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

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.

Ignoring National Attention Begets Trickle-Down Effect

PrintBoth money and power have been proven to be devastating together and as they stand alone. Destructive in many areas or life quality. Think about it. After centuries of being told that money does not buy happiness, we actually have valid arguments to prove otherwise. 15 minutes of fame has been a steady trend for a couple of decades. Those in power make life-changing decisions and look where we are currently headed.

And while no one deserves to be violated, those who exploit the two are gaining ground to do so. We ignore it though. Money provides that power to do so and if the justice system told us anything, any indiscretion can be swept under the rug. Just check the world’s history.

It seems that we have no choice as an average middle class citizens to watch it happen and wait for it to hit home. And it’s getting ready to collide.

Of the many areas where money and power exploits both a circumstance and its outcomes, one has gotten a lot of media attention due to the delayed attention of human trafficking issue the world has: sex abuse.

It is said that there is a staggering 30.5% of women and 15% of menPrint experience sexual abuse at some point in their childhood. Most are violated by people they trust. With children, it’s easy to manipulate them into believing if they don’t fulfill this adult’s request, their lives’ will be affected. Make them understand the power of money, you have someone who is willing to make an authoritative figure happy as hell.

So we know it’s there, but why is it so rampant? While minorities seem to be slain over miscommunication, a trend of rich and powerful people have been getting away with sex abuse right in our faces with known children crying out for help. It’s hard to ignore the obvious.

Can I point out that this issue has been in our face the entire time?  It’s allowed because the people who we believe are to prevent it, are enabling it. Let’s take a look at the recent news. Millionaire financial advisor, Jeffrey Epstein was charged with allegedly engaging in sexual abuse with 40 minors.

This man was allowed to plead guilty to solicitation of underage girls serving 13 months and paying restitution. Current Labor Nominee and US Attorney Acosta was afraid of prosecuting him because of his powerful defense team even though he had growing evidence against the man. Have you ever heard of an attorney express fear of a public defender? Police Chief Michael Reiter expressed the fact that he got off easy. I’m sure he’s still enjoying life even with this bump on the road.

Things like this will continue to happen especially if we keep with the criminal justice system aligned to dis-proportionally and arguably illegally prosecute people on such a bias scale. While talented lawyers deserve to be paid for their time, the lack of ability to afford great work shouldn’t be life threatening as well the ability to afford to do so should not buy a get out of jail free card. Anyone convicted of raping their three year old daughter thought to rightfully go free? Then you should ask why an heir to DuPont was put on probation and not on a pitch fork to feed hungry lions. The power of money and the greed behind it, allows it.

PrintThen you have celebrities coming forward as childhood sex abuse survivors in one of the perfect situations to get away with it. Cliché Corey Haim was laid to unrest with extreme signs of the result of what we chose to ignore directly and indirectly: substance addiction, guilt, and other self-destructive behavior. He didn’t go peacefully in the night and he tried to point out the obvious. For every Corey Haim, think of all the unnamed children having their outcry’s masked as mere bad behavior.

Elijah Woods makes a claim that child actors are often preyed upon. The trafficking system is organized and protected. Common denominator if you haven’t seen a pattern: money. They can’t speak as loudly as people with power.

Corey Feldman, Corey Haim’s right hand man and the person who was persecuted for a recent performance corroborated his friend’s claim that he was abused. These children trusted these adults in power. These adults with money. Money that has proven to control outcomes in certain financial favor. Industries with money remained protected by power and those who are victimized remain silent because of their lack of control of ironically, their own money.

These people come out and express their reasons for being silent about their battered and senseless situation and they are disbelieved and called coward for not pressing head on in their cavalry. Ignoring that each step on the way down the rabbit hole of sex, money, and power. Ignoring that children are easily manipulated to believe anything adults say.

And when they throw money into the mix and feel that someone should risk their
livelihood when no one else would hear them cry. Forgetting that the same reason that the abuse was allowed to continue is the same reason why they can’t find peace in admittance.

