This Is What Happens When You Break Probation — Even If You’re A Judge

Probation is a serious matter for those who have committed criminal offenses. These individuals have already been found guilty of a crime. Sometimes jail time is attached, and offenders are eventually released on probation. Other times, individuals without a criminal record will avoid incarceration and be released on probation. The consequences for probation violations aren’t pretty.

Probation violation consequences can be extreme even for those who usually seem above the law — like judges. When former Rochester City Court Judge Leticia Astacio missed a couple of probation appointments with a court-appointed officer, the law was swift in its reply. Ontario County Court Judge Lisa Toole slammed Astacio with a whopping 180 days in jail.

Toole said, “I’m not happy about it. I’m not going to tolerate it. Your actions show you do whatever you want to do, whenever you want to do it. It stops today and it stops now.”

The purpose of probation is to give offenders a second chance — which is why those who fail to deliver the promised lifestyle changes most often can expect immediate consequences, and severe ones at that.

Astacio failed to understand what the probation system means. She admitted that she intentionally missed the aforementioned appointments simply to get back in front of a judge. She wanted to use this strategy to argue that the previous sentence wasn’t legal and that she shouldn’t have to continue to serve it. 

But the previous ruling was made because of her continued failure to accept the restrictions placed upon her: she tried to buy a firearm from a local Dick’s Sporting Goods, failed an alcohol drug test in June, did not implement the mandated Ignition Interlock Program, and more. 

Senior Assistant District Attorney Chris Kvam of Monroe County said, “Everything that has happened to Ms. Astacio has happened because of her choice. Those choices started with her decision to consume alcohol and get behind the wheel. Those decisions continued after her sentence after her trial where she did not adhere to the restrictions of the interlock device and she put herself where she is today.”

The fact that even a judge can be slammed with probation violation should make other offenders more aware of the potential consequences for doing so.

Probation can be violated in a number of different ways. These include the possession or use of illegal substances, getting arrested for committing a crime, failing to appear for a court-mandated meeting, failing to report to a probation officer when scheduled, or visiting people or places that have been restricted in the probation order. Probation violation very often result in immediate incarceration.

Traveling Abroad: What Is A “Smart” Motorway?

Claire Mercer had no idea a routine farewell to her husband would be the last. Her husband Jason was dead only fifteen minutes after they shared what would be a final breakfast — killed by a massive tractor trailer traveling down a “smart motorway” that most British citizens would have recognized as a hard shoulder on the side of the highway.

He was 44 years old at the time of his death this past June.

Jason is also only one of five people who have been killed along that 16-mile smart motorway in the past year. The man who was operating the vehicle was temporarily put into police custody because of the incident, but he was released on bail. Claire isn’t blaming the 39-year-old man who killed her husband — she’s blaming Highways England, and suing for wrongful death.

Coroners who have to deal with the aftermath of these accidents agree that more people will wind up in the morgue if something isn’t done immediately. This was a direct response to the death of Dev Naran, an eight-year-old Leicester boy who died when his grandfather was forced to park on the shoulder.

Claire believes that normally dangerous roadways like these would force traffic organizations to search for ways to mitigate the danger and end the practice of smart motorways — but instead, new ones are popping up.

Smart motorways exist to increase the flow of traffic by opening up shoulders to vehicles. According to their creators, they use “traffic management” tech to manipulate traffic patterns along certain roads. These smart motorways use variable speed limits and remove the hard shoulder. The traffic management tech displays a red “X” above the lane if someone breaks down on the now open shoulder. 

Naturally, it doesn’t always work — and people are the ones paying the price.

Jason was in a small car accident. Six minutes later, his vehicle was still parked on the shoulder, but computers hadn’t registered the accident or displayed the red “X.”

And of course, one must wonder whether or not 100 percent of the vehicles on the road would be paying close enough attention to notice the “X” and avert a tragedy.

Opponents of smart motorways call them death traps.

Since these lanes have opened up to traffic, the entirety of motorway deaths has increased by a massive eight percent, which amounts to 107 fatalities in the last two years.

When traveling abroad, it’s important that Americans know about these smart motorways. It may just be best to avoid them completely. Finding compensation for accidents that occur in another country can be difficult and time-consuming, but it is possible. If you were in an accident in the United Kingdom, call a personal injury lawyer for a free consult.

What Should You Say To The Police When You Are Arrested On Suspicion Of DUI?

