Sunday, June 28, 2020

South Carolina Alimony Reform

As I have often mentioned, most people just do not understand how alimony works. Nor how bad it is even when crime is not involved as in my case.  When I tell people that I have to pay alimony until I die, they often express disbelief that permanent even alimony exists.  This example from South Carolina says it all:
My 66 year old husband has been forced to pay alimony to a woman he married at age 19.  They were married 7 years and did not have any children.  Since their divorce, his ex-wife has lived continuously with the same man for almost 40 years!  South Carolina law still demands, from his divorce settlement, that he pay her for the rest of his life.  
What makes this all the more terrible is that my husband has advanced heart disease.  He has had numerous heart attacks and was forced to take disability from his job, that he loved, in 2011.  So, even though he has been disabled, he is still required to pay this woman.  All this while his ex wife and her boyfriend flaunt, in local articles, their wealth, European travel and hobbies.
This is as real as it gets. If you are in South Carolina, please support South Carolina Alimony Reform.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Black Live Matter/All Lives Matter

I head a really good explanation as to why the retort of some people to the phrase "Black Lives Matter", which makes some non-black people uncomfortable, should not be "All Lives Matter".

Imagine a person wearing a "save the whales" t-shirt. Someone sees it and says no, "save the animals". Such a reaction is non-nonsensical.  The issue I think is that non-black people are not a third party such as whales so they misconstrue the statement "Black Lives Matter" to be "Black Lives Matter More" which is just nonsense.

I am heartened to see many white people here in Minnesota wearing "Black Lives Matter" t-shirts. If we ensure justice for black people, which I believe can only be accomplished through true legal reform,  it will help ensure justice for all. Maybe even me. Yes, black lives do matter.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

George Floyd's Death Could Save Us All

The tragic murder of George Floyd could, if we as a society have the will, save us all. To do so we need to do more, much more, than just prosecute the person who killed Floyd; we need to change the legal system that has historically ignored criminal activity within law enforcement.

Here is the problem. If you are a violent or raciest (or both) person you are naturally drawn to work in an area where you can freely express these tendencies without repercussion. Sadly, the best place to do that in our society is law enforcement. I am not saying all police officers are violent or raciest, they are not. But it is not just the officers who commit the crimes who are guilty. Those who witness or know of such actions and do nothing share the guilt. The so called "code of silence" is nothing more than criminal conspiracy. The institution itself not just a few individuals is the problem. 

Clearly crime and corruption is a problem within law enforcement. How do we fix it? I think we have conclusively proven that having black and other minority mayors, police chiefs and city counsels does not work. Nor do I think that better laws is the answer because the laws we have are actually pretty good. The solution, I am convinced, lies in the third branch of government - the judiciary.

The reality is that our judicial system is too often where crime occurs not where justice is ensured. As a society we casually accept this. Think about what is meant when someone says they have a good lawyer. What they really mean is they have a connected lawyer. A lawyer who knows the judge so you can get out of that DUI. It should not matter who the lawyer knows. It should not matter how much money you pay the lawyer. Only the facts should matter. But that is simply not the reality we live in. The legal system is supposed to be blind as to your race, religion, sexual orientation, national heritage, how wealthy you are and even who you know. But it is not. 

Even when lawyers unquestionably commit crimes as Nelly Wince did in my case, it is is ignored by legal system. Judge Mearly, who admitted to knowing Wince personally, ignored it.   The Lawyers professional Responsibility Board ignored it as they do in nearly all complaints agaisnt attorneys. The county attorney's office went so far to state, in writing, that there is no law agaisnt a lawyer lying in court and that the term "fraud upon the court" does not exit in Minnesota statutes. Both statements are  not only false but outrageously false. What they should have stated is that in Minnesota lawyers are allowed to commit crimes with impunity. Just like violent and racist people find a home in the police force, people who enjoy criminal fraud find a safe, welcoming and financially rewarding environment in the legal system.

Trying to fix crime and corruption in law enforcement without addressing the institutionalized crime and corruption in our legal system is akin to putting a small bandage on a cut artery. It won't work. But if we do change the legal system to make it fair and equitable then perhaps George Flyod's tragic death with save us all.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Will Smith - Racism Is Not Getting Worse, It Is Getting Filmed

An important element to the ongoing protests over police racism is that it is nothing new. In fact it is not even getting worse. As Will Smith states, "Racism is not getting worse, it's getting filmed"

An important lesson here is that the the power of transparency can be transformational. Let's hope so anyway. Yet transparency alone does not work.  Progress also requires that people care. As we have seen since George Floyd's murder, people do care about police abuse.

Sadly my experience with the legal system is that even with transparency (i.e. the evidence I have) lawyers are able to get away with crimes because no one, or more correctly not enough people, care. So crime continues unabated. 

I hope those guilty of George Floyd's death are held accountable for their actions in court. But I suspect it might take protests just as large or even larger that the recent ones against police abuse of power before the judiciary acts according to the law.