Author Archives: Stephenson

Marine Nude Picture Scandal

Published / by Stephenson

three marines working together

If you have not heard of the very disturbing nude picture scandal that recently came out, I will fill you in on what I have learned. Apparently, there was a secret Facebook page created by marines, for marines. The secret page contained provocative pictures of female marines. From what I understand, the pictures were either clandestinely taken of the woman, or they were given to Marine men, but were posted on the Facebook page without women’s consent.

I don’t even know how to feel. I guess I can start by stating that I know that that horrible scandal is not a proper reflection of every male in the Marines. I am sure that a lot of them are just as disgusted with the marines who were a part of this scandal as the rest of us are. I am not writing this to talk down on the Marines.

That being said, I am utterly repulsed by the maries who were a part of this. The Facebook page had 30,000 members – all of them were current marines and former marines. I don’t understand. These men are supposed to be leaders. They signed up for the military to protect our country. The signed up for the military to protect our rights, our privacy, and our freedom. How could they violate the very rights that they have sacrificed so much for? To make matters worse, they violated the rights and privacy of their own fellow marines.

Maybe they did not sign up for the marines to be role models; it’s fine if they didn’t. I am not saying that marines or anyone in the military has to wear a halo on their heads. But you are representing our country. You are in a sense, helping to keep our country together. How are you helping lead our country when you are doing things that help tear us down? It was probably all in fun to them. I am sure they assumed that since it was a private page, that it was not a big deal. That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Regardless of them being marines, that is someone’s daughter, or sister, or mother. You don’t do that. Have some respect for them, and have some respect for yourself.

I just hope that they are punished for this. I just can’t understand what would make them think that it is ok to violate someone’s privacy like that. Why would you want to support such a disgusting page? All I can do is pray for them. There are so many good marines out there, perhaps they will follow their lead, instead of the lead of some twisted Facebook users. What are your thoughts on this scandal? Leave your comments down below!

Defamation

Published / by Stephenson

Defamation is when a person claims actions taken by another has ruined or damaged their reputation. Defamation is not a criminal law offence. Instead defamation falls under the category of civil law. As defamation is categorized under civil law, when a defamation case is filed the aggrieved party is seeking financial compensation for damages to their reputation. Defamation law strikes the balance between the right to freedom of speech for all and the need to ensure people can protect their reputations arising from false and harmful comments.

Defamation can occur in both written and spoken form

Libel
If defamation occurs in writing, such as in a newspaper, it is called libel.

Slander
If defamation occurs when spoken, such as during a speech, it is called slander.

Proof Of Defamation
Suing someone for defamation is when a person takes legal action to protect his or her reputation. In order to prove that a person has been defamed, proof has to be established. The statement that caused the defamation case can be written, spoken or images such as a cartoon or photograph. The defaming statement needs to show proof of:

• Must be published
• False information
• Injurious results
• The Statement Was Unprivileged

The Statement Was Published
In order to show proof of defamation the statement must have been published. This means that a third party must have been present or have heard, seen or read the defaming statement.

The Statement Held False Information
The information in a defaming statement must be false. Even if the statement is considered horrible or mean, it is only defamation when it is false. If a person writes a bad review about a new book, it is not necessarily defamation as the statement can not necessarily be proved to be wrong.

There Were Injurious Results
A statement that defamed an individual must have caused injurious results to that person’s reputation. This can include losing employment, having the press harass them and being shunned by friends or associates.

The Statement Was Unprivileged
In order for a defamation case to be filed the statement must be unprivileged. In some environments statements are protected by law from being considered defamation and are considered privileged. For example, the statement that a witness makes during a court case is considered a privileged statement. This is also true of government ministers and lawmakers.

Should the Voting Age Be Lowered

Published / by Stephenson

There is nothing I agree with more than lowering the voting age. I have been feeling like the voting age should be lowered for years now. Restricting the voting age to 18 is outdated, and limiting us as a country.

I think that the voting age should be lowered to 16. I am assuming that some people are hesitant to lower the voting age, because of how impressionable they think teenagers are. I suppose that that is slightly. Maybe some people think that minors will only vote based off of how their parents vote and what their parents believe. Maybe some people think that minors do not understand the significance or impact of voting. Whatever it is, I do not agree.

Now, more than ever, kids and teens alike are all about developing their own opinions and standing up for what they believe in. To be honest, I hear more adults discuss more outdated reasons of why they support particular candidates than teenagers do. Lowering the age to 16 will invite a whole new world of creative thoughts and opinions. It’s the younger ones who will be affected by the decisions we make now in the long run. Why not allow them the opportunity to affect and shape their futures?

