Articles 15 June 2015
The issue of child support enforcement is a high priority to the United States. The Bureau of Consular Affairs and the Office of the Legal Adviser for Private International Law work closely with the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement to find innovative solutions to international child support enforcement problems.
Consular sections in U.S. embassies and consulates can respond to requests from the local U.S. child support agency for parent locate information from consular registration records regarding U.S. citizen/national parents registered with the U.S. embassy or consulate.
Information regarding the whereabouts of U.S. citizens abroad contained in Department of State passport records or U.S. Embassy or consulate registration records abroad is protected by the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a). For consideration of a request of a release, the state child support enforcement office must submit a written request. Individuals cannot make such requests, only state child support enforcement agencies.
Articles 08 June 2015
The United States Supreme Court today, June 8, 2015 rejects to hear an appeal filed by gun owners and the National Rifle Association (NRA). The Court left intact a March 2014 ruling by the San Francisco based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld the regulation that requires gun owners to keep their weapons locked up or disabled when stored at home.
The regulation, issued in 2007, required that guns at home must be stored in a locked container or disable it with a trigger lock. The U.S. Supreme Court has not agreed to hear a major gun case since 2010. Two of the nine justices (Scalia and Thomas), stated they would have taken the case. Thomas wrote, “that the Supreme Court has outlined to lower courts how to approach Second Amendment cases but the courts that oversaw the San Francisco case have failed to protect it.”
“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” This is the heavily debated Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Due to recent anti-gun laws, many more individuals are now classified as “prohibited person.” This means individuals whose possession of a firearm is considered a criminal offense.
Articles 02 June 2015
With the summer travel season here, you can be sure that the police will be setting up sobriety checkpoints. In California and in many states, police conducting checkpoints must comply with a strict guideline that is laid out by case laws. In California, the landmark case is Ingersoll v. Palmer. Why are these case laws and statutes critical? If the police do not follow the protocol described such as in Ingersoll, the checkpoint is not lawful, and any evidence gathered during a driving under the influence (“drunk driving”) arrest may not be admissible in court. Without the evidence collected at the scene, most cases will be dismissed.
The California Supreme Court identified eight factors that minimize the intrusiveness on the individual being stopped, while balancing the needs of the society to keep the “drunk” drivers off the road.
(1) Supervisors Decide: The establishment and location of sobriety checkpoints must be decided by supervisory police officers, not officers in the field. This is important in order to reduce the potential for arbitrary and random enforcement.
(2)Field Officers Discretion Limited: A neutral mathematical formula, such as every sixth driver etc. is used in determined in who to stop. Again with the purpose that field officers do not get to stop any driver he/she chooses.
Articles 25 May 2015
Professional licensing agencies may suspend or revoke a license issued for reasons enumerated in the California Business and Professions Code (BPC). For many who have criminal convictions, whether they are doctors, nurses, contractors, they will be served and must defend against an accusation that impacts their careers and livelihood. I had a client recently who had an underlying criminal conviction and had to defend her license in an administrative hearing.
It is critical to hire an attorney who is experienced in direct and cross-examination, gathering evidence and highly skilled in conducting hearings. In California, the Attorney General (AG) is the representative of the various professional licensing boards. Even prior to the date of the hearings, I worked with the Supervising Deputy AG in providing her mitigating evidence such as character letters and evidentiary documents lessening the culpability of my client.
Even though an early termination of probation and a criminal expungement may not be conclusive in getting the Board to withdraw the accusation, it is an important factor that enables the judge and the board to reconsider the gravity of the charges.