And to wrap this conversation up in a spiky blanket. We watched Printcelebrities parade in front of us knowing what was going on behind the scenes accepting it because we couldn’t tell for sure. Financially powerful people have been brought up before our eyes and the accusations wind up somewhat normalizing it. So where does this leave our everyday people who are violated behind closed doors?

 

 

The Irrelevance of Modern Politics

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As the presidential campaign begins creeping out the dark corner, many of us are excited to see the jumble of idiots trying to convince us that their rich background can understand what the middle class and lower class is actually going through. But it should be funny. The big problem with any political campaign is that the drive to go into politics revolves around…guess it! MONEY! Not current overwhelming conditions. Money has been the foundation of political power for generations and those who don’t have the money or the right networking affiliations, but has the drive, knowledge, and passion for the progress of America, usually never stands the chance. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at it from a few angles.

Money Drives Professional Gain Like I described in a previous blog post, money is a huge part in campaigning for yourself or a mission. If you don’t believe that, ask yourselves why millions of people and businesses pay into marketing profusely. It’s why you will always see multiple types of marketing positions available. When you have an endless amount of money to pour into a campaign, you can focus less on fundraising and more on being one step ahead. More than likely, you will have access to highly qualified campaign managers, better financial assistance, better potential fundraisers, etc. While this may not be the case 100% of the time, let’s come together and realize that money gives a good push in the direction you want. Try moving to your dream destination with no money. Try buying your favorite car with no money. Try raising a family with no money. Try advertising your skills to millions with no money. (except for the irrelevant people who desire is to exploit). Money has a huge control on most decisions. Denial is why the middle class in tipping towards the lower class. Many lower and middle class citizens who have a passion for forward thinking and change for the positive couldn’t even dream about the money that pours into standard political campaigns let alone receive anything close to what the 1% does and because broke=dumb in this country, people rarely decide to choose what the broke person is trying to explain because, money.

Money Provides Reason Do you really think middle class Marcy could raise anywhere close to the politicians we come to love (on opposite day)? Most politicians will never understand the current condition of the middle and lower class. This is a sad admittance, however, we are in an era and in a generation of adult from broken homes, volatile situations, deprived school systems, extremely ignorant held beliefs passed down. Reasons for change but no money to prove validity. We are also a generation of adults who are more opened minded and willing to change coupled with experience dealing with the lives of middle and lower class people. Add being one of the most financially repressed American generation relative brings us to 2015 confirming that what we have been told over the years has been a lie. As for the high class, why change if there’s always gain? Doesn’t their money prove that?

Money Provides a Stable Flatline (ignorance sometimes included) Having the born-in wealthy control the current conditions is like having a general manager from a retail store invited to become a head coach in the NBA. Yes you may have some management experience and your work attendance is perfect, but do you really understand the concept and the situation? Most Americans are not born into easy opportunities and must experience much in order to evolve. Our political power should reflect as such. When it comes to change, relative to the American spectrum, few are open to big ones. There’s a reason why the phrase “he’s set in his ways” will never go away. There’s much less persuasion when you have more information available. But when these current politicians take what they’ve learned many wealthy, uneventful years ago and announce them, you tend to forget that we are supposed to be the country of forward thinking and future planning. When you sift through the internet babble, you will find many people who actually want and are willing to help change the direction of this country and have good reason to. Unfortunately, many of them are broke (hint). Meanwhile those with financial stability can say the most ignorant of things and have people justify their words.

Want to Play a Game?

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Money Drives Influence – But Not Always The Answer Let’s talk a little about climate change. I am not a scientist and I will not claim that I know it all (or much) when it comes to that subject. I know that the scientists who accept the change in climate are arguing whether or not the changes occurring are natural or man-made. But if you listen to politicians, they already have the answer and instead of finding a solution, they continue to argue who’s right. Meanwhile, there’s a drought in California, floods in Texas, melting ice in Antarctica, but we have to get down to the nitty gritty: Who’s winning the debate. During their political campaign, I can guarantee the redundancy speeches of the current issues going on with this country with climate change being a button to push. It’s a wonderful argument to debate. But the current political process will not address the solutions, rather point why their opponent bi-proxy shouldn’t be president. And we’ll listen not because they are providing solutions, but because we will be reminded over and over again who they are through the marketing techniques they spent thousands upon thousands…upon thousands to shove in our face. We’ll listen to our favorite media organizations backing the politicians because they help pay their salary. We’ll ignore those who are speaking solutions into the world because…well we probably didn’t hear them because MONEY GIVES YOU A LOUD ENOUGH VOICE TO BE HEARD! Now if the rich used their superpowers for good then I wouldn’t be writing this. Could you imagine if Superman was secretly Bizarro?

