Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hanging out with the Lizard Lick crew

Better him than me...

Something is wrong when you can get your taxes done at Walmart

Jackson Hewitt will now do your taxes at Walmart. Why not? They have banks at Walmart willing to put you further into debt so you can buy their stuff.

Walmart is a melting pot

I'm waiting in line in Walmart. It is definitely a melting pot. I see people here I rarely see elsewhere. My theory is some people only exist certain places. Some people in Walmart are exclusive denizens of Walmart.

I am going to meet the cast of reality TV show Lizard Lick today

"Lizard Lick" is a reality TV show that takes place in Lizard Lick, North Carolina. The show follows two repo men, Ron and Bobby, as they repossess cars, trucks and all manner of other things. Lizard Lick Towing is managed by Ron's wife Amy. She is a colorful character too. It is a very entertaining show.

My wife and I will get to meet the cast of the show at the Winston-Salem Armory today. Pictures to follow.

Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools to expand backpack program

I'm glad to hear this. Hunger is the seminal issue facing our community today. It drives everything. If you are hungry, you can't do much of anything.

Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust will infuse increased funds into the Second Harvest Food Bank's "Backpack program". The program sends kids from low income backgrounds home with backpacks filled with food for the weekend. The additional funds will expand the program's funding from $55,000 to $120,000 and from 12 to 22 schools.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Judge Roemer acted correctly

Randy Shelton from the public defender's office failed to object to Judge Roemer hearing the case where prominent attorney David Daggett was the victim of a hit and run. Daggett is a supporter of Roemer. The North Carolina Commission on Judicial Ethics wrote an informal letter indicating Roemer could hear the case.

I like Pete Clary, and I think he fights hard for defendants. But he's wrong here, especially considering Andrew Keever from his office is running against Roemer for judge.

I'm glad David Daggett is okay. He's a great lawyer and a great person. He does a lot for the community.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I attended a Crosby Scholars campaign meeting today

The campaign meeting went well.  For those of you not familiar with Crosby Scholars, it is a program in all Winston-Salem Forsyth County high schools and some middle schools.  It provides guidance to kids who want to go to college.  The program helps kids plan for college and get into college.

Crosby Scholars is in the midst of the "silent" portion of its capital campaign.

Winston-Salem District Rotary Club meeting a success

The Winston-Salem District Rotary Club held its fourth meeting yesterday at the District Bar & Grille in downtown Winston-Salem.  Clyde Fitzgerald, director of Second Harvest Food Bank, spoke about the food bank and the chronic hunger problem in Northwest North Carolina. 

The group also continued its food drive by donating canned goods to the Second Harvest Food Bank.

The club will meet again on Wednesday, April 11th, from 12-1 at the District Bar & Grille.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hunger still a problem in Winston-Salem

I had the pleasure of hearing Clyde Fitzgerald speak at my Rotary Club today. Clyde is director of the Second Harvest Food Bank. As always Clyde was a great speaker. He spoke about the hunger problem in our fair city. It is a major problem. If you don't think so, Google Second Harvest Food Bank and read their report.

Liberty Tax guy begs for money

It appears the tax business is not immune to the economic downturn. Instead of Lady Liberty, Sir Liberty begs for money near the Mall.

This is not the way to present yourself to the world.

The guy below needs an attitude adjustment.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Commissioners support for voter ID bill smacks of Jim Crow

There's no other way to say it. The only reason to support a voter ID bill is to repress voter turnout. And everyone knows a low voter turnout will lead to passage of the absurd marriage amendment as well as the election of more of a particular type of candidate. This is the only way certain people can win elections these days. If you prefer jowly old white men in office, then I'm sure you love this law. If you believe barriers shouldn't be put up to discourage voting, then you are against it.

Everette Witherspoon is correct: it is hard enough to get people to vote once let alone twice. In addition, you can only vote one time and only in your precinct. It would take a lot of work to find someone and vote for them. Most people aren't smart enough or brazen enough to do this.

Not all people have ID. Some can't afford them. What are they suppose to do while they wait years for the free ID to be provided? We also know our legislature (Rump Parliament) will do all it can to tie up free IDs.

Living in a post 911 world is a pretext. The real reason for this bill is discrimination and prejudice. Shame on our commissioners who voted to support this foolish law.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Should Winston-Salem create an "entertainment zone" downtown?

