March, 2015

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The Best Business Attorneys In Houston


One of the wisest things a fledgling entrepreneur can do is to hire a business attorney, before situations demands you hire one As a business owner, there are numerous challenges like lack of capital to run operations. However, having a business attorney at your disposal will make most things so much easier when running a business. More information about Houston business attorneys below:

In today’s competitive business environment, having a business attorney will have a positive impact on your business. An experienced attorney will not only guide you away from future disputes, but can also assist you in negotiating more lucrative business deals. Finding a good attorney sometimes can be a daunting task, but we have made it easier here in Houston, Below are some situations that might require a business owner to hire the services of a business attorney.

A Houston business lawyer can actually help not only in propelling your business to the next level, but also in saving you money, efforts and precious time, to enable you focus on your core business with little to worry about. We are the best to conned and consult with here in Houston because, we understand the inside and outs of business law. We will handle all your business legal matters.

Along with the legal handles that are paramount in making your business succeed, there are other concerns that might require some legal assistance such as settling business disputes, negotiations, and litigations among others. These different situations require a thorough preparation beforehand, to avoid any serious implications that will affect your business negatively.

A business attorney is the right person to consult, you will gain meaningful opinions and ideas, that can prove beneficial to you business. Especially, in your business formation structure. For instance, if your business is receiving external funding, a business attorney will be the best person to handle such transactions on your behalf.

No one is more qualified to handle the legalities involved in making a contract, signing crucial deals that can make or break your business, lease negotiations, hiring processes, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property protection than a business lawyer. Business attorneys in Houston will ease up complications for you.

In conclusion, from these mere fads, there are several business laws that must be followed besides the state’s rules and regulations. It’s therefore absolutely a necessity, to hook your business with an outstanding business attorney. If your business is in Houston and the surrounding Areas, we will guide you on things to avoid as they might jeopardize your business. At the same time, we will offer you valuable information, that will prove useful in the long run.

Other sources:

New York Business Attorneys

new-york-business-lawNew York City is not only a very large city but also a fast paced one. Business too is flourishing, from entertainment, manufacturing to the hospitality industry. Whichever industry one would desire to ply their trade provides endless possibilities. The city’s legal structures are well defined and laid out for all to read and understand. New York businesses should always have corporate lawyers in New York on retainer to prevent many major legal issues form arising.

Given its cosmopolitan populace this city tends to serve the needs of diverse cultures. Because of this the rules and regulations of running a business provides for such diversities. To accommodate this laws have inculcated provisions of dealing with these diversities if and when the need arises.

More often than not one is bound to fall into the hands of con artists. New York is not an exception to this. Dotted all over the city are numerous quakes posing as lawyers. It is therefore recommended for you to do your due diligence in your search for the best legal services you need for your business.

This city has respected registered legal bodies whose members are thoroughly vetted before joining them. It also works for a better resume for these lawyers or attorneys to join these bodies. In your search for a quality, affordable legal service it is advisable for you to check for competent lawyers from these bodies’ members.

There are also those legal firms that cater for businesses’ with less financial muscle. For instance a small scale business will need good legal service at affordable rates. Their addresses are easily available in the digital directories in the city. Better yet you can also just Google them.

Legal services industry is a very competitive profession in this city. This then has ensured that most lawyers charge competitive rates. For this reason there is little or no monopoly by any firm or lawyer in the provision of these services. The clients also get quality legal counsel due to stiff competition amongst legal counsel providers.

Pro-Bono is whereby lawyers provide their service for free. Most legal firms in giving back to the society do Pro-Bono services. Some term it as their corporate social responsibility to the society. These services are never the less restricted to the lawyer’s clients of choice. Be that as it may, it is wise to try and inquire whether you as a prospective client can access such services from your considered attorney.

In the attempts of addressing the needs of legal hungry populace, there are quite a number of magazines that specifically publish such material regularly. There are also professional legal minds who do the same via blogs. It is via these medium that one can also find who or where the best legal brains are and based. The info available in these mediums are mostly well researched and quite accurate hence reliable.

This city does meet the threshold of a good business environment for one considering any business here. The legal services provided here are more than impressive. The time taken to address any litigation is fair in the light of the city’s large population. More information concerning New York business attorneys can be found on New York Business Law Group.

Does the State ever know when to give up?


You probably thought you heard the last of dog scent line-up line-ups right? I’m still amazed that they ever got admitted in the first place – but that’s a different topic. The picture of a dog sniffing around and picking someone out is something you would only see in comics. That is of course unless it’s the State, and the dogs can provide evidence of guilt.

To say that Deputy Keith Pikett and his magic dogs have been discredited is an understatement. The Innocence Project of Texas was the first point out the problems in a comprehensive report issued in September 2009 . It appears that judges finally got the message, and started excluding the evidence. Which brings us the case of Jason Smith who was indicted for murder in Ft. Bend County – Keith Pikett’s home base. Not wanting to give up on a good thing, the State wanted to use scent evidence. The defense filed a motion to exclude, which was granted. Not to be deterred, the State appealed. Their argument was basically that the the same type of evidence had been challenged before and rejected, and that decision had been upheld on appeal. In other words, once admissible always admissible.

Decisions on admitting evidence are reviewed for what is called abuse of discretion. Basically, a judge’s ruling is upheld if he had at least some logical reason for his holding. It’s an extremely lenient standard, which makes challenging decisions regarding the admission of evidence almost impossible. The State learned this in Smith, and the Court of Appeals refused to overturn the trial judge.

