How Sexual Battery can become a Class B or a Capital Felony

August of 2016 will never be a good time to reminisce for a 29-year old music instructor from Johnson County in Kansas who has been sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to one count of aggravated indecent liberties; his victim was a 7-year-old girl. Prior to this, the convicted felon had also been charged in the past with sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of a minor, first-degree child molestation, first-degree statutory sodomy, and possession of child pornography.

Under both federal and state laws, crimes that cause innocent victims severe harm are considered serious offenses and are, thus, exacted with heavy punishments, like incredibly costly fines and years of imprisonment; some offenders are even sentenced to life in prison.

Serious crimes include treason, which is betrayal of one’s country and the most serious crime in the U.S., murder, which is the unlawful planned killing of another person, and sex crimes, such as rape, predatory sexual assault and, in a number of states, sexual battery.

Sexual battery, in particular, is any form of unwanted or non-consensual touching or sexual contact; it does not involve sexual intercourse or penetration as in the case of rape. In some states, sexual battery is referred to as criminal sexual contact and it can be committed in many different ways, like grabbing or fondling a woman’s breast, patting a person’s buttocks, forcing a kiss on the mouth, forcing the victim to touch the offender’s intimate body part, or touching the victim’s genital area; these acts are committed by an offender for the purpose of arousing or sexually gratifying himself/herself.

The most common victims of sexual battery are a relative, a classmate, a neighbor, an acquaintance, a co-worker, a friend, a dating partner, or even a spouse. A Nashville criminal defense lawyer of Horst Law explains how sexual battery can be elevated to an aggravated form, specifically, to Class B felony, saying that this can be so if the offender committed the offense while using a weapon as a means of force or coercion, causing bodily harm, engaging in the offense with the help of another person, or if the victim is less than 13 years old.

In some states, sexual battery is considered a capital felony if the offender is at least 17 years old and the victim, below the age of 12, and if the act causes injuries to the victim’s sexual organ. Capital felony can be punished with life imprisonment or death.

Many victims of sexual battery and other sexual crimes, especially victims who are children, do not immediately report the crime committed against them. This may be due to threats made by the offender, fear of negative reaction from parents or anyone else, or for some reasons. Now, while the U.S. justice system is clearly bent on catching and punishing sex offenders, it may sometimes be lacking the initiative or the desire to look into the possibility that the accused is actually innocent. This does not to discredit the system of justice, but to point out that, in certain cases, especially where the victim is a child, an automatic bias is usually developed against the suspect.

A charge as serious as a sex crime, more so a conviction, can and will destroy everything that an accused holds dear and important. Hoping to clear one’s name will require only the best defense from a determined criminal defense lawyer

There are a number of law firms that offer substantial information regarding the right of an accused to a fair trial and the kind of defense that he/she will definitely need during the litigation. It is important that the accused find the lawyer who will be able to provide him/her with a defense that will work best for his/her case. All criminal lawyers are fully trained to understand the criminal law; however, not all eventually end up as capable of providing good legal representation and a good, strong defense that may save or lower the sentence of an accused.

Getting Car Insurance in the Internet Age

The need to have insurance coverage is a must when you want to own and drive a vehicle. Because people are often rushing to get on the road, getting insurance has also been made easier. Online insurance have become very popular because of their convenience. According to Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, getting insurance quotes from various insurance providers has become faster and easier once you get online. You do not have to get to an agency and just have to log in and chat with people online to get the best insurance quotes that you think would apply to you and cover your needs.

The convenience of the internet has made it very possible to talk with various insurance companies. N turn, these insurance companies have started to offer more affordable insurance for their clients. The transaction can all be done online, and information that is related to offer insurance policies can be quickly accessed online. What makes online insurance companies more appealing is that they can be contacted quickly through their online help desk that can provide you with information and assistance 24/7.

When choosing an online insurance provider, consider the type of vehicle you are getting insurance for. Often, expensive vehicles call for higher insurance premiums. Also, think about installing passive-restraint systems that would protect you and the passengers in an event of an accident: air bags, car alarms, and additional safety devices and systems are good investments and can lower your insurance premiums. Furthermore make sure to keep your driving records clean of any traffic violations or charges to avoid higher premiums. Being involved in an accident can make your insurance premiums higher because you have become a high-risk client

No matter how safe or defensive you drive, you can never be too sure that other drivers are as responsible as you. Accidents can happen anytime, anywhere, therefore being prepared can help prevent devastating financial issues that accidents can lead to. Not only can insurance coverage give you peace of mind, but it also ensures that your money is invested in something worthwhile.

