Monday, February 19, 2018

Sometimes You're the Nut

Cotton Candy
The problem with being an omnipotent law Librarian is that after a while of hitting on all 16 cylinders, pulling answers out of the sky like they were cotton candy, you start to feel all powerful, thinking you know everything - until you skip a beat and you can't find anything.  Then you start to question the sanity of the universe.

Such was my life the other day.  Seems this Guy came into my law library.  Seems Guy had just been in family court where his ex-wife had filed a motion to legally change his son's name to her new flame's name.  Judge told Guy she'd deny the motion if he could find something to prevent the change.  Guy was under the gun and came to me - the omnipotent Librarian - to help him in his hour of need. 

I looked everywhere and couldn't find anything for him.  I mean, EVERYWHERE!  Guy flips out claiming that everyone told him that I was THE go to Librarian when you can't find something and that I failed him.

Huh.  I felt bad for the guy and went back to my office to lick my wounds. 

Three weeks later, I'm helping a random attorney.  Seems Attorney was looking for questions to grill an expert witness in a child custody case.  I'm looking everywhere to help Attorney and in my search, I stumble upon AmJur Trials, Vol. 22 (Child Custody Litigation).  In the supplement, I found Section 137.5 - Name changes.  

Waaaaaaaaaait a minute!  Wasn't I looking for something about name changes a while back?!  Turns out on page 297 in the Vol. 22 Supplement is a #%@#^!@$!#%^ section on just what I was looking for for Guy!

Turns out there are eleven (11) cases from all around the USA that deal with the name change of a child in custody hearings.  JUST WHAT GUY WAS LOOKING FOR!  Good thing I had the good sense to get Guy's email and without hesitation, I send off a copy of the entire section. 

Whoo-wee baby, I was back in the game pulling answers out of the sky like they were cotton candy.  Life's just like that - sometimes you're the nutcracker, sometimes the nut.

Maybe your local county law Librarian can find you answers on the spot - sometimes it takes a while.  Regardless of what quarter in the game we are playing, what you need to know is that your local county law Librarian always plays to win.  So, when next you need help (and you know you will, eventually), just know that we'll be here to help you get back in the game, too!

Monday, February 12, 2018

What's in YOUR wallet?

It's gonna be a civil war
Do you remember the civil war?  Sure you do.  It was a battle between the northern and southern states that ran from 1861-1865.  The primary reason the Civil War broke out was because the southern states wanted to secede from the union because, I suspect, the Federal government was trying to ram its ideologies down the southern states throats.  Abraham Lincoln thought differently and by sending troops to prevent succession, the Civil War began.

Fast forward 140 years to the year 2005.  The year after George W. Bush was elected POTUS, Congress passed what is known as The Real ID Act of 2005.  California was, initially, one of the states that refused to bow to the requirements of this Act.  Fact is, there were a number of hold-out states that refused to adopt this federal mandate.

It has recently come to my attention, however, that this is no longer the case and after only two weeks since I (a California resident) got my new Driver's License, I find that I will have to pay another fee/tax to get a "real" ID.  What a crock and so much for Sacramento's bravado.

As found on the Department of Homeland Security's website, the official purpose of this act is to:
[E]stablish minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards.
Sounds innocuous, but is it?  Basically, congress was looking to restrict terrorists from accessing federal buildings or otherwise causing havoc in or around airports.  The reality of this act is that it:
  1. Will create America's first national identity card enabling the tracking of individuals thereby propelling us toward a surveillance society (remember what the NSA did under obama's watch?).
  2. Is a another "hidden tax" forcing everyone (not just persons in this country illegally but American citizens, too) to pay higher fees to get a "real" identification card (which begs the question as to what do I have in my wallet, now?).
Since this Act never actually went through the democratic process but was slipped through Congress in May 2005 in a “must-pass” Iraq War/Tsunami relief supplemental bill, most people don't even remember that this Act became a law.

Which leads to today's blog.  See, I got a call today from a guy who had been informed that if he wanted to continue to pursue his lawsuit in federal court, that he would have to obtain a real ID.  

"WHAT THE #@%@#%$(&!@$ IS A REAL ID?" he screamed over the phone.  I didn't know, told him to tone it down, and that I'd help him find the law.

So, I started with Google (yeah, yeah, I started with Google.  Anyone who religiously reads this blog knows I'm not a fan of but when in Rome, do as the Romans do, right?).  Anyway, I began a search for: REAL ID ACT of 2005 and found a great discussion on Wikipedia which noted that I could find the act at Pub. L. 109-13, 119 Stat 302.  