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Offensive? Maybe. But Lets Confirm Before We Whine.

I watch TV a lot (thanks Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime). It’s my background noise while I’m at my computer doing everything I possibly could do to advance my career…and borderline obsess over social media observing. I suck at keeping up with the latest shows, so I usually have oldie but goodies playing while I work.

Fortunately, as an adult, I get to re-watch certain shows as if I only saw a trailer the first time. As an adult, I get to understand the smart remarks and lingo that cleared my head the first time and wow, actors got away with saying a lot of offensives things. And it is hilarious.

Things I’m sure today, you’d cry about. Thank goodness social media is only in its infancy and we haven’t always been bombarded with its presence. Movies and TV shows would have never been able to start their paths to being two of the most common things in America.

Back to my point. Throughout history (at least close to my history), people have poked fun and insulted someone in some way. Mocking Native Americans, Blacks, Spanish, Irish, Italians, blondes, fat people, nerds, the list is endless. Sometimes a joke can be just that…a joke. Sometimes something can just be entertainment and not the assumption that a result in one entertaining scenario goes across the board of specific groups. Today however, the thought of not being able to make someone laugh is frightening.

It seems the new trend is to take everything to the extreme. No longer can we say something funny and expect the very least to just stare silently. Today, we have to worry about internet backlash. Everything gets taken out of context and next thing we know, feeds are becoming virtually critical of what the entire world is doing. How many of us has already read something about a group being offended and think ‘Damn, I do that too! I guess I offend them.’

This is way too often for a lot of people.

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Yes, people thread that line where you question whether you should laugh or punch a wall. This is not the blog for that scenario, however, if all you’re going to shame and name-call something trivial as a joke, know that you’re negatively judged and criticized profusely by many. It’s silly and insanely pointless.

I have to stress the fact that people can’t see the difference between a joke to help people burn calories and something that is said or done with an undertone of prejudice is insulting as a human. So much time has been wasted these couple of years getting offended just because it gives you something to comment about. The irony is this would be a perfect time in life to take a look at ourselves and JUST. LAUGH.

This is coming from a short, fat, black woman from Jersey who hasn’t had a stable job since 2012. The internet should be one big offense to me!

And if you can’t laugh at yourself, take a trip to TV land and get your mind blown…maybe another thing to get offended about.

I know it’s hard but here’s how I make it without taking everything I see so personally.

  1. Ask yourself: Are they trying to offend, or are they just trying to make me laugh?

It actually should be quite easy to figure out if you pay attention and not just use a paragraph as a word jumble.

And if you’re truly offended, try making a difference. Even if it seems small.

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How Not To Waste A Good Debate

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EVERYONE IS ARGUING!

Of course we are. There’s 7 billion people across this glorious speck in the universe. We’re not going to agree. Shit, with all the slanted news, the odds are stacked completely against us…unless you’re like most people and have a personal jet to travel and observe for yourself.

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Now that you’ve accepted that, together we can understand how to argue an opinion without being an asshole or an idiot. While the debate can be intense, there are only a few simple steps to follow to make sure you leave the debate satisfied you made your point and you’ve thought critically of what your opponent had to say (yes that is important too).

