opinions, everybody's got one...
Saturday, March 08, 2003
behind the stories
New York attorney Stephen Lee wants you to know the stories behind the stories. His site, called newsiac (a "mosiac" of news), incorporates his journalism skills with a desire to understand the stories behind the stories. He also does the same type of analysis on storylines from TV on his page FootnoteTV. Comics get a similar treatment on Footnote Comics. His Mirror Law (TM): Chicago takes an indepth look at the historical details surrounding the original play, and its real life inspiration.
summer law clerk position available
Position/ Description - Law Clerk
Starting Date and Hours - Summer 2003, Hours Variable
Salary - Hourly, barely above poverty level.
Qualifications - Successful Applicant will demonstrate resourcefulness, independence, drive, organizational techniques, and a friendly approach to others.
Contact - Larry D. Sullivan, Esquire firstname.lastname@example.org ; or Fax 302-286-6337
Employer - Larry D. Sullivan, Attorney At Law, P.A.,111 Barksdale Professional Center, Newark, DE 19711 voice(302) 286-6336 fax(302) 286-6337
Employer/ Job Description - Solo Practitioner seeks hard working student. Students with high aspirations, 3.5 or better GPA, Law Review experience need not apply. Must have own transportation and tolerate chinese take-out.
Apply/Deadline - April 15
executions aren't always capital punishment
In my private practice, I regularly schedule executions. We assist our clients with the execution of their estate planning documents, such as Last Will and Testatments, Durable Powers of Attorney, and Advance Healthcare Directives.
By executing the documents we are referring to having them signed and witnessed, but it usually raises some eyebrows as I walk with my clients from the conference room to the reception desk. After all, we have just been planning for what may happen after the client's death. And so there is an understandable uneasiness when I then ask the Secretary to "schedule the execution."
But we help people with their documents here, we don't speed them on their way.
States differ on the types of executions that they perform, or whether they have capital punishment at all. I found this chart informative, maybe you will as well.
Thursday, March 06, 2003
the rap against cola
The Village Voice takes a look at the agreement between the Hip Hop Summit Action Network and Pepsi, which came about when rapper Ludacris was dropped from their advertising campaign in favor of Ozzie Osbourne.
findlaw on tv (sites)
Findlaw, which may just be the web's legal site with the greatest traffic, is joining forces with Clear Channel Television, to provide legal news and information on a number of Clear Channel television station web sites across the nation.
making a federal case
In the past eighteen months, federal cases in Delaware increased at a rate unmatched by any other federal district in the nation. A new U.S. Attorney and closer cooperation between state and federal prosecutors and police are likely reasons for the increase.
states' rights upheld
The United States Supreme Court upheld the States' rights to make laws governing the length of sentences for State crimes within the State. In a 3+1+1 v. 4 Opinon (pdf) , the California three strikes statute was upheld. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. ;-)
Wednesday, March 05, 2003
tyco to move to delaware?
Tyco International Ltd., may be moving from Bermuda to Delaware. The company was rocked with controversy last year, when criminal charges were brought against four members of the organization. Their annual shareholder meeting is Thursday, and one of the issues that they will face is whether to move the company to Delaware.
Foreign incorporation "makes it more difficult for shareholders to hold companies, their officers and directors legally accountable in the event of wrongdoing," according to the proposal by American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.It will be interesting to see what comes of this. If Tyco moves, will other companies follow suit? That will depend upon their shareholders.
[2003-03-06 Tyco will remain in Bermuda, but the issue may be revisited next year "after time for more study."]
the color of money
The twenty-dollar bill is set for a change this spring, and a new color will be unveiled on March 27th. The new design is known as NexGen, and the new twenties will likely come into circulation in the fall, with redesigned fifty and hundred-dollar bills to follow within eighteen months.
A PBS article from last year called Secrets of Making Money describes some of the security features that will be retained in the new design.
The Associated Press talked with both the chief portrait engraver and the head of the Bureau of Printing and Engraving on the change, last December. Engraver Thomas Hipschen mentioned how Duke Ellington might look nice on one of the redesigned bills. Something to think about.
Tuesday, March 04, 2003
golden mouse award winners
What makes a good Congressional web site? The best measure might be how well the pages are used to communicate with constituents. One venture that has been set up to review congressional sites recently gave out sixteen "golden mouse" awards for what they considered were the best congressional sites. Silver and bronze mouse awards were also presented.
