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Make Sense of Outrageous Nebraska Laws

November 11, 2016

Of all the odd laws out there, some of the funkiest can be found in Nebraska. From diseases that may prevent you from getting married to laws banning children from belching during church service, you’ll want to look into Nebraska’s strange laws before heading there. Even if you live in Nebraska, you should research the law regarding bar owners brewing soup before opening up your own tavern. Continue on and try to make sense of these outrageous Nebraska laws.

You Can’t Marry with Gonorrhea

Modern laws governing marriage have been under significant debate for years, but Nebraska has one law that is particularly unusual. The law states that both the male and the female involved in the marriage must be at least seventeen years of age, but that is not the strange part. If either party has a venereal disease like gonorrhea, the marriage cannot legally take place. This is one Nebraska law that would be awkward to enforce.

Children Mustn’t Burp In Church

It’s always important to mind your manners, especially in a setting like church. A strange Nebraska law encourages children to be extra respectful, however; unless they want their parents to get in trouble. According to Nebraska law, a parent can be placed under arrest if his or her child burps during church.

Bar Owners Must Brew Soup

A bar owner typically needs to serve beer in order to keep the business running. In Nebraska, bar owners must be brewing a kettle of soup at the same time as they sell their beer. If they aren’t, the act is technically unlawful.

Mass Chaos: Strange Massachusetts Laws

November 4, 2016

Massachusetts natives tend to be known for their accents, but their state also has some strange laws on the books that might catch your attention. Be careful when you take a nap in this state, because there are laws governing snoring. Additionally you can’t put too much alcohol in candy, and your gun should be coming with you to church on Sundays. Keep reading if you’d like to take a closer look at some of the strangest Massachusetts laws.

Snoring Has Rules

Whether you have sleep apnea or you had a bit too much to drink, don’t let your snoring get out of control in Massachusetts. One peculiar law doesn’t completely ban snoring, but it does provide some very specific rules. If you are going to be snoring in Massachusetts, make sure the windows in your bedroom are both closed and locked.

Candy Can’t Be Too Alcoholic

Alcoholic candy might sound like a great idea to some people, and technically it’s legal in Massachusetts. If you’re going to sell alcoholic candy to another person, you’ll need to make sure it contains no more than one percent alcohol. This applies to liquid or syrup ingredients in the candy.

Bring Your Guns to Church

Many people visit out of state relatives during the holidays. If your typical holiday celebrations include going to church, there’s one law you should know about before you head to Massachusetts. Massachusetts has one law on the books that requires men to bring their rifles with them to church on Sundays.

What Can Put You in the Slammer in Alabama

September 30, 2016

Originally called the Alabama Territory, Alabama became a state on December 14, 1819. Since this momentous day, there have been several important and beneficial laws passed in the Heart of Dixie; however, Alabama has also passed some ridiculous laws that nonetheless still remain in place today.

Bear wrestling matches are prohibited.

Alabama has passed legislation ensuring that bears are not exploited in the Yellowhammer State. According to this law, an individual is guilty of unlawful bear exploitation—considered a Class B felony—if they promote, engage in, or are employed at a bear wrestling match. This law also makes it illegal to sell, purchase, possess, or train a bear for wrestling purposes. While this law sounds ridiculous, bear wrestling was once a pastime in the state, and the law is in truth meant to protect these animals from cruel treatment.

It is illegal to maim oneself to escape duty.

Alabama takes not only its animals’ rights seriously, but its residents’ work ethic as well. This law makes it illegal to maim or harm oneself for the purpose of either escaping legal duty or to obtain money or other charitable relief. One can only imagine the lengths at least one person must have once gone to for the purpose of shirking their duty in order to have this law drafted and passed.

Dominoes may not be played on Sunday.

Days of rest are also important under Alabama law. Certain acts are prohibited by state law to be performed in Sunday, including games of dominoes. If you are caught enjoying this simple game, you could be fined between $10 and $100 dollars for violating state code.

Try and Connect the Dots on These Connecticut Laws

September 23, 2016

Located in the United States’ Northeast region, Connecticut is the third smallest state in the nation, but also the fourth most densely populated. Known as the Constitution State, Connecticut is unfortunately not immune to silly laws that made little sense when they were passed and even less so in the modern era.  

In order for a pickle to officially be considered a pickle, it must bounce.

Pickles are taken quite seriously in Connecticut, to the point where authentication is required before a food can officially be called a “pickle.” According to Connecticut law, a pickle may not be labeled or sold as such unless it bounces. Hopefully, the pickles are washed after testing.

