Tuesday, December 2, 2008

BOOK REVIEW:Lessons From The Top Paralegal Experts.

Lessons From The Top Paralegal Experts.
Author: Carole Bruno
Edition: 001Product Type: Books
ISBN 13: 9781401889210
ISBN 10: 1401889212
Copyright: 2008 Price: $27.95
LESSONS from the Top Paralegal Experts are a unique and much-needed reference; there is nothing else like it for paralegal students and professionals on the market. It not only covers success stories about paralegal professionals, but also shares their insights on how they do their work.
The premise of this book is that students and professionals can learn most effectively from the experiences of others, or quasi-mentors. The goal of Lessons is to help students learn hands-on techniques directly from paralegal leaders in the field. These top paralegal experts share the secrets that have helped them become the best of the best in their profession.
A panel of prestigious professionals, who have contributed significantly to the paralegal profession, selected these seasoned paralegals from nominations and applications submitted from professionals nationwide, according to certain criteria. These 15 seasoned paralegals expanded the role of the paralegal and improved the efficiency of performing paralegal duties, including creativity, expertise in their specialty, technical skills, knowledge, leadership, mentoring, and organization. Each chapter features the paralegal experts’ specialty, including litigation (and product liability), intellectual property, legal research and writing, commercial real estate, residential real estate (and probate), corporate and business, family law, and bankruptcy.
Lessons Benefits
Caveats are included throughout, guiding the reader on the ethical rules paralegals must follow.
Checklists are included that may be used in class or in the job enabling the user to make sure their forms and writings include every item or action they need.
Discovery Shortcuts - for those paralegals, who work in litigation or are studying litigation; the five Paralegal Litigation Experts discuss their shortcuts and how to save time.
Technology Techniques reinforce and expand the role and professional nature of the paralegal profession.
Investigative/Internet Tips provide internet sites that are useful to paralegals in various specialties.
Covers Client Interactions and Interviewing.
This book is highly recommended by paralegals who have purchased it because it tells the reader how successful paralegals practice their profession. For further information on this book, see the following website: http://www.paralegalfocus.com/

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Children's Eligibility for Asylum in the United States

This was the question that we researched and addressed in our final project for ADVANCED LEGAL WRITING AND LEGAL RESEARCH. The facts of the case were as follows:
Jane Doe is the fourteen year old daughter of John and Anne Doe, and was a citizen of Canada. Her father, John, lived in Quebec City, Canada, but he and his wife are divorced. He was a high level government minister whose department works toward the creation of an independent French Canadian State. His ex-wife moved to New York. Jane stayed with her father the majority of the time, and visited her Mother during vacations and school holidays. Historically Jane has had a good relationship with both of her parents. However, over the past two years she became become emotionally distant from both parents.
Six months ago, Jane was living in New York during a school break. she called her father in Toronto and asked if she could return to Quebec, because she was not getting along with her Mother. Her Father told her that she was to remain in New York until the end of her school break. Two days later, Jane left home in the early morning with friends for the day, her usual routine. At 6:00 that evening, Anne returned from work to find a message on her answering machine from Jane, saying that she was going to live with her 21-year-old uncle Billy in California.
On the message, Jane stated that she hated her parents and did not believe that either one of them cared for her. Anne dropped what she was doing and rushed to Kennedy International Airport to stop her from leaving. In her haste to get to the airport, she was involved in a traffic accident and killed. Jane arrived in California three days later. Since arriving, she has lived with her Uncle Billy Smith in California and she has refused to return to Canada.
Her Uncle Billy requested an attorney to file an asylum petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on her behalf. He claimed that Jane was afraid to return to Canada because John had physically abused her. She also feared that she would be used as a propaganda tool for the separatist movement. Jane claimed that other rebellious children and even adults who had disagreed with the goals of the government had been used for propaganda purposes.
In researching this case, there were three questions that had to be answered. They were:
1). If a child enters the united states with his/her family can they apply for asylum without their parent’s permission?
2). If a child enters the united states with his/her family can they apply for asylum without their parent’s permission?
3). Is Jane Doe qualified for asylum because she fears she will be used as a propaganda tool for the Canadian separatist movement?
1. Yes. Under 8 USCS § 1158[1] of the Immigration and Nationality Act any person who comes to the United States is eligible to apply for Asylum under the provisions of the act.
2. Yes. Under 8 CFR 208.30[2] after she applies for asylum, she can request an interview with an Asylum Officer, and explain that she has been abused by her Father in Canada, and that she fears the abuse and persecution will continue if she is forced to return home. After hearing the position of the applicant, the Asylum Officer can send a recommendation to an Asylum judge and leave it up to them to decide if applicant is entitled to be granted Asylum.
3. Yes. To make a meritorious asylum claim, an asylum applicant must show that he has a well-founded fear of persecution in his native land. 8 U.S.C.S. § 1101(a)(42). Political conditions which affect the populace as a whole or in large part are generally insufficient to establish persecution. (Gonzales v. Reno 212 F.3d 1138 (11th Cir. 2000 at H. N. 23). Under law outlined in 8 CFR 208.30 the child would have to have a Credible Fear Interview with an Asylum Officer.

