Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Topic: Lawyers - Criminal and General

Over time we hope to develop a long list of lawyers, in all states, which are known to handle issues related to FSOs, including civil matters. For today we have the following. It is appreciated if, as folks use local lawyers, if they are good please report back so we can list them here. Thanks.

Please note, we do not specifically endorse lawyers and make no guarantees about their performance. It is up to you to decide if a specific lawyer is right for your circumstance and the law related to it.
ACLU Chapters and Affiliates
Don't forget to read sections below,they pertain to all lawyers.
Something to consider: Many Great Videos

Introducing LawInfo’s New Video Law Library

This free legal resource is organized by common legal issues allowing you to quickly and easily access the specific legal information you're looking for. You can browse the different legal videos, read transcripts and even share the videos to your favorite social media sites. ..Source..

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Ask a lawyer
Online sites which lawyers Answer Questions

Sometimes folks may have general legal questions that they want a lawyer's direction on, and there are a few good online sites where such questions can be asked and answered by lawyers.

Remember though, some print the question and answer online, so do not enter personal information, save that for a later phone call or visit.

And, never discuss particulars of any crime online, especially if you have not been convicted of it. Wait till you have engaged a lawyer to legally and properly advise you.: Legal Answers

Avvo Ask a lawyer

Just Answers: Ask a Lawyer

Free Advise: Ask a Lawyer Ask a Lawyer

Ask a Local Attorney (Note: This one requires your zip code, so question can be directed to lawyer in that area. This is especially good for registry questions.)
However, if you have a complex question, it is more then likely the response you will get is one that refers you to a local lawyer, keep that in mind. Finally, we would appreciate knowing how folks feel after using these sites; e-mail us.

STATE: Lawyers Known to Handle Sex Cases

JacksonWhite Attorneys at Law

Law Offices of Janice M. Bellucci
Attorney at Law
Phone: (805) 896-7854
235 E. Clark Avenue, Suite C
Santa Maria, CA 93455

Fred Thiagarajah, Criminal Defense Attorneys
Hammerschmidt Broughton Law Corporation
Colorado: Law Offices of Jeffery P. Matthews, P.C.

The Pattis Law Firm

The Law Office of Jerry Jenkins, P.A.
1415 E Robinson St., Suite D
Orlando, FL 32801

Andrew R. Lynch, P.C.

The Law Firm of
Frank Stanley, PC
200 N. Division Avenue
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
616-773-2702 Telephone
877-459-8699 Toll Free
616-459-4909 Fax

Cheryl Carpenter
122 Concord, Ste. 102
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304
Office: 248-387-9359
Phone: 248-229-9359
Fax: 248-671-0477

Shannon Smith P.C.
122 Concord, Ste. 102
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304
Phone: 248-636-2595
Cell: 734-218-1998
Fax: 248-319-0348

Marc D. Lund
Attorney at Law
231 South Bemiston, Suite 800
Clayton, MO 63105
FAX: (866) 336-3391

New Jersey:
Jack Furlong
Mountain View Office Park
820 Bear Tavern Rd., Ste. 304
West Trenton, NJ 08628

Robert Fuggi,
Fuggi Law Firm
47 Main Street
Toms River, NJ 08753
Telephone (732) 240-9095
Fax (732) 240-9072

John M. Dunn PLLC
(Note: Handled the OK Sup ct case: Starkey v DOC)
616 S. Main St., Suite 206
Tulsa, OK 74119
Voice: (918) 526-8000
Fax: (918) 359-5050

Phillips, Coventon, Quillian & Banner BLOG (Must be reviewed)
Phillips & Associates (Home page)
Oklahoma City Criminal Defense Law Firm
1900 N.W. Expressway, Suite 601, Oklahoma City, OK 73118
(405) 418-8888 [phone]
(405) 260-9573 [fax]

Snook and Haughey, P.C.
408 East Market Street, Suite 107
P. O. Box 2486
Charlottesville,Virginia 22902
Phone: 434-293-8185

Thomase E. Weaver Law Office

NATIONAL: Find a Lawyer and Other Legal Resources
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

The American Bar Association has an excellent National Legal Resource Guide which can be accessed by state. And, you can also check with your State Bar Association.

