Is this right for the Texas Attorney general to do?

Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton recently did something that typically you would not want from an attorney general. He encouraged public employees to turn a blind eye and disobey a Supreme Court decision. He has encouraged and expressed to clerks of the court they can refuse to issue same sex marriage licenses citing that states can use nullification to ignore federal laws.  The lack of ethical balance doesn’t stop there with this attorney general of Texas; he was also recently indicted on felony security charges. According to legal documents, Ken Paxton is accused of luring his friends into buying stock in Servergy, a company he also claimed to invest in. All the while, he was pulling a percentage off the top to line his own pockets.

Since the attorney general was indicted, three separate attorneys have quit working for him. Paxton has been overly disrespectful to the court and judge overseeing his case; causing further speculation that he is just stalling.

The real question is how will this court obtain justice?  How will the court find justice for the real victims in this case, the other side according to Obergefell v. Hodges? It is now a law that courts have to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex.  Anything other than that is discrimination according to the new law.

Since the Supreme Court ruling, several lawsuits have been brought against the clerks of Texas courts for discrimination. One way that people who are involved in discrimination lawsuits are        reaching out for help, is throughFundedJustice.com.  Funded Justice is a relatively new company that serves as a crowd funding campaign specifically catering to those trying to raise money to      fund a legal issue. Funded Justice will not turn away a campaign and believes that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Every person, regardless of the accusation, deserves their day in court and legal representation should not be dependent on financial resources.

 

Also, if you need to raise funds for your legal issue find out more aboutFunded Justice here.

#OscarsSoWhite

It is the time of year when the stars come out to be recognized for their brilliant acting, directing, screenwriting and overall entertaining nature in the movies. It’s Oscar season. However, one fact about both this year and last year’s nominees has many actors like Jada Pinkett Smith up in arms. There has been not one single African American nominee in two years.

Chris Rock is set to host the Oscars on Sunday February 28th, and many other African American’s are scheduled to present and preform, however why were none nominated? It begs the question of are the Oscars racist or were the movies just not Oscar worthy?

I saw The Revenant, and Mad Max both of which have 10 or more nominations; personally, I preferred Straight Outta Compton to Mad Max but I am not a movie critic. Straight Outta Compton was nominated only in one category, “Writing (Original Screenplay)” ironically, the screenplay writer who was nominated is white.

What do you think? Do the nominations prove an institutional bias against minorities and women within the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences or is it just a weird fluke on who received an Oscar nomination this year?

 

Racial inequalities and social injustice go hand in hand. Whether it be with stars in the entertainment industry or people like you and me who simply have a hard time getting a fair shake in the system. Funded Justice helps every day in trying to remedy social and racial injustice. If you are a victim of racial or social injustice, please view our website, funded justice for more information.

#MakingAMurderer ; The Ex Files

Much of the world has been captivated by the Netflix series Making a Murderer in which a story is told about a man who may have been set up by his local police department. There are several theories of why this set up occurred but as more and more people complete the 10 part series, more of the characters are coming out speaking for the first time.

The latest character being Steven’s Ex-Fiancée, Jodi. Jodi Stachowiski was seen extensively in several of the episodes of Making a Murderer professing her love of Steven, and even expressing his innocence. In one of the episodes she recalls the night of Halbach’s murder as she had called Steven from jail. Jodi has a well-documented past of drinking issues and was serving time for a DUI related offense. The call on the night of the murder was recorded and documented and as Jodi says during the episode, Steven didn’t sound hurried or like he was hiding anything from her. It was a normal evening where she spoke with him twice during the time the murder supposedly took place.

Now, flash forward years to the release of the Netflix series, and Jodi has given an exclusive interview with HLN. You can watch the 30+ minute video here: http://www.hlntv.com/shows/nancy-grace/articles/2016/01/13/steven-avery-s-former-fiancee-jodi-stachowski-exclusive-interview

Jodi claims Steven was a very abusive partner; from punching and kicking to throwing her up against a wall and threatening her life, according to her there was no hiding from the wrath of an upset Steven. She goes on to claim that she ate boxes of rat poison in an attempt to get away from Steven. She states that she told the hospital staff about the abuse, as well as her parole officer and no one did anything.

What do you think? Is she lying in order to get her five minutes of fame from the series? What did you think of her interview? In watching it, I found she says “I don’t recall” entirely too many times for my own personal trust of her facts to be solid. I would never say it isn’t possible, because anything is possible. However, why did she stay as long as she did?