  1. Have An Argument– You don’t know how many times I’ve read an opinion so far-fetched, it was obvious a 747 could clear the space between the person’s head and the moral of the story.
  1. Do Some Research It’s not necessary to spend endless hours outlining studies. But basing your argument on one story that you just happen to scroll pass and agreed with the headline is possibly the laziest thing a person could do…and we’re either sitting at a computer just clicking, or sitting somewhere more comfortable just swiping. Confirm a few things before typing. Make sure the current event isn’t tied to decades of things you didn’t consider…or common sense. I say this knowing if you take my advice, I’m sacrificing some of my online humor.
  1. Accept When A Point Has Been Proven Wrong  It becomes funny when you keep insisting the trickle-down effect worked.
  1. Respond To The Argument  Not what you think will distract people from your dwindling points.
  1. If You Are Going To Use Sarcasm, Be Good At It  Nothing is more satisfying than getting a sarcastic response that you can tear into pieces in 3 three sentences…You know what? Ignore this, I’m not sacrificing my hobby.
  1. Be An Adult  The world will never completely agree with each other so don’t end the debate making the opponent feel like you ran and cried into the arms of your confidant. Even if the argument becomes intense with emotions writhing, do your best to calm the situation and actually consider their side before ending the debate. Doing that will allow you to confirm how thoughtless your opponent was after you calmed down leaving you less likely feel like maybe you missed something. Your opponent will have had no choice but to at least consider your side since you did your research on both the specifics and the broad range of the issue. Your opponent’s choice whether to use critical thinking skills is why society is crying.

Politicians, Catch Up. People, React.

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Yes, we know. For decades you had the ability to make decisions without the media so far up your ass, they knew you had colon cancer before you got the results. For decades it was your word against someone else’s and of course someone America chose to represent would never lie to achieve what they want.

For decades, the ability to keep to yourself when it came to making decisions was standard and the majority of us didn’t care enough to do in-depth research on the politicians who affect our future. A few were silly enough to make the front page, but I guarantee many politicians would need to secure a designated driver when entering a game of ‘I Never’ with middle class citizens.

But not anymore.

We’ve finally placed society in a position that puts many politicians in a unfamiliar light and we all should pat ourselves on the back.

So why aren’t we?

Ah I know. While the media continues to easily shove inaccurate, one-sided stories with relevant facts buried in the sensation, we continue to believe that because it speaks to what we trust, it must be accurate, and if not, we’ll figure out a way to right the mistake by twisting the truth to correlate. Because our side can’t be wrong. Our side must succeed no matter how silly the response was.

It’s so apparent, politicians are blatantly spitting in our face every chance they get and we won’t react because reacting may hurt our side’s chance of winning (winning what, I’m not sure yet. We’re all losers right now). If that’s not bad enough, some of the politicians have the media outright backing them in their pursuit to power and feel that it would have no affect on their ethics as journalists (think about that the next time you share an article or video).

Here’s a quick example.

Chris Christie admitted that if he were elected president, he would strike down on states who have legalized marijuana. He doesn’t believe it should be legalized (but felt compelled to push sports gambling and maintaining Atlantic City gambling casinos, enabling an addiction many people can do a six degrees of separation from). He openly admits that back-tracking would be one of his priorities.

We’ve seen the financial success that the legalization of marijuana has done for the recent legalized states. We’ve seen statistics that say New Jersey has one of the highest move out rates. We see the tax revenue it brings in the recent legalized states, so much so that money is needed to be given back. We’ve seen endless money spent on prisons in New Jersey, while people still get high anyway. Violent crime has decreased since the legalization of pot in Colorado. A drunk cop from New Jersey crashes and kills people.

Not to mention the new studies coming out contradicting everything we were told to believe.

How he thought he had any right to speak of it is beyond me. But that’s not the point.

Now, the response from the people were genuinely hilarious as most couldn’t believe that Christi thought he would be elected as he has his state citizens running for a new beginning. But the fact that a politician thought so highly of himself and so low of the people should tell us something.

We are not really paying attention. Haven’t been for years. We believe exactly what we are told by the people who have chosen their salary over the truth. Not their truth. THE TRUTH. Great example of the trickle-down affect. Are we liking the results? We see it, but our reaction is not enough to thwart the actions of the people who were elected to speak for us. Some have tried to react. Those not powerful enough have to hide. Some of us don’t know how to do something. Some think they can’t. Some just don’t care. Which category are you?