How this reads is Public Law 109-13 (which means the Act was passed by the 109th Congress and could be found on page 13 of the U.S. Code Congressional and Administrative News;"USCCAN").  The second citation reads volume 119 of Statutes at Large, page 302 (which can also be found in USCCAN).

While that's all great, what the Guy on the phone wanted was the code under which this Act can be found.  To find this, I turned to Shepard's Acts and Cases by Popular Names, Federal and State.  Looking under the "R's" for Real ID Act of 2005, I found reference to May 11, 2005, P.L. 109-13, Division B, 119 Stat. 302, 8 U.S. Code §1101 nt.

Moving over to the United States Code Annotated (TR), Title 8, I opened to section 1101 and discovered all 31 pages of the code together with all 569 pages of annotations.

I gotta say, this thing is HUGE!  There are THOUSANDS of primary and secondary annotations that deal with discussing this code.  There are also THOUSANDS of cases that have heretofore litigated this code.

What is important to note is that while The Real ID Act of 2005 been on the books since, well, since 2005, it doesn't actually become effective until October 1, 2020.  That's not for another two years!  Can you imagine what the legal landscape of the USA will look like in 2 years and already people are going to battle over this one piece of legislation?  No wonder states are clamoring for succession.  Dang but it's going to be another civil war all in the name of national security!  

Anyway, Guy was satisfied that his local county law Librarian had gone to bat for him and smacked another one over the right field fence for a grand slam.  

If ever you need help finding something that is stuck in your craw, waste not a second and head on over to your local county law library so that we can you can help us help you help us help you and you all have a great rest of the day.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Word of the Month for February 2018: Escheat

Seems money is tight these days.  Lots of people looking for ways to make a little extra and government looking to take more than its share.  Such is the state of affairs these days and the topic for today's blog.

So, this couple came into the law library the other day. Seems couple had had a nest egg of a few thousand dollars stashed in an account they had forgotten they had.  Seems they got a letter from the bank a while back saying that because the account was "inactive;" that the monies in their account had been escheated to the state.

Wait - what?!?  What in blazes does escheat mean?!?  Well, according to Black's Law Dictionary, ESCHEAT is:
1. The reversion of land ownership back to the lord when the immediate tenant dies without heirs.  2. Reversion of property to the state upon the death of an owner who has neither a will nor any legal heirs.
While that doesn't make all that much sense in the modern world, let me explain to you what it all means in today-speak. Because couple had neither added to (or withdrawn from) the account for a number of years, that the bank had closed the account and sent the monies to the state.  According to California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1300(c):
"Escheat," unless specifically qualified, means the vesting in the state of title to property the whereabouts of whose owner is unkown or whose owner is unknown or which a known owner has refused to accept, whether by judicial determination or by operation of law,...When used in reference to the law of another state, "escheat" includes the transfer to the state of the right to the custody of  such property.
So, because couple had not done anything in a while (20 year or so; see CCP 1601) to claim an interest in the account, the bank did what banks do and sent the money to the state.

Couple is just a little incensed, what with their money now in the hands of one other than themselves, and are looking for retribution.  The thing is that many legal things can be resolved without flying off the handle and filing lawsuits.  I mean, the bank was just doing it's job.  Anyway, in an effort to ward off WW3, I suggested couple take a look at:
and get their money back.  I mean, as far as legal things go, getting money back that has escheated to the state is relatively painless and easy.  Really, it is.

So, off went couple and I chalked up another successful research project.  Yep, when you need help of a legal research nature, your local county law Librarian is the person to see. We've got the skills to help put things in perspective.

Monday, January 29, 2018

That's "bully" as in thug

Bully is another name for thug
In today's news is a post about a student hitting another student with a chair in a class room.  What is interesting is that earlier today, I had a couple come into the library.  Seems they have a kid in elementary school who came home most every day with bruises.  Of course, school "administrators" kept saying nothing was wrong and that their kid was just accident prone.

Seems that argument fell out the window when, two days prior, they got a call from the school that their kid was being taken to the hospital.  They learned, at the hospital, that all those bruises had been caused by a kid who had taken to beating their kid because it was "fun."  Their kid was now in the hospital with a concussion, among other things.

Parents are frothing at the mouth and are seeking vengeance against school district.  Who can blame them?  I know I'd be pissed seven ways from Sunday if anyone took to beating on my kid.  And what about the school "administrators" who had been lying to Parents.  Yeah, I smell a retirement level lawsuit brewing.

In California, there are a number of codes that have been established to help prevent bullying (and are supposed to protect students) in schools:

General Bullying
Cal. Education Code 48900 permits a student to be suspended from school or recommended for expulsion for engaging in acts of bullying.

