Monday, September 18, 2017

And another politician bites the dust

Politicians and fraud walk hand in handTypically, when I read the newspaper, I skip right to the comics section because they're (mostly) funny and free from political deceit.  Then there was the front page story about Ref Rodriguez that caught my eye (and prevented my reading of the comics). 

Seems Ref (yeah, that's his real name and he's not even a referee) had been arrested and charged with three felony counts of conspiracy, perjury and procuring and offering a false or forged instrument not to mention the other 25 misdemeanor counts of assumed-name contributions. 

Seems Ref took little over $24,000 of his "own money" and donated it to his "own" campaign fund in his run to be elected as the Board President of the Los Angeles School District.  On its face, it doesn't sound like much but what actually happened is that instead of saying that he was donating his "own" money, he made it sound like 24 other people were actually submitting donations.

Why would someone do that?  Did he need to warp the statistics to make it sound like more people were donating to his campaign.  Why did you think you had to lie about who paid for your campaign?  It was Ref's money, wasn't it?  Why lie about who paid for your campaign?!   Heck, what it sounds like is that Ref laundered the money for someone else. That's what it sounds like.

Then, instead of dealing with all that, Ref goes and tells the press:
As the product of a immigrant family, nobody has more respect for the integrity of the American justice system than I do... 
What is Ref really saying here?  Is he saying that because he is the product of an immigrant family that has more integrity everyone else?  Or is Ref saying that because he is the product of an immigrant family, he knows how best to play the system.  What being a consummate politician, I'm guessing it's the latter.  See, it's that word "integrity."  Why bring it up at all - unless you're being sarcastic - in which case, you have no integrity.

Fact is, pal, EVERYONE who lives in America is the product of immigration.  Everyone. Whether you are white, black, brown, purple, or green, everyone came from somewhere. America was built on the backs of immigrants.  

But just because you're an immigrant, it does not mean you have an edge on the integrity market suggesting that Ref is a system player.  I mean, if being an immigrant meant you had integrity, there would be no scofflaws.  As it turns out, some of us came to America legally and some chose to...well, they chose to come here (or were brought here) illegally and are now players of the system.

Seems that there are not a few persons who are unclear on difference between legal and illegal immigration. If you are unclear on the concept, might I suggest you head over to your local county law library and take a look at:
What is funny is that when politicians get in trouble, they try to obfuscate the issues instead of dealing with the problem(s) at hand.  What is sad is that this guy really showed promise.  Upstanding, good track record, no obvious record of corruption (well, not yet anyway), and then he got tripped up.  Well, I guess even the best fall.  Maybe his status as an immigrant will save him.  Not the best argument but if that's all he's got, then I say run with it. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

What would you have done?

I'm sorry if you're easily offended
I'm not proud of it but rare is the month that someone doesn't get upset with something that I said or did.  Someone got upset that I'm taller than they were (by about two feet).  Someone got upset that I couldn't answer their question the way they were hoping. 

Someone got upset that I wear a suit to work. Someone got upset when I didn't respond fast enough. Someone got upset with how I worded a response. Someone got upset because I was always doing something (and didn't have four hours to just sit and listen to their tales of woe). 

Someone got upset that I didn't have an answer (because sometimes the answer is that here is no answer).  Someone got upset that I didn't laugh at their joke (really, it was more sad than funny).  Someone got upset that I didn't notice they had a new hairdo (for the record, if you're not my wife, I'm not required to notice the "new" you).  Heck, someone even got upset because I wear bow ties.

Then there was the lady and her adult daughter who came into the library the other day.  Seems Lady is in the driver's seat when it came to daughter's future. Telling daughter to sit down, Lady comes up to me saying that daughter "wants" to go into criminal law and that she needs a book:
  1. That contains all the concepts and elements of criminal law,
  2. That will encourage her daughter to enter the practice of criminal law, and
  3. That will prepare daughter for law school
In one book?  Really?!?  Dang but I don't know any book that can do all that.  But, being the dutiful Librarian that I am, I tried to find something

Apparently, Lady got offended with my nervous laugh (either that or it was because I asked her to follow me to the book stacks).  After looking through the collection, I was able to find a few things that came close to her request but when I walked out to where they were sitting, I found that she and daughter had left. 

