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July 2014 Archives

What If I Think Judge is Biased?

Unless there is a conflict of interest, it is unusual and often difficult to have a judge removed from a family court case.  The idea behind family court is for the parties to have the same judge so that they can become familiar with your family and not have to rehash the history with each new issue.  Many people think that they are treated unfairly. There is no question that judges are human and they tend to remember faces and cases.  If you have been found in contempt or have failed to abide by judge's Orders, they tend to remember.  I often advise that instead of concentrating on the judge, concentrate on your perception and the image you create.  Work with your attorney to create a positive image of yourself.  The judge generally has very little time to made a decision on whether they like or dislike litigants and often can make life altering decisions in the blink of an instant. Ask yourself and seek advice of counsel if you are unsure: 1. Am I dressed appropriately?  Litigants should be dressed in business or business casual attire.  Do not wear "work clothes" unless you work in a professional environment or it is essential as you are heading to or coming from work.  Show the court respect and you are more likely to receive and be treated with respect. 2. Do I act appropriately?  Litigants should listen to the judge as well as the attorneys when questions are asked.  Make eye contact with the judge.  Whisper to your attorney if you have question.  If in a hearing, it may be appropriate to write a note, but don't act like you are in school and studying for a test.  Try to keep emotions in check during a hearing and when the judge makes orders. 3. Are we prepared?  Make sure that you have consulted with your attorney and told him all of the facts that he needs to know.  Make sure that you are adequately prepared and understand what will happen in court. Preparation is a key to success but over-preparation may lead to "scripted" answers and unnecessary expense.  If you are uncomfortable, schedule a meeting with your attorney to discuss.  

Supreme Court Cellphone Ruling

USA Today writer Richard Wolf today wrote an interesting article (link) on the potential broad effects of the United State's Supreme Court ruling.  The US court issued a rare 9-0 ruling, opinion that police need a warrant to search a cellphone. I have previously written on this court ruling (link), but did not comment on the potential that the Riley v. California (full text) decision may set precedent in other avenues.  Are telephone records protected?  Is the use of surveillance cameras protected?  Does the ruling affect NSA operations?  Many of these questions are still unanswered, but the lower courts could use this Riley case to further provide privacy to individuals. I have also written previously on the use of cell phone "pings" to determine location (link), now it is clear that a search warrant must first be issued.  The purpose of this article is to thank Richard Wolf in bringing to light the bigger social impact that this case may have on our society.  It is vital to have a court system which protects the freedoms which we enjoy.  The suppression of evidence for a warrantless search is but one bastion in the fight against oppression and to assure freedoms. Interestingly, I read 1984 by George Orwell this past weekend with my son.  Very few of us want to live in that society, however eroding of the constitutional freedoms is the first step in becoming that society. If you have been charged with a crime, hire a good criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and to assure the protection of those rights for others.

Why Mediation?

Mediation is often an alternative, but generally also a prerequisite prior to having a contested hearing on issues before the family courts.  Many family courts will require litigants to attempt mediation prior to scheduling court time.  Many issues which could be addressed by the family courts are better left and more easily agreed upon in mediation. What is Mediation?  Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution avenue in which parties attempt to resolve their differences with the use of a mediator.  A mediator is trained in helping to find common ground so that the parties can settle the case or issue without the need for a judge or referee. Does a Mediator Decide the Case?  No.  The mediator is not a judge, referee or arbitrator.  The mediator cannot force a settlement or demand that either party accept terms.  A mediator will often advise the parties of the relative strengths and weaknesses of their case, may opine as to possible outcomes if the parties proceed to court, and will advise of the additional cost and time necessary for litigation. What if Mediation Fails?  Generally the case will proceed to court for a Judge to make the decisions when the parties cannot agree.  Many attorneys utilize mediation to explore avenues of common interest and possible resolutions.  Even though the mediation is confidential, there are times when some information may be gleaned from mediation that may be useful in preparation for trial.  Some courts, notably Ohio Domestic Relations, may require 2 or 3 attempts at mediation prior to scheduling a contested hearing. Are Mediators Neutral?  Yes.  Despite who "picks" the mediator, the mediator remains neutral and has the sole intention of trying to resolve the case.  Generally both attorneys will agree on a mediator to use that they have success with in the past. Why Mediation?  The focal point of my blog herein.  Mediation is generally a much less expensive alternative to traditional litigation.  Many, if not most, cases can resolve in the course of mediation.  Ultimately having some control over the outcome is favorable to most clients than the protracted litigation and placing the decision in the hands of a judge that does not know you or your family. If you have further questions or with to discuss in consultation, contact Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE) or email at [email protected]