Cal. Education Code 48900.4 allows a student to be suspended or recommended for expulsion if the student has intentionally engaged in harassment, threats or intimidation, directed against school district personnel or pupils "that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to have the actual and reasonably expected effect of materially disrupting classwork, creating substantial disorder, and invading the rights of either school personnel or pupils by creating an intimidating or hostile educational environment."

Cal. Education Code 48900.2 permits a student to be suspended from school or recommended for expulsion if it is determined that the student has committed sexual harassment, as defined in Cal. Education Code 212.5.

Cyber Bullying
Cal. Education Code 48900 permits a student to be suspended from school or recommended for expulsion for engaging in acts of bullying, including bullying committed by means of electronic acts.  Education Code 32261 defines "electronic act" as "the transmission of a communication, including, but not limited to, a message, text, sound or image by means of an electronic device, including but not limited to a telephone, wireless telephone or other wireless communication device, computer or pager."

Cal. Education Code 48900.2 permits a student to be suspended from school or recommended for expulsion if it is determined the student has engaged or attempted to engage in hazing. "Hazing" is defined as a method of initiation or pre-initiation into a pupil organization or body, whether or not the organization or body is officially recognized by an educational institution, which is likely to cause serious bodily injury or personal degradation or disgrace resulting in physical or mental harm to a former, current, or prospective pupil."

Coupled with that knowledge, I also suggested Parents take a look at:
and off parents went to research and plan their next course of action.

Yep, really don't want to be the administrator who kept saying all was well and then having to explain their lies in court.  Good thing Parents knew to go to their local county law library and talk to their local county law Librarian when the chips were down.  

If ever you have a problem but don't know where to start to research, head on over to our local county law library so we can help you get your groove on.

Monday, January 22, 2018

It's what I do

Tool belts are for tools
Do you know what a tool belt is used for?  It's to hold tools.  Tools like a hammer or measuring tape or a level.  You use tools to accomplish things - like saving time.  When you use a measuring tape to hammer a nail, you aren't saving time.  When you use a level to measure distance, you aren't saving time.  When you try to do your own research instead of using a Librarian who does this stuff every day, you're not saving time and you're just going to get frustrated.

Wait, what?  See a while back, I got in to an argument with a buddy of mine.  He a real estate broker and he's really good at all things real estate.  He's spouting how worthless Librarians are and how he's the bees knees when it comes to all things research.  Sad, that he hasn't got anything better to do with his time than to try to do his job AND my job at the same time.  

You know, I don't know beans about real estate.  When I bought my house, I didn't try to get it done on my own - I hired a real estate agent (i.e. a professional tool) to do the job.  
  • If I needed to have my appendix removed, I'd hire a surgeon (i.e. a professional tool) to cut me open.
  • If I were being sued, I'd hire a lawyer (i.e. a professional tool) to represent me.
  • If I needed to fly from Los Angeles to New York, I'd charter a plane and hire a pilot (i.e. a professional tool) to fly me there.
So, why is it people think, when they have a problem that they need to research that they are alone in the lone and dreary world?  Why do it yourself when you can save yourself the time and trouble by requesting the services of a professional tool?  

Fact is, when it comes to researching something there is NO ONE who does it better than your local Librarian.  If you're searching for law or legal things, there is NO ONE who does it better than your local county law Librarian.  

Why would mere mortals spend the time futzing on the Internet trying to find what it take me (a Professional Librarian) mere minutes or even seconds to find using either print or online using resources?  It  boggles my mind.

For example, say you were being evicted and needed to know how to defend yourself.  What would you search for online?  I know, but do you?  See, you could do it yourself but you could also save yourself a heap of grief by coming to the law library so that I could show you such wonders as:
Say, instead your Dad died and he left a will but your brother announces that Dad left you out of the will.  What do you do?  Well, you could futz around on the Internet until the cows come home or let me (your local county professional tool) suggest you look at: 
One more?  Say you've discovered that you need your appendix removed and want to draw up a Power of Attorney.  You could futz around on the Internet trying to find something that works (and will stand up in court) OR you could talk to your local professional law Librarian who might suggest you look at:
And how long did it take me to find all this information?  Maaaaaybe 3 minutes, tops.  How?  Well, simply because I practice researching crazy legal questions every day.  I don't practice real estate.  I don't practice medicine.  I don't practice flying airplanes.  I practice helping people find answers to legal problems every single day of the year.

So, to my buddy who thinks he's better than I am at finding things in print or online, I don't know what you're smoking but it's waaaaay above your pay grade, pal.  Maybe time to give it a rest.