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  1. Neidermeyer

    Neidermeyer Active Member

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    Practicing lawyer will answer questions

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Neidermeyer, Nov 22, 2016.

    Hi everyone. I figured one of the ways I can be most helpful to some of you is to offer my expertise on any legal questions you have for the purposes of writing only. Obviously this is my disclaimer that none of this is legal advice and is only intended for the purposes of research for fictional or non-fictional writing. So feel free to post any questions you have below and I will do my best to get you as accurate an answer as I can.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2016
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  2. GuardianWynn

    GuardianWynn Contributor Contributor

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    Question one. Is your knowledge more civil based, such as people suing each other or more government based, like charging someone for murder?

    Question two. If a member of the court had first hand knowledge of an illegal activity, but did not disclose this. What is the penalty? Is this still valid, if the person didn't disclose said information because of A. Lack of reasonable evidence beyond their word, or B, Fear of bodily harm?
     
  3. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    What kind of law do you practice?
     
  4. Neidermeyer

    Neidermeyer Active Member

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    I primarily have a mixture of experience in Family Law/Child Services Law and Civil Tort Law. I have worked for large firms, small firms and state government. I have some experience in criminal, but not as much. I can probably answer some criminal law questions though.

    When you say member of Court, are you talking about the Judge, the Judge's staff, or who exactly? Generally speaking, there are very few instances when you have a duty to report (Child abuse/Child sexual assault are the big ones). If you are the Judge and you have information relative to the proceedings, then you have a duty to disclose and generally recuse yourself from the judicial proceedings. It's not so much a matter of law as it is of judicial ethics. If you are called to testify as a witness, failure to answer questions truthfully would likely lead to perjury charges, whereas if you refused to answer, the Judge would likely find you in contempt of Court. However, if you simply have knowledge and just don't want to disclose it (for whatever reason), unless you are asked about it, I am not aware of any responsibility you have to disclose; unless its a child abuse matter.

    I hope that helps.
     
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  5. GuardianWynn

    GuardianWynn Contributor Contributor

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    In my case I was referring to a prosecutor, which, as I understand it is still a member of the court. Yet the first hand knowledge is not related to any current cases.

    Such as a prosecutor that witnessed a murder, but had no knowledge who the victim was or even any proof that a murder had indeed happened. Beyond the fact they believe they witnessed one. Yet the person they saw is known for voilence, as a result she is scared that the accusation could result in danger, and without any evidence feels unable to step forward.
     
  6. Neidermeyer

    Neidermeyer Active Member

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    In that case, then generally speaking no, I do not believe she has any duty to disclose.

    However, in some states, there are state laws that mandate reporting of crimes. For Example:
    Texas Penal Code § 38.171. Failure to Report Felony - See more at: http://codes.findlaw.com/tx/penal-code/penal-sect-38-171.html#sthash.AiZeH6kO.dpuf

    If you look at the way the law is written, there is wiggle room for your scenario. If you can craft an argument that your life would be in danger, then yes, I think they are ok not to disclose. However, as a prosecutor, I can tell you that if you got caught doing that, that your job security would be in question. lol
     
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  7. GuardianWynn

    GuardianWynn Contributor Contributor

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    :D

    Second question. A bit more extreme this time.

    See, in my work, I have this character. She never gets caught, so the concept of her crimes being punished is moot, but I am curious, and it speaks to her motivation to avoid the police lol. So more just curious.

    In her case she was a mass murderer. Like, to an extreme case. But like I said, she was never caught. Heck, the police and govemenent never even knew exactly who they were looking for. Only connecting the crimes based on similiarities and holding them all to a mystery persona. I think the legal term for that is boot strapping, but that isn't exactly the question.

    The question is this. If he was caught and convicted, what is the most likely punishment?

    For the crimes. She committed several iccidents(like 30 ish?) in which she murdered 20+ people. Essentially she walked into a place, killed everyone she desired(sometimes she left witnesses) and then walked out and vanished like a 2-3 months appeared, and rinse repeat. Never in the same location twice and many of the icidents were overseas. Germany and italy for example. Now I get that you probably aren't a legal expert there, but the question stems from most of her crimes being in USA and her being caught in USA but also having this sort of tug at how USA would deal with the added context.

