Friday, March 27, 2009

Supreme Court says No to Gun Ownership after a Domestic Violence conviction

The United States Supreme Court recently said if you are convicted of a crime involving domestic violence you can't own a gun.

Here's the short version of their opinion:

Mr. Hayes had been convicted in 1994 of hitting his wife.

Then, in 2004, the police responded to a 911 call reporting domestic violence at Mr. Hayes house. When the police got to Mr. Hayes' house, they asked him if they could come in and search his house (they probably just said they wanted to take a look around, but it comes out to be the same thing). Mr. Hayes - who didn't think there was anything in his house that would cause him any problems with the police - consented to the police searching his house.

In the course of their search, the police found a rifle and several other firearms. They arrested Mr. Hayes and charged him with a violation of the federal statute that says felons cannot possess firearms. Mr. Hayes was convicted. The United States Supreme Court said the conviction stands. Mr. Hayes got five hard years in a federal prison.

The reasoning of the Supreme Court is that it is too dangerous for someone who has been convicted of a crime against a family member to own any gun. And if they do, they are guilty of the same crime as felon in possession.

Here's a link to the full opinion.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Child Support for a disabled child doesn't have to end in Missouri

If you have a seriously disabled child and are divorced or in the process of getting divorced, continuing support for your child as they become an adult can be a concern.

The rules having to do with ending child support don't necessarily apply where the child is seriously disabled. A serious disability is a disability that will keep the child from ever supporting himself. For some children this means that the child will live in a group home or other sheltered facility after the death of her parents. For other children, the disability can mean that, although the child doesn't have to live in an institution, the child will never be able to become self-support, whether the child's disability is physical, emotional, or learning-related.

Fortunately, it is possible in Missouri to have child support continue past the normal age of emancipation. If a court finds the disability is serious the court can order the child support to continue into the child's adulthood.

If you have a seriously disabled child who will be needing support from his parents throughout his life, you should discuss this issue with your attorney.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Practical steps to take if you believe a family member has been abused by a nursing home

If you have a family member who has been mistreated by a nursing home, the first thing you need to do is get medical attention for him or her. After that has happened - and before you talk to an attorney, Illinois attorney Jonathan Rosenfeld,has some excellent suggestions on his Nursing Homes Abuse Blog that hold true for Missouri residents as well as Illinois residents.

"Photographs - Take pictures of the physical injuries themselves, the area where the incident took place and if possible, the people involved. In cases involving particularly gruesome medical conditions (pressure sores, amputations, surgical wounds) no medical record can do justice to what your loved one experienced. Use a real camera as opposed to a camera-phone as the photos will be better quality.

Start Writing- Write down as much information about the incident or events as you can remember. Write some more. Details can be particularly helpful in the course of litigation as many nursing homes have high rates of employee turnover that can make obtaining information difficult. Concentrate on: names, dates, room numbers, names of facilities and and medication dosages (if relevant

Medical Chart- The medical chart from a nursing home and / or hospital is crucial to determining what a facility may have done or failed to do that resulted in injury or death. If your loved one sustained an injury that resulted in subsequent medical care at a hospital, these records will be important as well.

Chronology- This does not need to be one’s life story. However, if a condition developed over time or there are multiple facilities that may responsible for the injury or condition, it is important get the correct names and general dates of admission at health care facilities. The names of doctors who provided medical can be helpful as well.

Other Relevant documents: Healthcare Power of Attorney, wills, death certificates, pre-injury photographs, autopsy reports and nursing home inspection reports all can be helpful when meeting with an attorney. Bring them with."

Then - take this information to your family lawyer for evaluation.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Families asked to pay debts of deceased loved ones

The New York Times recently reported about debt collectors calling bereaved family members to ask for repayment of debts of the deceased.

"The banks need another bailout and countless homeowners cannot handle their mortgage payments, but one group is paying its bills: the dead.

Dozens of specially trained agents work on the third floor of DCM Services here, calling up the dear departed’s next of kin and kindly asking if they want to settle the balance on a credit card or bank loan, or perhaps make that final utility bill or cellphone payment."

You can read the complete article at the New York Times website.

Just because you have been asked to pay a deceased relative's debt doesn't necessarily mean that you have a legal liability to pay the debt. To get help determining whether you have to pay the debt, consult your family's attorney or the Missouri Attorney General's office - Consumer Protection Division.