Need A Lawyer? Better Have

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I admire lawyers. But even with my admiration, I cannot ignore a lawyer’s capability to end someone’s life due to loopholes or lack of money. It has been obvious that a guilty verdict while not based solely on it, includes money having a damn good impact on a jury’s decision. People with unfortunate finances are forced to have their choices served from the bottom of the barrel. And that’s not to insult public defenders. They are one of America’s underappreciated and underpaid experts dealing with lives who already had the odds laid out against them. But in the end, that doesn’t matter.

So tell me, which would you rather have: a Public Defender or a private sector Criminal Defense Attorney?

Of course in order to be a lawyer the basic degrees and exams must be completed. But once the bar has been passed, paths tend to differ. General requirements for public defenders are usually entry level asking for internship experience working co-counsel in multiple jury trials. When deciding to go to a private criminal attorney office, not only do they prefer people who already have those qualifications, many ask for completed education such as Juris Doctor, specialized experience. Some also require steady prosecuting experience. Moreover, many junior associates must have their Master of Law, an advanced law certification that has global credibility for career advancement.

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When it comes to workload, most lawyers have their work cut out for them. Unfortunately, when it comes to being a public defender, the demands have become outrageous. They have always had heavy caseloads with it increasing since 2011. An example would be issues in Los Angeles where they are only capable of handling 21% of the annual workload in compliance. Where does that leaves those in need of public defenders? Their lives are put in jeopardy due to professional responsibility. Multiple caseload studies that have been done in the recent years are saying the same thing. Workload deficiencies questions the equality in justice under the law. Hundreds of defendants wait in jail without representation. Look what happened to Kalief Browder.

This wouldn’t be that big of an issue if lawyers wanted to stay public defenders…but they don’t.

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And why should public defenders stay where they are? In 2015, places like Massachusetts had some of their public defenders unable to make a living wage.  We put people in those circumstances in charge of someone’s life. All over the country, the position of public defenders has had a high turnover rates for generations. Would you stay around if you were overworked and underpaid?

Private criminal attorneys, while their goals are the same, are able to approach their cases much differently. If they began to have a caseload that becomes overbearing, their clients can choose to go somewhere else instead of wait. It’s their money. On the other side, lawyers have every right to reject cases if they feel they cannot give 100% to their clients. It’s pretty convenient for all those involved.

Money is always an incentive.

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As for attorney resources, you can be sure that money will be involved. We cannot ignore those who do pro-bono work, but expertise, research, and advice do cost money. In fact, many districts across the country are suing their government due to lack of funding. Missouri claims that their public defenders only get an average of $356 per case in funding. Now I know that most people have seen some sort of investigative show and knows that a detailed case would need a little more funding than that. Additionally, who’s investigating the cases? Someone needs to be out there verifying information. That person would also like to get paid. But without funding, what happens? I know.  An example would be in New Orleans. They have eight investigators for 21,000 cases per year.

The salary between public defenders and criminal attorneys is astonishing but not because there are low quality expectations, rather experience issues. Public defenders have an average of $54k salary. There is a possibility to make 6 figures, but don’t expect it. They work for non-profit so the only real bonus is actually acquitting someone innocent. The private sector has a lot more opportunity for higher salary. They average $78k salary with more room for advancement. Of course, the fact that committing crimes is popular, and if you have money you have more options, the private sector is pretty competitive and a defense attorney could find themselves making about $160k per year.

And lets be honest. Who do public defenders defend? While private sector defense attorneys get to help those upper middle and high class people with steady incomes and trust funds, public defenders get to try to resolve the issues of the impoverished and the mentally unstable. Funny, we are finding that those are the ones that suffer from so much injustices.

So while there are reasons for the differences between public defenders and private sector defense attorneys, those who are affected by it have nothing to do with it. Yet their lives depend on whether or not they can afford all the amenities that comes with being able to pay for a defense. When will we look at the system dead at its core and say ‘man this shit if fucked up?’

Resources:

https://www.lsac.org/llm/degree/jd-llm-difference

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/missouri/articles/2017-03-09/aclu-others-sue-missouri-over-public-defender-system

http://study.com/articles/Become_a_Public_Defender_Education_and_Career_Roadmap.html

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/paying-private-criminal-defense-attorney.html

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Cannabis: Mixing Business and Pleasure

Photo Credit: Michael Joseph.

While states like Ohio and New Jersey suffered another night of endless overdoses and opiate arrests, a group of Cannabis leaders and lovers came together to enjoy a great Friday night and the ‘SENSI Night Event.’

Thousands of people, women and men alike enjoyed one another’s company as they laughed and shared information on philosophies, creations and future ideas of the Cannabiz nation. All this and cotton candy!

One thing to mention, this event was completely free. $5 parking charge for the City of Denver and a 3 minute walk was all it took to meet great people, enjoy great music, and learn. Vendors enjoyed each other’s company…while spreading their mission of course.

