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28Sep/110

Why a Decree of Divorce Public Records Hold the Key to Unlocking Mysteries

There are many reasons you may want to find a decree of divorce.  Public records provide copies of many documents that are court issued.  The reason behind your search determines the legality of your query.  Although divorce records are nominally public, they contain a great deal of private information, social security numbers, bank account information, and the like.

When you search the public record for a divorce decree, it is important to know that your search is legal.  Using the excuse "I didn’t know" is not going to impress any judge if you get yourself in trouble.  Public search services have contracts that stress your responsibility in conducting only legal searches, so make sure you know your rights and where you need to be discrete.

How to Find Your Own Divorce Records

This is an area where there is no question of legality.  Your records are undeniably your own, so privacy isn’t an issue.  If you need a copy of your own divorce record, then you need to contact the state in which you divorced.  Some states keep these records at the state level, others at the county level.  By checking out the state website for vital statistics, you will find out where to turn.

Download and fill out the application.  You will need to name both participants, provide the location where the divorce took place, the date – if possible, and your reason for requesting a copy.  Additionally expect to provide a copy of your own Government issued ID and whatever fee is requested.  The clerk’s office will forward you a copy of your decree within a few weeks.

Other Someone Else's Divorce Records

Here things get a bit trickier.  There are legitimate reasons to search for the divorce records of other people, but the law is much stricter.  For example, if you are searching for a divorce decree as part of a genealogical search, and you are in the ancestral stream of those divorced, you are fine.  If, however, you are merely trying to dig up dirt on someone, the courts don’t look favorably upon your actions.

With internet dating becoming so common, it isn’t unlikely that you might be searching for a divorce record in order to establish certain facts about your date.  This is a very gray area.  On the one hand, you can argue that you are searching in order to prevent the possibility of physical and financial harm, which is legitimate.  On the other hand, if you don’t trust the person you are dating to that degree, do you really want to date them?

Another Option for Finding Public Divorce Record

If you have some concerns about how the State will view your request, and you believe you are on the right side of the law, it may be much simpler to search online divorce public records.  You can find divorce public documents online in a matter of minutes and not have to explain the nature of your search to anyone.

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23Jul/110

Appealing a Speeding Ticket – What You Need to Know

Whether you are just appealing to the traffic policeman who got you, or you are already in court asking the judge not to convict you or you are already about to appeal the judge's decision, appealing a speeding ticket is a lot of hard work. So if you want to get that $200-$500 back, if you want that point not in favor of your license back or if you just want lower insurance rates, then get that body of yours ready because here are some tips on appealing a speeding ticket fast and easy.

With the traffic policeman

This is the easiest stage on appealing a speeding ticket. But that is relative to the trial and the appeal stage. Once you got caught, be on your best behavior. Stop and pull over as soon as you as you hear the sirens blaring, open your lights in the car as soon as the traffic guy some up, talk to him in a polite way and not as if he is the guy that stole Christmas, give him what he asks and basically do everything in your will to make him to like you.

The more he likes you the better are your chances that he will let you go only with a stern warning to drive more safely next time. If the polite way of doing it does not seem to work, then you may try to give him the reason why you were going 70 mph on a 40 mph street. Explain that maybe your wife is in labor and you are rushing to get to her because she said she wanted to hold your hand while the baby is coming out or maybe you are rushing to meet stop your best friend from leaving to another continent because you are about to ask her to marry you. Appealing a speeding ticket this way may make the policeman listen with his human being side and he may turn a deaf ear to the government paid employee part of him and let you off with a warning and maybe even a good luck.

In the courtroom

Always come in court room looking very responsible and nice. Leave the bike shorts or the low neck, backless piece of clothing you call a blouse (which your mother calls a handkerchief) at home. Make sure you are presentable and remember, it is best to be overdressed than underdressed. Think of it as a job interview. Also, do not be late. Attend your court date lest you get on the bad side of the judge and even make him so mad that he issues a warrant for you for wasting the court people's time. Before your trial is heard, have your fact straightened out and you may even want to consult a lawyer on what to say. It may cost you a bit but you will still end up sort of saving as your insurance rates will no longer go through the roof.

