Sunday, February 19, 2017

Minnesota Alimony Reform - Good News

Some good news for once. A working task force with Minnesota Alimony Reform, the Minnesota Bar, Family Section of the Minnesota Bar, the Minnesota chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, an attorney representing legal aide for lower income individuals,  a Senator to be named and Rep. Peggy Scott has been formed to craft comprehensive reform of Minnesota's spousal maintenance laws.

This is exactly the path Massachusetts followed to achieve reform back in 2009. Many state initiatives has failed because they have tried to push through legislation without the involvement of the bar association and divorce lawyer groups. In my discussions with lawyers and legislators many understand the fundamental injustice of the current system and are supportive of reform. But the political reality is that without widespread support from legal groups there is a reluctance to move on the issue. Political inertia is often underappreciated.

The goal is to introduce comprehensive legislation when the 2018 legislative session begins in January.  Specifically:
1. Eliminate permanent spousal maintenance from the statute.
2. Add durational guidelines - limit alimony based on the length of the marriage.
3.  Retirement shall end the spousal maintenance obligation.
4.  A second spouses income never allowed to be a factor in a modification.
5.  If the legislative intent of our Cohabitation Alimony Reform Law passed last year is not met... fix it.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The OLPR Saga Continues

My effort to reform the Minnesota Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility (OLPR) continues. In January I had replied to their recommendation agaisnt my petition to improve the Lawyer's Rules of Professional Conduct. They have now replied back to me and I again to them. Both correspondences are below.

Some would say my effort is pointless because the OLPR is never going to admit that they operated in way completely antithetical to their purpose as an organization in my case and, as is fairly evident, in many others as well, That would be a de facto admission of criminality. Yet there may be someone within the OLPR organization who due to my letters actually looks at the facts and decides they do not want to be a part of what may someday be known as a criminally corrupt organization.  Not everyone wants to be the bad guy. Look to Elliot Richardson's actions during the Nixon administration for an example.

My response to the OLPR:

February 5, 2017

Susan M. Humiston
Director – Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility
500 Landmark Towers
345 St. Peter Street
St. Paul, MN 55102-1218

Re: Your letter to me dated January 23, 2016 regarding Rule 6, Section A of the Rules on Lawyers Professional Responsibility.

Dear Ms. Humiston,

I view your letter dated January 23, 2016 not only with extreme dissatisfaction but find it profoundly disturbing.

Your organization has never once addressed the evidence in the complaint I filed against . Not in my original complaint against her, nor the appeal, nor in any of the subsequent correspondence I have had with the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility. If you really believe that Ms.  did not knowingly lie in court and commit fraud, then let’s have a discussion on the facts.  The evidence, I will remind you is based on publically available court documents and a hearing transcript. I would be more than happy to sit down with you and go through the evidence.  

It is because your organization has ignored the evidence against and has done every thing possible to shield her from the consequences of her violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct and well as the law, that I believe your organization has acted unethically and criminally. How could I possibly not think this? 

We live in a political climate where telling falsehoods repeatedly and ignoring facts has become in vogue. I guess I am old school idealist because I believe is truth, ethics and justice.

You also seem to believe that getting away with a crime is the same as not having committed it. If in the 1920s an innocent black man was lynched yet no one, despite strong evidence, was even charged with the killing does that mean murder was not committed.? No, it just means the guilty got away with the crime. Just like , with your organization’s help, got away with her crimes. 

You state that your organization routinely disciplines lawyers who have not been convicted of a crime. That is an interesting statement given that your organization has provided me with information to the contrary. Please substantiate your claim. I am especially interested in cases where  lawyers  were disciplined for lying in family court.

There is a surreal Kafkaesque element to all this. The evidence that knowing lied in court and committed fraud is so clear and so solid  it is difficult to even imagine how it could even be stronger. If you have not carefully read the evidence, then I ask you to do so. Then examine your conscious and take action based on what is right. If you do not then for the rest of your life you will have to live with the realization that you stand with the bad people of this world.  

I repeat my request that my letter dated January 7, 2016 as well as this letter be passed on to all Directors and Assistant Directors at the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility and that you confirm that you have does so to me. If you do not then I will simply have to do so myself.

OLPR letter to me:

Sunday, February 5, 2017

South Carolina Reform

Wyman Oxner from SC Alimony Reform wrote a feed back letter on their efforts at alimony reform in the state. Well put I say.

Reform the state’s alimony laws
To the editor:
It is time for the archaic alimony laws in South Carolina to be reformed in order to make the laws fair for both the payer of permanent alimony and the payee.
Our organization, SC Alimony Reform, has been trying to reform the laws for going on seven years, but we have been scuttled by a few members of the legislature each year. I believe we have enough votes in the legislature to reform the laws if our bills are allowed to have an up or down vote. I believe that everyone should have the right to retire without the burden of permanent life time alimony.
Our legislative supporters have re-introduced the following Senate bills that would:
  • Create public policy seeking equity for both parties. No one form of alimony would be preferred over another.
  • Create transitional and fixed-term alimony which would give judges more options.
  • Allow payers to seek a reduction or an end to alimony at retirement.
  • Bar consideration of subsequent spouse’s earnings.
Our House Representative supporters have also re-introduced a comprehensive bill that includes the main points of the Senate bills.
It is time to bring South Carolina into the 21st century and bring our alimony laws up to date. No person should have to pay another person for the rest of their life simply because their marriage failed.
— Wyman Oxner, Orangeburg, S.C.