clients will usually mean, attorney does not purchase or lease a Porsche, Mercedes,Tesla, you get the drift?

Many people realize that most attorneys are not poor, and it's not because they charge a lower rate. Some people believe that people who engage in document prep for pro se clients, or those individuals that function as LDAs (legal document assistants) or anyone that does unbundled work for clients must not be worthy. That is just a biased view against anyone who has ever helped clients who have less money; the state of CA has purposely set up the Family law Facilitator and SHARP (to name a few) in order to help with the increasing amount of people who cannot afford attorneys at all.

And with 75 to 80% of clients in pro se status in Family law cases, this has caused a huge backlog in the courts, for example, in the Bay Area, several court houses closed and divorces take 2 years to finalize; in Sacramento, the backlog is estimated at 1.5yr to get a judgment.  Much of that is because the paperwork needed for the cases is not prepared correctly and keeps getting sent back.

Therefore, having the paperwork done correctly will lessen the time it takes to process it--and guess what?  Few attorneys actually prepare paperwork when it comes to forms, most is done by the paralegal or assistant. Those forms are mostly free online, but one does have to know what to do with the forms.For example, failure to properly list an asset as a separate asset may cause the Court to believe it is a community asset.  Attorneys may devise the pleadings and the content and will review everything. However, don't believe that attorneys sit at the computer and fill out the forms, because at $350-$500/hr, they should be doing something else.

*We note that IF a specific case is dealing with exceptionally complicated assets, buyouts, commingled assets, premarital documents, exceptional contested facts like a movie star might have, physicians that own 7 separate medical companies, and cases involving multi-national corporations, or multi-national IP offerings--yes--those cases will take a lot of work, normally working with accounting forensics, maybe a special master. (Attorney herein used to be in an office with special master.)  But for most of the average divorces, those situations do not happen frequently unless one lives in Silicon Valley or Hollywood. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Child Killed, Dogs Involved.. and CPS... .Could Have Been Avoided ......Northern California


Pictured directly below is Alexandria, sister of deceased (her 9yr old brother), who was killed by one or more of the dogs in picture with Alexandria.......all 3 dogs were put down.

Note: Update on this case indicates NO charges being filed against the dog owner..NONE.

Animal experts who have monitored the story said the situation was a disaster waiting to happen. Children should not be left alone with a dog, regardless of how gentle the dog may seem to the owner, they said.
“I wouldn’t do that even with my golden retriever and small terrier,” said Rick Johnson, head of the Sacramento SPCA. “That kind of lack of knowledge of a dog owner is disturbing.”
He recommended pit bull owners take the SPCA’s pit bull training classes, offered regularly, and take advantage of the group’s free spay-and-neuter program for pit bulls.
Others said that having three related dogs in the same household, including two siblings just reaching sexual maturity, was a serious error likely to lead to fights among the dogs.
Perhaps the boy let the dogs out of their crate and a fight ensued, with the animals redirecting their aggression toward him, Johnson said. Maybe he played with the dogs, and got them too wound up, or hit one of the animals, provoking it, others suggested.
“So many questions that never will be answered came to light,” Johnson said.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/crime/article54217090.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/crime/article54217090.html#storylink=cpy

IF you did what Alexandria did (the one that left her brother alone with the 3 dogs in a crate)  in our opinion, you do deserve to go to jail. Our opinion........... plus you should not own animals either.

In California, they put innocent people in jail for not grooming a dog, or trimming hooves enough, thanks to crazy laws by HSUS... but leaving a kid with 3 bulls in a crate is plain insanity. Three of any larger dogs in a crate is insanity.
 Complete lack of common sense/logic, and reeks of being plain dumb, plus it's not smart to leave a 9yr old alone, besides. Plus other evidence was that the child was previously kicking the dogs and likely taunting or teasing them, and was not supposed to even be alone with them.    http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/crime/article54217090.html

We saw online BELOW,  at a pitbull site that we don't particularly like, but supposedly the data was gleaned from Yuba county news reports...........  http://tinyurl.com/hrjycfz

01/13/16: All Three Pit Bulls Euthanized
On Wednesday, the three pit bulls that savagely attacked and killed a 9-year old boy were euthanized, according to Jerry Read, the Undersheriff for the Yuba County Sheriff’s Department. The pit bulls fatally attacked Tyler Trammell-Huston in a trailer after his sister, 24-year old Alexandria Griffin-Heady, left him alone with the animals for three hours. Tyler was in the foster care system at the time of his death and was on an approved overnight visit with Griffin-Heady.