Appeals

In appealing a speeding ticket after a judge found you guilty, you may need a lawyer for that already.

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5Jul/110

Labor Law in Thailand

In Thailand, all of the rights and duties pertaining to employers and employees are usually governed by a series of laws and regulations. Among the different acts that govern labor issues in Thailand are Labor Protection Act BE 2541, the Labor Court and Labor Court Procedure BE 2522, Labor Relations Act BE 2518, Social Security Act BE 2533, Thai Civil and Commercial Code, Provident Fund Act BE 2530, and Workmen's Compensation Act BE 2537.

Usually, according to the employment law in Thailand, an agreement that has been established between the employer and employee should not be less than the minimum requirements or standards devised by the law.

The Labor Protection Act and other relevant acts dealing with the labor issues have set some specific rules and regulations for each and every aspect with regard to an employment such as working hour, remuneration, child labor, female labor, sick and maternity leave, dismissal as well as termination of employees, welfare and social security of employees, and hiring of employees services.

Working hours in an organization is usually on the basis of nature and type of work. In most cases, working hours should not go above eight hours per day or 48 hours each week. In case of such works that are harmful for the health of an employee, then working hours should not exceed seven hours a day or 42 days a week.

Under the Thai employment law, an employee's maximum probationary period is 120 days. Further, the Labor Law entails every employer in Thailand to provide its employees at least 13 public days each year and at least six vacation leaves on completion of a year's services.

Likewise, employees are eligible for annual sick leave of 30 working days each year. Apart from sick leave, pregnant employees are eligible for maternity leave of 90 days with 45 days' full wages. When comes to remuneration, an employer is required to pay all benefits, apart from normal salary, that form part of the employment. In addition, the basic remuneration paid by an employer must be in accordance with the minimum wage as prescribed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.

Al though, male and female employees are treated alike in a employment, a female employee is prohibited from working in certain organizations or work environments such as construction as well as mining work which are performed underwater, tunnel, or underground, and transportation and production working conditions in which it is necessary to deal with inflammable or explosive items.

Likewise, there are also certain exceptions for pregnant female employees. In other words, an employer should not ask a pregnant employee to work overtime as well as work on public holidays. Further, they are also not allowed to work in certain environments such as on plants, construction firms where it is necessary to carry loads on heads or shoulders, and ships and other water going vessels.

In the case of child labor, the minimum age in order to employ a child labor is 15 years of age. But, to employ a child below the age of 18 years, it is necessary for an employer to notify it to the labor inspector within 15 days as of the date that the child starts his work. An employer is required to give a child labor a rest period of one hour for every four hours he has worked.

Similarly, an employer should not ask a child employee below 18 years to work overtime or on holidays. Additionally, child labors below 18 years are not allowed to perform dangerous works such as rolling as well as stamping metal and works dealing with unsafe chemicals and poisonous microorganisms.

A child below the age of 18 years is also strictly prohibited from certain establishments such as gambling centers, slaughterhouses, dance clubs, and center where liquors and other related beverages are served. Above all, an employer is required to pay the remuneration or benefits of child employees only to child employees and not to any other persons other than the employees.

Now we will discuss laws and regulations pertaining to termination and dismissal. A notice in writing must be provided to an employee prior to his termination. However, according to the Labour Protection Act BE 2541 (1998), an employer can dismiss or terminate an employee without any notice or severance payment in any of these following circumstances such as

- Performing his or her duties and responsibilities dishonestly

- Committing any kind of criminal offense

- Negligence from the part of employee that leading to serious damage or loss to the employer

- Disobeying working rules and regulations devised by the employer

- On imprisonment as per the final judgment of imprisonment

Nowadays, a lot number of law firms are in Thailand to help you dealing with the Thai labor law. Usually, these law firms provide a continuum of services in connection with labor issues such as labor disputes, labor court representation, payroll issues, social security, labor law compliance issues, and more.

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14Jun/110

Texas Lemon Law

Lemon laws are made by United States state laws to help car consumers whose cars repeatedly fail to meet certain standards of quality and performance. The position of such cars is called lemons. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act or federal lemon law protects every one of all states and they vary by state. Lemon law may not cover used or leased cars. The Lemon law rights managed to consumers may go beyond the warranties expressed in purchase contracts. Lemon law is just a common nickname for these laws buy every state have their own different names for such laws and acts.

