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What is RICO?

Posted by on 1:57 am in Criminal Defense | 0 comments

The leader of the MS-13 east coast organization has been brought before a court on RICO charges, where he is being accused of conspiracy and racketeering among gangs in cities such as Boston; Houston; and Columbus, Ohio. The charges are coming after an extensive investigation, including a wiretap that recorded the leader organizing recruitment drives and advising members of the gang. He also helped smuggle supplies to imprisoned members of the gang, and organized hits on members of rival gangs. The situation looks grim for the man- with such a high-value target, it’s unlikely that investigators would make a move until they were absolutely certain they could prove his guilt. Apparently, the government of his native El Salvador has also declined to grant him help.

But, if you’re like me, you’re probably wondering what exactly the “RICO” charges being brought up against him are. Although the term is often thrown around by characters in legal cop dramas, it can be difficult to know what they actually mean by it. According to these Milwaukee criminal defense lawyers, RICO is another name for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act. It was passed as part of a larger bill in 1970 with the intention of making prosecuting the leaders of criminal organizations easier. Prior to the passage of the bill, a legal loophole meant that the person who ordered a crime couldn’t necessarily be charged for it. So, for example, a mob boss who told his subordinate to murder a rival gang member could not be tried for the murder itself. With the passage of RICO, people who order criminal actions as part of a criminal conspiracy can be held just as responsible as if they’d committed the crimes themselves.

But since its passage, it’s been used for more than just convicting mafia leaders and drug lords. It’s been used for a wide variety of actions that could be called racketeering or conspiracy, in order to bring charges against many people who acted as the head of a larger group. For example, in 2002 it was used against the owner of a minor league baseball team, who was accused of deliberately reducing the value of the team for his own gain. It’s been used against pro-life activists who blocked access to abortion clinics, wall street executives accused of insider trading, and Catholic sexual abuse investigations. It’s even been used against police departments. In 2000, a judge ruled that plaintiffs would be allowed to pursue RICO charges against the LAPD.

Of course, the law is an extremely complex thing. Even a single act such as RICO involves so much precedent, rulings, and loopholes that trying to fully summarize it is impossible in a single blog post. In fact, without going law school, it seems like trying to understand anything more than the most basic facts about it would be an extraordinary task. But hopefully, I’ve at least provided a starting point for understanding a very interesting part of our legal system.

Possible Solutions to Air Problems in Manufacturing Plants

Posted by on 8:18 am in Ventilation, Workplace Injuries | 0 comments

Manufacturing plants are some of the most hazardous work environments. First, workers use tools and operate equipment and even entire machines that can potentially hurt them, especially if these materials have defects or the employers have not enforced safety regulations. Second, workers are exposed to substances, such as dust particles, metal cuttings, and welding fumes, which can result into bodily complications, ranging from simple eye irritations to complicated types of cancers.

Employers, operators, and supervisors concerning manufacturing plants have the collective responsibility of the safety of the premises. This collective responsibility is both legal and moral, and failing to commit to it may have various consequences.

Simple Solutions

There are simple and complicated solutions to improve air problems in manufacturing plants. The advantage of simple solutions is that they are very easy to implement, and their implementation can be almost immediate.

Responsible parties, such as employers, should enforce safety measures in the workplace. They can strictly require the use of protective gears, such as helmets, googles, and face masks, to avoid direct exposure to the harmful substances that may be in the air.

Proper maintenance in the workplace is also vital. Responsible parties should make sure that residue does not stay in the workplace for long, to avoid buildup and increased exposure.

Complex Solutions

There are also materials out there that can help reduce residue buildup, like special coatings that can be applied on equipment so they don’t hold on to hazardous residue. A more complex solution is the use of engineering, especially the use of industrial ventilation systems that can capture dangerous substances and keep them away from workers.

What You Can Do as a Worker

The enumerated responsible parties above are not just the ones who should be diligent. Employees themselves should make their own measures to avoid air problems and their possible consequences. First, they should get the adequate training to avoid amateur mistakes. Second, they should be alert of all possible hazards, even though there are no labels or warning signs. Third, they should be responsible enough to comply strictly to their employers’ safety rules and regulations.