ISSUE ONE: Jane Doe is a minor child, a citizen of Canada. Canada is a nation that welcomes refugees and grants them asylum. Yet to Jane Doe it is a nightmare, because of the fact that her parents treat her as a servant to do their bidding. Like Walter Polovchak and Elian Gonzales who came before her, she has a right to file for asylum under 8 U.S.C.S. § 1101(a)(42) Jane Doe has the right to apply for asylum in the United States.
ISSUE TWO: Jane Doe claims that she has been abused by her parents, who demand that she become a spokes person for the Canadian separatist Movement. She is trying to get away from that entire situation and live her own life. Code of Federal Regulations 208.30 gives her the right to request a hearing from an Asylum Officer so that she can explain why she fears going home to Canada. She claims that she is not the only child who has been abused by their parents into supporting the separatist cause. She wants asylum because she wants to live her own life.
ISSUE THREE: In order to make a meritorious asylum claim, she must show that she has a well founded fear of persecution if she is forced to return to Canada and live with her Father. She must meet the objective and subjective measurements that make up the test for the well-founded fear of persecution. The subjective component requires that the fear be genuine, while the objective component requires a showing, by credible, direct, and specific evidence in the record, of facts that would support a reasonable fear that the petitioner faces persecution.
After writing that paper, I became extremely interested in Asylum and Immigration Law. I decided that I wanted to work in the field of Immigration Law when I graduated from Kaplan University.

Friday, November 21, 2008

International Child Abduction

One of the most interesting topics we studied in my course on Family Law and Divorce Mediation is: INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION.
John Dietrich is a thirteen year old male child, who was born in Berlin, Germany. He resided in Berlin until he was five years old. His parents were divorced at that time. After the divorce, he and his Mother, Maria, moved from Germany to the United States and established a residence in New York City. When he turned thirteen, his Father, Gunther, came to the United States and abducted him. He was taken back to Germany. His mother was very upset, and contacted an attorney to find out how to get him back. He originally lived in Germany, but he had lived in the United States for eight years. She wants to know what she can do.
Both the United States and Germany are signers of the Hague Convention on the International Aspects of Child Abduction. Maria must act quickly to contact an attorney, who can file a lawsuit in court and try to get John returned to the United States. The Convention applies in cases where:

1. Both the country of the child's habitual residence and the country to which the child was taken have acceded to the Convention;
2. The child in question is younger than 16 years of age; and
3. The child has been "wrongfully removed or retained" in breach of rights of custody under the law of the State of the child's habitual residence.
The current standard for determining habitual residence was not clearly defined in the treaty. There are at least three standards that have been applied to the question of habitual residence. The clearest, and most recent one is the Delvoye Standard. The reason that it works better is that it allows the court to determine the habitual residence of infants and neonates.
The Delvoye Standard is the standard that is needed to determine the habitual residence of neonates under the HCCAICA. For the first time, the Delvoye Standard worked in determining habitual residence because it proposed that physical presence does not have to be present to determine the habitual residence of a newborn child. In order to prove habitual residence for a neonate the only element that has to be shown to the court is the mutual assent of the parents. It must be present and proved before the child has been removed from the home. The standard is needed for neonates because they are unable to have preferences and establish ties and connections to the environment.

The Delvoye Standard works for infants as well. These are children who are aged from six months to four years of age. In the infant stage, the requirements to be evaluated are physical presence, the passage of time, and the mutual assent of the parents. It incorporates the requirements of the Settled Purpose Standard. Again the mutual assent of the parents must be established prior to the time the child is removed from the home. As the child grows older, the child’s ties to the place of physical residence grow stronger and it becomes more likely that the place of physical residence is in fact the child habitual residence.

Finally, for children between the ages of four years and sixteen years of age the Delvoye Standard evaluates the elements of physical presence, the passage of time, the child’s intent, and the past actions of the child to determine the habitual residence of the child. An older child will be able to express their intentions to the court, and state what they want and where they want to live. As the child grows older, the value of parental intent weakens. The court will determine on a case by case basis whether the child is old enough to acclimate to the environment and form intentions as to their preferred habitual residence. Using a strict physical presence standard for older children will lead to fair results.
For more information on International Child Abduction and International Child Custody follow this link to the website of International Family Law Attorney, Jeremy Morley. It has lots of information on this problem. Cases that involve kidnapping and abduction of children from their homes are very emotional, and heart wrenching cases. After all, a child is involved, whose life has been disrupted and irreparably altered. It is very, very wrong that anything like this ever happens, but nevertheless, it does.

