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View Full Version : Legal Rabbit hole, request for new sticky.


nicki
08-15-2008, 1:33 PM
Many of you are veterans here, but most people who visit the site are not.

Consider yourself like Lance Armstrong and then consider that many people who visit have not even gotten on a bike with training wheels.:D

Many Americans are under the illusion that we live in a "Free Country", that the whole Fed Bill of Rights apply across the country.

They have no idea what Incorporation means, have no idea of the difference between rational basis and strict scrutiny means.

Most Americans are not only financially ignorant, but they are also legal ignorant as well and I will be honest enough to say that I fall into both categories, but which is why I consider myself a student.

The sticky would turn into a long one, but I believe if would save alot of people problems not with just guns, but other issues as well.

What I envision is we create a sticky with the Bill of Rights, we cite key US Supreme court cases that shaped how the bill of rights is applied. We don't have to go into detail, just a cliff note version.

Under each right we comment what many people believe they have, then what we do is we give them reality and we do that through all 10 amendments.

I believe we also need to add comments on government taxing authority as well as the "Commerce Clause" since these are the sources of problems on the Federal level.

Many people for instance believe that they qualify for a public defender if they can't afford a attorney. My understanding is that you have to have a monthly income of under 1K, probably less to even qualify.

This means that the average working person has to pay for an attorney out of pocket or represent himself. I don't think most of us have a spare 10 to 20K sitting around to hire a defense attorney.

Some people doing the open unloaded carry for instance may not have thought this one out.

If you don't know what your rights really are you don't have them. Many people are operating under the assumption that they have rights when they really don't and that is what will get alot of people into real trouble.

Nicki

ohsmily
08-15-2008, 6:19 PM
The rule of thumb as to whether you qualify for the PD in Sacramento County is $1800-2000 per month. If you have child support, alimony, or other garnishments, then you can qualify with a higher income as well.

M. Sage
08-15-2008, 6:38 PM
The rule of thumb as to whether you qualify for the PD in Sacramento County is $1800-2000 per month. If you have child support, alimony, or other garnishments, then you can qualify with a higher income as well.

Before taxes!? There's no way. I'm over that, and there is no way in hell I could afford a defense attorney. (Though, to be fair, taxes should be considered garnishments. :p )

bulgron
08-15-2008, 8:16 PM
My brother is a public defender for a large midwestern city, and while he's a good lawyer -- heck, a great lawyer -- I'm here to tell you that YOU NEVER WANT TO MAKE USE OF A PUBLIC DEFENDER.

On any given day, he has between 500 and 800 files on his desk. Yes, that means he's representing between 500 and 800 people at a time. Those kinds of numbers do not make for great representation, no matter how hard he tries. So for the most part, unless you've done something that could get you serious jail time, he mostly does whatever he can to get your case to go away so he can focus on the big, major cases (like murder, etc).

I assume that California is not all that different from the rest of the country in terms of the workload put on the public defenders. So if you're going to start doing OC walks (post incorporation, of course), I seriously suggest you find a private lawyer first and find out what it's going to cost to defend you from an over-zealous prosecutor if it comes to that. And then decide if you can afford to do that OC walk.

'nuff said.

I like Niki's idea for a sticky, btw. But couldn't this be done in the wiki?

RomanDad
08-15-2008, 8:28 PM
I like Niki's idea for a sticky, btw. But couldn't this be done in the wiki?

Its a hell of an undertaking.... Its basically writing a restatement of Con Law, at the end of which the author would have an incredibly marketable, publishable treatise, that ultimately may go way over the heads (and needs) of the average layperson.... And then there is an attorney/client/malpractice thing.... Its probably best to say, IF YOURE THINKING OF DOING SOMETHING ON THE LINE, TALK TO LAWYER FIRST....

If you just want to have a better academic understanding of con law, there is no shortage of publications both on the web and in the bookstore that would be better suited for it.

ohsmily
08-15-2008, 9:47 PM
My brother is a public defender for a large midwestern city, and while he's a good lawyer -- heck, a great lawyer -- I'm here to tell you that YOU NEVER WANT TO MAKE USE OF A PUBLIC DEFENDER.

On any given day, he has between 500 and 800 files on his desk. Yes, that means he's representing between 500 and 800 people at a time. Those kinds of numbers do not make for great representation, no matter how hard he tries. So for the most part, unless you've done something that could get you serious jail time, he mostly does whatever he can to get your case to go away so he can focus on the big, major cases (like murder, etc).

I assume that California is not all that different from the rest of the country in terms of the workload put on the public defenders. So if you're going to start doing OC walks (post incorporation, of course), I seriously suggest you find a private lawyer first and find out what it's going to cost to defend you from an over-zealous prosecutor if it comes to that. And then decide if you can afford to do that OC walk.

'nuff said.

I like Niki's idea for a sticky, btw. But couldn't this be done in the wiki?

While PDs do have large case loads, if you are charged with a serious offense and have high exposure for prison time, most PD offices will be able to provide you with a very good defense. There are lots of resources and funding available to be people accused of serious offenses (facing more than 10 years in prison). However, PDs assigned to misdemeanors have HUGE caseloads and chances are you won't be given much attention.

With regard to Bulgron's post.....if your brother represents people charged with murder, then he doesn't have 500-800 cases. If he has that many cases, than he is a misdo PD. If he is on the murder team, he won't have that many cases.

1JimMarch
08-15-2008, 11:10 PM
Everybody on this board should have and have read a copy of either Akhil Reed Amar's 1998 book "The Bill Of Rights" or Stephen Halbrook's "That Every Man Be Armed" (1984). As much as I like Halbrook, Amar's book is better. Both cover the same material re: the 14A. The biggest difference is that Amar (a serious Liberal from Yale) hated what he reported, while Halbrook was gleeful :).