In Texas, anything mechanical is covered by lemon laws as well as the federal lemon laws. The federal lemon law provides that the warranter may be obligated to pay attorney fees if he is involved in a lemon law suit.

Used car purchases:

If anyone purchased a used car then there are two situations where he is qualified for cash or other lemon law benefits:

Situation #1: One may be entitled to compensation for breach of warranty if he had one of the following Warranties:

a) Any warranty left from the manufacturer when you purchased your vehicle (for example, almost all vehicles sold with less than 36,000 miles will have this. But if the warranty is longer, you may have even more time).

b) The vehicle was "Certified" by the Manufacturer (in which case it came with a short Manufacturer's Warranty, typically 1 year).

c) He purchased an Extended Warranty backed by the Manufacturer (typically 5 years or longer).

Normally, these types of cases fall outside the scope of the state lemon law but are covered under special federal lemon laws.

Situation #2: When No Manufacturer's Warranty Exists. If he does not have a manufacturer's warranty of any kind he may be entitled to compensation for violations of consumer protection laws that fall outside of the lemon laws. The following is a list of some of the problems and/or issues which may be present in your vehicle. Your vehicle may be/have a:

Laundered Lemon;

Previously salvaged or wrecked;

Fraudulently rolled back odometer;

Rental car, police car, taxi, etc.;

Stolen, stripped and rebuilt; and/or

Involved in a flood.

Since Lemon Laws vary from state to state so accurate information on the scope and restrictions of Lemon Laws in a particular state can be obtained from an attorney practicing in that state.

"As is" purchases:

If a person knowingly purchase a car in "as is" condition then he accepts the defects and void his rights under the lemon law.

Other lemon laws:

Lemon laws are not limited to cars. There are RV lemon laws, boat lemon laws, motorcycle, wheelchair and computer lemon laws.

If you have a defective Motorcycle, Motor Home, used car, leased car, or a car used for business purposes and your State Lemon Law does not cover these vehicles, you still have other recourses such as the Uniform Commercial Code and the Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (providing you were given a written warranty).

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28Apr/110

Unfiled Income Tax Returns- Don’t Ever File Them!

Never send the IRS your unfiled tax returns. Why? Filing them without knowing your collection and return status could be costly.

If you've filed all your previous returns and don't owe any money, and you can full pay any balance shown on this return, then you can file it now without a problem.

If there are other years not filed and you owe on any of them, or you owe on past years, you should find out your current status with the IRS collection division before filing. You or your power of attorney should get your record of account for many prior years.

The record of account will show the charges and payments to each year. It will also show if you filed or the IRS filed a return for you. If any of the years indicate that you didn't file, the a return needs to be filed. But... WAIT... Not Yet.

If you have any unfiled returns that show up on your record of account, your payment plan, if you think you have one, is invalid! Make sure you are able to discuss how you will make payments to pay off all of the outstanding balances. The trick is to get all delinquent liability years included under one agreement. This will stop future collection action, assuming you file and pay your taxes, and make your monthly payment on time.

Calling the IRS will also determine if they are in the process of preparing a return for you. If so, they will have a special address for you to send the return to. This will prevent you from having to undo it later. Or worse, the rejection of your newly filed return.

So be prepared to discuss your current financial situation. It's best to have your income and expenses on a monthly average basis calculated already.

Getting your record of account to verify what is under your social security number will not alert the IRS that you are delinquent. Knowing your current status with the IRS concerning your filings and payment history is essential.

When you are ready to file your unfiled returns and you are missing information, you can request a record of information sent to the IRS from third parties. This includes W-2'S, 1099'S, K-1'S, etc. You are also allowed to estimate amounts that you can't calculate. There is an art to preparing unfiled returns. Make sure you have help from a tax preparer experienced in this area. I have made corrections to many poorly prepared returns that would probably have caused an IRS audit.