Furthermore, I feel that lowering the voting age to 16 will greatly increase the number of voters. Imagine what would happen if schools had voting polls available at the schools, and all of the eligible students would be able to vote right at the school. Or if that could not happen, the schools could take field trips to the voting polls.

This would not only increase the number of voters, but it would encourage a younger audience to get more involved into politics. What is the point of teaching students the history and importance of voting, if they are not actually given the opportunity to vote and see it in action. At the age of 16, teenagers are driving automobiles that weigh thousands of pounds. How are they not able to make a decision and vote? They are, and they should be able to do so.

I fully support the voting age being lowered, and I hope that I can be a part of making that happen. What do you all think? Do you think that the voting age should be lowered? If you do not think that the voting age should be lowered, why not? Please share your thoughts in the comment section down below!

Should Minors Have a Curfew

Published / by Stephenson

SYes, yes, and double yes. When I think back at the tragedies that occurred amongst my peers when I was a teenager, they typically had to do with them being out late when they should have been at home. My heart breaks just thinking about those stories, because they could have been easily prevented. I feel that a lot of teen deaths could be prevented if minors had a curfew, and I feel as though there should be a law that requires minors to have a curfew.

My main question is, “Why not?” I can only see more good than harm coming from this. Where do these kids and teenagers have to go at 11:00 pm? I can see this as limiting their rights in some way, but I do not know if they are at the maturity level to handle being out that late.

Adults experience some of the worst accidents and violent encounters when they are out doing stuff late at night. Why wouldn’t a minor? I have seen minors who finally get their license, racing at midnight on what they think is an empty road. How many news stories are there where young teens were drinking and driving late at night, and got into a horrible car accident? I am not saying that children and teens are not competent beings. I do not feel that way at all; that is why I want to lower the voting age. However, I think most people, adults and children alike, tend to feel freer at nighttime, and they also tend to get into a lot more trouble at nighttime.

That being said, I don’t think that the curfew should be ridiculous, and I think that the curfew should be extended on the weekends. I also feel that minors around the age of 17 (and maybe 16) should have a later curfew.

Everything in life is about giving and taking. A legal curfew for minors can be a protective measure, without completely debilitating them of enjoying an evening out with their friends. Do you think a law should be made that gives minors a curfew? Leave a comment down below!

Human Rights Lawyers

Published / by Stephenson

Human rights lawyers generally deal with litigation associated with torture and abuse. As their name suggests, they deal with all litigation associated with violation of human rights. Most people who pursue this career path have a passion for protecting people’s civil rights.

Becoming a human rights lawyer
To be a human rights law, you first need to complete an undergraduate degree in law. Pursuing courses in human rights history, gender injustice and immigration law is an added advantage. However, there is no undergraduate degree offered that is called human rights law.

You will just have to become a lawyer then specialize in human rights cases. After graduating, experience in an established law firm can help gain experience. Participation in school law clinics, internships and being affiliated with human rights organizations also fosters exposure.

Pursuing a master’s degree in human rights can increase your employ-ability in this highly competitive field.

lawyer in front of building

Skills needed
To be successful in this career path you will need impeccable interviewing skills. This helps you during the interviewing of potential witnesses and victims. The ability to read emotions and gauge people’s reactions will be useful.

Communication skills will also be useful in dealing with clients and media outlets. Human rights lawyers also need to be thoroughly organized in order to be able to effectively manage their cases.

An analytic and creative mind is also an added advantage in this line of work. Perseverance is key as it takes time before someone makes a name for themselves in this industry.
Career prospects and salaries

This field is highly competitive because it has less job openings as compared to other branches of law. This is probably because organizations and law firms dealing with this field are few. It is however lucrative.

An entry level human rights lawyer can earn up to $50,000 per year. This value can shoot up to $90.000 or more upon experience. Though it is tough to break through the competition, it is highly rewarding.

Other possibilities
People who pursue this path are considered to have a deep desire to serve and derive enjoyment from protecting others. If one has a passion in human rights but does not have a law degree, a position as a mediator, arbitrator or conciliator can prove just s rewarding.
At the end of the day, all human rights lawyers, mediators, arbitrators and conciliators simply serve as conflict resolver.

How To File for Workers Compensation

Published / by Stephenson

A significant number of employees suffer permanent or long-term injuries at the workplace. Such injuries limit their ability to earn a living as it was before. Luckily, such individuals can file for permanent disability benefits that can help cushion them against financial losses resulting from staying out of their jobs for considerable time. Workers’ compensation typically covers the injured employees’ medical bills and other expenses.

Who is Eligible for Compensation?