The success of downtown music venues such as Ziggy's close to residential buildings raises the question: what should be done about the noise?  The current city ordinance prohibits excess noise that can be heard 100 feet from the sound. The ordinance does not dictate decibel levels.  Police determine "excess noise" based on what the "reasonable person" would think.  The reasonable person concept is a nebulous concept, and the city ordinance needs to be updated because it is too vague.

I can see how downtown residents wouldn't want excess noise near their homes.  However, the key to downtown development is creating venues where people want to go.  Live music venues, restaurants and bars are places people want to go.  And those places are noisy.

I'm not in favor of confining live music venues and other performance venues to a performance district as that would stifle downtown development.  I suggest people who want to live downtown decide if they are willing to deal with excess noise before moving there.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rule requiring insurance plans to allow for contraception is not a violation of the Constitution

Religious institutions and schools should not be able to dictate the reproductive rights of their insured employees. President Obama is correct in enforcing a provision requiring for birth control to be provided for these employees under their insurance plans. Religious institutions are nonprofits. They aren't people. They have no constitutional rights. The people they are trying to keep birth control from do however.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sidewalks are needed on Silas Creek

Many people walk down the shoulder of Silas Creek Parkway. This is clearly unsafe. Children walk down the parkway with their parents. Consequently, this problem should be remedied. I hope sidewalks will be built. I'm not optimistic though.

Some people should not be allowed on the road

Check out this yahoo. This lawnmower is about to fall out of this rattletrap. This guy should be kicked off the road.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Voter ID bill is Jim Crow all over again

Until recently presenting ID at the voting booth wasn't an issue. Now it is an issue, and why is that? The Hispanic and Latino vote. Certain people don't want them to vote. These people claim they are only concerned with illegals, but this makes no sense. Illegals aren't registered to vote. They aren't on the voting roles, and they are unlikely to try and vote for another voter. The real reason for this law is certain people don't want Hispanic and Latino citizens to vote. It is just like Jim Crow.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Forsyth County to pay $248,000 in legal fees for frivolous Supreme Court prayer case appeal

Anyone who knows anything about the 1st Amendment knew the Supreme Court would deny cert in this case. Luckily the tax payers don't have to foot the bill for this frivolous appeal. Too bad this money wasn't spent creating jobs, building schools or improving our downtown library. But I'm not surprised.

I'm a religious person, but I hate when others try to impose religion on me. This case was the definition of an establishment clause violation. America was started to avoid theocracies not to create them.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Identity theft and IRS tax refunds

Scammers are stealing identities in order to profit from tax refunds. Thieves steal Social Security numbers from doctors' offices, car dealerships and other places. They fill in a fake incomes, and the IRS sends the refunds. This practice is made possible because the IRS does not verify W-2s until after the refund is sent.

Dog leans head out of car and urges traffic on

I got stuck in traffic today. As I stared forward in my hazy trance reserved for my morning commute, I saw a Westie poking its head out the window. The noble beast urged traffic on. It made me think of my first dog, Mandy. God rest her sweet soul. And thank you to the other dog for moving traffic.

Effort to get more American flags flying is a great idea

I've been fortunate to have a grandfather and great uncles who fought in World War II, arguably the greatest armed conflict in human history.  The flag meant a lot to them because it is a symbol of our country.  Unfortunately, less people fly the flag these days. Operation North State, Inc. is spearheading an effort to encourage people to fly the American flag more.  What a great idea.  I'm going to try and fly my American flag more too.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How long do you have to appeal the denial of your Social Security Disability claim?

Generally sixty (60) days from the date of the denial.  Five (5) days is added to this for postage, but I would make sure you are clearly within the sixty days.  It is never a good thing to be counting days.  Also, make sure you have date stamped copies from SSA or from your online appeal.  SSA is a huge organization, and files are sometimes "misassociated".  This is why they are moving towards everything being done electronically.  Obviously that is not always possible, so paper applications will continue to be used by some.

For more information, consult www.ssa.gov.

"Jack Russell"

Here is an exchange between a lawyer and a witness.  It really happened.