How to Avoid Ergonomics Issues in the Office

Posted by on 8:46 pm in Uncategorized, Workplace Injuries | 0 comments

How to Avoid Ergonomics Issues in the Office

Not all workplace accidents happen in dangerous workplace environments, like construction sites, factories, and mines. They can happen even on the safest and most controlled work areas, like typical office spaces.

The risk of violent accidents is lower in offices, but there is a different kind of accident that office workers are prone to, and that involves poor ergonomics.

Ergonomics is the comfort, design, and efficiency of the workplace, and any lapses on it can make subtle discomforts that may trigger injuries. The body parts most vulnerable to these injuries are the eyes, neck, shoulders, back, wrists, and legs.

Use good posture

Poor posture while sitting on your work area or standing on the workplace can put additional stress in your body, particularly in your shoulders and back. The extra stress, when applied long enough, can create problems on the said areas. Maintaining proper posture while working is the most efficient way to avoid these problems.

Lift objects with care

The objects you lift are not as heavy as the objects in physically demanding jobs, but there are still potentially heavy objects in the office, such as cabinets and piles of documents. Avoid lifting objects that are too heavy. Get the help of other employees or use carts to help you carry the load.

Beware of lighting problems

Inefficient lighting can cause eye problems. Typically, these issues need to be reported to your superiors so they can do something about them. The most common lighting problems include the use of poor monitors, inadequate use of blinds and tinted glasses, the lack of desk lights, and the poor overall lighting of the work area.

Beware of noise problems

Like lighting problems, noise problems are typically addressed by superiors. The most common noise problems include traffic noise from outside, noisy machines and equipment, talkative employees, and the noise of foot traffic.

Ensure the comfort of your work station

Position your work station in a way that will prevent unnecessary stress on your body. Make sure that your monitor is on your eye level to prevent neck, shoulder, and back problems. Make sure that your keyboard and mouse do not pressure your wrists. Make sure that there is enough space for your legs to stretch to avoid issues not just on your legs, but also on your knees and feet.

Use the law

According to the website of these Raleigh workers’ compensation attorneys, employees who have suffered from office injuries may be eligible for compensation for the damages they have sustained. Being aware of the legalities is a good way to protect yourself from potential accidents and injuries that may arise from employer negligence.

Cerebral Palsy: A Serious Type of Birth Injury

Posted by on 4:12 pm in medical malpractice | 0 comments

The overall health of a pregnant woman and her unborn child are under the care of an Obstetrician, or OB/Gyn, a medical professional especially trained to manage pregnancy, labor and birth. Thus, it is part of an Obstetrician’s duty to know what medications can and cannot be prescribed to a pregnant woman (or anyone expecting who may be under his/her care), as there are prescription drugs that may cause side effects that can result to severe health conditions in the mother and/or unborn child.

Likewise, any vice that the pregnant woman has, such as smoking, drinking, use of illegal drugs (and even over-eating) should be checked and stopped by an OB/Gyn to ensure the good health, especially, of the child yet to be born; if not stopped, the toxins coming from any of these vices can result to a serious birth injury that may change the life of the unborn for the rest of his/her life.

Besides the time spent inside his/her mother’s womb, an equally critical time for the child is the time of delivery. Many errors have been committed in delivery rooms (in the past) due to the carelessness and negligence of the team, or any of its members, managing the delivery process. A couple of these errors are injecting a wrong dose of anesthesia or clamping the head, with the use of forceps, quite tightly that the flow of oxygen to the baby’s head is temporarily obstructed.

The years prior to 1980, doctors believed that the deprivation of oxygen to the baby’s brain during labor or birth, which is known as asphyxia, caused a birth injury called cerebral palsy. This injury is a result of an abnormality in the brain development of an unborn child, resulting to loss of motor function impairment in muscle coordination. Cerebral palsy, which affects thousands of babies in the U.S. every year, makes walking, playing, eating, talking and playing quite difficult to a child.

Rather than asphyxia as being the major cause of brain injury that leads to CP, scientists discovered that abnormality in the brain development may be caused either by bleeding inside the brain or Intracranial Hemorrhage, which is usually the result of a stroke, or Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL), a lack of oxygen that causes severe damage to brain cells, which can be caused by use of illegal drugs, very low blood pressure, infection or very low blood pressure.

