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Recently in Civil Rights Category

| Aug 16, 2016 | Civil Rights |

Recently in Civil Rights Category

Prisoners of Second-Hand Stupidity

July 16, 2013, by
Applegate Law Office

A while ago, I suggested that that the State of California seems to want prisoners to die. Maybe I was too harsh; maybe the State of California, as a governing entity, is just so cripplingly stupid that it can’t help but kill off prisoners, like Lenny with his little bunny rabbits.


Last time round it was people with susceptible to Valley Fever
who were going to die of second-hand stupid. Somehow, Jerry Brown’s journey toward octogenarianism led him (either by way of the Age of Aquarius, or a likely unpleasant meeting with his own Attorney General) to relent and belatedly decide that letting people die of airborne diseases was, well, a bad idea.

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Frankly, Defendant, They Don’t Give A Damn — Better Hire An Attorney Who DOES!

May 9, 2013, by
Applegate Law Office

Why do you need to hire the best lawyer you can find? Because when it comes to your health and well-being, I almost suspect that the state of California doesn’t give a damn whether you live or die.

Wait — that’s not true. Based on the way that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and Governor Jerry Brown behave, the state of California more than gives a damn. They actually want prisoners to die, and they’re working hard to make it happen.


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Medical care in California prisons — all of the California prisons — is atrocious. It’s so atrocious that a federal court, citing the “depravity” of the system, ordered it into receivership in 2005. A receivership, in essence, is what you create when your 4-year-old kid wants to make breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day — you nod and smile, fish the egg shells out of the pancake batter, put out a couple small fires on the stove, and let the kid carry the tray into the bedroom. Congratulations, California — you’ve achieved “adorable moppet” status on the Competency Scale!

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My Love Is Like An Arrest-Me-Red Rose

March 14, 2013, by
Applegate Law Office

My love is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
My love is like the … handcuffs’ click?
Because I … loosed balloons?

Unfair art thou, Florida cop,
And Florida law as well!
Five years in prison? For balloons?!
I must ask “What the HELL?!?

Five years upstate for sending off
A dozen red balloons?
I’ve got to say, that law’s an ass
In need of several prunes.”

When Law’s an ass, and Justice blind
I’m there to Represent
The Spirit (not the Letter, mind)
Of the laws they claim you bent.

Every once in a while, a law enforcement travesty comes along that just begs for special treatment. The Florida Highway Patrol‘s reaction to Anthony Brasfield’s big romance was, well, special – and not in the rather touching way that Mr. Brasfield’s “crime” was special.

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Why We Settle Sometimes -OR- Taking It To The Box

February 1, 2013, by
Applegate Law Office

Almost every case, criminal or civil, will end up settling before it goes to a jury trial. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; the legal system is perilous, trials are expensive, and juries (like some dogs) can turn on you. But why? Why would my lawyer ever advise me to plead?


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January 7, 2013, by
Applegate Law Office

Sometimes a news story comes along that leaves me damn near speechless. This is one of those times. A little background first:

Paragould (official motto: “A City as Unique as Its Name!”) is a small town in the northeastern corner of Arkansas. With 22,000 people living there, Paragould’s population is a little smaller than Windsor’s. Apparently, though, Paragould’s population is a heck of a lot more unruly than Windsor’s – either that, or Mayor Mike Gaskill and Police Chief Todd Stovall have just lost their minds.



Here are a few quotes from Chief Stovall that just make my brain hurt:

Continue reading “YES – YOU ARE A CRIMINAL!” »

The Long Leash of the Law

December 3, 2012, by
Applegate Law Office

Police dogs have been commonplace in America for well over 100 years. Just like the police, some of these dogs have performed near-miracles while assisting victims of crime – and these dogs have sometimes been used as tools of oppression, violence, and terror against the citizenry. Not surprisingly, as American policing has developed and changed, the use and abuse of police dogs has changed as well.

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Police dogs are most commonly thought of as drug-sniffing dogs these days, but that wasn’t always the case. There are two U.S. Supreme Court cases on the docket that look like interesting dog cases; both concern privacy rights. Florida v. Jardines was argued on Halloween (here’s hoping the decision doesn’t scare us all to death) and asks whether the police violated the Fourth Amendment by taking a dog that had been trained to smell for drugs to the door of a house where they suspected that marijuana was being grown.

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A Letter To The Undocumented

October 2, 2012, by
Applegate Law Office

The United States of America is a great country, and a land of great opportunity. Millions and millions of people have come here during the last 500 years to find better jobs, better wages, and better lives with more safety and more freedom. Most of us (or our parents, or our great-great grandparents) found some, if not all, of what we came here to find.


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It is a great country, but it is not necessarily a fair country. What do I mean by that? To put it simply, I mean that not everyone who lives here actually gets treated the same way. This shouldn’t be news to anyone who knows their American history.

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No Give-sies Back-sies, No Black Magic

September 12, 2012, by
Applegate Law Office

There are a nearly ridiculous number of axioms in the law — pithy sayings that convey a fairly complicated idea in very few words. It seems that most of them are either in Latin (res ipsa loquitur!) or deal with something unpleasant (the law is an ass!), or both – (inter arma enim silent leges).


I propose that we add one more — no givesies backsies, no black magic. Sadly, it seems like we may need to remind some of our prosecutors of that old playground rule to help them keep in line.

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You Have The Right To Remain Silent

July 10, 2012, by
Applegate Law Office

It may not have been a big story in the news, but a recent Press Democrat article caught my eye: Satanic graffiti was found on a sign at the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation on Mendocino Avenue in Santa Rosa. I’ve had clients who were charged with graffiti, and this case has an obvious interesting twist with the whole ‘satanic’ element. Recently, though, it got even more interesting.


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A local man named Ryan Fortner was arrested, questioned, and jailed for committing this crime. But then the Santa Rosa police released him and arrested another man. There’s strong evidence that the second man, Kyle Eric Schaller, did the crime — he was known to have scrawled pentagrams and the like before, he had the pens, and he looks like the guy on the surveillance film.

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Police Trample Bay Area Citizens’ Rights, Killing Their Dogs And Burning Their House.

February 16, 2012, by
Applegate Law Office

Last Friday, Vallejo police fired tear gas into a house that they thought was inhabited by robbery suspects. They were wrong. The suspects weren’t in the house — just two little dogs. By the end of the assault, the house was on fire and one dog was dead.

When I read this KGO news report, my heart went out to these Vallejo residents. They are victims of bad luck, and of bad police work. I hope they don’t take it sitting down.

If the police violate your rights (or burn them to a crisp), you don’t have much time to file a claim against the government. California Government code section 911.2(a) requires you to provide formal notice of a claim to the government no more than 180 days after you were injured. These poor dog owners need to file a Government Tort Claim soon if they intend to pursue any kind of legal action against the Vallejo PD for this incident — ever.

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