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“Selfie War” Paramedics Sentenced to Six Months

Posted by on Sep 2, 2017 in Criminal Defense | 0 comments

Whenever someone has to use an ambulance, they expect to trust the operators inside with their life. As emergency service personnel we expect the paramedics within to act with the utmost professionalism. However, the unfortunate fact is that these paramedics are human just like anyone else and are prone to mistakes and irresponsible behavior. Two EMS responders, in particular, participated in what they called a “selfie war” where they took pictures of themselves with heavily injured patients during the ambulance ride to send to each other. The investigation into the two responders began back in May of 2017 after receiving complaints about unprofessional and compromising selfies taken of their patients.

On September 23rd EMS paramedic Chris Wimmer was delivered a sentence of six months jail time and three years probation. The accomplice in the crime and fellow paramedic Kayla Dubois was given two years of probation. According to the WFLA local news, Investigators found that they had photographed or video recorded 41 patients in total. Only 3 of these patients had given explicit consent to be photographed in the two’s sick game. This amassed to a total of 101 photos and 64 videos between the two phones. Apparently, the two had exchanged texts urging each other to try to take more challenging photos to really out do the other. The age of the patients that were involved ranges from 24 to 86 and were all at different stages of sickness and distress. Dubois is charged with a third-degree felony involving the disclosure of oral communications and two counts of interception. Wimmer faces a count of misdemeanor battery. This charge is because for one particular photo he had held open the sedated eyelid of a patient. He also posed with an incapacitated elderly woman with an exposed breast. The State Attorney’s Office wanted to saddle even more jail time on these two, citing the insensitivity that the paramedics showed in regards to their patients. Since this incident, the County Administrator has banned the use of cellphones in the back of ambulances and is looking to further reform the policy regarding technology use in ambulances.

Someone operating the back of an ambulance should never behave in this way. Patients trust their lives to these ambulances and the people who operate them. However, both responders involved exerted great remorse for what they had done, and even though he plead for no jail time, Wimmer was saddled with six months. Jail time should only be utilized when time is needed for those acquitted to experience remorse and reconciliation. The Flaherty Defense Firm criminal defense attorneys believe that everyone deserves fair judgment for their actions.

In today’s day and age, and especially with a smartphone, pranks and hijinks can occur anywhere even at work. Whenever that work includes the life or death of those you serve, then any kind of unprofessional behavior will be found out immediately and harshly punished.

Diversity Fire

Posted by on Aug 14, 2017 in Employment Law | 0 comments

The workplace in today’s world can be a very daunting place, due to the competitive nature of work environments, it is possible for employers and supervisors to build a superiority complex that is damaging to not only the employee but also to the company as a whole. Employers who wrongfully terminate their employees for self-benefit are a specific example of the unjust practices that occur in today’s workplaces.

Texas is an employment at-will state. This status allows employers within the state to relieve employees of their duty for any lawful reason; however, this does not mean the employer can terminate an employee for any benign reason. This distinction is crucial because it lays the foundation for a competent case against wrongful terminations depending on the scenario. For these wrongful termination cases, the employee must be able to prove that they were fired as an act of some sort of discrimination or under false pretenses. In many cases, the vindictive actions of such employers can be proven in order to serve justice for the terminated employee. Typically the employee involved will have endured repeated harassment or other tense confrontational moments. Data released by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission stated that there were 28,216 reported incidents of harassment in the workplace. A select portion of these incidents sought out reparations for their being taken advantage of and witnessed a payout of $125.5 million. Work spaces are a reflection of the increasingly diverse world we all share. As human rights efforts continue the great fight for equality of all individuals we are now beginning to witness the groups benefitting from the steadfast efforts of these organizations.

As countries such as the United States experience an influx in greater numbers of immigrants and their descendants our cities and office spaces are becoming evermore diverse. The rainbow of human appearance and the reality that we are each unique, yet interconnected by our common human experience can cause tensions for people who appear different than the majority. Human pride is the downfall in these tense situations.

In today’s volatile social climate it has become necessary to stand firm in what sets you apart from the mainstream. Human’s capacity for hate seems to know no bounds, but oddly enough so does the human’s ability to love. The future of our species is uncertain due to living in a world where any debate can become a tense argument filled with hate and ignorance.