Amar's work is more powerful as a result, and is better written and more expansive to boot.

I've read both.

guimus
08-16-2008, 2:25 AM
Off topic, but I've enough friends in PD's offices (SF, Alameda, Contra Costa) to say that I would ALWAYS go with the PD over a private attorney. They generally are fantastic attorneys, have tons of experience, and will put in lots of time on your case if you're nice to them. Most of them are so frequently being yelled at by their clients that if you aren't terribly demanding and are polite and helpful, they'll gladly put in time on your case.

bulgron
08-16-2008, 3:10 AM
With regard to Bulgron's post.....if your brother represents people charged with murder, then he doesn't have 500-800 cases. If he has that many cases, than he is a misdo PD. If he is on the murder team, he won't have that many cases.

You are correct, my information was out of date. Those numbers were from the days when my brother did misdemeanors.

I talked to him tonight, and he tells me that since he started doing felonies he's averaged around 125 cases at any given time. However, in the last six months or so, the budget for his office got cut by 25%. As of today, he has 240 open and active cases.

He said that from roughly 1:30 this afternoon until 5:30 he was in court with 11 different felony cases. Rapists, drug dealers, muggers, car thieves, the normal run of the mill. Meth seems to be a common theme with his clients. He also at this time has two murder cases on his desk, but I couldn't tell if he was dealing with any of those today. It was actually pretty hard to talk to him about this since the more he talked about it the madder he got.

In any event, he made it pretty clear that he thinks the situation is pretty intolerable, especially considering that he's expecting his case load to increase dramatically due to some high profile events that are going to happen in his city early next month. In fact, he said that if he was a private attorney with that many cases, he'd probably get disbarred for neglecting his clients. However, his state's Supreme Court has pretty much protected the PDs from any action due to lengthy delays in getting clients to trial. Also, it seems that if you don't get a speedy trial because your public defender is too busy, then your rights have not been violated.

I asked him what it took to qualify for a PD in his state. He said that you had to make less than minimum wage. In other words, if you have two nickles to rub together, you aren't going to be getting a PD. I talked to him about the OC walks that brought up this conversation and he sort of laughed, saying that the gun a guy uses to OC is an asset and as far as his office would be concerned the guy could just sell his weapons to make a down payment for a private attorney. Certainly no one engaging in that kind of activity was going to qualify for a PD.

Now, as I said in an earlier post, my brother lives in a midwestern state, NOT California. Nevertheless, if the PD situation in CA is even remotely like what it is in my brother's state, I'd still way rather deal with a private attorney than a PD if only so that my lawyer would actually return my phone calls.

At this point I've heard way too many horror stories from the life of a Public Defender to think anything other than you should just stay away from those guys if you have any options at all.

This isn't meant to disparage the skills and dedication of public defenders, btw. It's just that if government decides to starve public defenders offices of resources, there isn't a damn thing the PDs or anyone else can do about it. And, as it turns out, it is apparently relatively painless (politically speaking) to cut a PD's budget when the money gets tight. Apparently voters don't very much care if a resource used by "poor guilty people" (that's my brother's sarcastic description) isn't funded.

Your mileage may vary....

Peragro
08-17-2008, 4:47 PM
Many of you are veterans here, but most people who visit the site are not.

Consider yourself like Lance Armstrong and then consider that many people who visit have not even gotten on a bike with training wheels.:D

Many Americans are under the illusion that we live in a "Free Country", that the whole Fed Bill of Rights apply across the country.

They have no idea what Incorporation means, have no idea of the difference between rational basis and strict scrutiny means.

Most Americans are not only financially ignorant, but they are also legal ignorant as well and I will be honest enough to say that I fall into both categories, but which is why I consider myself a student.

The sticky would turn into a long one, but I believe if would save alot of people problems not with just guns, but other issues as well.

What I envision is we create a sticky with the Bill of Rights, we cite key US Supreme court cases that shaped how the bill of rights is applied. We don't have to go into detail, just a cliff note version.

Under each right we comment what many people believe they have, then what we do is we give them reality and we do that through all 10 amendments.

I believe we also need to add comments on government taxing authority as well as the "Commerce Clause" since these are the sources of problems on the Federal level.

Many people for instance believe that they qualify for a public defender if they can't afford a attorney. My understanding is that you have to have a monthly income of under 1K, probably less to even qualify.

This means that the average working person has to pay for an attorney out of pocket or represent himself. I don't think most of us have a spare 10 to 20K sitting around to hire a defense attorney.

Some people doing the open unloaded carry for instance may not have thought this one out.

If you don't know what your rights really are you don't have them. Many people are operating under the assumption that they have rights when they really don't and that is what will get alot of people into real trouble.

Nicki

I think this is a great idea as I've just now gotten on the "gun bike" within the last few months. I've already learned a huge amount from Calguns.net. This year I bought both a Mosin Nagant and an SKS. Naturally I think the next step for me would be to let those two guns get married and have a Dragunov type love-child. What makes me nervous, as you've pointed out, is that I don't have several thousands of dollars laying around for a felony defense. I realize that with a little modification the Dragunov type rifle can be made CA legal; primarily the addition of a bullet button (I think). So that's what I've been doing today - searching the forums for legal cases or letters that concern bullet buttons and the like. Not that I've exactly had a lot of luck as there may not be any cases or legal opinions yet. It might also be due to my ability to be easily sidetracked into reading about all kinds of other stuff; like the Myth of Nazi Gun Control among other things.

So perhaps the sticky you're suggesting might consolidate several issues in one place and allow for easier research into many various legal questions. It might not help with exactly what I'm searching for today, but it would be a useful tool nonetheless.

BTW, 1JimMarch, Amazon has a copy of Amar's book on the way to me...