The Congress Online Project is a
two year project to study Congress' use of the Internet, identify and award best practices, and provide guidance to help congressional offices use Internet technologies to inform and communicate with constituents, reporters, and the engaged public.Check to see if one of your federal representatives is on their list of the Best Web Sites on Capitol Hill. Congratulations, Senator Carper, on the Golden Mouse award for your site.
Tricks of the Trade
By Private Investigator Michael T. O'Rourke
Question: I am a Paralegal in a law firm specializing in estates and wills. We are attempting to locate the only remaining heir to an estate. Family members have stated the heir is homeless, somewhere here in Wilmington. The Court of Chancery has required we attempt to locate the heir. Any suggestions to help find him?
Answer: Locating defendants or persons with information critical to a client's case is a routine assignment for most investigators. The proverbial "paper trail" we create as we go through life, from a birth certificate all the way through our eventual death certificate, many documents are created along the way.
There are a multitude of sources to check when searching for almost any American: all of the computer databases, voter registration indices, previous civil and criminal litigation, telephone books, cross reference directories, Department of Motor Vehicle records, Social Security data, sometimes police reports, and the list goes on...
The homeless segment of our population does not leave the usual clues, but a record is nevertheless created.
To start an investigation regarding a homeless, or transient, individual, I need some lead or basis to believe that the subject is in a certain area. That information may be developed from the subject's old friends, relatives, associates, ex-employers, or your client. The subject may have written or called someone and given an indication of location or destination. Dates, and times, of last contact are relative.
I will attempt to obtain some, or all, of the following: the subject's full name, aliases, nicknames... age and/or date of birth, a photograph, as recent as possible, and physical description. Medical data (illnesses or deformities) and mental health information could be useful.
In some cases, as a next step, I usually prepare a "Missing" or a "Reward" poster. These are useful for leaving with businesses or individuals, posting in shelter agencies, and areas where other homeless people may frequent. I hand them out to persons I interview during the course of the investigation.
The posters may generate additional leads on the subject's whereabouts, particularly if there is a reward offered for information. The posters should include a picture of the subject, name, description, maybe a reason why you are looking for the subject and how to contact you if someone has information. If a reward is offered for information it should say so on the poster.
Many facilities will post the information near common entrances. I have had several cases where, after I had made contact with the facility management, I received anonymous tips that the subject was at a specific location. Money is a great motivator. Allegiances are very scarce.
I always check the subject's criminal history utilizing the CJIS system located at the New Castle County Courthouse, 500 King Street. If the subject is not incarcerated at the present time, review all available records. Pull the jacket. As limited as the records may be, they can confirm that your subject was in the area on a certain date and time.
Identities of co-defendants, or victims could become valuable at a later date. Sooner or later, most are arrested for "quality of life" crimes (public drunkenness, loitering, panhandling, etc...)
The Wilmington Hospital (501 W. 14th Street) and Medical Examiners Office (200 S. Adams Street) are the two other institutions that commonly have contact with the transient population. Neither institution will provide you with specific confidential information, but will certainly provide a date of last contact, or allow you to leave a poster, or business card. (If a subject turns up dead, or injured, you will certainty be notified.)
The next step is to develop two lists; the first list is of shelter agencies that cater to transients; the second is a list of places that these people typically congregate. These two lists will probably have common characteristics, but there will be separate, distinct locations on each.
Various places you might find on the first list are:
On the list of locations frequented by transients, you will find bus or train stations (100 block of N. French Street), plasma centers that purchase blood from donors (and other income sources), and day-worker pickup locations where they can obtain labor jobs for a short periods of time (Laborworks, etc...).
In addition, common street locations where transients frequent (in the vicinity of the shelter agencies like the Salvation Army, parks, bridges, highway overpasses, etc...), and for some reason, the Train Station is a big draw in Wilmington. I have always found the Amtrak Police Department to be very cooperative.
There are several places here in Wilmington where transients gather to exchange information about shelter locations and where to get free handouts. They panhandle passers-by, share food or drink, and if they can afford it, drugs. In this particular location, they also pass out or just fall asleep on the sidewalk.
The Wilmington Police Department, and the City Safe Streets Program are helpful in identifying current locations. The Safe Streets program has almost 70 square blocks of Wilmington "on camera". A stop to visit this agency would be a smart move.
Unavoidably, I will go to the various locations visited by other homeless people, talk to the people, and check for leads or information. The bottom line is; You must physically visit the locations on the lists, and conduct interviews to locate the subject. Wilmington is a smaller town than you think. It is nearly impossible to "disappear".