Lawyer: Who is Jack Russell mentioned on the accident report?
Witness: He's a friend of mine.
Lawyer: Was he in the car when the accident occurred?
Witness: Yes.
Lawyer: Was Mr. Russell injured?
Witness: Not that I know of.
Lawyer: Did he tell you he was hurt?
Witness: He didn't say anything.
Lawyer: He didn't say anything to you after the accident?
Witness: I said no.
Lawyer: How long have you known Mr. Russell?
Witness: About ten years.
Lawyer: Are you all good friends?
My client: He's my best friend.
Lawyer: Do you all talk much?
Witness: We've never spoken.
Lawyer: You are saying Mr. Russell is a good friend of yours, whom you have known for 10 years, and you've never spoken?
Witness: That's right.
Lawyer: How is it Mr. Russell has never said anything to you in 10 years?
Witness: He's a dog.
Lawyer: He's a dog? What kind of dog?
Witness: He's a Jack Russell Terrier.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Some people cannot drive

Some guy from my neighborhood drove drunk into a corner lot a few houses down from mine and across the street. When the police apprehended him, he said "are you going to arrest me for that tree jumping out and hitting me?" He better have a good lawyer.

Uriel Alberto a sign immigration reform is coming

Alberto's situation is not an isolated incident. The North Carolina General Assembly miscalculated by causing three men to be thrown in jail for protesting at a committee meeting. In so doing, they sparked a mass movement. I thought this would go away, but this is only the beginning.

It is stupid to hold a man indefinitely because his parents brought him here illegally when he was 7. Deporting him would be even stupider. The laws need to change.

The reason the Republicans don't want to change the laws is they know Hispanics, Latinos and other ethnic groups will never vote for them if granted citizenship. It will destroy the Republicans.

Coexist billboard needs to go

I'm tired of seeing this billboard every time I come back in town from court in Greensboro. I understand the billboard is meant to be ironic and provocative. I appreciate this, but it goes too far. How is mocking coexistence with assault rifles, implying violence and doing it on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. not offensive? It is not designed to needle. It is designed to offend, and, if you are offended, its supporters tell you you are being too sensitive. These supporters are the same kinds of people who laugh at racist jokes and say they aren't offensive.

Responsible people should be able to have guns, and this post in no way says otherwise. So don't say I'm against the Second Amendment.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Apparently people threaten each other with machetes in Winston-Salem

Carlos Pietri allegedly threatened two men with a machete in Winston-Salem. I didn't even know people own machetes anymore. Odd. Guess that's why it is newsworthy. I'd like to hear about someone making a threat with a sword or a lance.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Blagoveich begins 12 year prison term

Rod Blagoveich began his 12 year prison term today. He will likely be there for the entire 12 years unless he wins his appeal. Blagoveich was convicted of corruption charges and attempting to sell a US Senate seat.

Candidates gather at Forsyth County Democratic Party Headquarters

I'm here in support of my friend James Taylor. James spoke well tonight.

At a United Way meeting--nonprofits still hurting

The economy is getting better. Nonprofits are still suffering due to lackluster funding cycles. There are so many people hurting in this country, and it is a shame our legislature keeps defunding nonprofits whose job is to help with educational and poverty issues.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Virginia Tech found negligent for 2007 shootings

A Virginia jury found Virginia Tech negligent for delaying a campus warning of the first shootings in the 2007 massacre resulting in 33 dead.  Parents of two students brought civil lawsuits.  Jurors deliberated for three and a half hours.  The jury awarded $4 million per slain student.  Virginia law limits the amount of the award to $100,000.00.

Uriel Alberto to be released from Wake County Jail

Police arrested Alberto and two others on charges of disorderly conduct.  The protesters interrupted a special state House committee meeting on immigration issues.  In particular, they protested the lack of a path to citizenship.  Alberto is technically "illegal" because his parents brought him here at age 7.  While in jail, Alberto went on a hunger strike.  Thursday he has an immigration bond hearing in Charlotte.  Depending upon what position the government takes, he may be deported at a later date.  Hopefully not.  The law needs to be changed.  It should not be so hard to become a legal resident.

Be wary of e-mails with "IRS" on them

I've seen several "IRS" e-mails in my spam box lately.  They claim taxes are owed or taxes have not been paid.  These are a hoax, and they are sent to thousands of people everyday.  Generally, if you owe money to the IRS, you will recieve a letter.  The government communicates with people in writing.  If you receive an e-mail from the "IRS", don't open it.

If you are unsure if you owe taxes or what you owe, contact the IRS.  For further information, go to www.irs.gov.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Judge correct to fine juror $500 for looking up the law

These kinds of stories anger me. Judges tell jurors not to look up the law. Don't discuss the case with anyone, yet jurors find ways to break the rules. This is inexcusable, and it illustrates why juries may not be a good idea. The New Jersey should have sanctioned the man who looked up the law online. He should have been sanctioned $5,000. I bet no juror would break the law after hearing of that kind of fine.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Rotary Club meeting on Wednesday, March 14th, from 12-1 at the District Bar& Grille in Downtown Winston-Salem


Thanks to all of your who attended the most recent Rotary Club meeting; for those of you who couldn’t be there, we missed you, and we hope you will come back.  Once again our numbers were great, and there is a lot of interest in the new club.  Please feel free to bring a friend.  Also, bring your canned goods to donate to the Second Harvest Food Bank.