Two most common dangers of driving during winter

It’s winter time again! Apart from the thrill the snowy weather brings, winter is also the time when driving could be a little bit more challenging, and dangerous. According to the website of the Resmini Law Office, car accidents during winter might be a result of a variety of factors: reckless driving, automotive defect, poor road condition, among many others. Here are the two most common dangers of winter driving that you should watch out for when hitting the road:

Poor visibility

During winter, lack of visibility can be a serious problem. Not only is poor visibility makes you more prone to rear-end collisions, it also makes you more vulnerable to other hazards on the road. When you hit the road with poor visibility, remember to turn on your hazard lights to prevent other cars from hitting you. You should also turn your headlights to provide you added depth.

You should also maintain safe distance to avoid hitting other vehicles. When the situation becomes more and more unmanageable, you should slow down and safely veer towards the emergency bay, with the headlights and hazard lights turned on, and wait for the visibility to improve.

Black ice

Black ice is a slippery patch of frozen water on the surface of the road. It is termed “black” because the clear ice adapts the color of the road, making it an unseen danger for motorists driving during winter. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), black ice is considered among the deadliest, if not the deadliest, road danger during weekend.

To avoid black ice-related incidents while on the road, remember to only use tires that are designed for winter use. You can also prevent deadly black ice by driving cautiously and with anticipation. Finally, when you hit a patch of ice, remember not to brake suddenly or to make any jerky turn, as it may cause your car to hydroplane and spin. Instead, steer your car to the direction where you want it to go while decelerating smoothly. You can do this by taking your foot off the gas pedal slowly, and by switching gears down.

Taking the fight against Manufacturers of Injurious Children’s Products

Between 1993 and 1998, a particular brand of baby’s crib took the lives of six children, all below 2 years old. The defective design of the crib caused it to collapse on its own, trapping the necks of the children and strangling them.

After the last death in 1998, which involved 16-month-old Daniel “Danny” Keysar, a report surfaced regarding the recall that was issued on the crib way back in 1993. Obviously, the news of this recall never reached the parents of the babies, three of whom died in 1995 and two in 1998; otherwise, the five others would not have died.

The task of regulating the manufacture and sale, as well as the safety of consumer products, including children’s toys and nursery items, falls on the shoulders of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a government agency that was created in 1972. Some of CPSC’s specific tasks include:

determining the allowed size of children’s toys; setting limits for toxicity of, and noise produced by, toys; making sure that toys’ batteries and magnets are inaccessible to children; ensuring the removal of sharp parts and edges which can wound children; requiring manufacturers to display product labels that will warn parents about a toy’s possible dangers; issuing recalls on harmful products; banning of products that can cause danger; and, formulation of product safety requirements.

About 69,000 children in the US are rushed to emergency departments every year due to defective nursery products. In 2014, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission issued recalls on 17 million units of children’s products which included infant carriers, high and hook-on chairs, full-size and non-full-size cribs, portable cribs, infant bathtubs, infant slings, strollers, walkers, play yards, swings, stationary activity centers, and toddler beds, among others.

Also in 2014, a non-profit organization, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), released a report titled, “Trouble in Toyland”; it identified potentially hazardous toys and gave parents tips on how to purchase only safe toys for their children.

Another non-profit organization, the World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.), helps to protect children from harmful toys by sharing valuable information on dangerous children’s products.

When a defective product injures or severely harms anyone, most especially a child, all those involved in the chain of distribution, from the manufacturer to the retailer, can be named as defendants in a civil lawsuit, which is called a product liability lawsuit. This website explains the legal responsibility of manufacturers in designing and producing only safe products, and the available legal options which can help parents pursue compensation and justice for the harm they have been forced to endure.

Visiting the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum

Preserving the environment and its ecological systems is an important priority. This mission is at the center of the Arboretum—an area that spans over 1,200 acres built and tended to as the world’s primary site for the study of ecological restoration.