The short answer is easy: you should say nothing. Instead, ask for a lawyer. But of course the reality is never so simple. We always want to profess our innocence or provide details that might mitigate our guilt. Most first-time offenders don’t know enough to keep their mouths shut. Chances are if you’re on this page, you’re a first-time offender. You’ve already talked more than you should have talked. It’s okay. We’re here to provide you with the next steps.

There is no such thing as an amount of communication with the police that is too little or too much. It depends on the situation and the circumstances of your arrest. However, it is important to be as cooperative as you can throughout the process. If and when you sit down with a judge, the judge will likely ask the arresting officers what you’ve been like up until that point.

It stands to reason that if you were openly hostile during your arrest, you’re more likely to face more severe repercussions during arraignment. The judge can decide to release you almost immediately if you’re sober, or let you stew in jail. Your bail can be low, high, or non-existent. So much of what happens next depends on your attitude towards law enforcement.

Hopefully you will have a lawyer present for any subsequent interrogations or interviews. Whether or not you do, you should know that you always have the right to remain silent or withhold a comment in response to a question. An interviewer might twist your silence to mean guilt, but do not become agitated into making a confession or a statement that can be used against you later.

Do not lie to the police. You shouldn’t need to lie. Because you should avoid answering any question that might incriminate you. It’s easy to justify your decision to keep silent: you’re worried that the police might decide your guilt or innocence based on personality rather than on the facts, or that something you say might make it seem like you’re guilty of a crime even though you meant something completely different.

Your lawyer should be allowed to do much of the talking, and will direct you whether or not to answer specific questions.

After your arrest, you will want to write down every single detail of what happened from the moment of your arrest right up until your release. Were you read your Miranda rights? Believe it or not, it depends on when those rights were read. So don’t forget to write those details down! They’re very important for your eventual defense.

When Is It Okay To Place A Camera In A Nursing Home Resident’s Room?

The question might sound silly, but elder abuse is becoming a more commonly recognized problem in the United States. New laws and regulations are fighting to prevent this phenomenon, which occurs when an elderly person is taken advantage of in a way that could harm them physically or financially. It happens more often than you think. When your loved one is living in a nursing home, is it okay to use a camera to keep an eye on them?

In Minnesota a woman began to suspect her mother was the victim of elder abuse. She took it upon herself to place a camera in her mother’s nursing home room not only to keep an eye on her mother, but also to deter any potential illegal behavior from occurring in the first place. The staff of this particular nursing home wasn’t having it. While they didn’t actually remove the camera from the room, they did point it in the other direction during the course of their work.

When the woman discovered the camera was having no effect, she took her case to the Minnesota Department of Health. The organization acted on her formal complaint to provide her with the legal authority to keep the camera in the room, and prevent caretakers at the nursing home in question from tampering with the expensive device.

Despite the fact that Minnesota and most other states have not written laws to allow or prevent surveillance devices in the rooms of nursing home residents, that doesn’t make it illegal.

One of the problems that sometimes arise when a family member tries to place a camera in a nursing home bedroom is consent. Often, residents are graced with a roommate — and that means a camera meant to protect your loved one’s interests might inadvertently capture intimate footage of someone else’s loved one without formal consent. This can potentially create a serious privacy issue.

The ideal scenario is this: before trying to place a camera anywhere, make sure you at least try to acquire consent from all parties that may appear in the captured footage (including caretakers or nursing home management, and power of attorney if applicable). While not everyone may agree, you’ve at least performed your due diligence. You can proceed until the law says otherwise.

If you suspect your loved one is the victim of elder abuse, it may be time to contact a personal injury or elder abuse lawyer to explore your options. Cameras should only be considered as tools to gather evidence.

Common Mistakes With Personal Injury Claims

Injuries can be life-changing, and if you suffer from a serious injury then you are within your rights to claim compensation for any loss of earnings, medical costs, and personal distress. If your loved one died a wrongful, you are entitled to file a lawsuit even with a comprehensive estate plan. Money won’t undo the injury or death, but it can make life that little bit easier to cope with.

There is no guarantee that when you make a personal injury claim it will have the outcome you would like, but if you are able to word your claim properly and follow the correct procedures then you will have a better chance of making a successful claim. Here are three common mistakes which could hinder your personal injury claims:

1 – Neglecting to Seek Medical Care

Often, claimants put too much emphasis on how the injury has affected their day to day life, but they do not consider medical care. They will see the doctor when they are first injured, but not get follow-up appointments.