The next meeting is this Wednesday, March 14th, from 12-1 at the District Bar & Grille in Downtown Winston-Salem located at  770 Liberty View Ct., Winston-Salem, NC 27101
(336) 462-8882.

 For additional information check out www.districtbarandgrille.com.


Please let me know if you will attend.  (336) 714-5773 or michaelw@wellsjenkins.com

Thanks,

Michael

Another day at the courthouse

I just finished another trip to the courthouse. Answered up on two matters at a calendar call. I learned about expungement at the clerk's office. It is quite a process.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Inventory your valuable items

Recently my wife and I received several valuable items from my wife's aunt. I've been taking pictures of those items and making notes for the insurance company. If anything were to happen to these items, they would likely be covered under my homeowner's insurance policy. The flip side of this situation is if you don't have pictures and an inventory, then it is your word against the insurance company's word. And they are the ones with the money. They don't pay when there is no proof. So take pictures.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Slack jawed lazy guy at the truck rental place

I had to wait for an hour at a truck rental place in Richmond today for no reason. The guy working the desk whined about how hard he had to work earlier this morning. Then there were these girls he was chatting it up with. He was awful, and, while I saved some money, it wasn't worth the headache.

Can you work and still receive Social Security Disability?

Maybe. Generally speaking you can work and still received disability so long as your earnings are not deemed "substantial gainful activity." Currently anything less than $1,000.00 is not considered substantial gainful activity. That number is subject to change, so consult www.SSA.gov. for updated information.

Friday, March 9, 2012

N.C. Supreme Court suspends Denise Hartsfield for two and a half months

This whole incident is a shame. Judge Hartsfield is such a smart and likable person. I'm sure she is really suffering and is quite remorseful. I feel confident she will never do anything like this again.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Undocumented law grad could receive law license but not a drivers license

Jose Godinez-Samperio's parents brought him to the United States when he was a child, so he is undocumented. Unfortunately in this country that damns you for all time. Godinez-Samperio graduated as valedictorian of his high school class. He also graduated from Florida State undergrad and law school. He plans on taking the bar, and he may pass the bar but not be licensed. That's an absurd result, and it demonstrates the need for overhauling our immigration laws. Immigration should be made easier. If it were, we wouldn't have so many situations like this.

Lots of Social Security Disability cases

I have signed up several disability cases this week.  SSD has become a large part of my practice in the last few years, and it is an area I enjoy.  SSD helps many people.  Quite often it is the last thing standing between clients and poverty and homelessness.  There are many misconceptions about SSD, generally perpetuated by ignorant people.  In my practice I have never seen a situation where someone who received disability did not deserve it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I applaud former Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich for starting a pardon clinic

This is a great idea. Presidential pardons are disproportionately given to white men. Surprise, surprise. Minorities are often wrongfully convicted, and a disproportionate number of them are convicted of crimes. It seems there should be more balance in the allocation of pardons. Obviously it is up to the President though. Doesn't mean he cannot be influenced though.

Muse and Daniels cases raise issues about teachers

I'm not going to say wither the actions of Mike Muse or Brent David were justified.  I don't know enough to say.  However, I will say the actions of these two men raise issues about teachers in high schools in general.  Is it the teachers' fault?  Or is it the students' fault?  I'm not sure.  But I don't like any of it.  I'm hoping these are examples of the media over covering the schools.  Likewise, I hope these are isolated incidents.

North Carolina Court of Appeals does not dismiss alienation of affection case

The North Carolina Court of appeals ruled yesterday not to dismiss Melissa Oliver's appeal of the denial of her motion to dismiss the alienation of affection action filed against her by Veronica Filipowski.  Filipowski is the ex-wife of former Winston-Salem Dash team co-owner, Flip Filipowski.  The Court ruled a "substantial right" was not affected.  Likewise, it did not take up her appeal because there was not a final judgment in the lawsuit.  Generally an appeal cannot be made while the case is pending unless it affects a substantial right.  Here the Court reasoned no substantial right was affected.  This means an appeal is premature, and Oliver will have to wait till the case is concluded to appeal.  This assumes no other issues affecting a substantial right arise.  Of course, the North Carolina Supreme Court may see it differently.  I predict the North Carolina Supreme Court will hear the case.  After that, I'm not sure.

southernlawyernc.blogspot.com reaches 100,000 hits in just over a year

My blog is going strong.  I've recently switched to only writing my own stuff and not posting any articles witten by others.  This is to make sure the blog continues to be a good resource for people, but a resource created by me.  I don't want a blog that gets a lot of hits because I post links to popular articles with little or no commentary on my part.