Back in the 1930s, the Arboretum was an abandoned area of huge fields and pastures. Scientists and researchers at the University of Wisconsin in Madison made the decision to restore the area back to its original state and return the plants and animals that once made the sprawling lands their habitat. According to their website, the main idea behind the Arboretum is to re-establish the “original Wisconsin.” From then on, the university was able to recreate several ecological communities and allow the area to thrive. Today, there are several forest types, wetlands, savannas, and tallgrass prairies in the Arboretum.

Visitors to the Arboretum can also find several gardens that houses unique horticultural collections. In particular, the sprawling area has three different gardens open for tours during the spring, summer, and fall—Longenecker Horticultural Gardens, Viburnum Garden, and Wisconsin Native Plant Garden. In these gardens, one can find an abundant number of shrubs, flowering trees, and other types of flora unique to Wisconsin.

Since the area is primarily a research facility meant to help scientists understand ecological restoration, anyone visiting the Arboretum is urged to keep its plants and wildlife protected. For one, it’s important to remember that plants and any other natural materials in the area should not be collected and kept. It’s also important that visitors keep to the Arboretum’s assigned trails. Going off the designated walkways can risk damage to the plants and wildlife that make the place a unique and memorable destination.

Most Common Types of Personal Injury

Personal Injury as a lawsuit is, in actuality, encompasses a rather large area. There are many kinds of lawsuits that fall under this category, thereby making this one of the most complicated cases that any legal team can deal with. According to the website of Crowe & Mulvey, the claims that are with this kind of case often include a certain expertise with medical jargon as well as the specifics of the law, depending on which state the accident or negligent act results in. Many states differ in certain aspects of the law, though they retain the basics of it, the little discrepancies are often the ones to watch out for, in the case of possible loopholes.

One of the most common types of personal injury cases are those stemming from automobile accidents. From the statistics offered by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), every person will go through at least once in their lifetime. Sometimes, the accident can be so devastating that it results into either temporary or permanent disability, sometimes as morbid as wrongful death.

Another kind of personal injury case is one that is due to medical malpractice. This is also an umbrella term that can mean a lot of different procedures that can be cause for this type of lawsuit to be claimed, thereby demanding a lawyer that truly specializes in this kind of case in order to be granted the best possible deal as compensation for this kind of traumatic experience. Medical malpractice injuries can often result into spinal cord injuries, permanent brain damage, birth defects, et cetera – all of which then causing the victim to suddenly have financial and medical burdens due to the neglect of someone else.

In essence, that is what personal injury cases are at heart. They are accidents that cause injury when the accident itself could have been prevented if it were not for the negligence of a guilty party. If you or someone you know has been injured due to this kind of situation, immediate legal action is advised.

The Basics of Dealing with Nursing Home Abuse

In this day and age, it often more advisable to care for the elderly by allowing them to settle in nursing homes where their individual needs can be taken care of my professionals. It is a complicated, difficult choice for most families but it is usually done with good intent and in good faith. It is a betrayal of that trust when a nursing home is unable to provide proper services towards their awards – it is especially traitorous to intentionally withhold due care to these elderly citizens who are now at an age where they are usually incapable of standing up for themselves. And that betrayal of trust is actually an illegal crime that you can press charges for.

Any nursing home abuse lawyer will tell you that nursing homes are mandated by law to provide a specific standard of care. The needs of every citizen under their care must be specific, as is suited to the given individual – such as with the medicine prescribed and daily schedules. Nursing homes are also expected to have enough staff on board, in direct correlation with how many they care for within house.

Abuse is also often a more psychological pain that inflicted unto a person, enhanced by some physical conditioning – such as some cases have been known for abusers to withhold necessary medicine or food from the abused, to condition them into cooperating. According to the website of Crowe Mulvey, some other common forms of abuse that happen in nursing homes are financial exploitation, sexual harassment, intimidation, et cetera. This is especially painful for the family of these elderly folk to know this is a possibility for it was them who had put them in that given nursing home in the first place. The compensation for being treated as such is incalculable.

If you or your loved one has experienced abusive behavior or criminally negligent service from a nursing home, it is advisable for you to seek legal assistance immediately.