In conclusion, almost every citizen must work in order to be a functioning member of society in the increasingly demanding world of employment. Wrongful termination can be a threat to minorities everywhere. If we as a species expect to outlast the hate that is stirring in modern political climates then we must educate people in and out of the workplace to be compassionate towards those that differ from you. Diversity is a meaningless occurrence without respect and inclusivity for our fellow man.

Divorce Disputes: Division of Property

Posted by on Aug 10, 2017 in Marriage | 0 comments

Divorce can be a very challenging legal matter. It can involve a lot of disagreements regarding many subjects, such as child custody, spousal support, and division of property. Though it can be said that child custody is the most emotional subject, you shouldn’t disregard division of property, because it is your assets and liabilities we are talking about here.

How Properties Are Divided

But how are properties divided during a divorce? They are divided in two ways – community property and equitable distribution. The way will depend on your state. For example, according to the website of Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, Texas is a community property state. This means that Texas family courts utilize the rules of community property when it comes to property division.

What is community property and equitable distribution anyway? In community property, all marital properties will be distributed equally between you and your spouse. You and your spouse will also be able to keep properties that solely belong to their rightful owner, like gifts and inheritances.

In equitable distribution, the properties are divided in a way that is just, meaning the spouses will receive their rightful portion. Unlike community property, the division of properties is usually uneven, to favor a spouse that has contributed more to the accumulation and acquisition of these properties.

Community property and equitable distribution have advantages and disadvantages over the other, like how community property can result into unfair division for the person who has contributed more and how equitable distribution can put one spouse at a serious financial standing decline.

How to Protect Yourself from Unfair Division

But to avoid problems, it is best to have a prenuptial agreement. This is a document that can state what will happen in the event of a divorce, including how the properties will be divided. For example, in a prenuptial agreement, you can state which of your properties are not considered marital, so in the event of a divorce, your spouse will not have a financial right over these properties.

Also, you can protect your children from another marriage. During a divorce, your properties may unfairly be given to your second ex-spouse, so nothing will be left for your children from another marriage. You can use a prenuptial agreement to ensure that all your children will benefit.

Having a prenuptial agreement may sound insensitive, because even before the marriage, you are already assuming that you and your partner are going to separate. But that is merely an impression. You are just ensuring that you and your children will not get the short end of the stick, when a divorce does occur.

Safe Bicycle Riding Practices

Posted by on Jun 7, 2017 in Bike Accidents | 0 comments

Safe Bicycle Riding Practices

Bicyclists are some of the most defenseless motorists on the road. They are not like drivers who have metal frameworks that can absorb the force from accidents. They are relatively smaller and slower compared to vehicles, making them less visible and more likely to be swiped.

Bicycle accidents, at their worst, can result to traumatic brain injury, paralysis, amputation, and even death. Those who are relatively lucky will sustain less severe injuries, such as bruises, cuts, lacerations, and road rashes.

According to the website of The Benton Law Firm, those who have been injured in bicycle accidents may get compensation from negligent drivers who have caused the collisions. This is justified, especially if the bicyclists have not done anything wrong yet they have been the ones who have been hurt.

But even though the law hears the victims, bicyclists should also make the effort in preventing bicycle accidents. Here are some safety tips:

  • Always wear protective equipment, such as helmets, elbow pads, and knee pads
  • Maintain your bicycle to make sure that it is always in its most efficient condition
  • Always check your bicycle before riding, particularly the brakes, seats, pedals, and tires
  • Address visibility issues by wearing reflective clothing and utilizing bicycle lights
  • Avoid riding while distracted, drunk, or fatigued
  • Follow traffic rules and stay on bicycle lanes
  • In the absence of bicycle lanes, stay on the edge of the road
  • Stay alert, especially in pedestrian areas and parking entrances and exits
  • Be wary of obstructions, such as barriers, road signs, tree branches, and vehicle doors that suddenly open
  • Be wary of potential hazards on the road, like potholes and debris
  • Be careful in riding on weather conditions that may limit tire traction and road visibility

Riding bicycles is supposed to be fun. You can stay fit, enjoy the environment around you, and not worry about gasoline and vehicle maintenance. But all that fun can be taken away from you if you don’t ride safely.