In conclusion... Do not file any unfiled personal income tax returns without first requesting a record of account from the IRS and making sure that you understand what has been filed, if the IRS filed it, and how you are going to present your arguments for paying back the liability.

You probably want to consult an expert advisor before you take any action in thesematters.

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17Feb/110

Produce the Note: How to Save Your Home From Foreclosure

What is "produce the note"? Why is everyone talking about it? Does it apply to me? How can it help to save my home from foreclosure? All these questions will be addressed in this article.

What It Is: Produce the note is a defensive strategy that you can use to fight foreclosure and force the bank to prove that you owe it any money at all. In courts of law, the plaintiff has a "burden of proof", meaning that it has to put forth evidence that shows everything it says is actually true. However, when the plaintiff makes claims that the defendant does not challenge, then the court usually accepts the Plaintiff's claims on face value on the basis that you had a chance to contradict them and didn't.

When you say "produce the note" what you are doing is challenging the bank's assertion that you owe it money, that it has a mortgage on your house, and that it has the right to foreclose on you at all. One attorney has estimated that nearly 50% of mortgages have been lost or destroyed in the carnage of all the selling, pooling, servicing, tranching, and defrauding that went on in the years from 2001-2008 in the American Secondary Mortgage Market. 50-50 is pretty good odds of YOUR note coming up missing.

When Its Used:

Generally, during the discovery phase of litigation is the best time to employ "Produce the Note". That is, after you have sued the bank (say, for Quiet Title), or the bank has sued you (i.e., foreclosure). Discovery is the process by which each side of a pending lawsuit gets to ask the other side for all of the pertinent information with which it intends to prove its claims. For example, if you sue the bank for Quiet Title, then both parties have a right to request all the evidence in the other party's possession. The most basic piece of evidence here would be a "Note", which is the financial term for "mortgage" or other debt. Without a mortgage, then there is no document proving that you and the bank have an agreement, and therefore, the bank cannot prove its foreclosure claim against you.

Some proponents of "Produce the Note" suggest that ANYTIME is a good time for "Produce the Note" - even if there is no lawsuit going on. In some cases it may work, but the problem here is that there is no right to discovery outside of litigation. therefore, if you are not in foreclosure and you want to get the bank to have to produce the note, then find an attorney to evaluate your case for a quiet title case against whichever entity has a mortgage recorded against your home. Chances are, if the mortgage was sold more than once, SOMEONE forgot to make all the proper recordations, and you may just end up with your home free from any outstanding liens.

Third, an alternative used in bankruptcy, is to file Chapter 13 and list the bank note - NOT AS SECURED DEBT - but as UNSECURED DEBT. Similar to the discovery tactics above, this puts the bank of having to PROVE its mortgage in order to get the bankruptcy court to treat the debt as secured rather than unsecured debt.

How To Do It Right:

As hinted at above, if you want to get the most out of Produce the Note, you will wait until your guns are fully loaded: i.e., you are a party to an ongoing case, with a due process right to discovery. Send a "Request for Production of Documents" to the lender or servicer and demand examination of the original mortgage note at a place of your choosing. If the bank hasn't complied within 30 days, file a Motion to Compel Discovery. In your motion, refer the court to your proper Request for Production of Documents and to the bank's responses. Point out the bank's failure to comply with your request for it to produce the mortgage which it claims gives it a right to record a claim against your title, and ask the judge to compel discovery. If the bank has lost the note, then it will further fail to comply. At that point, file a motion to dismiss the bank's foreclosure action or at the very least to bar any evidence of a mortgage note as penalty for failure to comply with the court's order. It will be impossible for the bank to win. In the alternative, in a quiet title action, if the bank cannot comply, then you will be primed to win.

Word to the Wise: DO NOT rely solely on "Produce the Note." There are MANY possible claims and defenses that may come up in each case, and if you put all your eggs in one basket, you may get a rude awakening if your bank actually HAS your note. See an attorney, know your rights, and have a back-up plan.

The above article is not intended as legal advice, and is for informational use and entertainment only. If you are in need of legal advice or counsel, consult a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction who is competent in the area you need.

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11Dec/100

Drink Driving in Scotland: is There a Legal Defence?