Apparently Lady had become incensed with how I stood up, nonchalantly said, "let's go" and walked into the stacks because she left in a huff and subsequently complained to anyone that would listen that I was arrogant.

Now that I think about it, maybe sometimes I am I mean, over time every Librarian develops their own style of doing thingsAs for me, I don't like people staring over my shoulder when I'm lost and trying to find something as obscure as a fix-all book.  

Regardless, if you come to me and ask for something that covers everything AND washes windows too, you're going to get laughed at (or blogged about, as the case may be).

While there is no one book that does everything she wanted, we do have a number of resources that talk about all things criminal law like:
just to name a few.  I mean, we have a whole slew of great titles on everything from animal rights to workers' compensation - but if what you want is all things criminal, then your local county law library is your one stop shop. Anyway, lady got offended with how I do my legal research thing and filed her complaint(s).

The thing is, I work with lots of people.  Some I can help - others, not so much. As far as Lady went, she was in a class all her own.  Heck, if she is bothered by how I do what I do, then maybe she should stay far away from law and send her kid to dental school.  I hear it's a pretty placid field (what with all that Nitrous oxide floating around).

In any event, whether you're looking for in-depth, hard core answers to your most pressing legal research needs or just want basic info on what to do with your life, know that your local county law library has most all of what you need to get you going.  Just, please, leave the thin-skin outside.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Word of the month for September 2017: Concealment

Tell the truth
Have you ever been in an auto accident and tried to tell the police what happened.  Problem is that there is your story, the other guy's story, and all the witnesses version(s) of what happened.  Everyone has their take on what is the true and correct version of what happened. 

The question, then, is what is truth? Back when I was in law school, I'd piss everyone off discussing "truth" and the sheer fallacy of it. For those who didn't go to law school, truth is pretty cut and dried, black and white. For those who possess a legal mind, truth is whatever you want it to be. Truth is subjective and belongs to whomever has the better argument.

Take, for example the couple who was in my library a while back.  Seems they were of the religious type and were particularly skittish about things relating to the occult (i.e. voodoo, witchcraft, and dead bodies). Seems, they had been in the market to buy a house and in the course of their looking, they found the house of their dreams.  Broker/seller knows of their fears (i.e. dead bodies and such) and doesn't bother to tell them about the previous owner who had hanged himself in the master bedroom.  Oppsy.

This all brings us to our word of the month: CONCEALMENT.  According to Black's Law Dictionary, CONCEALMENT is defined as:
The act of preventing disclosure or refraining from disclosing; esp., the injurious or intentional suppression or nondisclosure of facts that one is obliged to reveal; cover-up. Concealment is an affirmative act intended or known to be likely to keep another from learning of a fact of which he would otherwise have learned.  Such affirmative action is always equivalent to a misrepresentation and has any effect that a misrepresentation would have.  Restatement (Second) of Contracts § 160 (1979).
Of course, Broker/seller says that he didn't hide anything and that he hadn't "prevented" couple from finding out anything - he just didn't tell them the one tinsy, little thing that might have soiled the deal.  

As Broker/seller noted, couple could have easily asked around town to find out this "little" detail.  Really? You expect strangers in a strange town to ask strangers about dead bodies in a house they're looking to buy?  How would they even know to ask? Aren't you their advocate in the sale?!? Don't you have a fiduciary duty to disclose pertinent facts relating to the criteria laid out by your clients?  I mean, those would be the questions I'd ask if he were my Broker.

Anyway, couple is not a little freaked out (knowing that a guy was found swinging in their bedroom) and want satisfaction. Knowing my collection as I do, I suggested they take a look at a couple of resources such as:
and off they were plotting their revenge, uh, I mean, case...against the Broker/seller.  

If ever you find yourself in a bind, know that your local county law Librarian has the skills to help you when you are down and out (or freaked out of your mind, as the case may be).