One thing I did find extremely interesting about this interview though the guilt that Jodi feels. She claims that on the night of Halbach’s murder, she was supposed to be with Avery. That was supposed to be the night of her release and for unknown reasons to her, the county would not release her that day. She feels like if she would have been released on time, Halbach may still be alive. What do you think, more conspiracy theory?

 

Many people go through a situation of wrongful conviction and have to fight the upstream battle of the appeals process. For more information on one such wrongful conviction campaign currently running on Funded Justice, please click here: https://www.fundedjustice.com/en/projects/23690-Protect-Honorably-Discharged-Vet-s-Second-Amendment-Rights

#MakingAMurderer ; The key

It is hard to go anywhere lately without over hearing someone talk about the Netflix series, Making A Murderer. From workplace conversations to the grocery store, everyone is talking about the case involving Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey.

Let’s examine one literal key to the case, the victim’s car key. **warning, spoilers involved**

According to the documentary, the key was located in Steven’s bedroom, on the floor under his slippers and beside a bookshelf. The key to the Toyota Rav 4 was found on day 3 of an all-inclusive 8 day search. According to the series, at first glance the officers involved in the search did not see the key. One officer recounts his version of events and says he actually picked up the bookshelf, shook it and placed it back down. Mysteriously, a few days later (after a Manitowoc county official arrived on site) the key was found out in the open in plain sight.

Is it possible the key was there the entire time and this is not a piece of planted evidence? Anything is possible, right? To my recollection, the room was not photographed or videotaped prior to the search beginning so it is almost impossible to determine exactly whether it was there or not.

What we do know as fact (according to the Netflix series) is:

-According to the police, this was the main key the victim used, however a simple google search will show this key is actually what the spare key for the 99 Toyota Rav 4 looks like; not the main key. The key was the only key on the keyring. The key was on attached to a lanyard keyring and neither contained any of the victims DNA. A complete scrub was done on the key and lanyard, and the only DNA was Steven Avery’s.

So, we at Funded Justice have to ask; what do you think? Was the key planted evidence? Was the DNA on the key also planted? Or did the search team simply actually miss the key the first and second days of the search, simply stumbling across it on the third day?

 

What do you think?

Love Wins. Can Justice Win Too?

lovewins-twitterWe were happy that the Supreme Court affirmed the rights of all couples to be married last month.  Love wins is what people were saying on the internet and we agree with that.  The basic premise of the case was that same sex couples wanted to have the same chance at marriage as straight couples do.

As I read about the verdict and the reactions which mostly focused on equality, I did wonder if there would ever come a time in our country when we would strive for legal justice.  Can justice win?

When I say that I want justice to win, I mean that I don’t want you, your neighbor, your co-worker or anyone else to lose in court because the system was rigged against them.  We will never have a perfect justice system, but we can strive to make it more fair, more just.

To me, the best chance we have to make our system more just and feel less rigged is to make sure that every person in the court system has a chance to get a good attorney in their corner.  It shouldn’t work this way, but if you ever go to court and see the people who aren’t represented, it’s clear that they don’t have a chance.  In many cases, the Judge doesn’t even let them talk.

Even when some disenfranchised people come with an attorney they can get screwed over because they can only afford to hire someone who is young and not very experienced.  We’ve seen these greener attorneys get pushed around to the point that it seems like they are adding nothing of value to their client’s case.

The reality is that this lack of justice ends up sending people to jail who shouldn’t be there.  It causes good parents to lose custody of their kids.  It allows big companies to bully the little guy.

These issues aren’t as black and white as marriage equality, but they deserve our support and rage nonetheless.

So we are ecstatic that love won.  We just want justice to win too.

#LoveWins #JusticeWins Funded Justice

Legal Crowd Funding For Police Officers – Why Is It So Hard?

policePerhaps the most well known and important legal principle in the United   States is that you are innocent until proven guilty.  If you take that rule       away then there would be chaos.  We aren’t a country who hangs someone in the public square without giving them their day in court.  There are of course awful countries who do that.  It certainly doesn’t happen in any country that I’d want to live in.

Given all of this, I don’t understand how so many crowd funding companies refuse to accept campaigns for police officers who are accused of wrong doing.  I get that not every officer out there is innocent, but should they have any less rights than any other accused person?  Of course not.  That is ridiculous.  But every week I read an article about a crowd funding service that is kicking off campaigns that were set up to help with the legal defense or family needs of an arrested officer. It makes me sick.