    Yeah, might be a bit extreme of a question, but couldn't think of anything else and figured your Q&A should get ALL the questions!
     
  8. cydney

    cydney Banned

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    I'm highly suspicious of this. No offense. :) Seriously? What practicing lawyer would do this? I wouldn't ask you a fucking thing.
     
  9. Neidermeyer

    Neidermeyer Active Member

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    Haha. This is a really complex issue, so I'll try to be very general about this.

    It depends on what state he was caught and convicted in. Some states have the death penalty, and others do not. And then there is the matter of extradition between states and foreign countries. Interstate extradition is controlled by U.S. Code https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/3182 ; International extradition is controlled by treaty.

    I would have to imagine that the state where most of the events happened would 'take point' on prosecuting the case. Also, assuming that state is a death penalty state, I would also have to imagine that the prosecutor would push for the death penalty. However, there would also be the issue of whether the character is fit to stand trial, based on mental health concerns.

    But, just thinking this through, if the character was found not guilty in one state, then he would be immediately extradited to another state where he faced these charges. Point is, if he didn't get convicted and found guilty, the judicial process would probably take so long that they would die in custody. haha.
     
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  10. GuardianWynn

    GuardianWynn Contributor Contributor

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    Oh the characters mental health is fine. They had logic, messed up logic, but they were completely aware of the choices they were making. Just insanely smart and deticated. Like, they left survivors. And she tended to express this in this kind of manner.

    "I am wearing a mask because I intend to let you live," she said with a wink before murdering people around the person. lol.

    The bouncing around states thing is funny, but that begs a new question. How would the concept as I know as bootstrapping play into this? I am no expert, but as I understand it. The idea is that these crimes don't have a lot of individual evidence. They are only being connected based on the notion of being similar, thus assumed to have been done by the same person. But there is no physical evidence to conclude that was the case. For this scenerio, we'd assume she was caught in the act once. But if she was then found not guilty in this instance, wouldn't that clear her of all the others by the bootstrapping concept?
     
  11. Neidermeyer

    Neidermeyer Active Member

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    First off, be as suspicious as you want. Second, I could care less whether you are concerned about 'offending' me. And third, then don't ask me anything. You're obviously so petulant that you feel the need to make a snarky comment, which says quite a bit about you. I'm not offering 'legal advice'; I'm offering to help people who want to understand the legal process, legal ramifications, etc.

    So I go out of my way to offer insight to other writers based on my experiences because, guess what, I'm just a nice person. And you take time out of your day to be an ass? Congrats keyboard jockey, you're a winner.
     
  12. Neidermeyer

    Neidermeyer Active Member

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    Bootstrapping has to do with hearsay regarding conspiracies, so I'm not 100% sure what you're talking about there.

    If caught in the act and found not guilty, that would only apply for that crime in that state. There is no mechanisms (other than a governors pardon) that transfers non-guilt.

    Also, depending on where in the state the murders took place, the character could be charged in multiple counties. Each county generally has its own prosecutor.
     
  13. ToBeInspired

    ToBeInspired Senior Member

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    Why not? This is a hobby - career forum. Like a practicing lawyer can't be interested in literature? With 1M+ active lawyers, US alone, is it that surprising one is a member of a creative writing forum, goes to the Research thread (biggest surprise there), sees all the legal questions being asked, and then decides to use his/her set of skills to answer some. Instead of going thread by thread, simply makes his own. With the e-mail alert setting and the fact that lawyers tend to use a lot of e-mails... I don't second guess it. Not wasting that much time.

    Anyway... I'm curious to how arrest warrants work. Are there different levels (don't show up to court, assault, murder), what happens if you just leave the state, can you leave the country, is it just a fine to fix depending on the circumstance, will police actively look for you after a set amount of time?

    Say my m.c. gets in trouble with the law and is unable to show up for his court date for whatever reason. A warrant is issued for his arrest, some time passes, and he comes back. Wondering what he'd be potentially looking at when he got back.
     
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  14. Neidermeyer

    Neidermeyer Active Member

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    You actually hit the nail on the head regarding why I set up the thread. lol. If I hoped to gain anything it was goodwill. People are more likely to help you out when you're willing to return the favor.