I enjoy your comments.  Please feel free to leave more.

Thanks,
Michael Wells Jr.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I enjoyed meeting Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

Justice Thomas is the third Supreme Court Justice I've met. I also met Justice O'Connor and Justice Ginsberg. It was interesting and exiting. The Supreme Court is one of the great intellectual and governmental bodies in the history of the world. It is so steeped in history and mysterious in its operations that it is helpful to gain at least a small insight into how the Court works.

Justice Thomas told me all the judges are friends, but they don't see each other much when they work. Most of the time is spent with law clerks. I guess those were my glimpses.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Make sure you check out your contractor before hiring

I've seen my share of lying, cheating contractors. They do a poor job, overcharge, and then they act offended if you sue them. Of course they have no problem suing you for work they failed to do but for which they still want to be paid. These are the bad ones. There are a lot of bad ones, but the good ones are great.

I suggest you ask around about your contractor before hiring them. Check them out on the internet, specifically on the Better Business Bureau website.

I doubt that the President will declare a state of emergency for the recent tornadoes

Tornadoes hit three North Carolina counties yesterday, Cherokee, Cabarrus and Mecklenburg. Although there was extensive damage, it does not appear extensive enough to warrant a Presidential declaration of emergency, especially in light of the severity of the tornadoes in the Midwest.

When the President declares a state of emergency, FEMA goes to the affected place and coordinates the supply of food, water, shelter and medical care. Then FEMA works with the American Bar Association and Disaster Legal Services Corporation to provide legal services.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A guy at Dicks Sporting Goods tried to sell me a warranty on a $26 gym bag

I asked him if anyone actually fell for this obvious ploy for Dick's to make extra money. He said yes. What idiots. Buying a warranty on a small item is throwing money away. When is the last time a gym bag ripped? That's like buying a warranty on an alarm clock. Consumers should be aware of these kinds of ploys.

Sandra Fluke should not have been maligned by Rush Limbaugh

I wish I could say Limbaugh's comments surprise me, but they don't. He is an insensitive jerk, who is often misguided. Calling Fluke a slut for saying insurance policies should cover birth control is moronic and barbaric. Not surprising for Limbaugh. Of course he will end up making money on this.

Uriel Alberto may be deported for protesting at a legislative meeting in Raleigh

He is undocumented, so this is legally permissible. The other two protestors were also undocumented, but NCIS and ICE do not want to deport them. Apparently these agencies feel deporting the other two men would be inconsistent with their policies. I'm not sure about this one.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Blue Cross error resulting in the disclosure of confidential information of 1,000 customers is egregious

A Wake Forest business school professor described this as a "simple mistake" in a Winston-Salem Journal article. That depends on the definition of simple. The consequences were anything but simple. Peoples' personal information was put out there, and that is inexcusable.

How are big insurance companies kept from making these kinds of mistakes and kept accountable? Lawyers. Lawyers are the sentinels who man the line between you and the plague of injustice that strives to destroy people.

Think about these things when you vote, and remember when you push for tort reform you are limiting your protection against these kinds of injustices.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Charges dropped against Davidson County man who tried to pay for item at Walmart with $1 million dollar bill

DA Gary Frank dropped charges against Anthony Michael Fuller. Fuller tried to buy an item with a $1 million dollar bill. The highest denomination in circulation is $100.

Michael Charles Hayes no longer under court supevision

Hayes is no longer under court supervision. In 1988, Hayes killed four people and wounded five. Hayes was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Hayes claimed he saw demons.

One of the victims' relatives said he would kill Hayes if he ever went free. Now he's free.

Montana Judge Richard Cebull says he is not a racist despite sending e-mail impugning the biracial heritage of President Obama

This is the typical response of people who make racist jokes. The next most popular response is: "I have lots of black friends." This guy is a Bush appointee. Surprise, surprise. I hope they run him off the bench and back into the cave where he belongs.