On the day Tyler was laid to rest, his father, John Huston, filed a claim for damages against Sacramento County Child Protective Services. Huston suffers from a mental incapacity that limited his ability to raise Tyler, according to a news release written by Huston's attorney, Moseley Collins. "As a result, CPS took Tyler from his father," states the release. In an ABC 10 video, Moseley also states, "How is that protecting a child to let him go stay in a trailer with 3 pit bulls, alone? It's not."

Griffin-Heady has maintained since the attack that not all of the dogs were involved and that she is deeply saddened to see two of the dogs also put down. She maintains that the mother pit bull, Coca, and her female offspring, Athena, were insignificantly involved or uninvolved in the fatal pack attack. 

She believes the male offspring, Noah, was the primary attacker, even though both he and Athena were allegedly kenneled when she left that morning. Somehow they both got out.
The Yuba County Sheriff’s Office hopes to have their investigation and report completed by the end of the week to forward to the district attorney's office. 

Whether any criminal charges will be filed is unknown. Griffin-Heady could face child endangerment charges for leaving Tyler alone with her three pit bulls. Tyler's preventable mauling death by his sister's three pit bulls raises many legal and moral questions about who is responsible, if anyone, or are multiple parties to blame.

01/07/16: Father Pursues Lawsuit Against CPS
In a recent article, the Sacramento Bee interviews Tyler's former foster parent, several family members and legal experts. At the time of the fatal pit bull attack, Tyler lived with his foster parent, Gloria Hudson, in Elk Grove. Hudson had concerns about his sister gaining custody of him, but Tyler was so excited at the idea -- and had already been through so much with the loss of his mother in 2011 and bouncing between foster parents -- that Hudson was at peace with it.

Hudson said a judge was going to determine later in January whether Tyler could move in full time with his 24-year old sister, Alexandria Griffin-Heady, and her pit bulls, provided she moved to an apartment. During his school's recent winter break, Tyler spent several weeks with his sister and her dogs in the small trailer parked adjacent to where two of his siblings lived. Hudson was expecting Tyler to return home on Sunday when she got a call from CPS saying he was dead. 

"When Child Protection Services called me, I just screamed." - Gloria Hudson
On Sunday morning, during an overnight weekend visit with his sister, Tyler was attacked and killed by her pit bulls after she left him alone with the dogs for three hours. Tyler's aunt, Laura Badeker, holds CPS largely responsible.

 Badeker had warned CPS that Alexandria was unstable. Tyler's father, John Huston, is pursuing a lawsuit against CPS. Huston is mentally disabled and unable to care for his son, but he visited Tyler regularly, his attorney Moseley Collins said.

Possible Criminal Charges

In a slew of media reports Wednesday night, Alexandria tried her case in front of the media. Gushing regret during a press conference, she said: "There are a thousand things I could have done differently." Alexandria could and should face child endangerment charges after her three pit bulls brutally killed her 9-year old half-brother. At the very least, she needs several years of parole and a strict prohibition from owning any pit bulls and overseeing any child during this period.

As usual in cases like this, in order for Yuba County authorities to bring criminal charges against Alexandria they will likely need evidence that she knew or should have known of the dogs' vicious propensities. Had any of her pit bulls attacked or shown aggression in the past? This may be very difficult to prove since Alexandria lived in multiple places in the country, including in a motel room in Florida with her three pit bulls, prior to moving to Northern California a few months ago.

"[The pit bulls] were my companion animals. They were my babies. What made them do that I will never know." - Pit bull owner, Alexandria Griffin-Heady
The worst offender is Child Protection Services, who failed miserably in their duty to protect Tyler. In some parts of the U.S. child protection agencies will not allow a parent or guardian with pit bulls to care for the child. They will force the relocation of the dogs. This should be the norm, not the exception across all CPS agencies. In this case, and with Alexandria's extremely troubled past, they allowed the boy to live with her in the travel-trailer with quite literally a pack of pit bulls

Below is written by attorney, not the pitbull hater online...........
Note: attorney has worked with animal experts and handled animal law issues, been involved with rescued animals, and has many years of animal law/case research.

The question posed by  "Alexandria", whose dog or dogs allegedly did cause the child's death, is not so much about the dogs themselves,  BUT rather, the lack of knowledge that CPS, Alexandria, and involved parties displayed.........anyone who knows anything about dogs, would never, ever, ever put 3 of them in a crate and leave them with a kid in an enclosed area (trailer, garage, a room, anywhere, including a car!) 

Anyone who has any knowledge of dogs whatsoever, and in particular, any owner of ANY breed of dog that may include guardian breeds, livestock breeds, fighting breeds, protection breeds, or breeds of any size that are over 35lbs,..... should in general, NEVER ever leave ANY child alone with a dog and without adult supervision. 