There are few guarantees in life, but I can give you one.  If you are a police officer or fraternal order of police organization looking to raise funds to defend one of your own, we are glad to help you try and meet that goal.  We don’t take sides in any case other than wanting everyone to have a fair shot at a just result in the courtroom.  Crowd funding should be an option for police officers and members of their union should be disturbed by the trend of some companies not accepting their campaigns.

We use the same online security and payment processing systems as the biggest crowd funding companies out there and have a niche to help ANYONE with legal troubles who needs the support of their friends, family and community.  We are a reliable source for any police officer and here to help you if you need it.

If you have questions or want help in getting your campaign started, e-mailalan@fundedjustice.com or call us at (312) 346-6014.  We help everywhere in the United States.

Michael Helfand is the CEO of FundedJustice.com and an attorney in Chicago who also founded the Illinois lawyer referral and legal guidance service www.illinoislawyers.com.

Justice for Anne

It’s happened to all of us. Go to leave work after a long day, juggling everything in your hands to
get your keys out and you place your phone, drink or even your purse on the top of the car while you open the door. Somewhere in the chaos, you forget that you placed it there and drive away. This is what happened to Anne. However, the stakes were much higher, she is now imprisoned and facing felony theft charges for her mistake.

Anne was a highly regarded manager of a local convenience store. She worked hard, was loyal and put in overtime month after month. One of her daily duties was to deliver the stores bank deposit to the bank. After a long shift, she left work with the deposit and drove to the bank; only to realize she had done the unthinkable. She had placed the deposit on her car and drove off – the deposit was gone.

Due to this mistake, and the employer’s knowledge that it was a mistake, she was allowed to quit her job opposed to officially being fired in an effort to maintain her professional reputation.

Two weeks later, she was arrested for felony theft and taken into custody where she will be forced to remain as the court system is backlogged and her friends and family are unable to secure the nearly $60,000 in bail and fees to have her released.

 

To read more about Anne’s story and to help her get justice, click here:

What kind of attorney do I need?

Are you unsure about a legal issue and what type of attorney to hire? Where do you even begin?

When approaching any possible litigation, one of the best places to start is your local bar association. While the bar association will not be able to provide any legal advice to you for your personal situation, they will be able to direct you to the type of attorney you will need, and possibly even a few referrals. Keep in mind, this is just a direction to the starting point.

There are many different areas of law, and while some attorneys may focus on one specific type of law like medical malpractice or employment law, there are also general practice attorneys that have the experience to encompass several types of law.

The internet has a vast array of options for you as well. There are several available websites that offer everything from attorney blogs and legal case information to attorney referrals, reviews, contact information and even an area for you to ask an attorney a question.

Call several attorneys. Not just one. Do your research and make sure you are speaking to the right type of attorney to handle your case. Chances are when you call an attorney they will be able to determine immediately if their practice field matches your situation. If it doesn’t, don’t be afraid to ask if they can offer you a recommendation.

 

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that it is ok to ask questions to determine what the correct path for your personal situation is. Make an educated decision prior to hiring any attorney. Not every situation is the same and not every attorney will approach the situation the same. Make sure you find one that fits both you and your personal situation.

Why should your ability to afford a lawyer affect your legal outcome?

We try to talk to people directly and in plain English.  That’s how we want to be treated when we need someone’s help and that’ how we think you want to be treated too.

In a perfect world, the person in the right would win their legal case.  But anyone who lives in reality knows that isn’t true.  There are countless examples in our country of wealthy people who have won their cases simply because they can afford the best representation.  Money talks.

If you go to any courthouse you’ll see that you are allowed to represent yourself, but most Judges won’t listen to you if you don’t have a lawyer in your corner.  Again, it shouldn’t work that way, but it does.

This unfairness is what inspired us to create www.fundedjustice.com.  We don’t want to take sides in a legal fight.  What we do want to do is make sure that if you are going to have your day in court, you don’t lose because you had to hire the cheapest attorney you can find or no lawyer at all.

Our goal is to have a level playing field for anyone that needs legal help.  Most of the people we talk to are good people with good claims.  A lot of them know the right attorney to lead them to success.  They just need help in hiring that person.

With Funded Justice, you can get the word out as to what you are going through and hopefully have friends, loved ones and strangers give you some help.

The question we asked at the beginning of this post was why should your ability to afford a lawyer affect your legal outcome?  The answer is that it shouldn’t.  Every time we can help someone get proper legal funding it’s a victory for everyone.  Because when the just result takes place, everybody wins.