While it can be tempting to “soldier on”, it is not going to help you make a claim. You will be asked to provide evidence of any treatment you have had, and you will be asked to show the stress, anxiety, and depression you are facing. Seeing a doctor about those things is important so that you can get the documentation you will be asked to show.

2 – Failing to Keep Good Records

When you first get injured, you may not be thinking clearly, but you should try to keep some records. Take a photo of the accident scene, and document your injuries. Keep a record of the symptoms you experience, and get a copy of any police records as well. It’s better to have more evidence than they want than to be found lacking when your claim is examined.

3 – Posting Too Much on Social Media

Social media is still relatively new to a lot of people, and there is a tendency to overshare. If you go to the courts and tell them that you are experiencing pain and anxiety that is impacting your day to day life, but your social media profile paints a different picture, that could impact on the claim.

Rather than run the risk of a social media post being misinterpreted, it is far better to simply avoid sharing any more than you need to. Ask friends to keep you out of their posts as well. A single photo doesn’t show what your life is like on an hour by hour basis, but the insurers will try to paint a full story with it. Don’t take that risk.

If you have been injured due to an accident that was no fault of your own, contact our personal injury lawyers for a consultation regarding your case. Remember, we don’t get paid unless we win your case!

How Do You Know You’re The Victim Of A Serious Medical Malpractice Mistake?

Medical malpractice is a huge problem in the United States. Part of the blame should be on those who drafted some of the worst laws in the healthcare industry; namely that many of our healthcare providers must work twelve hour shifts for three days one week, and four days the next, or the asinine concept of mandation — that you must work overtime when your employer asks. These laws try to protect the patient, but sometimes all they do is more damage. 

We expect our healthcare providers to help more than they hurt, which is why we need to address this issue through the law. In New York, there are only about 85 medical malpractice claims paid out in the average year, per every million residents. That means people aren’t protecting themselves in court as often as they could, and courts aren’t siding with those who do as often as they should. Sometimes the statute of limitations has passed, but that isn’t always the case. Here are a few of the most common signs of a serious medical malpractice event:

  • Consent. If your doctor decides your life is in serious danger, he may perform a procedure without your consent. But when your doctor fails to obtain consent for a routine procedure performed under non life-threatening conditions, you have a medical malpractice lawsuit whether the operation went flawlessly or not.
  • Post-Op Pain. When you have lasting, atypical pain after a surgical procedure, it may be the result of medical malpractice. Surgeons have been known to leave instruments inside their patients, so it might be time to seek a second opinion!
  • Admission. Not all doctors who make mistakes will try to hide it, and while we give them credit for doing the right thing, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t entitled to compensation for whatever mistakes were made. Sit down to a free consultation with a lawyer to decide whether or not you want to pursue a lawsuit.
  • Anesthesia. Many medical malpractice lawsuits are the result of a patient waking up during surgery. This isn’t always worthy of a case, because the anesthesiologist’s job is extremely difficult and requires calculating the right amount of anesthesia for a patient depending on complicated factors like weight, age, prescription drugs or supplements, smoking, and alcoholism. The list goes on. But if you wake up during surgery, the experience can be traumatic.

  • Misdiagnosis. This is a big one, because it can lead to incorrectly prescribed medications as well. First, the undetected disease can become much worse, even life-threatening, while you make repeated trips to the doctors. Second, wrongly prescribed medications can have a detrimental effect on your health or even make your condition worse.

Premise Liability: Negligent Security

If you have been injured due to criminal activity there may be another party who can be held liable for your injuries. Negligent security is a form of premise liability that helps victims of crimes seek compensation from property owners whose actions (or inactions) led to the criminal activity. Property owners must provide a reasonable duty of care such as protecting visitors from crimes by third parties. Negligent security cases are only viable if it can be shown that foreseeable criminal activity could have been prevented by appropriate security measures.

It might be more common sense to file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator of the crime, however, if the criminal isn’t caught or doesn’t have assets, damages will be minimal if any at all. By filing a premise liability lawsuit against the property owner, they are more likely to have an insurance policy that covers liability. Therefore, you are really suing his insurance company. In order to be able to file, it must be shown that you suffered actual damages such as medical expenses, loss of income, lost future earning potential and pain and suffering.