Det. Michael T. O'Rourke is a Member of the National Association of Investigative Specialists, The National Association of Professional Process Servers, and Sustaining member of the Delaware Paralegal Association.
A Court Certified Special Process Server, and a Licensed Private Investigator in DE and PA. Michael specializes in Insurance Defense and Criminal Defense. He invites your questions to:
Loss Solutions, Inc.
824 N. Market Street, Suite 425,
P.O. Box 368, Wilmington DE 19899-0368.
Or you may e-mail him at DEIrish5@aol.com
homeland duct tape events
From the annual charity Duct Tape Ball in Anchorage (here are some pics from last year's ball), to the courtroom duct taping of a Defendant's mouth in Lubbock, Texas (the second largest State... only until Alaska splits in two and makes Texas the third largest State), we in the homeland are following the instructions of our learned leaders and finding new ways to use aquatic bird adhesives to secure our future.
lexmark to face antitrust charges?
Recently, in a Kentucky District Court, a case was brought by printer manufacturer Lexmark under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to prevent a printer cartridge manufacturer from selling replacement cartridges for Lexmark printers. The case brought a considerable amount of concern over how the law was being used.
Lexmark was successful in getting an injunction last week, under the DMCA. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has copies of documents filed in the case here.
Static Control Online, the cartridge manufacturer who lost the injunction, is trying to defend themselves in the aftermath of this decision in a number of ways. The first was to file a comment with the Copyright Office asking them to find that the DMCA does not apply to printer cartridges or to create an exemption for "the use of chips that allow the interoperability of a toner cartridge with a printer." They are asking others to send in comments with their opinions on the subject to the Copyright Office.
The second was to file an antitrust suit against Lexmark. Their press release is here.
Monday, March 03, 2003
virtual protests and the EU
Last week's virtual protest march seems to have gone off pretty well. Was it legal?
Would it be legal if it took place in the European Union? Maybe. But that could be because the law didn't change there until Friday.
If EU citizens bombarded British prime minister Tony Blair's e-mail, fax or phone lines in the way thousands of American protesters targeted government offices in Washington last week, they could have committed a criminal offense under this new code, said Leon de Costa, chief executive of Judicium, a London-based legal consultancy.It appears that they are considering changing the law to distinquish between protests and criminal acts.
court archives give a glimpse into history
There's something to be said for the preservation of historical documents from court cases of the past. Court house records have survived when others have long since disappeared. The St. Louis Circuit Court Historical Records Project provides a great glimpse into the history of expansion into lands west of the Mississippi. It also allows us to look at cases where freedom from slavery was an issue.
It had me looking at the Delaware Archives pages to find out what Delaware was doing to preserve the history of life in the First State. While there are some great descriptions of what can be located at the archives, many of those documents aren't online. There are a number of Digital Archives online from Delaware, and they offer an interesting look into the State's past.
Hopefully future attempts to digitally preserve some of the other documents that the Archives office holds will also allow the agency to display them online. What a great wealth of information that would be.
Sunday, March 02, 2003
standards body to look at spam
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has announced the formation of a body, the Anti-Spam Research Group (ASRG), to study the problem of "unwanted email messages, loosely referred to as spam."
A technological solution, rather than a legal one, may be the best hope for limiting unwanted emails. Though, care needs to be taken to make sure that it's done right. It will be interesting to see what the Task Force's Research Group comes up with.
happy blog anniversary to Ernie the Attorney
It's hard to believe that Louisiana attorney Ernest Svenson only started blogging a year ago today. His blog is one of the shining stars on the web. Thanks Ernie, and congratulations.
syndicating the delaware law office
If you look over at the top left of the page, you'll see a little orange "xml" graphic. I added that this weekend, and used a feature of blogger pro that we've been holding back upon. We've been talking about doing it for months. We now have an rss feed. What does this mean to you? A number of people reading this will know already. There are a number of legal blogs that already have syndicated sites.
There is now another way to view the content on this blog (at least the new posts). You can use a news aggregator program such as amphetadesk (the one I'm test driving now), or a number of others to view the content of blogs that you've selected, and all on the same page.
I've been looking around at some of the news aggregators out there, and I'll probably try a few more out. While I like to visit individual sites, I don't always have time to look at more than a couple at a time. Using an aggregator to read some blogs will help.