Julian Marley – Photo Credit: Michael Joseph.

A Botanist from I&I Wholesales approached enthusiasts as they entered the bottom level to discuss his love for his creations. He uses his cultivation for both medical and recreational plant growth and is delighted that he could finally share his concepts with a growing audience.

As new benefits of Cannabis comes to light, leaders have spent tireless nights creating new ways to express them. The night proved many things, but once most pronounced: Cannabis can open doors to business in addition to wellness.

Doctors were raffling off free medical exams to receive the deserved benefits of Cannabis. Across from the medical experts, vendors offered help treating someone’s health without them having to face the stigma still pertinent with judgements and life-changing reactions. Relief from illnesses like anxiety, seizures, and anti-inflammatory issues had been showcased as e-cigs, rubs and delicious food fusions. Businesses used their products to collaborate on ways to keep bringing everyone together.

Thousands of people were raveled up someway in the heroin and opiate epidemic Friday night. Thousands of other people decided to network with Cannabis leaders and broaden their horizon on thoughts alliance of the Cannabis brand. Business owners, entrepreneurs, and just plain ol’ Cannabis lovers. Guess what? It wasn’t just a bunch of potheads sitting on a big couch.

My Dream

My Dream smudge

I have encountered a dilemma that started a short while ago. Although this dilemma may not seem like a problem to most. I have a temporary job, quite a comfortable one in fact, writing content for an eCommerce site launch. It’s close to home, I am able to dress comfortably, and currently don’t even have to commute the 2 miles to work.

Now if you know me, you know that convenience plays no part in my life pursuit however, at this stage in my life it’s necessary.

I’m getting tired of waking up in strange places being told where they found me.

I have seizures that started not too long after my 30th birthday shocking myself and those around me. I don’t have them enough to get assistance, but just enough to cause chaos around me every once in a while.

Enough to force me to give up my car keys.

Enough for me to constrict my career search.

Enough to piss me the fuck off.

Maybe one day I’ll tell you the story about my journey to accept my seizures, but for now just know that the unknown trait in this condition has forced me to second guess every decision I need to make. Just this week I was forced to make a decision that could potentially kick me back quite a few steps if the correct choice was not made, but my opportunities were great and would send me soaring in the right direction.

But prior to being confronted with this scenario, one night, as I slept, I had a dream that really disturbed me. In this dream, I had woken from my sleep and decided to go downstairs. I don’t know why as it seemed too dark for me to be up already. As I hit the last step and turned left, I saw that my front door was wide open and the only reason I could see anything was due to the street light shining in my doorway.

Was someone in my house? I felt fear, but not for my life. More like uncertainty. The door was wide open but the darkness stopped me from stepping towards the door, towards the light. I just awoke in shock. My dream was so simple, yet frightful.

I was so conflicted, yet felt so safe thinking about the wide open door.

Back to the story.

The job I am currently at while temporary, allowed me to work from home eliminating the need to call a $700 ambulance if I collapsed on the job. I was safe from embarrassment and an overnight stay at the closest hospital.

Three choices.

Two will force me out of the corner of my study, dressed, and mingling with the rest of the world again.

Two will allow me to work part time at my current job allowing me to save money.

Two will allow me to catch up on these unfortunate bills.

Two will lead me to venture back out into the open, hoping my seizures will wait until I got home.

So was the dream telling me something? Are all my doubts just based on the unknown? Should I have walked through that door? Is it safe out there?

We’ll shall see soon because I left that door and that darkness in the dust.

How would the world survive without the entertainment of me?

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Life Not Going As Planned? Join The Club And Stop Being a Martyr!

It's something that many need to consider.

It’s something that many need to consider.

Are you one of the millions looking for a decent steady job that doesn’t leave you wondering if you are going to get by next month? It’s ok to admit. So many people will comment about how they are/were in a similar situation. It’s nothing new. As a matter of fact, I remember in 2007, sitting at my job wondering where all of our customers went and hoping I wouldn’t be told to go home early from lack of business.

Begs the question why people still blame President Obama, but that’s another story.

Almost a decade ago, we began to see the effect of what happens when a country steps forward with its shoelaces tied together. We didn’t know it then, but you know the saying, ‘hindsight is always 20/20.’

So here we are today, early 2015, trying to get back what we had 15 years ago: Lowest bad things combined with highest good things. Some seem to be doing well in this struggling economy, others just can’t figure out why they are stuck in such a career devastation. I know I asked that question every day for 2 years straight. It made me really start to think about how I am going to get through this mess. That’s when I began to realize a few specific things were effecting many advancements and some people may not realize it is. While we all have a separate journey to walk, there are a few things in the working world I urge us to accept.

Before I start, I feel I must begin this with a disclaimer stating that this article is not meant to say that what needs to be done is easy and should be able to be done immediately. It is only something to think about the next time you cry because your account went back into the negatives for the third time this month. I also must point out that I am not a rich and successful woman who is telling you what she did to be able to get out of life’s crippling cycle. I’m just here, broke as most of you, telling you what I have concluded over the years of observing.