LegalMatch: Find a lawyer for your issue.

National Lawyer Directory
: Also has links to individual states

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) - Funded Programs with State Websites LSC is the single largest provider of civil legal aid for the poor in the nation. Established in 1974, LSC operates as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that promotes equal access to justice and provides grants for high-quality civil legal assistance to low-income Americans. LSC distributes about 95 percent of its total funding to 136 independent nonprofit legal aid programs with more than 900 offices that provide legal assistance to low-income individuals and families throughout the nation.

NATIONAL: Pro Bono Lawyers
Throughout the nation there are Pro Bono lawyers. Pro Bono means there is no fee for handling the case. Generally State Bar associations require lawyers licensed in their state to provide so many hours of pro bono work annually.
1) Lawyers serving the public good:

2) Check with your State Bar Association asking for a Pro Bono lawyer.

3) Directory of Pro Bono Programs (American Bar Ass.)

NATIONAL: Clinical Law Programs
Clinical law school programs provide hands-on-legal experience to law school students and services to various clients. Clinics are usually directed by clinical professors. Legal clinics typically do pro bono work in a particular area, providing free legal services to clients.

Students typically provide assistance with research, drafting legal arguments, and meeting with clients. In many cases, one of the clinic's professors will show up for oral argument before the Court. However, many jurisdictions have "student practice" rules that allow law-clinic students to appear and argue in court.
1) National list clinical law programs at Universities and Law schools.

2) Law Schools by State

PrePaid Legal Services
This is a company that provides a service, one that you sign up for well in advance of needing their services. You paid fees up-front and when you need a lawyer they refer you to one.

Learn more about them, a national corporation, listed on NYSE -OR- Legal Shield. Look them over and decide for yourself if that fits your needs.

With that said, we would appreciate if anyone uses them to let us know if they provided you with reasonable representation.


PRISON: Prison Legal News (PLN)
PLN is listed here because they often have access to, or have accumulated over time, information which can be helpful to BOTH those incarcerated and those in the community.

Sometimes they can answer questions based on past experiences and it is worth asking them if they can provide information to solve legal circumstances that folks in the community face.

However, also remember they are not lawyers and cannot represent folks in court. Their website is: Prison Legal News

Representing Yourself in Court

Pro Per Representation (representing self in court):
Obviously having a qualified lawyer is best, but there may be times when that is not possible. Accordingly, the first thing one should check into is, the court where you would file your action, often they have kits of everything you need to know on procedure in that court and the forms you will need.

Now, here is a handbook on filing in court to challenge your rights if you are in prison. Please remember that much of what is found in that book is also applicable to folks out in society, but it may take reading inbetween the lines to gather what you need to know.

IMPORTANT - Before Hiring a Lawyer
The ABA attempts to limit this database to those lawyers who are in good standing as members of the bar. However, we must rely on the bar admission and disciplinary authority of each state to provide information concerning lawyers admitted to the bar in each jurisdiction and lawyers subject to disciplinary action for misconduct. Disciplinary action for misconduct may include disbarring a lawyer permanently (in which case the lawyer may no longer practice law), suspending or limiting a lawyer's right to practice law, or other disciplinary action important to consumers of legal services.

Time delays in receiving and incorporating such information may result. Therefore, it is important, before hiring any lawyer, to contact the lawyer disciplinary agency in the state where the lawyer maintains a business address to confirm that the individual is in good standing as a member of the bar.

An online listing of each state's lawyer disciplinary agency may be found HERE

Five Questions to Ask a Criminal Lawyer Before Hiring

For most people, choosing the right lawyer (or doctor, or accountant, etc.) is difficult. Our work is highly specialized, so it's hard for regular people to know what questions to ask. Below are five questions you should ask criminal lawyers before hiring them. There are plenty of other questions to ask, but there are good ones.