Prosecutions under s.5(1)(a) and (b) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 are complicated and it would be impossible to detail all the possible angles and defences that may require to be investigated. This article will attempt to highlight some of the more common issues that should be addressed if you are facing a charge of drink driving in Scotland.

Under s.5(1)(a) it is an offence if a person drives or attempts to drive a motor vehicle on a road or other public place after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion of it in his breath, blood or urine exceeds the prescribed limit. The “prescribed limit” is defined by s.11(2) as 35ug of alcohol in 100ml of breath, 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood or 107mg of alcohol in 100ml of urine.

The first issue I would like to point out is that the Crown will not initiate proceedings on the basis of breath-alcohol readings of less than 40ug. Although technically the police are entitled to proceed, the Crown are personally prosecuting the case by virtue of an agreement between the Crown Agent and the Law Society of Scotland. Rather unfairly in my view, there is no similar agreement for specimens of blood or urine. So if you are charged with drink driving in Scotland with a blood-alcohol reading of 81mg, then you better get some good advice from a road traffic expert because the Crown, in all probability, be will initiate proceedings.

The Intoximeter EC/IR is the main device used in Scots law for the analysis of breath samples. It has full type approval under section 7(1)(a) and is recognised as such as a matter of judicial knowledge. It very rarely, however, produces identical readings which will be of a concern to the person accused of drink driving.

Type approval dictates that if the variation between the two samples of breath vary in excess of 15% then the readings are inadmissible and some other procedure will presumably be invoked. Furthermore if an accused’s reading is less than 50ug/100ml or less then s.8(2)ug then the police will require to explain that the person may claim that specimen should be replaced by either blood or urine. This provision takes into account the variations that can be produced by the Intoximeter EC/IR and again will no give the public a great deal of confidence in the prosecution of drink driving cases in Scotland.

My advice is that an alternative sample should always be provided. There are a number of technical reasons for this although, to put it very simply, an accused person has nothing to lose at this stage by doing so. Interestingly, it has been suggested to me by clients I have defended that the police have tried to dissuade them from the alternative sample route. Please be aware that where improper pressure is exerted on an accused not to exercise his option to provide a specimen for laboratory analysis then this will result in an acquittal. Again the services of an expert motoring lawyer are essential in these circumstances.

I would also advise that the independent analysis of samples is undertaken. There are strict time limits that apply due to the degradation principle and, again, advice should be sought at the earliest opportunity. Clearly a degree of expense will be incurred by instructing an independent analysis although it could be the best money you have ever spent.

It is also essential to look at the constituent elements of the charge: namely the concepts of driving/in charge and public place/road. There is a vast amount of legal authority on these subjects and these lines of defence should be investigated.

There is also the defence of “post-incident” drinking. This is loosely referred to as the “hip-flask” defence and means that the alcohol that has lead the prescribed limit to be exceeded was consumed after the act of driving. This is a statutory defence and will require to be properly stated in Court with a toxicology report detailing an expert’s view on the expected alcohol reading at the time of driving. These cases can be complicated and detailed instruction from the client is essential.

These are the very basics and I hope I have given at least a starting point to those who are facing charges of drink driving in Scotland. Expert advice should be sought on this highly technical and specialised area of law. Even in cases where you may think there is no hope, there can be unexpected technical defences and it is imperative that the case is properly examined to ensure a plea of guilty is not tendered to a charge that will never prove.

Michael Lyon is a specialist motoring lawyer based in Glasgow. The Firm undertakes the defence of all types of Road Traffic Cases in Scotland. Expert representation provided in all Courts including Glasgow, Perth, Dumfries, Selkirk, Stonehaven, Aberdeen, Kilmarnock and Paisley.

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26Oct/100

The ‘civil’ Traffic Ticket – “it Ain’t No Crime” …at Least That’s What the State Claims!

"For sixty years the U.S. Supreme Court avoided trekking through the constitutional minefield accumulated around the long standing practice of police stopping and temporarily seizing people at ‘civil’ traffic stops."

