Jeana's World of Law

Jeana's World of Law

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Check Out My Guest Post!

Success!! So happy that I was able to submit a guest post to Bitter Lawyer (one of my favorite blogs that provides humor and entertainment for lawyers and others interested in law).

Read it here: An Ugly Divorce

If you're interested in reading more of my work featured on Bitter Lawyer, here you go:

"Get Out of Jail Swede" Card &  Father Daughter Love Deemed Illegal

Keep tuned for more guest posts :) and if you're ever in need of laughter, check out Bitter Lawyer!

Should a 12-year-old Stand in Adult Court?

In 2010 Paul Henry Gingerich, then a 12-year-old boy, was sentence in adult court for 25 years charged with murder conspiracy. His lawyer is asking the Indiana court of appeals to re-examine the case that sent the young boy to adult prison, and judges will make their decision soon.

Gingerich, along with two other boys, shot and killed the step-father of one of the other boys in a attempted plan to run away to Arizona.

Although he was sentence to 25 years in adult court, the Indiana Department of Corrections believed that a young boy would not fair well in an adult prison, so rather he was sentenced to a juvenile facility until he was of age to be transferred to an adult court. With good behavior, however, Gingerich could be released when he is 24, meaning he would have spent 12 years in jail.

Gingerich's lawyer is claiming that he was too young to be deemed competent to stand trial in adult court and is asking for a legal "do-over" - for the case to be sent back to juvenile court and start over from there. His lawyer is also claiming that his then lawyers were not given adequate time to prepare for the hearing that decided whether the case would be in juvenile courts or adult court - they only had four days. Usually, trials that consider moving someone to adult court are given three months to prepare. Gingerich pleaded guilty to the conspiracy to commit murder, but his lawyer is asking to nullify the guilty please.

The State of Indiana, however, is saying that Gingerich, as part of a plea deal to reduce the charge from murder to conspiracy, waived his right to appeal. Both his parents and lawyers signed the plea agreement. The state also claims that the boy pre-medidated the murder and was well aware of what we was doimg,.

According to the Juvenile Law Center, a non-profit organization that advocates for the rights of children in juvenile justice, as many as one-third of children under the age of 13 are not competeent enough to fully understand what is going on in court or aid in their own defense, and only they can sign away their rights. The MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice conducted research that found that teenagers behavior and capacities can significantly change over the course of adolescence.

Although a first for Indiana, children being charged in adult court is no new thing. In addition, currently ten states within the US do not have a minimum age for sentencing children to life without parole.

The decision has not been released yet, but whatever the decision it could set a precedent for Indiana putting young boys on trial as adult men. However, even if the judges allow Gingerich a court "do-over", there is no guarantee that the next judge won't agree that he should be tried as an adult.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

VA to Vote on Eminent Domain Amendment

On November 6 Virginia residents will vote on an amendment to the state's constitution regarding eminent domain and private property rights. The proposed amendment will change the way that the government can seize private property under eminent domain. Any property rights lawyer would agree that the outcome of this election would surely affect the VA economy.
In a 2005 United States Supreme Court case, Kelo versus City of New London, Connecticut, the courts ruled that the US Constitution gives the government the power to take a person’s private property and then sell or give it to another private entity if jobs and taxes can be generated. The VA state government thus could use eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another to further that state's economic development.
The question that VA residents will answer in just one week is this: "Shall Section 11 of Article I (Bill of Rights) of the Constitution of Virginia be amended (i) to require that eminent domain only be exercised where the property taken or damaged is for public use and, except for utilities or the elimination of a public nuisance, not where the primary use is for private gain, private benefit, private increasing jobs, increasing tax revenue, or economic development; (ii) to define what is included in just compensation for such taking or damaging of property; and (iii) to prohibit the taking or damaging of more private property than is necessary for the public use?"
In layman's terms, if this amendment is approved, private property can only be taken for a public use - it cannot be taken and given to another private landowner; if property is taken under eminent domain, the landowner will receive fair compensation for the loss of property (with the assistance of a just compensation attorney if need be); and only the absolutely necessary amount of property can be taken.
Unlike most issues, this amendment has drawn bipartisan support for and against the amendment. Critics are concerned that the amendment may be too broad and have unforeseen consequences. They claim that the state's constitution already provides protection for eminent domain, and if the amendment is approved, then state officials will not be able to use eminent domain to take property for economic development purposes. It could force the state to pay more for what they claim are appropriate eminent domain uses and force them to hire an eminent domain lawyer to review the possible outcomes of any proposal.
If approved, the changes would go into affect on January 1, 2013. Virginia is one of the 44 states that examined the issue of private property and limiting eminent domain since the 2005 Kelo decision.

Welcome to Jeana's World of Law!

Hello! My name is Jeana. Welcome to my world of law!

Since graduating from college I have been a freelance writer for several legal-related blogs while preparing for the LSAT's. I am interested in all things law and one day would like to get my law degree, pass the bar, and become a lawyer!

Freelancing is great, especially since one of my qualms about law school is that I don't know what kind of lawyer I want to be. Through writing, however, I am able to explore all aspects of the law. With every article comes new information, new ideas, and new potential career paths.

Recently my friends have been asking me why I don't have my own blog. It's true, I love to write and usually write my articles before I even have something to put them! A blog would make sense. Truth be told, the reason really was twofold: 1) I wanted to establish myself as an aspiring legal writer before jumping the gun on a blog, and 2) procrastination.

So enough is enough! I have decided to create my own space to post articles on law topics ranging from politics to the environment. The vision I have for my blog is to create a resource for others interested in law and law-related topics. If nothing else, this blog is for me. I love being relevant and updated on legal news - both in the United States and globally - and writing articles is a great way to stay informed.

Please feel free to post comments, questions, and links to any articles that you may think are an appropriate fit! And don't forget to follow me on Twitter @JeanaWorldofLaw, and like my Facebook page, Jeana's World of Law.

In addition, as a freelance writer I am very familiar with the cutthroat world of blogging. If you are interested in guest posting, please contact me.