I just came across a Lawyerist post from last year that gives very detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to format a brief in Microsoft Word.
I have been using Microsoft Word for nearly 20 years with frustrating results, so I finally decided to learn the intricacies in order to become more efficient. It was just a coincidence that I saw this post a week or so ago. It deals with section breaks, fields, citations, headings, tables of contents, etc.
I'm simply linking to the original post HERE so that I can find it again the next time that I need it. If anyone has a brief coming due, you might want to check it out.
Monday, September 29, 2014
Friday, September 12, 2014
News broke this afternoon that Adrian Peterson, one of the greatest running backs of all time, was indicted for “reckless or negligent injury to a child.” Multiple media outlets report that the indictment stems from an incident in which Adrian Peterson disciplined his 11 year-old-son by smacking him with a switch.
Adrian Peterson has already retained prominent Houston attorney Rusty Hardin, who I have written about before, to defend this case. This case will surely make headlines for months to come, especially with this indictment coming so quickly after the release of the Ray Rice video.
Rusty and Adrian certainly have their work cut for them because of the allegation that Adrian used a switch to hit his son. Ordinarily, parents are granted broad leeway when disciplining their own children. A parent's "right" to corporally punish his or her child is derived from the right to privacy, which is viewed as implicit in the United States Constitution. This right to privacy encompasses the right to care for, control, and discipline one's own children. In Illinois, "discipline" had been interpreted by the courts to extend to reasonable corporal punishment. People v. West (In re F.W.), 261 Ill. App. 3d 894, 898 (4th Dist. 1994).
However, what is "reasonable" is always subject to debate and may eventually be left to a jury to determine. In Illinois, the use of switches, belts, or other objects to corporally punish a child have been found to constitute neglect or abuse, depending on the severity of the punishment. Factors that the court will consider are whether any physical injury resulted from the use of the object, the psychological effects of the discipline on the child, and the circumstances surrounding the discipline, including whether the parent was calmly attempting to discipline the child or whether he was lashing out in anger. In re F.W. at 903.
In fact, the odds may be against Rusty and Adrian due to the use of the switch. Here is a quote from a leading case in Illinois:
“Corporal punishment as a method of discipline remains a controversial issue. It is not our function in an abuse or neglect proceeding to determine whether parents measure up to an ideal, but to determine whether the child's welfare has been compromised. Whether to employ corporal punishment as a means of discipline is a decision each parent must make for himself or herself. However, parents should understand a swat on a child's buttocks with an open hand and the "paddling" of a child with belts, boards, cords, or ropes are intrinsically distinct exercises of corporal punishment. The cases reviewed above, and the dearth of cases finding striking with objects to be "reasonable," should put parents on notice. When allegations of neglect or abuse are levelled, parents using boards, belts, cords, or ropes as weapons to inflict corporal punishment may encounter an unwillingness on the part of DCFS and the courts to regard their conduct as reasonable.” Id. at 903.
So, Adrian will get extra scrutiny due to the use of the switch. If he had simply used the back of his hand, things may be have been different. However, please keep in mind that I am completely speculating about the facts of this case because the news just broke about 30 minutes ago. If it turns out that Adrian Peterson's son did in fact suffer serious injuries, I apologize in advance for anyone that I may have offended and I will be back here in short order to delete this post and scrub any evidence of it from the interwebs. Have a nice weekend.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
A law firm from Chicago was hired to appeal the property tax assessments for 71 different parcels of real estate located in Aurora Township, Kane County, Illinois. The tax appeals were due by October 4, 2013, the thirtieth day after the publication of the tax assessments. On October 4, 2013, the law firm sent its petitions to the Kane County Board via FedEx. The Board received the petitions on October 7, 2013 and rejected them as untimely.
The petitioner appealed, arguing that the "mailbox rule" should apply. The mailbox rule, which is contained in the Statute on Statutes, 5 ILCS 70/1.25, provides that a document is deemed "filed" as of the date of mailing via United States mail, regardless of when the document is actually received. However, petitioner's argument was unsuccessful because multiple Illinois appellate courts have previously held that the mailbox rule does not apply to private carriers such as UPS or FedEx, but rather only applies to documents placed in the U.S. mail. Here is a link to the 2d District's opinion.
It's too bad that the petitioner's law firm does not subscribe to this Blog because I wrote about one of those cases more than five years ago. See Mailbox Rule Does Not Apply to UPS, Northern Law Blog (February 10, 2009). I don't know how much money was at stake in those 71 tax appeals, but I do know that a subscription to the Northern Law Blog would have been much, much cheaper than the malpractice case that will most certainly follow this decision.