Expanding Expunction to Rejuvenate Society: 4 Reasons Why Texas Needs It

For those who do not know, expunction is the process of removing a criminal record from the public eye. This is a powerful way for people to move on with their lives, but it is currently very limited in how it is used.

According to Lassiter Criminal Defense in Dallas, it can really only be used for those who were arrested or tried without being found guilty, minors who committed small infractions (such as underaged drinking), or those who were found guilty of very minor crimes (like public intoxication, driving without a license, and theft of less than $100).

Its great that for those in such a situation that expunction is possible, but Texas needs to expand these possibilities to include far more people convicted of a crime. Not sure you buy that argument? Consider these four reasons why expunction needs to go far beyond what it does today.

People Need Another Chance

This is, of course, the big reason. While some crimes may be so bad that they should always stay on a record, there is plenty of space between those particularly heinous crimes and the ones that can currently be covered by expunction. Should someone who committed assault at the age of 20 be forced to live under that cloud when they are married and peaceful at 45? Should someone who stole $1000 worth of jewelry in a desperate moment have that conviction around thirty years later? It seems unnecessary to shackle people with these conviction records for decades after theyve paid their dues to society.

There Are More Convicts Today Than Ever Before

This is a particularly pressing issue because there are so many more convicts and former convicts than in previous times. Its well known we need to reform our justice system to find a better way to deal with many of our societal problems, but for now, we need to find a way to help the huge number of people going through the system return to society.

It Makes Convicts More Productive for All of Us

And if those people can more effectively return to society, we will all benefit. A conviction can often be the reason someone fails to move up in their career. They may struggle to find that first job, and the jobs they do find may be well below their capabilities. Even then, once they have a job, they may be passed up for deserved promotions because of a bias against them for old mistakes long since paid for and otherwise forgotten. If we remove all of this through expunction, the individual can be more useful to society as a whole.

It Helps Us Avoid Repeat Offenders

One of the reasons we see so much repeat offending of the law is because people feel unable to break out of the cycle they are put in. Its easy to see why they feel that way when you consider the reasons above.

If someone pays for their crimes, they need to be able to be brought back into society, with the same kind of opportunities afforded that others have. Otherwise, they may feel they have no choice but to return to crime.

All of these reasons should really drive home how expanding expunction in Texas would do a lot not just to help those coming out of the justice system, but all of us.

Read More

Does New York have a medical malpractice problem?

Every year, the state is among those with the highest number of medical malpractice cases. In 2008, for instance, New York and New Jersey were the only states that had more than 1,000 cases of medical malpractice filed. That year, New York had more than 4,000 cases, almost quadruple that of New Jersey.

And while medical malpractice cases dropped by significant margins in other states (more than 30 percent in Connecticut and New Jersey), the decline in New York was only one percent.

It’s not just the number of cases, it’s how many are leading to big payouts. New York joined just four other states (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California, and Florida) in paying out 48% of cases or more.

These numbers are significant and tell us several important things: first, New York has an above average, perhaps even abnormal, number of medical malpractice cases. And second, those numbers will only get more glaring compared to other states if the decrease in cases continues to drop by such a measly rate.

Whether this is a positive or negative for the state depends on which side of the case someone sits on. If a doctor, it’s a sign that insurance is sure to be high in a state that is already among the most expensive to live in. It’s also a sign that patients are more likely to be looking for errors and lawsuits are likely to be more frequent.

On the other hand, these statistics may be signs of a properly functioning system in which patients that have been harmed or killed due to medical malpractice are seeing their fair share of justice dolled out.

Medical error is the third most common cause of death in America, and though the percentage of errors that are due to malpractice are hard to estimate, it may be that New York’s numbers are closer to the truth than, say, those numbers coming from Kansas. There is any number of ways a doctor or other medical professional might make a mistake that could be deadly. And the fact lawyers are so keen upon this issue may not only be about the money, there is some justice to be sought out here.

Still, in all things related to health care, the cost of such issues must be considered. The more medical malpractice suits and the more suits that lead to payouts, the higher the cost of care will be for the consumer, and the higher the insurance will be as well.

Looking through that lens, New York does indeed have a medical malpractice problem, at least as much it has a health care affordability problem. Should health care reform take another step forward (or backward) in the coming years, malpractice suits may be a cost-saving element worth looking at.