In this case, eligibility is typically determined by the report that a workers’ compensation doctor will file. In the course of your treatment, the medic will ascertain whether your condition can allow you to go back or not. Once you reach a maximum medical improvement point, the medical practitioner will undertake an examination to establish whether the injuries that you suffer have left you with permanent limitations that may prevent you from resuming your job. Thereafter, you will be assigned a disability rating. This is an index representing the extent of the permanent limitation that you have suffered.

Sometimes, the doctor may opt to give a whole-person impairment rating. This is normally the case in instances where the injury involves your neck, internal organs, head, and back. If you are a mine worker for instance and you end up suffering a lung critical lung disease, you are eligible to receive a whole person impairment rating of up to 40%.

Calculating Disability Benefits and How Personal Injury Lawyers Help

Typically, calculating permanent and long-term disability benefits involves a lot of intricacies. This varies according to the state that you are in because each states employs a different method when determining how much disability benefits is to be paid to injured workers. The main determinant of how much you will receive is the extent to which you were injured. This implies either partial or total disability.

picture of a man hurt at work

Permanent total disability is that which prevents you from ever getting involved in meaningful employment in your life. Those who are deemed to have sustained permanently and totally disabled are those with debilitating and serious injuries such as the loss of limbs, or eyesight. If you suffer this kind of disability, you will receive payments for the rest of your life. On the other hand, permanent partial disability implies scheduled and unscheduled disabilities, which are not as dangerous as permanent total disabilities.

If you are injured at your place of work, it is advisable that you get in touch with a disability lawyer who will help you understand all the workers’ compensation rules that relate to your case. Besides this, he/she will represent you in court when or when negotiating for a higher compensation. You definitely need a lawyer who will handle the case on your behalf while you focus on your treatment and recovery. Since lawyers have a better understanding of workers’ compensation laws, you stand a better chance of getting slightly more compensation by hiring one.

A Breakdown of the Bankruptcy Law

Published / by Stephenson

Bankruptcy is basically a legal procedure, which allows debtors to reorganize and reduce their debts under the supervision of the bankruptcy court. Once you embark on this process, the automatic stay will protect you from creditors till you clear your personal liability and receive your discharge.

You are advised to file for bankruptcy if you are struggling to meet your financial obligations. You should similarly file for bankruptcy if you are faced with the possibility of having your property repossessed. Contrary to public belief, filing for bankruptcy doesn’t mean that you are broke. It is simply a strategy that helps you eliminate your debts by giving you additional time to pay up.

Automatic Stay and Bankruptcy Discharge

As soon as your bankruptcy claim is filed, an automatic stay will go into effect. This is a decree that shields you from creditors by preventing them from collecting their debts from you. The automatic stay similarly prohibits all forms of collection activities such as wage garnishments, creditor calls, and lawsuits.

Once the bankruptcy process is successfully completed, you will be discharged from your debts. The discharge completely wipes out your obligation to pay your debts and any personal liability that you might have. Nonetheless, you should keep in mind that not all types of debt are dischargeable through bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

You can either choose to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is specially designed to help clear general unsecured loans. More often than less, it lasts for three months. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is sometimes perceived to help speed up liquidation processes because a bankruptcy trustee appointed by the court is legally allowed to sell a debtor’s nonexempt assets. Even so, there are certain legal provisions that protect a certain portion of debtor’s property from liquidation.

Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy doesn’t allow the sale of debtors’ nonexempt property. Instead, it allows them to propose a payment plan in exchange of keeping their assets. Typically, such debt repayment plans last between three to five years. This explains why Chapter 13 bankruptcy is sometimes known as reorganization bankruptcy. In case you are behind on car loan or mortgage repayments, you should consider filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy so that you can reorganize your finances.

Alternative Ways to Resolve Your Disputes Without a Trial

Published / by Stephenson

If you have a legal dispute, a trial can be one of the most expensive and time-consuming ways to resolve your case. Depending on your case, you may find that a trial may also lead to undesirable outcomes. However, there are a number of other methods available for those that want to stay out of court. In this article, we’ll take a look some of the most common methods to settle disputes without a trial.

Negotiation
Negotiation is perhaps the simplest of the alternatives to trial. Essential, those who are involved in a dispute (or their representative attorneys) communicate with one another to try to reach an agreement. The parties involved offer terms and conditions to satisfy the other party. If there is no agreement between the parties, other methods of resolving the dispute may be necessary to avoid a trial.

While it seems like a no-brainer, many people jump the gun and immediately assume the worst when dealing with unfavorable conditions. Instead, a level-headed approach to negotiation with reasonable expectations and willingness to compromise may actually resolve matters in a fair way.