That Career You Developed For All Those Years May No Longer Be Relevant

Says the writer with a BS in Journalism. You would think that with all the available options to spread the news, I’d be partying with Ariana Huffington. Unfortunately, many Journalists have moved away from pursuing that road and have used their writing and other skills developed in different areas. It was time to accept that we needed to adjust our career direction. The good news is so many companies need different types of writers, so opportunities to use my skills are endless…not that I always have a job.

Some industries may not be that lucky. Take the auto industry. In the beginning, it provided jobs for thousands of workers. Every day, their factory employees left work knowing they would be able to come back the next day. As time went on, we advanced and so did the way we accomplished things, taking away jobs from factories workers and giving them to the machine developers, maintainers, and supervisors. Very unfortunate for all those hard working people who lost their jobs, but at some point they had to accept the fact that they can no longer depend on jobs in their specific career and adjust accordingly. Same thing has been happening over the last decade. Situations like this will be hard, however, it is necessary to accept.

You May Have to Work A Lot Harder Than Some People

While interacting with the general people in your life, you might see a pattern arising. Though you may have to work two jobs in order to pursue your career, other colleagues in the same field may not have to work at all. Take for instance my excursion in the Journalism world. There I was, going to school, interning at various organizations, and working my steady job to pay for it all. There was a point towards the end of my college career that I was confident I could be successful writing for any publication that accept me as an employee. Unfortunately, instead of landing my dream job, I got to read headlines that a high-end prostitute who revealed her expensive relationship with a New York governor had her own column with one of the major newspapers. I don’t care how you spin that, it wasn’t fair. But there was nothing I could do about it. So I had to accept it and move on. You will come across that at least once in your career.

Your Area of Residence Sucks

I confess. I abandoned my home state for greener pastures and you know what? They were a lot greener. Some places are just doing well. Some other places may have better job opportunities for your career path. It all depends on what you are looking for. Me, I hated working retail as it was 10+ years when I decided to flee and find a job close to what I wanted. It was so expensive to live comfortably and even though my checks seemed sufficient to someone looking in, if you combined all the debt I was in and the price to live where I was, I was lucky I wasn’t homeless.

My fiancé was also having a hard time finding even slightly steady work. We found out many companies were moving out of state to be able to afford their lease payments. We realized that moving was the most logical decision to break the unhappy career cycle we were sucked into. And we did! We’re not rich, but I can tell you we have had to turn down job opportunities due to the fact that we were already working.

It’s so easy to hold onto a dream hoping that tomorrow things will go back the way it was. I’m sure it is was hard for residents of Detroit to accept the fact that Ford Motor and Motown was the success of their area and years after their end, Detroit has minimal opportunity for accomplishment. One of the most successful areas is now begging for water. Don’t let the area around you determine your career path. There is so much more to the world.

More Work for Less Pay (So it Seems)

This is something I just recently accepted. I have to do a lot more to maintain a steady income. I was angry for years about that. I went to college, gained a massive amount of experience and yet I still have to juggle a multitude of projects in order to maintain income, especially since this economy while still on a significant rise, is extremely volatile and at some point, change is bound to happen. I feel I have to take any opportunity I can to supplement my income.

Here’s why I am no longer mad.

While my experience is extensive and the work is hard, it can be done with so much more efficiency than 30 years ago, giving me more time to accomplish different things. This reason alone should justify why something that paid high decades ago, may not pay the same today. Once I realized that was the reason why I was having to write 2 articles a day for 2 different websites while working at my contract job to maintain a living, it was easier to accept. To put it in perspective, if I had to type this on a typewriter, it would take much more than 2 hours to write this if you account for the fact I’ve had to hit the backspace key about 250 times already (no exaggeration).

I also have the option to do some of my work dirty, in my pajamas, or completely naked. You’d never know.

You May Not Climb the Corporate Ladder at the Same Job You Started Your Ascent.

The likelihood of you staying with a company for 30 years sucking up to one or 2 bosses while golfing at your favorite club is slim. If you haven’t noticed, people are bouncing around all over the place jumping at different opportunities. You will have to sell your experience to a vast amount of people. Bottom line, being a lap dog will get old fast. You may actually have to work harder than you expected to get a career advancement. Even if it’s to another job.

The reality is you may spend a lot of your working career floating around and you may like it if you tried. With all the new businesses and innovative ways we are inventing to do different things why get stuck at the same job in the same industry do the same thing maybe at a higher level? If you want to a successful work life, accept the fact that you may have to meet new people and adjust to new office protocols multiple times during your career.

Here’s the kicker with this. With Affordable Care Act and the ability to invest in your retirement yourself, you no longer have to depend on the longevity of your job placement to live a comfortable post-career life. Acceptance is the first part of you getting there.