Birth injuries often happen because of improper care or failure of a doctor to provide reasonable level of care. As explained in the website of the law firm Habush Habush & Rottier, S.C., “The birth of a child is one of the miraculous wonders many have the privilege to witness in their lifetimes. When a mother or child suffers a birth injury, families are often left bewildered, wondering how and why such a tragedy occurred. Many birth injury situations involve unforeseeable complications that must be treated as best as possible when they occur. In other situations, a birth injury is preventable and may be the result of medical error, negligence, or malpractice. Birth injuries and birth traumas are often considered the same thing.

The common causes of birth injuries include:

  • Complications during pregnancy;
  • Improper dating;
  • Complications during childbirth;
  • Ob/Gyn errors such as mishandling of an instrument, improper delivery technique, incorrect estimation of birth date, improper prenatal testing, failure to perform C-section in a timely manner, diagnostic errors, and failure to treat a condition; and,
  • Obstetrical mistakes such as failure to recognize fetal distress, failure to diagnose or treat infection, and failure to respond to complications in a timely manner.”

When medical malpractice is the cause of a child or mother’s birth injury, the responsible party can be held liable for the victims’ losses and suffering. This is why it may be necessary for a family to contact a medical malpractice lawyer immediately in case of any hint of medical malpractice as this may help the family learn more about birth injury medical malpractice lawsuits.

Features That Make the LLC a Popular Business Entity Type Among Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

Posted by on 8:17 pm in Business | 0 comments

Many new businesses are starting to register under the format LLC, which means limited liability company; there are also existing sole proprietorship and partnership entities that are converting to an LLC. The two major reasons for these are the amount saved on taxes and the protection it will give your personal properties even if your new LLC company fails to pay creditors.

A limited liability company (LLC) is one type of business structure, the design of which combines the best features of partnership, sole proprietorship and corporate business formats. Detailing a few of the main features or advantages of an LLC, there are:

  • Separate Legal Existence. An LLC has a legal existence that is separate from its members. This means an LLC can continue to exist even after a member withdraws.
  • Limited Liability. LLC members, managers and employees are held totally responsible for whatever civil wrong they personally commit; liability for a civil wrong committed by one (member, manager or employee), however, will not affect others. In the same manner, if the business itself fails to pay a creditor (a landlord, a supplier or a lender), and named as defendant in a lawsuit, all the creditor can run after are the assets of the business and/or the money invested by the members in forming the LLC; creditors will not have any legal right to go after any LLC member’s personal properties.
  • Flexibility in Taxation. Besides the profits and losses of the business being reported on LLC members’ personal tax returns, just like in a partnership or sole proprietorship, members can also choose to be taxed as either a Subchapter C corporation or a Subchapter S corporation.

The above (as well as the other) features are what make LLC a popular business entity type among small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Corporate lawyers, like those from the law firm Russo, Russo & Slania, P.C., for instance, know that the excitement and the challenges one can face in establishing a new company includes legal concerns that can influence the course of a company’s development and progress. The advice of a qualified legal professional will always prove invaluable for entrepreneurs and business professionals.

Focus When Behind the Wheel or Suffer the Possible Fearful Consequences of Distracted Driving

Posted by on 3:57 pm in Distracted Driving | 0 comments

During the first quarter of 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recorded only 6,800 fatal car crashes all across the U.S. This count registered a 4.9 percent decrease from the 7,150 fatalities recorded during the same quarter the previous year. Despite the decrease, fatal accidents still register a big number, considering the fact that car accidents can be prevented, if only drivers will observe proper road behavior road safety rules.

The possible consequences of a car accident can be bruises and lacerations, injury to the neck, head or spinal column, amputated limb, bone fracture, painful and sore chest, neck, legs, arms and back or untimely death. The most causes of these injuries or fatality are driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI), driving beyond the speed limit and distracted driving – bad road behavior or driver errors which cause more than 90% of all road crashes.

For many years, the NHTSA has identified alcohol-impaired driving as the leading cause of car crashes. Recently, however, another cause has become more prevalent, one that even the most careful of drivers can be guilty of: distracted driving.