It’s a nice day and you are traveling down the road in your automobile listening to one of your favorite tunes playing on your car stereo when, a frenzied display of psychotropic red and blue pulsating lights appear suddenly in your rearview mirror. It’s a traffic cop! Like a warring bird of prey, he has swooped down upon you at lightning speed from out of nowhere and now he has you hopelessly locked firmly in his clutches.

Millions of Americans each year, traveling upon our nation’s highways and streets, share in a similar unpleasant experience of getting a traffic ticket. In most states, minor traffic offenses are legally classified as infractions. Infractions are considered legally to be ‘petty offenses’ of the law and not a crime. The commission of an infraction is classified as a non-criminal act and, therefore, the infraction is a ‘civil’ breach of the law.

There is little civil about the experience of being chased down like a common criminal by an armed police officer and handed a civil traffic ticket. Most people find the experience to be very unnerving, if not downright frightening. The civil traffic stop is made infinitely more tyrannous in light of the fact that the victim of the cop’s assault committed no crime.

The Fourth Amendment was designed to protect us against unreasonable search and seizures, requiring police to first have probable cause. Although probable cause was not defined by the Fourth Amendment, the Supreme Court has long held that probable cause must include a criminal act to warrant seizure, or arrest. In Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968) the U.S. Supreme Court held that police may briefly detain a person if they have a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime.

Being that the Supreme Court’s litmus test for probable cause has historically required the element of a crime to be associate with reasonable cause for a seizure, how then is it possible that a traffic stop (seizure) for a non criminal civil infraction not to be a violation of the Fourth Amendment?

In 1967, the Supreme Court cracked open the door to provide legal sanction to what police officers were already doing around the country in violating the Fourth Amendment (performing traffic stop seizures for non-criminal civil infractions). In Delaware v. Prouse, 440, U.S. 648 (1967) the Supreme Court ruled, “The permissibility of a particular law enforcement practice is judged by balancing its intrusion on the individual's Fourth Amendment interests against its promotion of legitimate governmental interests.” [writer emphases added]

For over sixty years the U.S. Supreme Court avoided trekking through the constitutional minefield accumulated around the long standing practice of police stopping and temporarily seizing people at ‘civil’ traffic stops. Civil traffic stops (seizures) were unquestionably at odds with people’s Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable seizures. The Supreme Court’s refusal to take the lead on the constitutional issue of the civil traffic stop left the state courts twisting in the wind of tyrannous constitutional construction and clamoring for a clear constitutional path they could take to safely traverse around the Fourth Amendment roadblock regarding the civil traffic stop and seizure.

The state courts have long and desperately sought the U.S. Supreme Court’s assistance in constitutionally ‘legitimizing’ (tweaking the Constitution) the six decade practice by police officers of seizing people for civil traffic offenses. The state courts had no way of neatly disposing of the highly problematic constitutional requirement that the U.S. Supreme Court had saddled them with. The U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that probable cause for a temporary seizure required a crime and the civil traffic stop was not a crime.

In 1996 the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Whren v. United States, 517 U.S. 806 addressed head on the question of whether or not the civil traffic stop (seizure) violates a person’s Fourth Amendment rights. Acquiescing to the state courts’ demands, the Court provided the state courts with exactly what they had long sought, ruling; “As a general matter, the decision to stop an automobile is reasonable where the police have probable cause to believe that a traffic violation has occurred.” [writer emphases added]

Politicians are well known for their talent to spin things. ‘Spinning’ is the ability to make things appear to be something that they are not. However, this talent is not limited only to politicians. Supreme Court justices are also very practiced in the art of spinning. Justices of the Supreme Court are lawyers, and lawyers practice a form of spinning known as ‘legal word art’. This form of spinning is created by transforming common words into technical legal jargon with hidden meanings.

The Supreme Court in the Whren case applied a hefty dose of good ol’ spin doctoring, as the politicians like to say, to make it appear as if the civil traffic stop was not an assault on our Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable seizure. The Court in Whren capitalized on the use of one tiny, common, ordinary word - a word everyone uses and believes that they know the meaning of – ‘traffic.’

