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#513 Third Department Caselaw Round-Up for January 31, 2013, Part 1 of 1

February 12, 2014

509 Post 01-31-13 Third Department January.pngOnce more, the Third Department did not entertain any cases for this particular week, so there are no new cases to report or analyze.

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#512 Third Department Caselaw Round-Up for January 24, 2013, Part 1 of 1

February 11, 2014

508 Post 01-24-13 Third Department January.pngThe Third Department did not entertain any cases for this particular week, so there are no new cases to report or analyze.

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#511 Third Department Caselaw Round-Up for January 17, 2013, Part 1 of 1

February 11, 2014

507 Post 01-17-13 Third Department January.pngHey, hey, whaddaya say!?

Happy (very belated) New Year! Time to get back to the caselaw round-ups once again. There are quite a few cases to plow through to get to the point where we are completely up-to-date, so let's go ...

The only case for this particular week is quite interesting insofar as it involves a rarity: a dissenting opinion. Yes, believe it or not, the justices of the Third Department do not decide cases in a lock-step fashion, and actually have minds of their own. And, sometimes - though very rarely - these individual minds will differ enough to actually dissent. Yes, I know, amazing, right? So, without further ado ...

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#510 What I Was Listening to ... 40 Years Ago: December 1973 Playlist, Part 2 of 2

December 31, 2013

510 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgSo, when my best friend's father took early retirement, I (naturally?) expected that his father would just be around the house more. I was right, but in a way I could never imagine. Oh, he'd be around the house more, alright. It's just that it would be in a different house, a thousand miles away, by the ocean. Early retirement meant pulling up the family's roots and getting the hell outta Dodge. Oh.

There were no words. I was in shock. In a matter of months, the best friend in my whole life would be gone and there would be this gaping hole where my life had once been. The house would sell early and the moving truck would pull out a week before Christmas. Lucky me! I would have my entire Christmas vacation to mope around the house, trying to piece my life back together again. Yay!

I'll never forget it. The Christmas of '79. Boy, did it suck! But, at least, I had all that wonderful music. And I still do. Some things you never outgrow. Plus, with the music cranked up to eleven, some days it feels like old times, and I'm back in the 70s, and the music will never end.

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#509 In Memoriam: November 2013 Deaths

December 30, 2013

509 Post-1 Depositphotos_5480853_XS.jpg118. Doris Lessing, 94, October 22, 1919 - November 17, 2013:
Writer; British novelist, poet, and short story writer; natural causes

Some writers you are force-fed in grade school. Others you stumble upon, quite by accident. Lessing is the latter, probably because The Powers That Be weren't about to allow into the classroom a woman who had an early flirtation with communism and who openly and vehemently condemned nuclear arms and apartheid. In short, she was a rebel. And, as a general rule, one doesn't learn about rebels in school.

I credit discovering this writer to a feminist professor in college, who simply adored Lessing. She pressed a copy into my hands saying "You must read this!" That was back in the mid-80s. After many attempts on her masterpiece, "The Golden Notebook", I ultimately gave up. Of course, she later won the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature. As I've gotten older, I seem to bump into more and more people who hold her (and particularly this novel) in high regard. Maybe I'll have to make another attempt.

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#508 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: December 1973 Playlist, Part 1 of 2

December 30, 2013

508 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgIt's funny. As a kid, one's life seems like forever, as it sprawls out before you to the horizon and beyond. You can't wait for life to happen while being oblivious to the fact that the most important things in life are already in the midst of happening to you. Only years later do you come to realize that what you thought were the small things were in fact the important things. We had endless summers of musical adventures as kids and as teenagers. I guess we always thought they'd last. We simply could not conceive of them ever coming to an end. Maybe we just didn't want to.

Yet, all good things come to an end. Out of the blue, one day, my friend dropped a bombshell: his old man had had enough of the rat race and he had put in for early retirement. The guy's ulcers had been killing him and his drinking was getting worse and something had to give. Little did I know that that something was the life I had come to take for granted.