Assault in Northern KY

Assault in Kentucky can be a misdemeanor or felony charge.  If a dangerous ordinance or deadly weapon is involved, the charge is generally Assault 2nd, which carries 5-10 year prison sentence on a class C felony.  If serious physical injury occurs, the same class C felony is charged.  If both serious physical injury and deadly weapon are involved, then the charge is a class A felony, punishable by 10-20 years. A simple assault is a misdemeanor, but don't let the name fool you.  A misdemeanor is punishable by up to $500 fine, court costs, restitution and up to 12 months in county jail.  Anyone that doesn't think that a year in county jail is serious has not spent much time incarcerated.  You should always hire an attorney if you are facing any type of assault charges. The legal fees for assault vary greatly depending on a number of factors.  Those include: seriousness of charges, complexity of the case, number of fact and expert witnesses who may testify, likelihood of negotiated plea deal, and nature of the injury to the victim.  Also involved are the nature of the defenses, whether self-defense or alibi witness. Assaults are found in the Kentucky Revised Code under sections KRS Chapter 508.   More information can be found on some of my prior posts including: *  Penalty for Assault * Difference between Assault and Domestic Violence * Self Defense and Stand Your Ground  * Assault 1, 2, 3 and 4 Definitions  If you have been charged with Assault in Northern Kentucky and need advice, contact Michael Bouldin at [email protected] or call 859-581-6453.

How To Protect Business in Divorce

Divorce is a tricky endeavor, especially when it comes to protecting assets and businesses through the process.  If you own a business, the best way to protect your business is to (A) not marry; or (B) sign a prenuptial agreement.  If you are past that stage, there may be many options still available. First, most small businesses are generally viewed as nothing more than an income producing vessel for the owner.  The ability to sell the business in the open market may be minimal or non-existent.  If that is the case, the business will have a zero or nominal value. Many business owners also decide to have an attorney review all of their corporate documents when preparing for a dissolution.  It may be essential to avoid having husband and wife co-own a business through the divorce process.  While it would be ideal for the parties to continue to amicably run the business, the fact is that each party has their own agenda during a divorce.  It may be essential for the board to terminate the employment of one spouse in order to preserve the business as an ongoing entity. You should speak to your divorce/family lawyer as well as your business attorney prior to taking such actions.  It may not only open your business to a minority shareholder lawsuit, but also be in violation of temporary orders from the family court and could possibly be interpreted as discrimination. If you are marrying, discuss with an experienced attorney the idea of a prenuptial agreement as far in advance of the wedding date as possible. Careful consideration and full disclosure as well as representation of both parties is essential for a prenuptial agreement to be upheld. If you own a business and are headed toward divorce/dissolution, discuss with an attorney the likely ramifications and how to protect your assets through the divorce process.  For advice and consultation in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, call the Bouldin Law Firm and discuss with Michael Bouldin.  Contact Mike at [email protected] or call 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE).

DUI on Fourth of July

The Fourth of July weekend Independence Day, is a big day for DUI arrests throughout the country and Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky are no different.  Boating DUIs increase over all major summer holidays and July 4 is no different.  Independence day celebrations are throughout and many people choose to drink alcohol and beer during those celebrations. If you have been charged with DUI, whether in a vehicle or on a boat, you need an attorney.  An attorney can fight for your rights and help guide you through the process.  Many times a DUI is defensible and a defendant may be found Not Guilty.  This may take numerous court appearances and filings, including motions to suppress evidence and possibly a trial setting. There are also some cases where a plea deal may be made and it may be in the client's best interest.  It may be especially important to have a lawyer to negotiate the best plea deal possible.  An attorney who regularly takes cases to trial is in the best position to determine whether a plea should be made or the case should proceed to trial.  If Consult with an attorney in Northern Kentucky.  Call the Bouldin Law Firm and speak with Michael by calling 581-MIKE, 859-581-6453.  You can also contact the firm and have an attorney respond by emailing at [email protected].  If you have been charged and have court on Monday morning, plead NOT GUILTY and the court will set the case for a pretrial hearing.  Hire an attorney as soon as possible and before your pretrial hearing.

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