Another thing that needs to be proven is whether or not the crime was foreseeable. If crime is prevalent in the location and nothing has been done to rectify the situation then the crime could have been foreseeable. However, if this was the first time a crime was committed on the property, it will be hard to show that the crime was foreseeable. Adequate security also varies from case to case but includes things such as security patrols, lighting, locks and restricted number of keys.

Certain states have safety measures that businesses must comply with to avoid being held liable in a crime. These include security cameras, safety cash drop boxes as well as having cash registers with a limit to how much money is in it. If the business fails to meet these standards than it can be held liable.

The Worst Cases Of Nursing Home And Elder Abuse

It isn’t easy to care for the elderly–or anyone else who needs full-time care, for that matter. That’s probably why there are so many cases of elder abuse in the United States. Sometimes caregivers are fed up with working conditions or mandated shifts or relentless hours for little pay, and what was once simply irritability turns into something more sinister. Nursing homes are ripe with unseen and unheard abuses. Here are a few of the worst cases of elder abuse ever reported.

  1. A number of recent lawsuits and arrests have brought light to what is an ongoing trend in nursing homes. The workers will often take embarrassing photos of patients in their care, and proceed to post them on Facebook or Snapchat for friends or family to view. In one case, a worker took pictures of one nursing home resident’s genitals and sent them to a friend. The worker was terminated when the friend decided to post the pictures on Facebook. Thankfully in this case it was the facility that reported the incident to the authorities.
  2. Peggy Quesenberry was arrested and charged with felony neglect and abuse for her incapacitated mother, who died weeks later. She was found under a layer of feces and urine and living in atrocious conditions. She had bed sores and the blanket under which she lay had become affixed to her skin. Quesenberry was later probed under a  psychological evaluation.
  3. An elderly patient of Kingstree Nursing Facility in South Carolina was found with a broken hip and had bruises all over her body in a 2012 case. She claimed that she had been assaulted by two women, but details of the internal investigation and another conducted by authorities were not released. The patient’s son subsequently worked to have those records–and all such records–made a matter of public record so that future clients of the facility might know how well care is provided.
  4. In 2011, an 87-year-old patient suffering from Alzheimer’s passed away due to severe dehydration and malnutrition. According to authorities, the caregivers at the Heartland Nursing Home in Charleston, West Virginia failed to provide the patient with barely a drop of water over nineteen days. A judge awarding a $91.5 million verdict against the caregiving facility, maintaining that its owner voluntarily and maliciously kept all like facilities understaffed.

6 Reasons To Hire A Criminal Defense Attorney

Having been arrested for a crime, it is in your best interest to hire an attorney to represent you. If convicted, you can face severe consequences that will affect opportunities for employment and future goals. Therefore it is vital that you hire a criminal defense attorney to ensure your rights are protected. There are many benefits to having a criminal defense attorney such as they create a strong defense, offer support, and reduce penalties and sentencing. Continue Reading →

How Is Fault Determined After A Boating Accident?

Boating accidents are a lot different than car accidents, even if they might seem similar to the layman. Imagine one common scenario: There are two boats, one of which has left a huge wake behind her. The second boat is going too fast at an angle perpendicular to the path of the first boat, and the driver is ejected when he hits the wake. There are no speed limits in these particular waters.

Who is at fault?

It’s not an easy question to answer, in part because there is no firm set of rules to govern who might win or lose. It’s possible the court may decide that both parties are negligent or that neither were. One thing’s for certain: if you’re a boat owner, you’d better have boat insurance or a good personal injury lawyer with a good knowledge of maritime law.

The primary difference between boating accidents and car accidents is how easily proof is obtained. It is extremely difficult to prove negligence after a boating accident. Part of the reason is because there are fewer potential witnesses to these types of accidents, which means it’s often a case of “he said, she said.” The difference in regulations and laws is one more reason.

If you were involved in a boating accident as a passenger, then you can potentially bring a claim against either the driver of the boat in which you were riding, or another party responsible for your injuries. This other party might be a boat manufacturer or seller who sold the owner a faulty machine, or it might be another driver on the same waters where you got into the accident. It depends on the situation.

Another complication is the age of many laws that regulate some maritime accidents. Although accidents are common, they’re still less common than car accidents, and so regulations aren’t always updated. Old laws aren’t always stripped from the books. Some of these work in the favor of the boat owner, allowing him or her to avoid paying out accident claims when it would otherwise become necessary. In order for such cases to move forward, negligence must still be proved.

If you were in an accident and someone was injured or killed, you must require the appropriate paperwork or risk prosecution under federal and state laws.