Distracted driving refers to any form of activity which can take a driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving. Over the years, the forms of distractions while behind the wheel has only continued to rise; from radios to miniature flat screen televisions to GPS devices and on-board computers. There are hundreds of things which can cause driving distractions. The ones that top the list, however, are food and drink, music, sleeping/dozing off, cosmetics, smoking, talking with a passenger, adjusting a gps or radio, looking at a map and, just when you thought that nothing can beat texting or calling/receiving a call at the top spot, guess again, for here is a new cell phone app that many drivers, especially the young, are frantic about: snapchat (a mobile app that allows users to send and receive photos and videos that last only within seconds, after which these self-destruct, thus, forcing drivers to make sure they see it).

Taking one’s eyes off the road, or taking even a hand off of the steering wheel while the other hand tries to reach for something, can result to a tragic accident. Young drivers, those aged between 18 and 25, are the ones identified to be the the most prone to distractions while driving. But the scary part is, despite knowing that getting distracted, specifically using a cell phone while driving, is dangerous, many of these drivers never even give the possible risks a thought, saying that they are in perfect control of the wheel; people who they injure or kill would have wanted this to be so true.

Law firms that handle personal injury cases, like the Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., for instance, says that paying full attention to the road and your surroundings is of utmost importance when you’re behind the wheel. Failure to do so can result in irreversible consequences, which include life-changing injuries, emotional trauma and steep expenses.

Negligence or carelessness is the major contributory factor in the various causes of car accidents. Negligence, however, can be dispelled and so make accidents avoidable. Drivers who continue to compromise the safety of others by allowing themselves to be distracted while driving will certainly face harsh punishments if they do cause an accident and harm others, that is if they themselves have not been seriously injured or have survived the accident.

Drunk Driving

Posted by on 11:04 pm in Drunk Driving | 0 comments

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is giving a friendly neighborhood reminder to people who will be celebrating spring break in Florida this March that they should refrain from operating motor vehicles when they are intoxicated or even if they had just a little pinch of alcohol, just for good measure.

DHSMV officials say that it is important to be safe amid all the partying and the fun times, so that said partying and fun times can still be repeated next year and the next. They, in cooperation with state law enforcement agencies, will stringently enforce drinking age laws and work double time to keep impaired drivers from operating vehicles on the roads.

To better facilitate these goals, Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Ken Lawson said they will check if establishments that serve alcohol will comply with the directive of not serving alcohol to minors, noting, “We are committed to ensuring that alcohol stays out of the hands of individuals under the legal drinking age and that Florida establishments remain in compliance with the Florida Beverage Law during spring break.”

According to preliminary data, there had been 32,000 vehicular accidents all across Florida in March 2015, with at least 400 drivers who were found out to have ingested alcohol beyond the legal limit, thus resulting in accidents that caused 230 injuries and over 35 deaths.

March had the biggest number of driving under the influence citations as compared with other months of the year since 2012.

Will Seccombe, president and chief executive officer of VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s official tourism planning source, the state is home to 20 million residents and around 1.8 million visitors each year.

Attorneys at Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller, & Overbeck, P.A. say that alcohol-drinking impairs some of the skills that a person needs to possess in order to practice safe driving, such as concentration, comprehension, reaction time, among others.

Is Tax Avoidance the Same as Tax Evasion?

Posted by on 1:38 pm in Laws | 0 comments

It can be quite easy to confuse the two terms together as, in meaning, they are already quite similar. High taxes can cause a strain to many working class people who are already struggling to make ends meet as it is and so tax avoidance may be an option that you might want to look into.

But is it legal?

The short answer is that yes, it is. Tax avoidance is the perfectly legal method that takes financial planning as well as circumstantial reasoning into account in order to pay less taxes because you are qualified for it. This can apply to disabled people, people with multiple children, et cetera. This then helps them in their pursuit of achieving financial stability. Tax evasion, however, is an entirely different ballgame altogether – though the difference between the two rests between a very thin line.