Read More

Common Types of Product Liability Cases

Common Types of Product Liability Cases

Designers, manufacturers, and sellers have the legal responsibility of ensuring that the products they put on the market are safe. If a product has been defective and has triggered an accident that has caused an injury, one of these parties may be held liable. This is called product liability.

According to the website of the Dallas accident attorneys of the Benton Law Firm, product liability cases can be generally categorized into three: defectively manufactured products, defectively designed products, and failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions.

Defectively manufactured products

Any defect that has occurred because of manufacturing issues may make the product viable for a product liability case. The most common issues include the use of poor-quality materials and the practice of inferior workmanship.

These instances are some of the most neglectful types of product liabilities, especially on cases where the design and the idea of the product are good but the product still fails just because of manufacturing defects.

Defectively designed products

Even though the product is manufactured by using high-quality materials and by practicing superior workmanship, it can still be defective if its design has inherent flaws. Design flaws can be categorized as well:

  • The product has inherently dangerous features
  • The product has useless parts, especially if these parts are dangerous
  • The product does not pass safety standards
  • The risks of using the product are greater than the product’s benefits

Failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions

Some products can be dangerous, and their dangerous nature may not be as obvious to some consumers. For this reason, these products should have labels indicating their dangerous features and how they are used safely. Failure to do so may result into accidents and injuries.

These products can be designed and manufactured well, but they can still injure someone if there are no adequate labels. They become even more dangerous if they have design and manufacturing defects.

Read More

Overcoming Anger Issues

Anger is a potentially destructive emotion, not only for those that suffer from its extended periods or experience its violent outbursts, but for others that may be attacked by someone else’s surge of rage, physically or emotionally. Uncontrolled or poorly controlled anger can reek havoc in an individual’s personal and professional life and can greatly affect one’s friendships and relationships. According to psychotherapist David Seddon, 32 percent of people in a mental health study said they had a close friend or family member with anger issues, and 20 percent of the same group had ended relationships because of a partner’s anger. These numbers indicate that a large portion of the population struggles with feelings of anger, making it an increasingly important issue.

Seddon further notes that anger is a secondary emotion, caused by something else you are feeling. Anger may happen as a response to fear, pain, stress, and a number of other things. Identifying the root of your anger will be extremely helpful in learning to control it, as dealing with anger on its own is only treating a symptom of the real problem at hand, especially if it is a recurring issue. Not dealing with the primary emotional issue, especially over time, can result in the emergence of other mental health problems. For example, your anger may be caused by too much stress in your life. Not treating the stress can lead to other health problems like obesity, depression, and anxiety. If you are having recurring issues with anger, therefore, it is paramount to seek help from a counselor or professional so that the root of your anger can be effectively determined and treated and the development of more mental problems prevented.

Read More

Types of Commercial Litigation

Businesses are involved in a wide range of transactions with other companies and with individuals. As they go about with doing their business, it is likely that these businesses can get involved in disputes. Every business aims to achieve their goals but when they get involved in disputes, their business operations can become affected. According to the website of Russo, Russo & Slania, PC, it is pertinent for these issues to be resolved quickly and effectively.

There are different types of commercial litigation that businesses can get involved in. A breach of contract happens when one or more parties are unable to meet the terms stipulated in a contract. For instance, when a supplier is unable to do their part in the delivery of goods to your company, that supplier breaches the contract that they signed with their customer. A contract is legal and binding so both parties have a duty to perform the terms of their contract.

Partner and Member Disputes

No matter how healthy is a business relationship, it is still likely to give rise to disputes. General partners in a partnership and members of a limited liability company have a “fiduciary duty” to each other. Two of these duties include good faith and fairness. When the member or partner fails in the performance of these duties, this is where conflicts will arise.

Employment Disputes

Disputes with employees may include discrimination, wrongful terminations, wage and hour disputes, and others. Sometimes businesses with job applicants may also arise when the prospective employee claims that they were rejected on the basis of discrimination. An employee may want to recover lost wages in the form of a lawsuit against their employer.

These are just some of the disputes that can result to commercial litigation. Getting involved in such kinds of lawsuits could eat up a company’s time and resources. If necessary, the company should try to resolve the dispute without going into a legal battle.

Read More