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#507 The World Is A Vampire

December 14, 2013

507 Post Depositphotos_1061104_XS.jpgA time vampire, to be specific.

Sorry for not posting more often, but I have been drowning in a sea of work. And, like a drowning man being thrown a rope to safety, I have had an epiphany in the midst of all of this work. And that epiphany? Unsurprisingly, it's that I am overworked. Or, rather, I am being pulled in too many different directions. While being extremely busy was fun when I was younger, it's become a burden the older I've gotten. I'd like to spend MORE time with my family - not LESS. So ... how the hell do I fix this?

As you may have guessed, the chorus to "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" keeps swirling through my brain. Yeah, something's up. A safety valve needs to be released or a fuse is gonna blow.

It seems that I have reached a crossroads in my practice, just as I have reached THE crossroads in my life: I turn 50 next Thursday. And right around the time when I am thinking about what to do with Life After Fifty, I find that I am also thinking about what to do with the state of my practice. The problem is obvious: I've spread myself far too thin and I have to do something about it NOW before something disastrous occurs. And I think I know just what to do. In fact, I'm certain I have a most excellent solution.

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#506 Third Department Caselaw Round-Up for January 10, 2013, Part 1 of 1

November 21, 2013

506 Post 01-10-13 Third Department January.pngOnce again, there were no cases to report on for this second week of 2013. However, this is often the case as either the Third Department is on a "winter hiatus" during this time or there are damned few cases to report on.

Plus, these "no cases weeks" allow me to move along faster in my goal of bringing this series up-to-date. I should be commenting on February cases in no time!

Check out the website and find "Fees" on the right of the upper navigation bar. Click "Fees" and scroll down to "12Q: Do you handle appeals and, if so, how much do you charge?" I am certain that you will discover that my rates are very hard to beat. Give me a call or send me an email.

While my first pet peeve is rogue judges, my second pet peeve is rogue attorneys. Where rogue judges corrode the public's perception of, and faith in, the justice system (and the knuckleheads who elected them), rogue attorneys corrode the ethics of the entire profession, one person at a time.

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#505 Third Department Caselaw Round-Up for January 3, 2013, Part 1 of 1

November 21, 2013

505 Post 01-03-13 Third Department January.pngHooray! We finally made it through that huge backlog of 2012 decisions and we are finally in 2013. Of course, it's late November now and 2014 will be here in no time, but, by then, I should be closing in on getting completely caught up here. Maybe sometime around February or March.

In any event, there were no cases to report on for this week.

Also, now that I'm finally into 2013 decisions, I think what I intend to do is to limit the terms on appeals simply to "affirmed" and "REVERSED". If the Third Department finds nothing wrong with the trial court's order, then the matter is merely affirmed. However, if the Third Department has any qualms whatsoever about the trial court's order - and changes it in ANY way - then I intend to treat that as an outright REVERSAL, since it clearly is NOT an affirmation.

I think it's simpler that way. And, frankly, I don't care what anyone else thinks: that's the way it's going to be.

Check out the website and find "Fees" on the right of the upper navigation bar. Click "Fees" and scroll down to "12Q: Do you handle appeals and, if so, how much do you charge?" I am certain that you will discover that my rates are very hard to beat. Give me a call or send me an email.

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#504 Third Department Caselaw Round-Up for December 27, Part 2 of 2

November 20, 2013

504 Post 12-27-12, Part 2 Third Department December.pngThe last case is a great, garden-variety custody battle between parents, pitting one against the other. Remember: it's all about a change in circumstances and best interests. These sorts of decisions are great as a sort of palate-cleanser. They are also the cases I enjoy at the trial level, as the parties often try to beat the living @#$% out of one another, with one (usually) coming out the clear (however bloodied) winner.

If you love chess and blood sport, then you're going to love litigation.

Check out the website and find "Fees" on the right of the upper navigation bar. Click "Fees" and scroll down to "12Q: Do you handle appeals and, if so, how much do you charge?" I am certain that you will discover that my rates are very hard to beat. Give me a call or send me an email.

