Category Archives: Stuff you can use

Pro Bono and….. a chicken

Yes, you read that correctly. Recently the question below was posted to the SC Bar online resource, www.SC.FreeLegalAnswers.org. It is a real head scratcher ( no pun intended) and although not typical of the questions asked it would not be unusual to a general practice attorney! Email me with suggested responses: Robinspd@law.sc.edu or feel free to join us for the next Friday Blitz on Feb 15th at 2:30 in Room 389. Sign up link here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0445a8a82ea1fc1-friday

Recently my chicken was stolen from my yard by my neighbor. The neighbor then drove up the road and threw the chicken out of the window of his vehicle while it was moving. This neighbor also videoed the act and I have the video in my possession. I went to my local law enforcement officials to file a report to which they told me that since it was a free range chicken and that I can’t prove that the chicken was taken from my yard, that basically the only thing the neighbor can be charged with is animal cruelty and animal abandonment. The neighbor was charged with those two crimes but was found not guilty. He was found not guilty on the charge for animal abandonment because he can’t abandon an animal that’s not his. He was found not guilty on the charge of animal cruelty because “you cant abuse a livestock animal”. So now I’m stuck, I would like to see this man be punished for his crime. I do understand that he can’t be charged for the same crime twice but I’m curious about civil court. Animal control has a video of my neighbor admitting that he knew that the animal belonged to me. Im just curios as to what my options are now. I understand that it is a chicken and that they are slaughtered everyday for people to eat, and I have no problem with that. My issue is that the animal belonged to me and was my property that was taken by someone that has no right to take it. This same neighbor gets away with everything in my town, the local officials are corrupt but again I have no hard evidence to prove anything so that argument is useless. Any help or advice that can be given to me will be much appreciated.

Wise words: Inexperience is not mitigation for conversion

Oops!! but also take note!

A twelve-month suspension has been imposed by the Georgia Supreme Court based on an attorney’s voluntary petition for discipline

In her petition, Saunders explains the circumstances leading up to her misuse of the client funds. She explained that her boyfriend, with whom she shared an apartment, had an emotional downward spiral and failed to pay his portion of the expenses. Saunders, who had practiced on her own for less than a year, was unable to meet the couple’s shared financial obligations, her credit was destroyed, and her car was repossessed. Her boyfriend then became abusive, causing Saunders to leave the apartment with only the clothes on her back and to give up her office space so that he would be unable to find her. Then in 2015, Saunders obtained $26,283.50 in an arbitration proceeding on behalf of an
incarcerated client. She used the portion of the funds to which she was entitled as her fee to purchase a car, but the car broke down. Because Saunders was too embarrassed to seek help, she converted the client’s funds for her own personal use to recover from the financial challenges brought on by her former relationship.

In mitigation, Saunders states that the client has been repaid in full; she has no prior disciplinary history; she cooperated with the disciplinary process by submitting a detailed letter of her misconduct to the Investigative Panel member assigned to the case; her actions were due to extreme emotional distress stemming from domestic violence; she has undergone counseling to rebuild her self-esteem to avoid similar problems in the future; she otherwise has good character and reputation as shown by letters of support from the legal community; and she is remorseful.

The court rejected one mitigating factor

The State Bar also argues that there is an additional mitigating factor — Saunders’s inexperience in the practice of law. But inexperience in the practice of law is not mitigating; even a first-year law student should understand that conversion of client funds for personal use is impermissible. Cf. In the Matter of Jones, 293 Ga. 264, 267 (2) n.8 (744 SE2d 6) (2013) (“Whether a lawyer has been practicing for thirty years, or only for a few days, he ought to know that an attorney should not smuggle contraband to a client in jail. This is not the sort of case in which experience in the practice of law has any relevance to the misconduct.”).

A podcast of interest

If you have any interest in juvenile justice you might want to listen to episodes of “Caught” Here is what The New Yorker has to say about this amazing podcast

9. “Caught

“Caught: The Lives of Juvenile Justice,” from WNYC Studios and hosted by Kai Wright, introduces us to kids, both inside and outside the incarceration system, who are trying to find their way out of trouble. It’s impressively wide-ranging, giving context about neuroscience, sentencing, and progressive approaches to helping young people, and it’s impressively fine-grained, too, telling intimate, nuanced stories with empathy and honesty. “What happens once we decide a child is a criminal?” Wright asks. “What does society owe those children, beyond punishment?” What makes “Caught” truly stand out is the voices of its subjects: the kids sound like kids, which, considering their circumstances, is startling in itself. They are finding their way—discovering who they are, who to trust, how to act. “There’s some people that belong in jail and there’s some people that’s misguided and don’t know what to do,” one boy says. He says he’s a mix: “I want to be a good guy, but sometimes I’m a bad guy.” “Caught” makes us consider some of the most basic questions about growing up, being human, and being humane.