Sunday, November 30, 2014

My @EliteDaily profile

My new Twitter profile

To reflect my freelance writing for two national publications.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My new audio book for running

Nothing like a dense, English novel.

Bill Cosby and possible criminal charges?

Will criminal charges be brought against Bill Cosby?

Statute of Limitations
The law is in large part driven by time.  Most civil claims and criminal charges cannot be brought after a certain period of time has passed.  Although people sometimes complain about this aspect of the law, in a recent International Business Times article, New York attorney, Stuart Slotnick, says, “’ That’s a fundamental concept in our legal system, that people can’t be questioned for things that happened decades ago.  One of the reasons for the statute of limitations is that if an accuser makes a claim, then the person who was accused will have a very difficult time going back 10, 15, 20 years to defend themselves because evidence and witnesses may be gone.’”  http://www.ibtimes.com/bill-cosby-rape-allegations-why-doesnt-he-face-criminal-charges-1727754.
To date, charges have never been brought against Cosby, and, unless more recent allegedly criminal acts occurred, it is unlikely charges will ever be bought.

Lack of Evidence
Unless obtained right away, physical evidence is difficult to procure.  Alleged rape victims often have a difficult time getting their cases heard and bringing charges against their attackers.  Victims of rape are often reluctant to come forward for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, retribution, social stigma and unresponsiveness of authority figures, resulting in a dearth of evidence.  Even when an alleged victim comes forward and charges are brought it is still one person’s word against another’s. 
 2005 Decision Not to Prosecute and 2006 Civil Settlement
 In 2005, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania district attorney, Bruce Castor, chose not to prosecute Cosby for the alleged sexual assault of Andrea Constand.  Castor cited a lack of evidence, and he said he would not act on the accusations. http://www.vulture.com/2014/09/timeline-of-the-abuse-charges-against-cosby.html. 

Civil cases require a preponderance of evidence which is much lower than the criminal standard of proof of beyond a reasonable doubt.  In November 2006, Cosby settled a civil law suit with Constand.  The settlement terms remain confidential.

Future Criminal Charges and Civil Liability Unlikely
 When it comes to future criminal charges Bill Cosby appears to be in the clear.  Criminal laws vary from state as do the requisite statutes of limitations.  The dozen plus women who have come forward thus far, however, all alleged sexual assaults that occurred well outside of the statute of limitations.  Therefore, it appears criminal charges are time barred.
Even if new claims arise, unless evidence was obtained at the time of the alleged incident, there is a proof problem because rape is so difficult to prove without direct physical proof and strong testimony.  Likewise, Cosby and his attorneys will have a myriad of resources and defenses at their disposal to torpedo such charges.  Namely, they will be able to argue the victims just want money.

Civil claims are likely time barred as well as the respective statutes of limitations ran long ago.  Again, there are proof problems here as well.

Damage to Bill Cosby’s Legacy
Unless all of these accusations are false, Bill Cosby’s reputation is irrevocably damaged.  Gone is the image of Dr. Cliff Huxtable, who imparted wisdom with love and humor.  Suffice it to say, there is now a wide gulf between Cliff Huxtable and Bill Cosby.  The iconic Cosby Show, which ran on television in perpetuity is now off the air, banished from the collective American lexicon.  A recent Washington Post article, “Bill Cosby’s legacy, recast: Accusers speak in detail about sexual assault allegations” chronicles Cosby’s career back to his early days in the 1960s. http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/bill-cosbys-legacy-recast-accusers-speak-in-detail-about-sexual-assault-allegations/2014/11/22/d7074938-718e-11e4-8808-afaa1e3a33ef_story.html.   It is not a particularly flattering picture, and Cosby’s past will likely receive even more scrutiny.  This story is not likely to go away anytime soon.

Cosby is already suffering financially as reruns of the Cosby Show have been pulled from the air, comedy shows canceled and his attempted comeback stymied.  Even though criminal and civil liability do not appear likely, Cosby is forever damaged, and the repercussions will be (and are) an unprecedented fall from grace and public scorn for the rest of his life.  More troubling, however, is the suffering inflicted upon his alleged victims, who will have to live with it for the rest of their lives with no recourse other than to tell the truth.
           

            

Monday, November 24, 2014

Bill Cosby Rape Allegations: Why Doesn't He Face Criminal Charges?

Bill Cosby Rape Allegations: Why Doesn't He Face Criminal Charges?.  It is question of statute of limitations.  In all likelihood, Cosby's alleged actions took place outside the statute of limitations.  This means no criminal charges unless there are new acts within the statutory period.  That appears unlikely.  Even then the evidence isn't likely to be strong enough to bring charges.

Guardianship Basics

Guardianship Basics.  This is useful information.  There will only be more guardianship questions as the population ages and people live longer.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Honest Abe

Those who oppose the President now wouldn't have been in favor of Lincoln's proclamation.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Is Bill Cosby legally at risk?