 Many people will claim you can leave kids with let's say a golden retriever, but even a golden retriever type dog was in her own backyard playing with a NY child and the dog managed to both strangle the child and drag her around the yard until she died, before the parent found her. Even though the dog killed the child, animal activists petitioned Helen Woodward Center in Rancho Santa Fe, CA, a very wealthy San Diego enclave,  and allowed the dog that killed the child to be re-homed with a new owner.  

As an example of how stupid people are, over 200 people applied to get the golden retriever, even knowing it had killed the child.

Dog fatalities these days have risen quite a bit and yes, news reports claim it's mostly alleged "pitbulls", although there is no such breed as "pitbull." Bulls are classified: APBT (American Pitbull Terrrier), American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier (often called Staffy Bull) and the Bull Terrier (the Target dog with egg shaped head) which is somewhat different. We say alleged pitbulls because many dogs resemble pitbull types but they are not pitbull dogs; furthermore, breeding down dogs mixed with pitbulls can create some questionable attributes in canines.

The pitbull lines are very popular, especially where animal activists and even the American Bar
Association House of Delegates,  have pushed for no "BSL" which is breed specific legislation. BSL means laws are made which makes it either illegal to own a dog on the banned list, or requires such dog to be treated essentially, as a dangerous dog and must always be muzzled, for example. BSL laws have not shown or proven to stop biting dogs necessarily, but over time such laws may stop biting dogs of certain breeds since those breeds cannot be legally owned.

Owners of any dog, and in particular those which are in fact pitbulls, or rescued pitbull, or rehomed pitbull, or any larger dog breed in the guardian , working ,  protection  or fighting line, should always, always always be handled with extreme care and caution. Females in heat and females with puppies are another dangerous situation with non experienced owners when it comes to other male dogs being in close proximity.  This is common sense.

Yet one can go to a dog park and see many bulls, and larger guardian breeds running at large.

Personally, we would NEVER--repeat-- NEVER recommend that an owner or caretaker EVER take a dog of any size or type, to a dog park.  Reason being, your dog may be fine-- but what of everyone else's dog?  Not only are dog parks rife with potential dog poop from dogs that are not vaccinated, your dog may be the friendliest dog on earth and get attacked by someone who just got their rescued dog and knows nothing of its background, including illness, undiagnosed health problems, behavioral problems.  In fact, we would not even recommend walking a dog or letting it run loose unless you own many many acres of land where no other animal can enter, and your dog cannot escape. We say this because we know of quite a few cases where dogs running lose enter the property of others, or even dogs on leash simply lunge out at others walking their dogs on the sidewalk. Make sure to have homeowner's coverage for your dog.

...And with activists continuing to push the theory of everyone obtaining a "rescued" dog, which you know absolutely NOTHING about such dog when you get it--- be forewarned--most fatal dog attacks are caused by  1) rescued  2) rehomed  and 3) shelter dogs. 

In one of the only published books out there, Fatal Dog Attacks, author Delise indicates her belief that dogs kill because they are not socialized and can be on tether. HOWEVER, even Delise's own data indicates that the "mixed breed" was responsible for 71 attacks and pitbull-type 90, at time she wrote the book (2002). Further, mixed breeds have been responsible for fatal killings on infants, children, adults and the elderly, according to Delise. Very very rare are the cases where a puppy obtained by owners (say at 7 weeks) and grew up in the house, killed anyone. Proper breeding of dogs requires that temperament should come first. 

Roberto Marquez, a criminal lawyer representing Alexandria Griffin-Heady, said his client raised her dogs from puppies and was “shocked” that they attacked the boy. “She never thought it possible,” he said.  
        We hate to tell you---- anyone who really knows anything about dogs or breeding of dogs would NEVER put three of them in a crate and leave them there with a child or elderly person who could not fight back. It's just plain stupid, no matter the breed. For Alexandria to have done that shows complete negligence at a minimum. 

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/nation-world/national/article53264680.html#storylink=cpy

It is MUCH safer to obtain a puppy from either a breeder who is reputable, a friend that really understands dog breeding, or a group that takes in dogs that have been verified via history, vet, and trainers. Any dogs showing temperament issues should not be bred at all.

Short of that, obtaining an unknown dog is very dangerous, especially if the dog is sizeable.  In fact, the chances of a rehomed dog killing someone is about 500% greater than if dog was a puppy you bought and raised from the start??
If you don't believe it, see Petdefense on Wordpress platform, which has over 2,000 entries on issues of animal activists and animals, animal laws, etc.  https://petdefense.wordpress.com/