Defend Yourself against Insider Trading Charges

Posted by on Feb 19, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

In 2003, a stockholder of biopharmaceutical company ImClone Systems was found guilty of insider trading. The guilty decision was based on her selling of her stocks afer she was tipped by a broker at Merrill Lynch that the chief executive officer (CEO) of ImClone Systems sold all his shares of the company. The convicted stockholder saved herself from losing as much as $45,673 due to her early sale of 4,000 shares of her stocks; she was, however, fined $30,000 and sentenced to five months imprisonment.

Insider trading refers to the unfair practice of making investment decisions based on non-public or undisclosed information about a company’s securities and/or stocks. An insider, who has access to valuable non-public information on stocks or other securities of the corporation where he/she is employed or connected, can be a person, like a broker, a client, a key employee, an executive, a director or a major owner of stock; it can also be another entity, though, like a bank, a law firm or a government institution. Insider trading is illegal because, first, it gives tipped individuals a definite market advantage over common investors and, second, it violates the trust investors place in the securities market and undermines a sense of fairness in investing.

According to the website of the U.S. Scurities and Exchange Commission (SEC), “Illegal insider trading refers generally to buying or selling a security, in breach of a fiduciary duty or other relationship of trust and confidence, while in possession of material, nonpublic information about the security. Insider trading violations may also include “tipping” such information, securities trading by the person “tipped,” and securities trading by those who misappropriate such information.”

Insider trading, however, is not always considered illegal. “The legal version is when corporate insiders, officers, directors, employees and large shareholders, buy and sell stock in their own companies. When corporate insiders trade in their own securities, they must report their trades to the SEC. Many investors and traders use this information to identify companies with investment potential, the theory being, if the insiders are buying the stock, they must know more about their company than everyone else, so it is a good idea to buy the stock.”

The SEC monitors illegal insider trading activities by looking at the trading volumes of stocks. Volume of stocks usually increases after information on company securities is released to the public. If volumes increase dramatically, however, despite absence of public information, this will be interpreted by the SEC as a warning flag. This will then be investigated by the SEC to find out if illegal insider trading was committed.

As explained by the law firm Horst Law, acts of securities fraud are investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Due to limited resources, the SEC is not able to effectively prevent securities fraud, but instead reacts to cases after they occur. As such, it is not uncommon for people to contact a criminal defense attorney before charges are even brought simply because they have become the target of an investigation. Many times, seeking help early can prevent charges from being filed in the first place.

Once you come to know that insider trading charges have been brought against you, you should immediately begin working with an experienced lawyer to develop a legal strategy that will challenge and combat those charges.

Divorce Alternatives: Learning More About the Collaborative Divorce Process

Posted by on Oct 21, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Anyone who has ever gone through a divorce will know just how emotionally exhausting an experience it can be. Even couples that start the process amicably often end up in serious disagreement over issues such as property division, alimony, and child custody and child support payments. Fortunately, couples going through such contentions in their divorce process can look to several different options for a solution.

A collaborative divorce process is among the many options available for couples who find themselves stuck in an impasse regarding certain issues. Collaborative divorce is an especially helpful solution for spouses looking to maintain a friendly relationship with one another. Unlike traditional litigation, a collaborative divorce fosters an environment where couples can communicate and negotiate openly in order to work through disagreements as amicably as possible. The process begins with each spouse hiring qualified divorce attorneys who will then be present in every step of the way in order to offer assistance and provide appropriate counsel. The term “collaborative” comes into play because the entire process involves the participation of both spouses and each of their legal representatives.

For Marshall & Taylor, P.C., collaborative divorces can be particularly advantageous due to the numerous benefits it can offer. For starters, a collaborative divorce can be resolved far more easily and in less amount of time than a divorce that is settled through court. It also allows the couple far more control over the outcome of their divorce process, relieving them of the usual sources of stress and anxiety in such situations. Best of all, the whole process is significantly less expensive than traditional divorce options.

If you and your spouse have decided that a divorce is the best course of action for you and your family, you might want to consider going through a collaborative divorce to ensure a less turbulent process. Contact a qualified divorce lawyer to learn more about collaborative divorce and other available options.