Monday, August 28, 2017

They're Making This Too Easy

Just another black dress
Does anyone really think they can get justice in this world, anymore?  Anyone?!  OK, OK, I realize there are some true believers who think that because they wear a long black dress everyday, that judges will ignore the the world around them and base their decision on the facts and rule of law. That's the hope, anyway.

Thing is, anyone that pays attention to politics knows this is not (or no longer) the case.  For example.  I was reading the paper the other day and read an article in the Los Angeles Times (New tilt to state high court?).  Seems Kathryn Werdegar is on the California Supreme Court and she's retiring from years of service.  She was initially appointed to the California Supreme Court by then Governor Pete Wilson (a Republican) in 1994.  With the retirement of an evil Republican appointment, Gov. Moonbeam can now set things "right" and inject some Democrat blood into the high court's mix with a "new" Democrat appointment.

What I want to know is why is this even an issue?  Republican, democrat, independent, left-wing, right wing...it really should not matter what the political affiliation is because aren't judges supposed to base their opinions on the facts of each case and the rule of law?

Sadly, however, it seems that judges follow their prejudices and rule based on what their party dictates. I mean, remember when Judge Roberts (of the SCOTUS) switched his vote at the last second and ruled in favor of obamacare?  Painful as all that was (at the time), I was actually hopeful that a high-profile judge was finally breaking out of the mold and voting based on their independent objectivity.  Yeah, that lasted for all of 15 minutes and we're back to party-line voting.  Yeah, sad that.

Oh well, I guess I live in a fictitious bubble hoping that judges will ignore who appointed them and base decisions on what is in front of them - not who is pulling their strings. Buuuut, I won't hold my breath.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Four Bolts

Law Librarians know what they know
Do you know what you know?  When you are at work, are you always scrambling around trying to figure out what it is you are supposed to do OR do you know what to do and where to go when someone asks you to help them find whatever it is you're supposed to know?  That's how it is with experts - we go to them because they know what they know.

This reminds me of an incident I had a while back after my wife had an accident.  Took out the front left bumper, she did. The other party was "at fault" and she asked that we use her body repair guy.  Body repair guy comes over to my house to give me a quote on the repairs and in the course of our discussion, he sees that the camshaft sensor and shaft is about to fail and he tells me how to fix it.  
First you remove the four bolts that hold the power steering reservoir and slide that back. Then you remove this other 10mm bolt that holds the cam shaft sensor, pull the shaft straight out and insert a new cam shaft sensor and shaft and you're all set. 
FOR ONE WHOLE HOUR I was futzing around my car trying to find those #$@#&%!@$ four bolts.  I think finally found two bolts but don't know if they were two of the related bolts and didn't want to remove those and not be able to find the other two.  So very frustrating.

This experience got me to thinking about how I help people find law and legal stuff.  I mean, not to toot my own horn, but I am Mr. Awesome when it comes to finding legal resources. In fact, I've been doing this finding of legal research stuff for so long that I don't think about where to go - I just go and start opening books.

Like the other day when an attorney came into my law library. Seems her client had been charged with civil contempt and she needed information on how to proceed. Without a thought, I walked over California Forms of Pleading and Practice and handed her a whole chapter full of information. Then I turned, walked around the corner, and opened up Witkin's California Procedure and handed her several volumes of stuff.  Then I walked over to California Civil Practice: Family Law Litigation and handed her a ton more stuff.  

Most people, when they come through the doors of their local county law library, have that deer-in-headlights-look. Scared out of their minds, they are.  They see a sea of books and
think, "I have to look through all that?!?"  It is with compassion that I guide them to where they need to go and hand them the ONE chapter in the one book they need to help get them started. 

Thing is, I may not know (or ever know) where those four bolts are located but I know someone who is a wizard with auto repair.  Because he's an expert auto mechanic, I trust that he knows what he's doing and can get the job done right (the first time).  Your local county law Librarian is just like that, too.  When you come through the doors of your local county law library, your local county law Librarian can help you find most anything you need to get you going because that's just how professional/expert Librarians swing.