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FBI Doesn’t Like to Share Their Tech Either, Apple

FBI Doesn’t Like to Share Their Tech Either, Apple   Without the help of Apple, Inc., it looks as if the FBI has been able to crack the cell phone of the San Bernardino shooter.  Noticeably missing was a press conference about all the wonderful data that they were able to uncover. That’s neither here, nor there.  What should be noted, is that the FBI was able to unlock the phone on their own and a private company was not forced into the law enforcement business.  This is still America, and no matter what the situation may be, when a private citizen (Apple employees, don’t get me started on the corporation as a person b.s.) is commanded into duty, we lose some of that luster that we celebrate on July 4th.  Kudos to the FBI for being able to take care of this on their own.  I knew you had the power all along. A bit more sketchy, and at the risk of sounding hypocritical, is the realization that the FBI is probably not going to share the technique used to hack the iPhone with Apple.  It’s curious because more and more people are storing more and more personal information on their phones with online banking and Apple Pay.  Hacking phones can lead to greater instances and more damaging instances of identity theft.  The FBI actually has a great interest in sharing the information with Apple.  The public at large has a great interest in sharing of information between the two.  The FBI doesn’t seem to be much into sharing their technology. The Register has published an article regarding the FBI initiating...

Name Calling as Grounds for Divorce? No Thanks, India

Name Calling as Grounds for Divorce? No Thanks, India A court in India has found that a woman calling her husband a “fat elephant” is grounds for divorce.  Now, name calling as grounds for divorce has not hit stateside and let’s hope that it doesn’t.  I should also state that the husband weighed 220 pounds and I’d be quite ecstatic if I saw 220 again.  Uber-sensitivity will become a new allegation if this progresses.  The article came from the BBC and is below:   India court says ‘fat elephant’ taunt grounds for divorce A court in the Indian capital has ruled that calling a husband “fat elephant” could be grounds for divorce. The Delhi high court upheld a 2012 lower court order which had granted divorce, saying that taunting a spouse amounted to “mental cruelty”. The 35-year-old businessman weighs 100kg (220lb). He said his wife regularly “humiliated him for being overweight and incapable of satisfying her sexual desires”, Indian media reports said. “The calling of names and hurling of abuses such as ‘Hathi’ [elephant], ‘Mota Hathi’ [fat elephant] by the appellant in respect of her husband – even if he was overweight, is bound to strike at his self-respect and self-esteem,” India Todayquoted Justice Vipin Sanghi as saying. “Obviously, the respondent was sensitive to such taunts, and it is not the appellant’s case that the taunts were made jokingly, or out of love and affection, and without malice,” he added. The woman had said her husband’s allegations were “vague and non-specific”, but the court rejected her...

Why Divorce Rises in the New Year

I mentioned to my a few folks that I would be pretty busy in the new year because it is a busy time for family law practitioners.  I was asked why that is.  I found this article by Randall M. Kessler that hits the nail on the head.  For those that don’t like to click, here it is:   New Year, New Life: Why Divorce Rates Rise in January Randall M. Kessler The end of the year is always a mixed blessing. We are family law attorneys meaning we represent people going through divorce and related matters. At the end of each year, our business slows down (which is good), but then it always increases in January as divorce filings are regularly at their height after the start of the year. What’s interesting is the interest in the rise of divorce each January. I worked with the WSJ’s Market Watch reporter Quentin Fottrell who wrote about this and made some interesting points. WABE, Atlanta’s Public Radio Station also did a story on this subject which can be heard by clicking here. The media seem interested in trends and this may be a trend, but it is more likely a very predictable cycle. Many people want to start from scratch when the new year arrives. Many do not want to be “in the same place,” mentally or physically for the next holiday season, so they “start,” they file or they consult with a divorce lawyer in early January. But those with whom we meet in January are often already committed to going through with a divorce. Most do not come in just to...