Essentials of the Jones Act

The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (Jones Act) is a special federal law designed to protect the rights of seamen who get injured while on the job, among other things. A seaman as qualified under the Jones Act can file a suit against an employer to recover damages incurred from injuries caused by negligence. As in any tort or personal injury case, the plaintiff has to prove that there was negligence on the part of the employer and that this negligence is the reason the seaman was injured. However, there are significant differences between a regular personal injury case and a Jones Act case.

Under the Jones Act, the employer is required to take steps appropriate to the circumstances that will ensure that workers are operating under reasonably safe working conditions. An employer may be considered negligent for any number of reasons, including the usual greasy floors and lack of safety gear as well as for hiring or retaining someone who is violent. For example, if a worker is injured because he or she was assaulted by a co-worker that investigation later reveals has a history of violence, the employer can be held civilly liable for exposing workers to that person.

According to maritime lawyers on the Ritter & Associates website, an employer may also be held liable for damages if the injured worker proves that any action or inaction of the employer contributed a part no matter how small in causing the injury under the Jones Act. Under regular tort law, the defendant can only be held liable of the negligence was the proximate (or main) cause of the injury.

The damages that may be awarded under the Jones Act are similar to those in a regular personal injury lawsuit. Being a federal law, Jones Act cases may be filed in either federal or state court, depending on the judgment of the maritime lawyer engaged in the case. However, a lawsuit must be filed within three years after the injury was incurred.

Personal Injury, Helmets, and the Law

Helmets can make or break a personal injury case. It all depends on what the law says about liability, and how a judge and jury will react.

Helmets are not mandatory in all states. Iowa, for example, no longer has a helmet law. It had one in 1968 when the state legislature was forced to enact one when the federal government made it a condition to getting funds released. When this pressure was lifted in 1986, Iowa repealed the law, so motorcycle riders have no legal motivation to wear one when on the road.

Studies consistently show that helmets reduce the severity of head injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents, and this can be used by a defendant in a personal injury suit to shift at least part of the blame to the plaintiff. As pointed out in an article on the website of the Pete Leehey Law Firm, P.C., proving that a third party was negligent is by default an uphill battle when the plaintiff was on a motorcycle because there is a tendency for people to believe that motorcycle riders frequently engage in a risky behavior. In Iowa, having a helmet at the time of the incident can help dispel this impression under the guidance of a skilled and shrewd motorcycle accident lawyer.

Another law that has significance in personal injury claims is found in Iowa Code Chapter 688 which deals with tort liability. Iowa follows the comparative negligence doctrine, wherein a plaintiff who is partially at-fault for an accident can still recover partial damages, but only if the percentage of fault assigned is less than that of the defendant/s.  Not wearing a helmet can contribute significantly to the assigning of fault.

So what it all boils down to is that it makes overall sense to just wear the darn things, even if it gives you helmet hair. If you are involved in an accident in Iowa and get seriously injured, at least your lawyer can point out that even though you didn’t have to, you still wore a helmet. This goes a long way to convincing a jury at least that you are probably not in the habit of taking risks, and rule your way more favorably.

The Angst Genre

A BBC article published on the 100th anniversary of the Albert Camus’s birth argues that a genre of literature centering around angst and isolation from society appeals to teens exploring their own identities.

BBC reporter Tom Hayden credits the birth of this “genre” to Camus’s The Stranger, a story about a murderer who fails to grieve his own execution.

The article lists other influential classics that fit the criteria for this genre—The Catcher in the Rye, 1984, Catch 22, The Bell Jar, and Brave New World.

The novels all have one common theme: exclusion.

Although we can concur that most teens can’t literally relate to feeling numb about their upcoming execution, reading about characters who are working through feelings of isolation and indifference may be attractive to high school students.

High school, after all, has many facets of exclusion. It can be a wonderful time—but it invariably comes with isolation for even the most popular cheerleader or baseball star. It’s a stuck-in-the-middle age. You’re old enough to worry about adult responsibilities like a career, but not really old enough to do anything about it.

Couple this with the raging hormones and narcissism that’s characteristic of 17-year-olds, and you get one huge identity crisis that is characterized by the notion of feeling completely unique from the rest of society.

Teens who read about characters dealing with complete isolation are probably looking to validate their feelings or make a statement, not necessarily to learn. However, some knowledge will probably seep through by reading the classics, regardless of the reader’s motives.

Angst on, class of 2014.

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