Friday, October 24, 2008

My First Job in a Correctional Institution

After I left the Library Extension Service in 1982, I worked at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Perryville for four and a half years. I worked in a library that was located in the institution's central complex. I was responsible for supervising libraries in a medium security men's unit and in the Women's Prison. I started working there as a Librarian I. When the prison's law library was established, a Librarian I position was established by the prison to supervise it. I worked as the Law Librarian for a year before I was promoted to a Librarian II position.
We had to let the inmates come up to the Complex Library and use the legal collection. We allowed them to photocopy pages from the law books. They paid for the photocopying out of their inmate trust accounts. We delivered photocopies and legal materials to the unit libraries, and serviced inmates who were in the Lockup unit as well.

My Experience with the Arizona State Library Extension Service

In 1979, I worked at the Library Extension Service, a unit of the Arizona Department of Library, Archives and Public Records. I was the consultant who was responsible for developing library services in state-supported correctional and mental health institutions, and in the three training schools for the developmentally disabled. The Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind and the Arizona Pioneers Home were also included in the facilities I worked with.
In order to develop these libraries, our agency received federal library funding from Title I of the Library Services and Construction Act. These funds were awarded to the institutions as library grants. I was required to develop projects that improved library services to the residents of the institutions. The institutions submitted proposals to the agency, and they were evaluated and awarded funds to either improve the leisure reading collections, or hire professional staff to provide services to the clients.
I was also involved in advising the state's prisons on legal library services. The state was told that they had to give inmates better access to the courts. Many of them set up legal collections during the time I worked at the state library. This was emphasized after the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in the Gilmore v. Lynch decision on inmate access to the courts. While I was at the State Library, I was on a committee to develop legal library service standards for correctional institutions. Because of my service to this committee I had an impact on developing legal collections in prisons through the standards we developed. This was my first exposure to law library collections, and legal research.

My Early Life

This is a little bit about me. I was born in Seattle, Washington on July 1, 1941. The summer weather was hot. It was before air conditioning was invented, so in order to keep cool we had to take cool baths and sleep in damp sheets with the windows open at night. My father was a landscape architect. Since this was before World War II started, he had an office on East Pike Street in Midtown Seattle. After World War II erupted, he was assigned to work at Boeing Field. He helped the company camouflage the plant from the enemy. He helped to make the plant look like a city block from the air, complete with cars, streets and houses.

After the War, he resumed his landscape architecture business. When I was about seven years old, he and my Mother decided to move out of the city. We moved to Coquille, Oregon in 1949. My dad and his mother opened a stationery store in downtown Coquille. The store sold books, stationery, pens, typewriters, and business forms. The family bought a house that was located at the end of First Street. The house was located at the edge of a forest. My back yard was in the woods. While I was growing up, my two brothers and I enjoyed the roaming in the woods and building huts, and fishing. We used to camp out in the woods with our friends in the summertime.

I attended school at Washington Elementary School, Coquille Middle School, and Coquille High School. I used to receive better than average grades in school. In high school, I was nominated for membership in the National Honor Society. I was in band for all four years, and I managed the football team for three years. I remember that I enjoyed writing stories. I wrote a story about the Lone Ranger one time, and turned it in to my English Class in grade school.

When I was in my senior year of high school, I remember that I became intrigued with the idea of becoming an attorney. I don't remember why I became interested in this, but I decided that I would go into law school early in the 12th grade. When I entered my freshman year at the University of Oregon, I decided to register in pre-law. Later on, I changed my major to Political Science. When I was in my senior year at the University of Oregon, I completely changed my interests again. I decided to become a librarian.

I graduated from the University of Oregon in 1963 and was accepted to the Graduate School of Library Science at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. I completed my Library Science degree in 1966. From New York, I moved to Southern California. I worked in the Acquisitions Department at the Doheny Library at the University of Southern California. In my first job, I purchased new periodical subscriptions, and replacement copies of magazines and journals.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What's New at the U.S. Supreme Court this term??

The U.S. Supreme Court has begun hearing cases in their October, 2008 term. In this article I will try to summarize some of the cases that will come before the Court this term. Keep an eye on these when the Court announces its decisions later on this year.
Wyeth v. Levine (06-1249)
Oral argument: Nov. 3, 2008
Appealed from: Supreme Court of Vermont (Jan. 18, 2008)



Diane Levine was treated with the drug Phenergan for severe migraine headaches, but the drug was improperly administered. She developed severe gangrene in the arm, and ultimately, part of her arm had to be amputated. Levine sued Wyeth, the manufacturer of Phenergan in Vermont Superior Court and in the Vermont Supreme Court on claims of negligence and product liability. She based her claim on the fact that the label on the drug was inadequate in warning consumers about its risks. With both lower courts ruling in favor of Wyeth, this case gives the Supreme Court an opportunity to further define the federal preemption doctrine by clarifying whether a drug manufacturer can be liable under state law after complying with the labeling requirements of the Food and Drug Administration. Stakeholders on both sides argue that the outcome of this case will have a direct impact on the kind of information included on drug labels and as such, has serious implications for patient safety and public health.