Apple Bites Back at Court Order, and They Should

When I heard the story on the news that a court has ordered Apple, Inc. to assist the US government in cracking an iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter, I took pause.  I knew that if this went through, it would lead to other companies having to comply and give up confidential information of the user.  Fortunately, Apple CEO Tim Cook has vowed to vigorously fight the order.  I was gathering thoughts and then came across the following blog from Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank shark Mark Cuban.  Mr. Cuban expresses the exact concerns that I have and offers some direction.  Rather than I rehash, here is Mr. Cuban’s post: Apple Vs The FBI vs a Suggestion Posted on February 18, 2016 Apple was instructed by the FBI to build a version of IOS that would let the FBI install that version on a terrorist’s phone enabling it to use a brute force method of pushing through every possible combination of passwords into the phone until it unlocked the phone.  The goal is to find out if there is anything of value to the FBI’s investigation into a horrific terrorist act. If Apple were to comply with the order, it is important to note that there is no certainty that anything at all would be accomplished. If the terrorists in possession of the phone used a variety of letters, numbers and symbols in their password, it could take minutes (if very lucky) or years to uncover the pin and unlock the phone. Even if they were able to unlock the phone, there is no assurance that any 3rd party applications...

Alimony Is Not What Many Think It Is (Automatic)

I learned in law school that the Texas courts generally do not like alimony, yet I see it pop up more and more.  This could be a product or rough times or reality, knowing that one income will not support the lifestyle to which one chase become accustomed.  This article from chron.com is a good, brief lesson on the topic.   The term alimony is commonly used to describe all forms of post-divorce payments from one former spouse to the other.  Actually, there are two forms of such payments – one is court-ordered spousal maintenance, and the other is an agreed contractual obligation known as contractual alimony. The Legislature enacted the spousal maintenance statute in 1995. Qualifying for maintenance can be complicated and must fit specific parameters. In determining an award of maintenance, the court typically considers: whether domestic violence was a factor in the marriage, if one spouse is disabled or cares for a disabled child of the marriage, the duration of the marriage, the needs of the requesting spouse, and the ability to pay by the other spouse.  Several statues relating to eligibility and duration of spousal maintenance were amended in 2011.   Eligibility   Now, spouses who are unable, for specific reasons, to “earn sufficient income to provide for minimum reasonable needs” may be eligible for maintenance. Previously, couples were required to have been married at least 10 years, regardless of circumstances. This failed to take into consideration whether a requesting spouse was unable to support himself or herself due to a severe disability, was custodian of a child requiring substantial care, or lacked the education...

Most Common Arrests in Tarrant and Dallas Counties

In Tarrant County & Dallas County, people are most likely to get arrested for one of the following common arrests of criminal matters:   Driving While Intoxicated Assault Assault Family Violence Theft (including shoplifting) Credit/Debit Card Abuse Possession of a controlled substance (including dangerous drug) Possession of marijuana Leaving the scene of an accident Burglary Tampering with government record (fake id, forgery) Prostitution/Solicitation of prostitution; Evading arrest Unlawful carrying of a weapon Interfering with a 911 call Driving while license invalid (suspended, canceled or revoked)     County clerk records show that the above named criminal offenses comprise over 75% of all the criminal matters in Tarrant and Dallas. The good news is that with the help of a criminal defense attorney, you have a chance at success with your case.   With an experienced criminal defense lawyer, the defendant could be placed in a position to have all of the above named offenses dismissed or reduced. Getting crimes dismissed and then expunged or sealed from one’s criminal record or criminal history is very important for many your future. Many people make the mistake of trying to take care of these things themselves, which courts usually persuade you not to do or try and get court appointed counsel.  In Tarrant county, court appointed counsel is hard to come by.  I half-jokingly say you have to be unemployed AND disabled to get a court appointed attorney (or be incarcerated) in Tarrant.  The way the pay is scheduled, your appointed counsel has more incentive to immediately plea your case.  That is usually not in your best interest.  Look into retained counsel.  Contact...