Traffic; the flow of vehicles and pedestrians along public right of ways. True? Yes, quite true when the word traffic is used in its ordinary sense, but not true when the word traffic is used in its legal sense. The word traffic used in its legal sense means an activity involving commerce — transportation of goods and people for profit as revealed in the following definition for the word ‘commerce’ under U.S. Code, Title 42, 21, VI, § 2000e (g). The term “commerce” means trade, traffic, commerce, transportation, transmission…” [writer emphases added]

A little more than a century ago, America had less tyrannous courts. The following 1898 Illinois Supreme Court ruling regarding the licensing of motorized methods of private transport of people not engaged in traffic is great proof of how at least one state supreme court followed the Constitution back then.

“The license is designed to operate upon those who hold themselves out as common carriers, and a license may be exacted from such as a proper exercise of police power; but no reason exists why it should be applied to the owners of private vehicles, used for their individual use exclusively, in their own business, or for their own pleasure, as a means of locomotion.” City of Chicago v. Collins et al., Supreme Court of Illinois. 175 Ill. 445, 51 N.E. 907 (Oct. 24, 1898).

The Illinois Supreme Court in 1898 held firm to the constitutional fact that the states have the power to regulate, license, and tax only those persons engaged in the activity of commerce related to the transport of people and goods upon the public right of ways.

Technically, the Supreme Court did not assail our Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable seizure. Stopping and temporarily seizing a person engaged in traffic (an activity in commerce) does not per se violate their constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment. The constitution grants states the right to regulate profit making activities in commerce upon the public right of ways.

In a realest or truest sense, the Supreme Court walloped our Fourth Amendment rights smack between the eyes with Whren (which was the Court’s intention from the get go). The states had long been pressuring the Supreme Court for a ruling such as this. They desperately needed to justify sixty plus years of doing what is not justifiable – their long practice of seizing people not in engaged in commerce at so called civil traffic stops.

Had Whren raised the issue about his not being engaged in commerce and a regulated activity, at the time of his trial, then in all likelihood the Supreme Court would have passed on hearing his case. The Court would have just waited patiently for another case to come along possessing the elements necessary to rule in the same manner as the Court had done in the Whren case.

Traffic boils down to money, power, and control. Traffic tickets are a multi-billion dollar bonanza for state and local governments. Profit making activities allows the government to regulate, license, and tax people under the constitution. The state traps people into traffic in much the same manner as it does regarding the Income Tax – the government just pretends that we all are engaged in a profit making activity.

The Supreme Court acted on the pretense that Whren was engaged in a profit making activity upon the public right of way and therefore, the state had the power to regulate his activity (driving or being in commerce). The police have the right to regulate traffic and, therefore, can constitutionally temporarily seize a person engaged in commerce to issue them a traffic ticket for a civil breach of the state’s driver’s license compact.

The state’s so called driver’s license compact is written for those engaged in commerce. However this fact is cleverly disguised and hidden from people by the lawyers who write the laws using the “spin doctoring” or ‘legal word art.’

Your possessing a driver’s license is not proof or evidence that you are engaged in traffic. You can have a driver’s license and your car can be registered and this does not prevent you from lawfully traveling in your private constitutionally unregulated capacity upon the public right of ways. It’s the activity of engaging in commerce that grants the states the right to regulate traffic and nothing in the Constitution grants the states the right to regulate the people’s right to travel. The right to travel is not and cannot be made a regulated activity. Therefore, the temporary seizure by a police officer at the time of a traffic stop is unquestionably unconstitutional.

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Contact Author: GregS@TicketSlayer.com

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18Oct/100

What is Behind the Telecommunications Revolution?

The telecommunications revolution the merging of voice, video and other data transmission and the proliferation of new telecommunications products and services has been one of America's leading technological and economic success stories. At bottom, the key reason is that our scientists, engineers and businesses have developed and introduced telecommunications technologies at a faster pace than anywhere else in the world.

Public policies that have promoted competition have been critical to this result. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in the case of telephone services, where through the efforts over two decades of the Justice Department and Judge Harold Greene, and the work of the FCC, competition has become the central organizing principle of the industry.

