It’s a bubble, boy

Life inside the judicial bubble much different for those on the receiving end of justice.  Two cases cases prove this.  In the first, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Alice Resnick was pulled over and has since plead guilty to driving while impaired.  In the arrest video available on the web, she repeatedly asks the officer to let her go.  She mentioned that ruled with law enforcement on drunk-driving cases.  She also said that she had always believed that Supreme Court Justices should have highway patrol officers assigned as drivers. News reports say she had to be pulled over a second time after she drove off when the patrolman asked her to take a sobriety test.  The patrolman kicked it up a notch by calling his supervisor.  Far be it from me to suggest that if a young man had pulled away from a traffic stop, he would have gotten rougher treatment.  However he would have gotten rougher treatment.  Maybe much rougher if he was black or hispanic.
I don’t think that the officer should have tackled or cuffed the 65-year old woman.  But her experience was not what a typical DWI offender has.
The sentence she got was pretty typical for a North Carolina first-time DWI offender.  But unless you write off her actions on the day of her arrest as drunken ramblings, I disagree that she is fit to return to the bench and resume business as usual, as this editorial suggests.  After all she did repeatedly ask the officer to overlook the offense and suggested that she should get some consideration for the favorable rulings she made in the past.
Then there was Thomas Saylor, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice who tried to sneak a small knife on a plane after it was rejected at the screening station.  He tried to hide it in a carry-on bag and got caught.  The feds are not pressing charges but a local prosecutor is weighing his options.
In the judicial bubble people smooth the way for you, they are deferential, you get accomodated.  I wonder how life inside the bubble contributed to these two jurists thinking they could get away with something.
Law Guy

Criminal History

How long will a misdemeanor stay on your record?  If trying to get a job and a criminal record check finds a drug possession misdemeanor on your history, can it and will it affect the likelihood of employment?  Will it ever disappear?  How long, legally, can potential employers view your history?
A criminal record is forever.  Only an expunction or pardon removes a criminal conviction.  In North Carolina a person who was convicted of a misdemeanor before age 18 could be eligible for an expunction.  Pardons can only be granted by a governor or the president.
It is up to each individual employer to decide whether to hire someone with a criminal conviction.  There is no limit on how far back an employer can look into your past.


Bad Checks from a Bad Boss at a Bad Company

Our company has been writing us NSF payroll checks. I can not cash my checks and my co-worker can not cash her checks at our respective banks anymore because our owners have written us so many bad checks. We have gone so far as to open accounts at the bank that the checks are drawn on and we went there to cash them this last week and there was not enough money in there account to cover either one of them. This was a holiday weekend and no money for food or bills or anything. We live from check to check what can we do legally to rectify this situation? We are looking for new jobs but until we can find one we are stuck!

In North Carolina, it is a crime to write a check knowing that there are insufficient funds in the account to cover the check, if you could convince the District Attorney to prosecute, that might give you some leverage.  You could also try to contact a state agency like the Department of Labor.
The laws of man cannot overcome the law of physics one of which is “You cannot get blood from a turnip.”  If your employer is in financial trouble your chance of a meaningful recovery for unpaid wages is low.


Extra Deadbolts for the Ex-Stay-At-Home Dad

My husband moved out of our house today. He was a stay-at-home dad for our two young children.  He wants to continue to watch them while I am at work which will allow him access to our home.  I am fine with him watching them for now since daycare for two would be very expensive and it is not in my budget. I would like to install deadbolts that would lock him out of the house when he is not supposed to be here such as at night or weekends.   I can lock him out right?  He mentioned to me this afternoon, if he can not afford rent where he is at he will move back.  Can he move back in with out me agreeing?
Usually when one spouse leaves the marital residence, the spouse who has remained there can bar the other from moving back in.  However as long as the house is titled in both names, both spouses are legally entitled to the use of the property.
Often I see that spouses who have separated try to resolve things informally.  Sometimes this works, but it also puts off problems that have to be dealt with later when it has become a crisis, such as each parent insists on having the children for Christmas.  What you and your husband need to do is establish clear ground rules on several things:
  • Who is going to keep the children and when is the other parent going to get visitation?
  • What is going to happen to the house?
  • Who is going to pay any debts that you have?
  • How are the parents going to divide financial responsibility for the children?
  • Will there be any form of alimony?

If the two of you cannot work out the answers to these questions between yourselves, you will need to get the help of a lawyer or mediator.  If you wait until there is a confrontation over one of these questions, it will be much harder to work out.