You can be stopped by the police for biking over 65 miles per hour.

This state law, which prohibits biking at a speed greater than 65 miles per hour, fortunately won’t likely apply to the average bicyclist, who typically rides at nine to twelve miles an hour. Fit bikers may reach speeds of 25 miles per hour on flat roads for short distances, but speeds much greater than this are difficult for even serious athletes to achieve. This information leaves one to wonder how many Connecticut bicyclists are able to bike at 65 miles per hour to require such a law in place.

It is illegal for fire trucks to exceed 25 miles per hour, even when going to a fire.

The town of New Britain, CT, has additional ideas about the maximum speed of certain vehicles. Prohibiting fire trucks to exceed 25 miles per hour, even when responding to a fire, seems a bit backwards—perhaps the firefighters should ride bicycles, instead!

What Happens If You Lose Your Gun Rights?

September 16, 2016

Arizona law restricts or removes the gun rights of “prohibited possessors,” which are individuals who have been convicted of a felony or domestic violence misdemeanor. Although some convictions automatically terminate the right to possess a firearm, there are channels available for many offenders to petition for their reinstatement. If you have lost your gun rights due to a criminal conviction in Arizona, it’s important to understand whether your firearms rights can be restored and how to achieve this goal.

Determining Your Restoration Eligibility

Arizona law holds several requirements regarding the ability to petition for restoration of gun rights. In general, felony offenders must wait to petition for the restoration of their rights until at least two years after their discharge from probation. Felony offenders convicted of murder or manslaughter, aggravated assault, armed robbery, dangerous crimes against children, kidnapping, arson, first-degree burglary, or sexual conduct with a minor must wait a period of ten years following probation to apply for gun right reinstatement. Furthermore, some felony offenders may not have their gun rights reinstated at any point; these felonies mainly include convictions in which a weapon was used to commit a crime or cause serious injury.

Applying for Gun Right Reinstatement

Once you are eligible to have your gun rights reinstated, you must file an application for rights restoration with the court in which you were convicted. This may be done via either court forms or by filing a custom motion. However, it’s important to recognize that eligibility and a completed application do not necessarily mean that your gun rights will be reinstated—this is why it’s best to work with a criminal defense attorney when you wish to reinstate your gun rights. Your attorney will fight for your rights to own a gun, even if your prosecutor continues to argue against them.

Have you suffered the loss of gun rights in Arizona following a felony or misdemeanor? Janet Altschuler, Attorney at Law can help—please give us a call at (520) 247-1789 or visit our website for more information about our criminal defense practice in Tucson.

Classifying Felonies in Arizona

September 9, 2016

All crimes fall into one of two categories: Misdemeanors and felonies. While misdemeanors are considered more minor crimes, felonies are treated as more serious crimes that carry much more severe consequences if a conviction occurs. Regardless of whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony, you have the right to legal counsel and representation with an experienced defense attorney during the legal process.

Arizona’s Felony Classes

In the state of Arizona, felonies fall into one of six classes. Class 6 felonies are considered the least severe and carry the shortest maximum jail sentence of only one year. As felonies grow progressively more severe, they carry longer jail sentences—Class 5 penalties are punishable by up to 1.5 years in jail, Class 4 penalties by 2.5 years of jail time, Class 3 penalties result in 3.5 years in jail, and Class 2 penalties can carry a sentence of up to five years. Class 1 felonies are the most severe, with punishments ranging from 25 years to life in prison or, typically in cases of first-degree murder, the death penalty.

First-Time versus Multiple Offenders

It’s important to note that the jail sentences listed above apply only to first-time felony offenders. This means that they are the maximum sentences an individual would serve the first time he is convicted of a felony, regardless of the number of times he may have been charged. The potential sentence for second- and third-time felony offenders is greater, and often amounts to two to three times the sentence length for first-time offenders following a conviction.

Janet Altschuler, Attorney at Law is here to help if you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony in Tucson. Ms. Altschuler has extensive experience in many areas of criminal law, including domestic violence, drug possession, gun crime, and assault. You can reach us any time via our website or by phone at (520) 247-1789 to schedule a free initial legal consultation 24 hours a day, regardless of whether you are at home or currently in custody.

Prosecutors who falsify or withhold evidence could become felons under proposed state legislation – The Orange County Register

August 30, 2016

Prosecutors who intentionally withhold or falsify evidence could be charged with a felony under a new bill winding through the state Legislature.

The proposal by Assemblywoman Patty Lopez, D-San Fernando, comes as prosecutors in Orange County face accusations that they’ve routinely misused jailhouse informants and withheld information from defense attorneys.