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#503 Third Department Caselaw Round-Up for December 27, 2012, Part 1 of 2

November 20, 2013

503 Post 12-27-12, Part 1 Third Department December.pngJust a quick note: when I mention the arguments raised on appeal, naturally, these are only the arguments that the Third Department chooses to address within its decision. It does NOT mean that the arguments cited were the only ones raised on appeal. They were merely the principal arguments raised; the ones which the Third Department deemed worthy of being addressed at all. Hopefully, MANY arguments are raised on appeal.

The first case is an example of appealing when you've got nothing left to lose.

The second case is another example of the difficulty of winning MHL appeals.

Check out the website and find "Fees" on the right of the upper navigation bar. Click "Fees" and scroll down to "12Q: Do you handle appeals and, if so, how much do you charge?" I am certain that you will discover that my rates are very hard to beat. Give me a call or send me an email.

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#502 Third Department Caselaw Round-Up for December 20, 2012, Part 10 of 10

November 19, 2013

502 Post 12-20-12, Part 10 Third Department December.pngThe last case for the week is yet another judge getting overturned on appeal.

Check out the website and find "Fees" on the right of the upper navigation bar. Click "Fees" and scroll down to "12Q: Do you handle appeals and, if so, how much do you charge?" I am certain that you will discover that my rates are very hard to beat. Give me a call or send me an email.

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#501 Third Department Caselaw Round-Up for December 20, 2012, Part 9 of 10

November 19, 2013

501 Post 12-20-12, Part 9 Third Department December.pngThe first case illustrates what can happen when ineffective assistance of counsel is clearly set forth in the record on appeal. In this case, it was most egregious insofar as it is a lesson in precisely What Not To Do in defending your client in a criminal matter.

The second case is yet another case with a judge who seems to get overturned on appeal more often than most.

Check out the website and find "Fees" on the right of the upper navigation bar. Click "Fees" and scroll down to "12Q: Do you handle appeals and, if so, how much do you charge?" I am certain that you will discover that my rates are very hard to beat. Give me a call or send me an email.

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#500 Third Department Caselaw Round-Up for December 20, 2012, Part 8 of 10

November 18, 2013

500 Post 12-20-12, Part 8 Third Department December.pngWow: I've written 500 of these posts! I wrote the first post back on September 28, 2011, when I had no idea what to write about. Obviously, I've spent most of my time writing about family law, matrimonial law, some criminal law, some vehicle and traffic law, and a lot about appeals. Those are the five areas of law in which I am most interested. I have to admit that even after twenty-one years of practicing law, it's still fun. And it should be. After all, if you're not passionate about what you do in life, then why the hell are you doing it? Life's too short not to love what you do for a living. I'm coming up on the big 5-0 next month. I can actually imagine doing this gig, so long as I have my health, until I'm 80. Why retire when you're doing what you love? 30 more years of fun! Seriously!

The first case is a lesson in "What Not To Do!" in a hearing as to whether or not you are in willful violation of a court order for child support.

The second case is an example of why it is always in your best interests to expeditiously comply with court orders. Because you never know what tomorrow might bring.

Check out the website and find "Fees" on the right of the upper navigation bar. Click "Fees" and scroll down to "12Q: Do you handle appeals and, if so, how much do you charge?" I am certain that you will discover that my rates are very hard to beat. Give me a call or send me an email.

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#499 Third Department Caselaw Round-Up for December 20, 2012, Part 7 of 10

November 18, 2013

499 Post 12-20-12, Part 7 Third Department December.pngThe first case illustrates how quickly a change in circumstances can arise. It may only take a matter of months, weeks, days, or even hours (!), all depending upon the severity of the change in circumstances.

The second case makes me proud. Why? Because the Third Department herein reaffirms that due process can only be assured when an indigent litigant's right to counsel is explicitly and unequivocally waived and supported by the requisite colloquy on the record. In other words: judges had better make damned sure that the litigants who come before them have both been informed of their right to counsel and that the litigants have intelligently, knowingly, and voluntarily waived said right to counsel on the record. I consider this to be Judging 101.

Check out the website and find "Fees" on the right of the upper navigation bar. Click "Fees" and scroll down to "12Q: Do you handle appeals and, if so, how much do you charge?" I am certain that you will discover that my rates are very hard to beat. Give me a call or send me an email.

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