Until the Department sued and eventually broke up AT&T, that company had a monopoly over this nation's telephone market. It was a regulated monopoly, to be sure. But it was also one that thwarted competition and innovation. New companies like MCI that wanted to provide long-distance service could not do so because AT&T's local operating companies refused to provide interconnections to their local loops. Similarly, other manufacturers of telephone equipment wanted to sell equally, if not more, innovative products but were frustrated by AT&T from doing so because of the telephone company's incentives and ability, through its monopoly control of the local loop, to buy such equipment only from its wholly owned subsidiary. Western Electric.

These practices were ended when the Department of Justice, led by my antitrust law professor in law school, William Baxter, obtained a consent decree in 1982. A Modification of Final Judgment (MFJ) has since been administered with remarkable energy and wisdom by Judge Greene, to whom this nation owes enormous gratitude.

By unleashing competition in various segments of the telephone industry, the MFJ has delivered the benefits that competition in other markets routinely guarantees: innovation, better products and services, greater efficiency, and lower prices. Consider that since the MFJ:

Interstate long-distance prices for the average residential customer in real terms (adjusted for inflation) have fallen by more than 50 percent without compromising universal service;

There has been a virtual explosion in the types of telephones and services that consumers can choose from;

Competition has stimulated the development of hundreds of innovative voice and data services (such as call waiting and voice mail);

Spurred by smaller carriers and MCI and Sprint, the three largest long-distance providers (including AT&T) now have laid fiber optic cable throughout much of the country and thus have already built significant portions of the backbone for the Nil; and

Competition in the telephone equipment market has opened whole new markets and spawned the development and sale of new products.

In short, the MFJ has enabled the United States to maintain its technological leadership in telecommunications. Nations that have stuck to the old monopoly model of telephone services have fallen behind. That is why many are now trying to emulate us, rather than the other way around.

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27Sep/100

Lemon Law

Lemon laws are made by United States state laws to help car consumers whose cars repeatedly fail to meet certain standards of quality and performance. The position of such cars is called lemons. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act or federal lemon law protects every one of all states and they vary by state. Lemon law may not cover used or leased cars. The Lemon law rights managed to consumers may go beyond the warranties expressed in purchase contracts. Lemon law is just a common nickname for these laws buy every state have their own different names for such laws and acts.

In California, anything mechanical is covered by lemon laws as well as the federal lemon laws. The federal lemon law provides that the warranter may be obligated to pay attorney fees if he is involved in a lemon law suit.

Used car purchases:

If anyone purchased a used car then there are two situations where he is qualified for cash or other lemon law benefits:

Situation #1: One may be entitled to compensation for breach of warranty if he had one of the following Warranties:

a) Any warranty left from the manufacturer when you purchased your vehicle (for example, almost all vehicles sold with less than 36,000 miles will have this. But if the warranty is longer, you may have even more time).

b) The vehicle was "Certified" by the Manufacturer (in which case it came with a short Manufacturer's Warranty, typically 1 year).

c) He purchased an Extended Warranty backed by the Manufacturer (typically 5 years or longer).

Normally, these types of cases fall outside the scope of the state lemon law but are covered under special federal lemon laws.

Situation #2: When No Manufacturer's Warranty Exists. If he does not have a manufacturer's warranty of any kind he may be entitled to compensation for violations of consumer protection laws that fall outside of the lemon laws. The following is a list of some of the problems and/or issues which may be present in your vehicle. Your vehicle may be/have a:

Laundered Lemon;

Previously salvaged or wrecked;

Fraudulently rolled back odometer;

Rental car, police car, taxi, etc.;

Stolen, stripped and rebuilt; and/or

Involved in a flood.

Since Lemon Laws vary from state to state so accurate information on the scope and restrictions of Lemon Laws in a particular state can be obtained from an attorney practicing in that state.

"As is" purchases:

If a person knowingly purchase a car in "as is" condition then he accepts the defects and void his rights under the lemon law.

Other lemon laws:

Lemon laws are not limited to cars. There are RV lemon laws, boat lemon laws, motorcycle, wheelchair and computer lemon laws.

If you have a defective Motorcycle, Motor Home, used car, leased car, or a car used for business purposes and your State Lemon Law does not cover these vehicles, you still have other recourses such as the Uniform Commercial Code and the Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (providing you were given a written warranty).

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