What strikes me about this case is the mental gymnastics the State will go through to justify the use of evidence. To be fair, they aren’t alone. Defense lawyers due it too – it’s part of human nature. They occupy a different role though, because their position is not supposed to be strictly adversarial. They are supposed to operate with the goal of securing justice. Unfortunately. that often takes a backseat to the desire to win.

No one can seriously claim that dog scent evidence is even remotely reliable. It’s time to give it up. Yes, it means you have to discard evidence that nails the defendant – but the problem is that might not be accurate. Find some real evidence and go with that.

Giving credit to lawyers for being smarter than they really


Occasionally you read a decision and your draw drops; just when you think you’ve seen everything, you learn something knew. I had that experience earlier this week when I read the Court of Criminal Appeals decision in Niswanger v. State. It seems Mr. Niswanger was at a grocery store selling raffle tickets to supposedly benefit firefighters and soldiers returning from Iraq. The local mayor complained, so an officer went to investigate. Mr. Niswanger told the officer he had the store’s permission, and after explaining the charity asked the officer if he wanted to buy a ticket. The officer asked for his identification, and as Mr. Niswanger was retrieving his license a Volunteer fire department badge appeared. The officer asked Mr. Niswanger if he was fireman, and he said he was.

So what happened next? Mr. Niswanger was arrested for impersonating a public servant. The state alleged he claimed he falsely claimed to be a fireman to dupe the officer and sell raffle tickets. The problem Mr. Niswanger had was that he had a prior criminal history, which the State of course threatened to use against him. Not wanting to face 25 years to life, he agreed to 10 years. So for carrying a volunteer fire department badge he gets to go to prison for 10 years. Talk about being tough on raffles!

Mr. Niswanger filed a writ of habeas alleging his lawyer was ineffective.  Counsel apparently agreed that he told Mr. Niswanger the state’s case was “rock solid” and that he was facing a sentence of 25 years to life.  Mr. Niswanger alleged his lawyer didn’t do an adequate job of investigating the case, and had he done so he would have realized that there was at least an issue as to whether selling raffle tickets was an “official act” and whether a volunteer fire fighter was a “public servant”.  Here’s where the reasoning goes off track. Counsel stated that there was no way to investigate the case because it was essentially a policeman said vs. defendant said case. Huh? The court accepted that explanation, explaining that given the uncertainty about what the evidence would show, and the certainty about the possible punishment, it was reasonable to advise the defendant to plead guilty.

The problem I  have with that logic is that counsel has a duty to investigate, which involves more than reading the police reports. There is no indication that counsel did that in this case. What’s worse is that the failure to investigate and learn about the case is used as the  reason for recommending a guilty plea. Surely we require more from lawyers than that.

The opinion gets better, because the lawyer all the sudden is given credit for being pretty bright. Mr. Niswanger alleged his lawyer should have challenged the indictment. The Court agreed there may have been defects, but that if they were challenged the State would have just re-indicted. They ignore the fact the new indictment may have contained information that was not included in the original – e.g. the facts they were relying on to show it was an offense. The Court also assumes that if that was done the State may have withdrawn the 10 year offer – even though there was absolutely no evidence that was the case. The court also assumes the lawyer considered those possibilities, and chose not to challenge the indictment. My guess is it never crossed his mind.

The end result is that a defendant gets 10 years for something that might not even be an offense. Can anyone truly say thats fair? Of course that’s not the right question, because habeas corpus is not concerned with fairness. This case shows just how hard it is to obtain relief – even when it should be granted.

Does Innocence Matter on Appeal?


One of the hardest things to explain to clients is that an appeal is not about guilt or innocence – in fact, it is rarely an issue. I don’t know how  many times I have heard people say “if they will just look at the case they’ll see he (she) is innocent”. That statement couldn’t be farther from the truth. The appeal court does not look for innocence – they assume you are guilty, since that is what the jury decided.

There are rare case though where innocence is clear – or at least there are questions. The case of Megan Winfrey is one of those. Ms. Winfrey and her father – Richard Winfrey, Sr. – were convicted of murdering a high school janitor. A big part of the case was dog scent evidence – which thankfully has been revealed for what is – a bunch of crap. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals agreed with that assessment last year, and reversed Mr. Winfrey’s conviction. The State refused to concede and retried Mr. Winfrey – again using dog scent evidence. This time the lawyers did a great job of discrediting the evidence and the jury let the State know what it thought about it – acquitting Mr. Winfrey in thirteen minutes.

You might think that would be good news for Ms. Winfrey – but you would be wrong. Her case was argued before the same court – the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals – in April. Six months later there is still no decision – and she is still in jail.

So why s that? I certainly don’t know the answer, but I do know how Court’s operate. Just because they believe the State used junk science – which they would be hard pressed to reverse court and find otherwise – doesn’t mean the conviction is reversed. They still have to decide whether that made a difference – i.e. was it harmless error. The State claims her “suspicious behavior” supports the guilty verdict; always a popular argument when you don’t have any real facts.

Whatever the reason, it’s hard to ignore the jury’s finding – if her father didn’t do it, is it reasonable to think she did? Unfortunately, “reasonable” isn’t usually a consideration on appeal. Let’s hope this time it is – and they reverse her conviction soon.