Thursday, April 3, 2014

Lawyer to the Stars - Robert Barnes

Robert Barnes is now representing Lenny Dykstra in a major civil rights case.   The website TMZ reported that the former Philadelphia Philly and New York Met is suing the City of Los Angeles for getting beaten by cops while he was in the LA County Jail.

"Nails" definitely made a good decision with his choice of lawyer.  Robert Barnes is a nationally known civil rights and criminal tax attorney who made national headlines with his successful defense of Wesley Snipes.   Facing a myriad of felony tax evasion counts, Barnes got Snipes off on all charges except a minor misdemeanor.   Robert's incredible depth of knowledge really comes across in his  video center - which features several in-depth videos about criminal tax investigations.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Miranda Going Away?

I had lunch with Criminal defense attorney Howard Snader the other day.   He told me about a recent Supreme Court ruling that has some chilling consequences.  Basically, thanks to a recent court decision, a suspect's "silence" can now be used against you in a criminal proceeding.   I asked him to write an article about it and here it is:

My criminal defense practice extends to all types of criminal acts.  But, my primary mission is to defend and protect you from any wrongful or excessive government taking of your liberty or property. Because I hope to protect you from any wrongful investigation or otherwise making a statement against your interest made to any officer, you need to understand a recent change in our fundamental right to remain silent.
The United States Supreme Court turned Miranda and our right to remain silent upside down.  See, Salinas v. Texas, 133 S.Ct. 2174 (2013).  Their ruling received little to no coverage in the media. Yet, the Court’s ruling is scary stuff. And, the ruling substantially changed one of our basic rights: the right to remain silent.
Most of us are familiar with Miranda and the Miranda warnings: “you have a right to remain silent and anything you say can be held against you.” Since Dragnet and Adam 12, police dramas and literature speak of your Miranda rights. Miranda requires that any statement you make must be voluntary before it can be used against you.  Miranda has been the rule concerning statements made to law enforcement since 1966. 
Miranda applied with two primary caveats: 1) you needed to be in custody, and 2) law enforcement was asking you questions.  If you were not in custody (making statements over the phone, or speaking to an officer when not under arrest) Miranda would not apply. But in all other cases, your statement needed to be voluntary before it could be used against you.  If you were Mirandized, your statements were presumed voluntary and could be used against you.
But with the Salinas ruling, The US Supreme Court has now held it to be the law of the land that if you are not in custody, you are not entitled to be advised of your right to remain silent (also known as your right against self incrimination). AND, because you are not in custody, if you remain silent, YOUR SILENCE CAN NOW BE USED AGAINST YOU. 
So, if you are not in custody, police do not need to tell you have a right to counsel or tell you have the right to remain silent. Where does that leave you?  If you remain silent, a prosecutor can actually say to a jury that “an honest person would have answered those questions” or an innocent person would have answered those questions,” or worse, “what is that person hiding?”  Your presumption of innocence is a fallacy, is a myth, is now dead!
If you are reading this and you say so what, then think of it this way.  A criminal case is a jigsaw puzzle in which the only person seeing the cover of the box is the detective.  The detective enters his investigation believing you are involved.  Any question you answer provides him a piece of his puzzle.  Innocent answers can result in criminal charges being brought.  Did you know that person? Were you at the bar last Saturday? What time did you leave?   Each of those questions, even if answered truthfully, address a piece of the puzzle the prosecutor no longer needs to prove.  If you were to remain silent, it forces the prosecutor to prove you knew the person, were at the bar and what time you left. 
I have had too many cases where my innocent client is investigated or charged because the “innocent” statements were taken out of context, were twisted to fit the detective’s or  prosecutor’s theory, or were improperly recorded and subsequently misused. 
An innocent person may have many reasons for remaining silent.  You may know who is guilty, but do not wish to involve the person.  It may be your wish to remain silent because you are angry or in shock that you have been accused of a crime.  It may be you exercised your right to remain silent because for almost 50 years, you have been taught to remain silent.  All of these are valid reasons and concerns to remain silent. But under the new Salinas rule, the prosecutor can and will use your silence against you.  So, what is your remedy?

If you remember nothing else from this article, please remember this:
After identifying yourself to an officer, CLEARLY TELL THE OFFICER THAT YOU WANT TO 
Rarely, you can convince an officer to not arrest you.  So remaining silent is normally your best course of action. But now, you must proactively invoke your right and request counsel.  If in doubt, invoke your right to remain silent. So long as you invoke your right, you can then remain silent with no recourse or finger pointing by the prosecutor.  But no one is going to remind you to do it.
When the police are knocking on your door, or the red and blue lights are in your rearview mirror, remember to remain silent, invoke that right, and call me right away….even if on the roadside. 

You can reach Howard Snader on his website

The Prison Industrial Complex

This is a disturbing interactive map that shows how much tax payers pay for incarceration in every state:   By Hovering over each state, the stats change at the bottom.  Also if you click into a state it will show you the location of every prison in the state.

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Different Take on March Madness Brackets - Examining College Crime

This is pretty cool and quite funny.   The website just came out with their own seedings for March Madness.   Instead of ranking the schools based on their basketball records this year, they looked at the incidence of college crime.

The site humorously goes through the criminal qualifications of each school that is currently playing in the NCAA tournament.   For example here is the rundown on the most criminal of schools; University of Colorado.

Actually this is really helpful information provided in a very fun, accessible way.   As a parent of three kids who will hopefully go to College one day - safety will be one of my chief concerns.   Below are the top seeds, or the most dangerous schools followed by the 6 safest.

Sun City Estate Planning Lawyers

Congrats to the Sun City Estate Planning Firm, Gorman & Jones on the release of their beautiful new website.

This firm previously had a successful web presence for estate planning in Arizona, but recently had to start over with a new URL thanks to a recent Penguin Update.   Unbeknown to them at the time, their old SEO provider, had violated Google's quality guidelines by placing their firm in thousands of low quality directories.   This caused their rankings to plummet overnight - upon the most recent Penguin update in October.

The new site contains a number of impressive features including a responsive design and parallex scrolling.  Parallax scrolling is a scrolling technique in website design where background images move by slower than foreground images, creating an illusion of depth.   You can see this when you scroll down the page.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Expungements - Coast to Coast

Clearing a criminal record can be very important.   A criminal record can preclude you from getting a job, getting housing, or even coaching little league.    The issue is that every state has their own unique laws on clearing a criminal record.   Michael Baker, an attorney in Arizona has created a very cool interactive map that gives a quick synopsis on the expungement laws for every state in the Country.    Just hover over any state and it will give you a brief outline of their set aside laws.   You can find the map on his website :

Sunday, March 16, 2014

iLawyermarketing Launches First Ever Bankruptcy Website

Strange as that sounds, iLawyermarketing just launched their first BK site      Historically, ilawyermarketing has focused on building sites in the personal injury and criminal practice areas.   The Dilks law firm is in Little Rock Arkansas and she will be working with us on search engine optimization (SEO) as well.    Hopefully our success with her will lead to a lot more  bankruptcy business to come.