To continue reading this article, click here.

It has been about 10 years now since the controversy with Pima County Attorneys Ken Peasely and David White. Both are now deceased and few people discuss the accusations of prosecutorial misconduct levied against them. The charges were serious. Mr. Peasely lost his license to practice law and Mr. White, had he not died, would have had to face a similar process.

Larger punishments like criminal charges do little to curb prosecutors or help them police themselves. It is the defense attorney working diligently and speaking loudly against such abuses that ultimately reveals the corrupt bad guys.

Criminal Defendants Sometimes ‘Left Behind’ at Supreme Court, Study Shows

August 23, 2016

The quality of advocacy at the Supreme Court these days is quite high. “We have an extraordinary group of lawyers who appear very regularly before us,” Justice Elena Kagan said in 2014 at a Justice Department event.

But there was, she said, one exception. “Case in and case out,” she said, “the category of litigant who is not getting great representation at the Supreme Court are criminal defendants.”

Continue reading the article here.

This issue likely presents itself at the state and local levels too public defenders frequently have fewer resources than county attorneys and prosecutors.

Trial by Jury, a Hallowed American Right, Is Vanishing

August 16, 2016

The criminal trial ended more than two and a half years ago, but Judge Jesse M. Furman can still vividly recall the case. It stands out, not because of the defendant or the subject matter, but because of its rarity: In his four-plus years on the bench in Federal District Court in Manhattan, it was his only criminal jury trial.

He is far from alone.

Judge J. Paul Oetken, in half a decade on that bench, has had four criminal trials, including one that was repeated after a jury deadlocked. For Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who has handled some of the nation’s most important terrorism cases, it has been 18 months since his last criminal jury trial.

“It’s a loss,” Judge Kaplan said, “because when one thinks of the American system of justice, one thinks of justice being administered by juries of our peers. And to the extent that there’s a decline in criminal jury trials, that is happening less frequently.”

The national decline in trials, both criminal and civil, has been noted in law journal articles, bar association studies and judicial opinions. But recently, in the two federal courthouses in Manhattan and a third in White Plains (known collectively as the Southern District of New York), the vanishing of criminal jury trials has never seemed so pronounced.

The Southern District held only 50 criminal jury trials last year, the lowest since 2004, according to data provided by the court. The pace remains slow this year.

In 2005, records show, there were more than double the number of trials: 106. And decades ago, legal experts said, the numbers were much higher.

“It’s hugely disappointing,” said Judge Jed S. Rakoff, a 20-year veteran of the Manhattan federal bench. “A trial is the one place where the system really gets tested. Everything else is done behind closed doors.”

Continue reading the main story.

Having just finished a jury trial in Marana Municipal Court and my client was not guilty, I was shocked to learn this was the first trial the court had had in years. It isn’t just federal criminal charges. It appears to be everywhere that people are not going to trial. Surely the budget constraints of state and local courts prevent the appointment of attorneys but you can always call me for a free consultation to review your case and determine the risks and benefits of a jury trial.

If you have been charged with a crime and don’t know which steps to take next, please visit our website or call our office at (520) 247-1789 for the experienced legal counsel and representation you need to prevent this charge from becoming a serious conviction

What’s Not OK in Oklahoma

August 26, 2016

Oklahoma may be known for its wide open skies and golden fields of wheat, but it’s also known for a few strange and downright ridiculous laws. Since its admission into the United States in 1907, this state has passed some legislation that’s difficult to believe.

Getting a Tattoo

Although this law is no longer in effect, you might be surprised to learn that tattoos were illegal in Oklahoma for over 40 years. In 2006, Oklahoma became the last state to legalize tattoos, overturning previous legislature passed in 1963 that banned this type of body art. Previous attempts had been made to overturn the ban on tattoos, but had all been defeated based on arguments related to public health and morality.

Letting Your Farm Animals Wear Your Boots

One crazy law still in Oklahoma’s books states that it is “illegal to have the hind legs of farm animals in your boots.” It’s unclear why this law came about, or even why it was necessary, given that refraining to share your boots with your animals is likely just common sense. Additionally, it’s unclear whether the law holds if an owner were to buy a pair of boots exclusively for an animal’s use, rather than sharing his own.

Supporting the New York Jets

The city of Ada, OK, apparently has a bone to pick with the city of New York. Buried in this Oklahoma city’s legislature is a law stating that wearing New York Jets clothing is a punishable offense—anyone caught supporting the New York Jets in this city will shortly find himself in jail.

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