Mediation
Mediation is the process of using a mediator (a neutral party) to help those on both ends of a dispute reach an agreement. Similar to negotiation, the mediator facilitates discussions and allows for both sides to realize the viewpoints of the other. Typically, this is done in confidentiality (something that a trial cannot guarantee). Because of the neutrality of the mediator, they cannot come to any conclusion nor decide the case in favor of one party over another. However, mediation can serve as a viable method where negotiation alone cannot.

Arbitration
Arbitration is similar to mediation, but with a few notable differences. First, an arbitrator reviews presentations from both sides, (including testimony from experts, witnesses, documents relating to the case, etc.) much in the way that a trial judge would. Second, the arbitrator makes a final decision concerning the details of the case.

This decision may be binding or non-binding. Binding decisions are final and cannot be challenged; non-binding decisions are not final and may be appealed if the decision isn’t felt to be satisfactory. This, however, leads to a trial, where the same of evidence and arguments must be presented again.

The Legality of Marijuana in the United States

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legal books on a table

The legality of marijuana in the United States has been under fierce debate for decades. Countless political and cultural movements have made efforts to either legalize or criminalize marijuana, and its status as a schedule I controlled substance has impacted the nation for decades. How did Marijuana become classified in the way it is today, and what is the likely future of the drug?

In 1970, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a list of drug schedules which categorized drugs into separate categories. Schedule I drugs are considered the most harmful of them all, and constitute drugs with high risk and no counterbalancing benefits; Marijuana is categorized as a schedule I drug.

While marijuana’s classification as a schedule I drug has endured fiery debate from the start, the enforcement of statutes outlawing and punishing its use has a mixed history. In recent years, particularly under former President Barack Obama, the federal government has largely stepped back from policing marijuana, instead opting to allow states to decide for themselves how to implement marijuana laws.

Individual states gradually began to decriminalize marijuana as early as the 1970’s, though medicinal cannabis wasn’t legalized until 1996. The states of Colorado and Washington famously legalized marijuana for recreational use for the first time in U.S. history in 2012, unleashing an avalanche of legal change across the nation.

Currently, recreational usage of marijuana is legal in eight states and the District of Columbia. Medicinal marijuana is currently legal in 12 states, and most states have some form of marijuana legalized or decriminalized, with the exception of Kansas, Idaho and South Dakota.

Many states have pending legal or political initiatives to either decriminalize, fully legalize, or medically legalize marijuana. Public support for marijuana’s legalization has grown rapidly in recent decades, with a majority of Americans now supporting it.

The classification of marijuana as a schedule I drug has had a significant impact on U.S. history; millions of arrests have taken place for the possession, distribution, and use of marijuana over the past few decades. Social and legal activist have claimed that marijuana laws often fall along distinctly racial lines, and unfairly lead to greater incarceration rates among minorities.

The full legalization of medicinal and recreational marijuana appears to be continuously gaining support in the United States, though current Attorney General Jeff Sessions, head of the U.S. Justice Department, has signaled his intention to resist legalization efforts. Nonetheless, despite its broad support among the American public, the legalization of marijuana was not a particularly large issue in the 2016 presidential election.
What are your thoughts on the legalization of marijuana? How has it affected you? Leave a comment below!

The Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution

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The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land, overriding lesser laws and acting as the fundamental basis of our legal and political systems. How, then, does the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution work?

Article VI, Clause 2, or The Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, is a vital rule which primarily serves to enforce federal rulings over state rulings. As a federated government, the United States has both federal and state laws, as well as a plethora of local laws. When these laws overlap or conflict with one another, there must be some form of remedy to determine which is the ultimate law to be followed; the supremacy clause functions exactly as that remedy.

The Supremacy Clause holds that the constitution, and most federal laws, will supersede and override laws at the state level. States who are dissatisfied with a specific federal law are not permitted to violate it, even if they have their own laws or constitution stating otherwise.

As a conflict-of-laws rule, the Supremacy Clause establishes one ultimate legal authority, and prevents a number of judicial conflicts over jurisdiction from breaking out.
A pertinent historical example of this is the desegregation of schools in the American South in the 1960’s; in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Jim Crow laws often forbade African Americans from attending White schools in many Southern states. These laws were eventually rendered null after the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that segregated schools were unconstitutional.

Now that racial segregation was unconstitutional per the highest law in the land, it no longer mattered that existing state laws or constitutions forbade them; it was the Supremacy Clause in action.

Intricate legal and political systems like that of the United States need rules such as the Supremacy Clause to keep things functioning smoothly. Without it, our nation would be a land of complex and contradictory laws vying against one another for legal legitimacy.
What are your thoughts on the Supremacy Clause? How do you think our nation would be different without such a rule? Leave a comment down below!