Negusie v. Mukasey (07-499)
Oral argument: Nov. 5, 2008
Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit (May 15, 2007)

Daniel Negusie was conscripted into the Eritrean Army, but refused to fight. Because of this, he was sent t0 a military prison camp for two years. After two years confinement, he was made a prison guard, and spent four years assigned to keeping watch over other prisoners. He was required to take prisoners out into the sun, and deny them showers and fresh air. But he was frequently reprimanded for refusing to do what he was assigned to do. Eventually, Negusie escaped to the U.S., where an immigration judge denied his application for protection from deportation. The judge ruled that because he held a position in the military that required him to persecute prisoners, that he was not eligible for protection from deportation under the Immigration and Naturalization Act, not withstanding his service as a guard and his probable imprisonment and torture if he was returned to Eritrea. The Board of Immigration Appeals and the Fifth Circuit Court Appeals affirmed the Immigration Judge's decision. On certiorari, Negusie argues that the INA's persecutor bar is not meant to apply to individuals who involuntarily took part in the persecution of others. Attorney General Mukasey responds that the bar contains no voluntariness requirement, and that the Court should defer to the BIA's interpretation of the INA. The Court's decision could affect the international community's approach to human rights; it will clarify whether the U.S. Attorney General has discretion to consider an individual's degree of moral culpability before granting or denying him refuge, or deciding to deport him to a country where he faces danger, which is considered a violation of core human rights principles.
Ysursa v. Pocatello Education Association (07-869)
Oral argument: Nov. 3, 2008
Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit (Jan. 3, 2008)

In 1983, the Idaho Legislature passed the Voluntary Contributions Act which which prevents state political subdivisions from making payroll deductions for political activities. The Pocatello Education Association and other organizations challenged the constitutionality of the statute, arguing that it impermissibly burdens free speech. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found the state does not exercise sufficient control of local governments to allow it to regulate speech through its systems. It therefore found the statute unconstitutional. In this case, the Supreme Court will decide whether a state exercises sufficient control over local governments to allow it to regulate speech through their systems.

This decision will impact whether the Court evaluates state government regulations of local governments using strict scrutiny or a "reasonableness" standard of review.

Continues: http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/cert/07-869.html
United States v. Eurodif S.A., et al. (07-1059); USEC, Inc., et al. v. Eurodif S.A., et al. (07-1078)
Oral argument: Nov. 4, 2008
Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Sep. 9, 2005)


The anti dumping statute requires the Department of Commerce ("Commerce") to impose a duty on "foreign merchandise . . . sold in the United States at less than its fair value." Nuclear utilities in the United States contracted with the French company Eurodif S.A. ("Eurodif") for low enriched uranium ("LEU"). The utilities supplied Eurodif with feed uranium and paid Eurodif to produce LEU from the feed uranium. Commerce taxed the LEU under the anti dumping statute, because it understood such agreements to be contracts for the sales of merchandise. The Court of International Trade ("CIT") reversed and held that the agreements were contracts for the sales of services. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ("Federal Circuit") upheld the CIT's reversal. In these consolidated cases, the U.S. Supreme Court takes up the question of whether the Federal Circuit was required to defer to Commerce's interpretation of the antidumping statute. This is the first anti dumping case the Supreme Court will hear.

Continues: http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/cert/07-1059.html
FCC v. Fox Television Stations (07-582)
Oral argument: Nov. 4, 2008
Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (June 4, 2007)
Beginning in 1978 and lasting until 2003, the Federal Communications Commission ruled and enforced a policy of regulating indecency in broadcast media with a standard that did not include as indecent the broadcast of a single, fleeting expletive. However in 2003, the FCC changed its policy and began to enforce the rule against stations the allowed the uttering of a single, fleeting expletive. The issue in this case is whether an expletive must be repeated in order for the FCC to be able to find it "indecent." Fox Broadcasting, NBC, CBS, ABC and the Center for Creative Voices argue that repetition should be a requirement for ruling that a broadcast transmission is indecent. They contend in their Certiorari Writ that the switch in policy is arbitrary and violates the First Amendment Freedom of Speech clause of the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit agreed with the networks that the new FCC standard was arbitrary and capricious, but did not rule on whether the new policy violates the First Amendment. The Supreme Court's ruling in this case is important because it is the first time the Supreme Court is reaching the issue of indecency in broadcasting since its 1978 ruling in FCC v.
Pacifica Foundation, in which it ruled that the FCC had the authority to regulate indecency in broadcast media.