1. What will you do if the prosecutor refuses to plea bargain and insists on a plea of guilty?

The right answer is that your criminal lawyer will fight the case. In this situation, a defendant has nothing to lose from fighting. The worst that can happen if you fight is that you will be found guilty after a trial - the same result as if you plead guilty. Practically, it's possible that the sentence would be worse in this situation, but in my experience there is either no difference or a better result. Plus, you might actually win. A follow-up question to ask on this is how much it will cost for the fight.

2. How many jury trials have you done?

The answer, hopefully, is at least five. For more serious cases you'd want someone with 10 or more trials. If the answer is zero, then you may not want that lawyer.

I've had over 40 jury trials (maybe over 50 - I've lost count). Most of my trials have been in personal injury cases, but I have had a few criminal jury trials. On that thought, a good follow up question here is to ask how many criminal jury trials the attorney has had.

For felonies, you may also want to ask how many felony trials. I'm ambivalent about this one, because I've only had to show up for one felony trial and the prosecutor agreed to dismiss it before we picked a jury. All of my other felony cases have been resolved long before we got to trial, most of them favorably.

Similarly, if it's a federal criminal case, you should ask about federal trials. Around here those are a lot rarer and it's probably hard to find an attorney who has done a lot of them.

3. Who will handle my case?

Most criminal lawyers are solo practitioners or work in small offices, and they handle their own cases. Our office has grown and I have associates who handle substantial work. I generally review their paperwork and do most of the hearings and so far all of the trials. I'm confident that having associates do part of the work is actually better for the client. You get different sets of eyes looking at things and there's more chance of picking up key details.

The thing to worry about is that some lawyers have a "business model" that may not be good for you. It's pretty rare, but some lawyers who advertises heavily end up doing almost no work on your case. They accept cases far from their office and have someone local appear for them. Unlike with an associate, there is little quality control.

For minor cases like traffic tickets, where the lawyer will simply be negotiating a plea deal, this may not matter as much. Easy for me to say since we do that. But I don't feel comfortable having an outside lawyer do substantive in-court work for me on a serious criminal case, even on a DWI (which I think is pretty serious).

4. How many cases like mine have you handled?

In general, you want a lawyer who's seen something similar in the past. If you are facing a DWI, you want a lawyer who's handled a few before. If it's a federal drug case, you want someone with that experience. An attorney with no experience in that area is going to miss some details. I'm a much better DWI lawyer now than I was four years ago. I've seen more, done more, and learned more.

Every once in a while I get a call from someone with a really odd case. If you're in that situation, you're not going to find a lawyer who's had ten of them before. You should be looking for someone with general criminal defense experience and something at least vaguely related.

For traffic cases, this can matter a great deal. Our firm represents many out-of-state drivers, and the deals we try to get for them are sometimes different than what we do for NY drivers. We have direct access to not only the NY DMV database, but also the NJ MVC because we get so many New Jersey clients. Make sure the attorney understands your circumstances and knows how to deal with your particular situation.

5. Do I have to come to Court?

Our clients rarely come to Court with us. Most of our appearances are routine and nothing of significance happens at them. It is a waste of time for our clients to come, and it can be quite stressful for them. By saving them the trip and stress, we are providing a real benefit.

Even for most hearings and even some trials, we do not bring our clients. They are certainly welcome to come, and in some cases their participation is important, but we usually don't need them. Pre-trial hearings are mainly about what the police have to say. Clients rarely testify at this stage.

An exception is complex cases or white collar crime, where the client's presence can be critical. Even if they don't testify, they can provide insight to the attorney that helps with cross-examination of the prosecution witnesses.

Those five questions are a good start. You should have more, based on the details of your case and your situation. Choose wisely and you will be a lot happier with your criminal defense lawyer.

In addition consider these questions HERE

For now, have a great day and a better tomorrow.
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