Don’t Drive-Thru While Intoxicated

I saw that this story was making big news, but I actually see this happen quite often.  Here in Texas, it’s usually at Whataburger.  So much so that I once had a client who was convinced that Whataburger was in cahoots with the police to arrest drivers.  Basically, if you fall asleep at a drive-thru, the restaurant will call the police.  And don’t laugh, I’ve had people fall asleep, get arrested, and tests later show that there was nothing in their system.  Not often, but it has happened.  The reality is that if you are in this situation and have not been drinking, you still need to retain counsel because they will try and suspend the license and will likely file a case before results come back.   Just because the results show you are clean, the prosecution isn’t likely to dismiss based on the specimen results.  If you got arrested, you were asked and probably performed the standardized field sobriety tests (sfst’s) which consist of the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN or “eye test”), walk and turn, and one leg stand.  It doesn’t take much to fail those tests and a case can be made on the sfst’s alone.  If you are thinking you need something to eat late at night, you might want to go inside.    ...

Crime Labs Will Hear From Department of Justice

Crime Labs Will Hear From Department of Justice PBS’ Frontline got into investigating crime labs and these labs will be a focus of a DOJ investigation.  Often times you hear of DNA evidence or a high blood alcohol test and assume the person is guilty.   Have you ever considered that there could be a problem with the testing?  That the result is skewed due to some other factor?  What if that isn’t even the specimen from the actual suspect?  These things have happened and continue to happen. When the labs are problematic, convictions are problematic, and the justice system is problematic.  The Frontline article references a Minnesota lab, but these problems have occurred in Texas with the Fort Worth Police Crime Lab, Austin Police Crime Lab, and the private Integrated Forensics Lab which has had issues at locations in North Texas and San Antonio.  These are just the incidents I could think of in five seconds.  Many more labs have had problems as well. To have confidence in the system we must have confidence in the work they are doing.  The reliance by law enforcement and the public on forensic science demands that the work be pristine.  Otherwise, we are building a judicial house of...

Restricting Gun Sales for Recently Divorced/Separated

Restricting Gun Sales for Recently Divorced/Separated This story came from a Fox station in Atlanta: Atlanta, GA – A Georgia State Senator wants to make it harder for certain people going through a divorce to buy a gun.  State Senator Doc Rhett, Democrat from Marietta, said SB250 would prevent a person who is going through a divorce and has a violent history or a restraining order, from buying a gun without a judge’s permission. SB250 would not pertain to a spouse who wants a gun for protection.  “If they want to purchase a gun to protect themselves, that’s fine because they’re not the aggressor,” said Sen. Rhett. Senator Rhett said “often when people are going through a divorce, emotions run high, and if there’s already a history of violence, it could lead to disaster.”  “We’re trying to make sure when people are in an irrational state of mind they’re not going to do anything irrational that they’re going to regret as time goes on.”   The court shootings that I know of involve those recently involved in family law proceedings.   The man that shot up the Dallas police station last year was recently in family court.  I don’t know any real numbers of other counties or states, but there could be something to this. Divorce and child custody battles are not amicable and you really don’t heal those wounds.  This is why I often talk to clients about emotional support no matter if they are going through a divorce case or a dwi/criminal defense matter.  Support is to help you and you can still be a big man and...

Confused About Finding a Lawyer? Use the El Paso Test.

Repost from Huffington Post contributor Christina Pesoli, , this article is spot-on about a method of finding a lawyer for you:   The El Paso Test: Choosing the Right Divorce Lawyer Choosing a divorce lawyer is a decision with enormous implications. Pick the right one and your divorce will go be smoother and easier as a result. Pick the wrong one and your troubles will get supersized at your expense. It’s not just a question of qualifications. After all, there are plenty of divorce lawyers with impressive credentials and tons of experience. Out of the pool of family lawyers with impressive resumes, how do you know which one is right for you? That’s where the El Paso test comes in. Full disclosure here: I didn’t invent the El Paso test–and I’ll carry that regret with me for the rest of my life. But while I didn’t invent it, I did recognize its brilliance the very first time I heard it. My colleague and mentor Sam Colletti was the one who told me about it–although he didn’t invent it, either. He learned it from the manager at Chuy’s, a Tex-Mex institution in Austin, Texas, where Sam waited tables during college. When the manager had a position to fill at the restaurant, he would eliminate all of the unqualified candidates–you know, the ones who weren’t friendly, couldn’t do basic math, were unable to carry oversized trays of food without incident, or didn’t grasp the importance of keeping the chips, salsa and margaritas coming. Then, out of all the ones who were left, the manager would put all of those candidates through the El...