According to the website of the lawyers with Kohler Hart Powell, SC, tax evasion is when an individual or party falsifies reports or records in order to receive exemptions or deductions from taxes when they are not eligible for it. This can happen due to falsified income reports or claiming a personal expense as a business expense. When this happens, there is fraudulence involved, which is why it taken as a federal offense by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

If an IRS agent contacts you with regard to tax evasion, it is recommended that you first contact an experienced legal professional. It is perfectly legal for you to exercise your right to remain silent as well as your right to first consult with your legal counsel before you present any evidence.

This is because you, as a civilian, may not understand the due legal process that is followed and may accidentally incriminate yourself without meaning to. The simplest and most seemingly mundane questions could bring forth accusations against you. As tempting as it may be to simply talk your way out of this and stand your ground as innocent, it is recommended that you have someone in your playing field who knows their way around, so to speak.

Wisconsin Law on Marijuana

Posted by on 11:40 am in Laws | 0 comments

“It’s just a little weed” is not an excuse in Wisconsin, where the cultivation, possession, and sale of the substance in any amount is illegal. You will be arrested if you are found in possession of marijuana, and the penalties can be considerable. As pointed out on the website of Kohler Hart Powell, SC, state prosecutors push for the harshest possible penalties for drug crimes, even “a little weed.” If you are arrested for possession of marijuana, you need to contact a criminal defense lawyer at once to avoid a conviction, or at least to get a lighter sentence. Not doing so could occur in a harsher penalty that can affect the rest of your life.

It is perfectly possible that Wisconsin may soon join the ranks of states that have legalized marijuana to some extent. Some states have even legalized it for recreational as well as medical use. A bill proposed in April this year is expected to encounter considerable opposition from Wisconsin state legislators, a majority of which are Republicans, so it may not be in the cards for 2015. However, it may happen soon.

It will not be soon enough for some people. Until it does pass through the legislature, you can still be charges with a drug crime for possession of marijuana. If you are a first time offender with a small amount of the substance (less than 200 grams or 4 plans), the penalty is a hefty fine ($1,000) and up to 6 months in jail. Subsequent convictions mean an escalation in fines and jail time, up to $10,000 and 3.5 years in prison.

However, the picture changes if you have more than a little weed. If you are caught with more than 200 grams or 5 plants, the stakes go higher. The maximum penalty for having more than 10 kilograms or 200 plants in your possession is 15 years in jail plus a fine of $25,000. If you are found with the stuff within the vicinity of a school or any drug-free zone or selling to minors, this means five more years on top of your sentence.

It is important to engage the services of a competent criminal defense lawyer and not just to avoid fines and jail time; any criminal conviction is a glaring black mark in your record. The fact that it is a drug crime means you will be barred from certain professions and other opportunities in life.

How At-Fault Accidents Can Affect Your Car Insurance

Posted by on 4:41 pm in Insurance, Motor Vehicle Collisions | 0 comments

According to the United States Census Bureau, the year 2009 saw more than 10 million motor vehicle accidents to occur. Based on this data, it’s easy to see why Iowa car accident lawyers may tell you that accidents are a part of the risks you have to consider when driving down the road. Millions of people find themselves involved and injured in car accidents every year. You can take extra care to avoid unnecessary scenarios; however, it’s unrealistic to think that you’re completely exempt from what might happen.

When the unforeseen happens, it’s difficult to imagine yourself in the shoes of the person who caused the accident. If you accidentally rear-end another vehicle or cause a collision, your car insurance coverage can help mitigate the resulting damages. Finding the right car insurance policy can help you stay on the road without any anxiety.

If you are the driver at fault, there is a huge possibility that the accident you caused will have an effect on your current car insurance policy. For one, you can expect your rates to increase when it comes time to renew your policy. Sometimes, you might even have to pay additional fees on top of that. Certain scenarios can lead to this sudden surcharge, like if you have been cited for a traffic violation or were officially recognized as at-fault after filing a formal claim. To dodge these fees, you can add an accident forgiveness clause to your policy.

Despite this, you don’t have to worry about receiving sufficient coverage for the damages caused both to you and the victim. According to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, collision coverage can ensure protection for all damages resulting from an accident, regardless of whether the policy holder was at fault or not.

When you own a car, you need to accept that accidents will be a part of life. You can hope for the best and try to stay safe, but there’s no way to account for what might happen in the future. It’s better to be smart and think ahead.