Lots of allegations are swirling around about Bill Cosby.  It is disappointing to say the least, but life disappoints you.  People sometimes are not what they appear.  As a lawyer, I look for the legal angle as many things are legal--often legal and political.  From what I understand most of these alleged incidents occurred outside of the statutory period, and this likely means they are time barred by the statute of limitations.  Cosby and his lawyers are smart to say NOTHING. Criminal liability, however, is another issue because some states do not have statutes of limitations for felonies.  Depending upon the state where the alleged criminal act(s) took place, there could be criminal liability.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wells Liipfert Social Security disability seminar, Tuesday, November 18th, from 2-3PM at Reynolda Manor Library

I will be there to answer whatever questions you have regarding Social Security disability.  The seminar will last about an hour.  During the seminar I will discuss the following topics:
  • What is Social Security disability?
  • How is Social Security disability defined?
  • What are the qualifications?
  • What is the process like?
  • If you do receive disability, when do you receive it and for how long?
I hope to see you there.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Friday, November 14, 2014

Lorenzo de' Medici

New library will have auditorium, cafe - Winston-Salem Journal: Local News

New library will have auditorium, cafe - Winston-Salem Journal: Local News.  This is great news.  We needed something like this a long time ago.  It has taken way too long, and, as a result, our community has suffered from an intellectual malaise.  Libraries are egalitarian intellectual hubs because everyone, regardless of social standing, has access to knowledge.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

How do you deal with anonymous trolls on your blog's comments section?

There are a few ways to deal with it.  First, you could ignore then.  Second, you could call them on their BS and get them going.  I go back and forth between which is best.  Generally speaking, someone who criticizes you under the cover of anonymity is a coward.  There is no way around that.  The internet makes it easy to say nasty things and run away, BUT it does not shield the commenter from libel laws if the statement is deemed libelous.  Most anonymous commenters don't know this.  My best advice is: don't let it bother you, and the more you get slammed the better the job you are doing.  "Haters are going to hate," as the saying goes.

I'm now a contributing writer for Elite Daily (@EliteDaily)

I am thrilled to be a new contributing writer for Elite Daily (http://elitedaily.com/), which is one of the fastest growing--and most widely read--new websites on the internet.  My articles will focus on law, politics and how social media is interwoven through these integral areas of our lives; I may write on other topics as well, but these will be my primary topics.  It is likely my articles will appear on the weekend as that's the only time I have to write articles because I have my thriving law career to attend to during the week.

Forsyth County Elections officials adjust Election Day results - News-Record.com: North Carolina

Forsyth County Elections officials adjust Election Day results - News-Record.com: North Carolina.  Another debacle for voting in North Carolina.  The Forsyth County Board of Elections limited early voting places in the primary and in the general election--much more so than Guilford County.  Now it can't count votes the right way.  This is embarrassing, and it is what happens when you pass laws that restrict the right to vote.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Is this person a lawyer?

It appears so.  Not sure which firm though.  I will refrain from commenting.

Medicaid hearing at DSS

I handle these for my SSDI and SSI clients.  Other lawyers do not.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hard to see a homeless veteran on Veteran's Day

I see this guy out a lot, and he is a veteran.  Often I wonder what led him to this situation.  He probably didn't get the VA disability benefits he likely deserves.

Edgar Allan Poe

Iraq war veteran and outspoken war critic Tomas Young dead at 34

He volunteered after 911 for the Army.  He was sent to Iraq, and he was paralyzed on the 5th day of fighting.  Young was the subject of the award winning documentary Body of War.  In 2013, he wrote "The Last Letter: A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran."  See www.commondreams.org for the article.

Medieval Irish catapult

That my fiancé bought, and I drew a picture of...

The recession affects everyone

Even the faithful.  God is stingy on the cars these days.

My article in NCBA's "the Advocate"

Online at least.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Who gets Social Security disability?

Like almost all answers in the law, it depends.  The Social Security Administration (SSA, www.ssa.gov) considers a number of factors such as age, education, years worked, type of work, whether your skills are transferrable and salary received.  They also consider evidence of physical impairments and evidence of mental impairments.  I tell my clients there is no "silver bullet," as the saying goes," because there are intangible things about a case that can turn a case.


If the case goes to hearing, an administrative law judge (ALJ) will issue a written decision.  In cases that aren't as clear cut I often see the judge rely on testimonial evidence.  This means how the client came across at hearing.  In other words, was the claimant credible?  Fortunately the "human element" is still relevant, and judges, who are people too and trying to do the right thing, can be--and often are--swayed by a compelling story.


So I can't say who gets disability, but I can say when I've got something to work with to create a case that has a fighting chance.

Don't be surprised if VA disability funding gets cut in 2015

VA disability funding will likely get cut in 2015 due to Republicans taking power.  This will be done in an effort to "shrink the size of government," when, in reality, the size of government will only grow.  It is just a different kind of growth, namely more tax breaks for billionaires and corporations and money for defense contractors.

My Dante Alighieri drawing

Because NC is such an inferno with no parididiso in the near future.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The thanks I get for talking about Guy Fawkes on Guy Fawkes Day

I guess I changed the subject.  This person has anger issues.

Messenger stone a sign for lawyer

My parents gave this to me.

Happy Guy Fawkes Day

November 5, 1605 "Gunpowder Plot" remembered.  My lovely fiancé, Jillian Brevorka, reminded me of this fact.