    As for warrants, an arrest warrant or a bench warrant will both get you detained. However, a bench warrant is generally to bring you in front of the Judge because you didn't show up for something, like a hearing. An arrest warrant has to be signed off on by the Judge and requires probable cause.

    As you can imagine, with each state having its own systems in place, officers and even prosecutors are not always going to be aware of the out of state warrants. Hell, sometimes they miss in state warrants. (I wish I were kidding)

    Unless you are flagged with TSA, I'm not aware of any automatic operations that restricts air travel or that there is a database that notifies state agencies when someone with a warrant is going to fly.

    As for your MC, he might be looking at a contempt of Court charge for failure to appear. That can result in a fine or imprisonment. Often times though, the Judge doesn't even bother with it. The case loads are so high, or the prisons so overcrowded that they just let delinquency go.
     
  15. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    Calm down, StayRed. No one asked you to participate.
     
  16. cydney

    cydney Banned

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    I look forward to seeing your fake credentials posted online. :) Yeah right, right?

    First of all, a 'practicing attorney' wouldn't have time to do something this idiotic. Secondly, IF he did have time, I'd certainly question his expertise. Third, a 'practicing lawyer' doesn't feel the need to tell everyone he's a practicing lawyer.

    But hell, it's all for fun, right? You're doing a great job with that, sweetie. :)
     
  17. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    Although I don't have any legal questions, I just wanted to say it's super nice of you to offer up your knowledge like that. I'm sure a ton of other people would find that very helpful.

    And don't mind that person. (Might be some screws loose.)
     
  18. cydney

    cydney Banned

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    No one ask you either, Spencer. Mind your own business! I'm not talking to you.

    What happened? Did your handler threaten to lower your payroll?

    :)
     
  19. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    Dude...I don't have any idea what you're talking about. My handler? Lower my payroll? All I'm saying is calm down. This guy is being friendly and you came in here to blast him...why?
     
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  20. Neidermeyer

    Neidermeyer Active Member

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    First, I'm not posting my 'Credentials' online. My identity is no ones business, let alone yours, and I don't have to prove anything. I've only engaged you this far because I am genuinely surprised that some random person has such a negative reaction to this. It seriously is astounding.

    And what, dare I ask, is so idiotic about offering to help people out with their projects? I left private practice to work for a state government and only work 37 hours a week; so I have the time. Oh, and not all lawyers are practicing lawyers. Some have licenses but don't use them, choosing instead to use their education to other ends, hence why the distinction is important. But I'm sure you knew that. You're probably just testing me, right? Right. As for expertise, I'm not seasoned in age like some (grandma) but I have sufficient experience.

    And don't call me sweetie.
     
  21. ToBeInspired

    ToBeInspired Senior Member

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    Umm, this doesn't really take that much time. Again, e-mail alerts. If you know anything about lawyers you'd know they can go through hundreds of e-mails a day. Thus... reading and responding would be an action well practiced. I'm not a lawyer and it would take me soooo little time to read/respond as long as I already knew the information.

    "Tell everybody." It's just in the title of thread since it's descriptive and gets to the point... which is an efficient way to save time.

    Also, not every lawyer is the same. Different fields, states, business practices, etc. A lawyer starting off at a huge NY firm will probably have a bigger case load than a small town lawyer.
     
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  22. Neidermeyer

    Neidermeyer Active Member

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    Thanks, I appreciate it. I'm glad to see others are as surprised by this as me.
     
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  23. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Yeah, the odd that you're an adult in a professional position just went down.
     
  24. ToBeInspired

    ToBeInspired Senior Member

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    I've been trying to figure this out. I considered maybe she thought you were a troll, but if so then the best way to react would be to let you answer some questions before responding. If you were giving out false information, then... okay. If your information was accurate... leave off.

    To me it seems that cydney is just enticing contention for no real reason. I'm going to say her actions are trolling. Do dislike using the slang troll... everything about it seems immature.

    Edit: The credentials are not even important people. All that matters is the accuracy of the information given.
     
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  25. Neidermeyer

    Neidermeyer Active Member

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    Why, because I defended myself?
     
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