Lawyer Ethics: Advising Marijuana Users and Businesses (Washington State)

From Trial Ad (UW): Ethics of Advising Marijuana Users and Businesses

Excerpt: “Under RPC 1.2(d), a “lawyer shall not counsel a client to engage, or assist a client, in conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal . . .” Does this cover lawyers advising clients under Washington’s new marijuana law, when possession is still a crime under federal law? ….” [Read full blog post.]

The Comment period for the proposed rule ends September 6, 2014.

Project Nanny Van (Open Law Lab)

Project Nanny Van: a legal service design

“Project Nanny Van is an excellent new example of creative legal service design…this mobile van that [goes] to locations where nannies might be congregating, and provides them with resources about their legal rights — as well as other resources to empower them.

See more Open Law Lab ideas.

How to Find Recent Oregon Attorney General Opinions (if you’re a mere mortal)

Assume for the purpose of this blog post that you want (and need) to find yesterday’s (August 11th) Very Important, Big News AG opinion about Treasurer Ted Wheeler. (Legal researchers are funny that way. We can’t rely just on news stories. Go figure.)

Here’s the Willamette Week story: Attorney General Says Treasurer Ted Wheeler Is Ineligible to Run For Re-Election In 2016*

Here’s the Stateman-Journal story: AG: Wheeler can’t run for reelection in 2016

Now, neither newspaper publishes (as of this moment) or links to the opinion. They may in time. But what if you need the actual opinion now?

Are the newspapers relying on a DOJ release – or do they have the actual opinion? Hard to tell, so let’s visit the DOJ website, because, maybe, it’s 2014 and this is exactly the sort of thing that websites are handy for: communication.

Let’s see if we can find that (yesterday’s) AG Opinion, at the DOJ/AG’s website:

  • Does the DOJ’s homepage help us find the AG opinion? (Nope.)
  • How about if you click on “What Can We Help You Find?” (Nope, not for this question of ours.)
  • What about that list of “Legal Resources” on the right side of that page or the Legal Resources page itself? (There is a link to AG Opinions, but ….)
  • From the Attorney General Opinions webpage? (Searching the word “wheeler” didn’t work. And a search using 2014 brought up only something as recent as June, but when I narrow it to AG Opinions, I get “No results.” Not helpful. And searching Summaries reveals that there aren’t any 2014 opinions here – and there likely weren’t any so maybe nothing is missing. (So why don’t they say, “No opinions have been issued in 2014″ so we don’t all wonder – and have to call to make sure?)
  • Maybe if we go directly to the Office of the Attorney General’s webpage itself. (Nope, no luck here.)

Maybe they give opinions out to the Media? So let’s try the 2014 Media Releases page. Nope, nuttin’ honey. The most recent entry was June 6th. Today is the 12th and the opinion was “released” early on the 11th. But this is a public agency, this decision affects everyone, and they have a public website – maybe it’s like some of those Dilbert cartoons. (Like the one (from 12/8/11) where Dilbert wonders if he has to meet up with a “newly discovered stone age tribe that has never used Skype” Like Dilbert, “I’m totally confused.”) Maybe I’m missing something here, so I’ll give them a call.

So, it took me 3 transfers and I got to a super-helpful person (hi Nancy!). She said that the opinion was sent over for posting and that should happen shortly. (It was not for me to nag her, who has no control over such matters, why an important decision like this one wasn’t posted yesterday, immediately after the affected parties were notified, which they were first thing in yesterday morning.)

So keep an eye on Opinion Summaries. The AG Opinion may appear any moment.

And then again, this is a reminder that my guide to legal resources Not Online has a growing list of new entries to add and I plan to update the last version (2013) by early September. (And this includes some of the DOJ Public Records Orders, not all of which seem to be online. But maybe that has changed in recent months. I’ll check on that before I write that blog post.)

As for us mere mortals, well, this is a problem not just at the DOJ. There are plenty of public-record court documents that appear on the very expensive court records databases, for purchase if you have the money, and way ahead of them being accessible publicly, even if you visit the courthouse itself. (This will change in time, with the advent of eCourt, but mere mortals are for now outside of that loop, too.) And not all CJ Orders are online either, by the way.

Yes, I clearly ate my Cranky Flakes this morning, but really! Really! Really! I’m totally confused.

*The Willamette Week often includes this disclaimer regarding the current AG: Full disclosure: Rosenblum is married to WW publisher and co-owner Richard Meeker. (Maybe they, and the Statesman Journal, got an early look at a press release or the opinion? Sigh.)

Link Rot (404/File Not Found) Symposium: October 24, 2014

Symposium: 404/File Not Found: Link Rot, Legal Citation and Projects to Preserve Precedent:

“The Web is fluid and mutable, and this is a “feature” rather than a “bug”. But it also creates challenges in the legal environment (and elsewhere) when fixed content is necessary for legal writers to support their conclusions. Judges, attorneys, academics, and others using citations need systems and practices to preserve web content as it exists in a particular moment in time, and make it reliably available.

On October 24, 2014 Georgetown University Law Library in Washington, D.C. will host a symposium that explores the problem of link and reference rot.” [Link to symposium website.]

Why People Don’t Ask for Legal Help: It’s Not Just About Money

From the ABA Foundation: “Part of access to justice gap is that Americans don’t know when to seek legal help, says study,” Aug 8, 2014, by James Podgers:

Link to report: ACCESSING JUSTICE IN THE CONTEMPORARY USA: FINDINGS FROM THE COMMUNITY NEEDS AND SERVICES STUDY

Executive Summary …
….
Typically, people handled these situations on their own. For only about a fifth (22%) of situations did they seek assistance from a third party outside their immediate social network, such as a lawyer, social worker, police officer, city agency, religious leader or elected official. When people who did not seek any assistance from third parties outside their social circles were asked if cost was one barrier to doing so, they reported that concerns about cost were a factor in 17% of cases. A more important reason that people do not seek assistance with these situations, in particular assistance from lawyers or courts, is that they do not understand these situations to be legal....”  [Read the Executive Summary and full report.]

Contrast with this previous Oregon Legal Research blog post: “People don’t want to talk to lawyers, but they really want legal advice.”

And read more A2J information at the ABA Resource Center for Access to Justice Initiatives.

 

Job (Oregon): State Public Guardian

Position: Program Analyst 4 (State Public Guardian) (LTCO14-8033): Application deadline, August 18, 2013

The Oregon Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman is currently recruiting for one (1) permanent, full-time management service (non-supervisory) Program Analyst 4 (State Public Guardian) position. This recruitment will be used to establish a list of qualified candidates to fill the current vacancy and may be used to fill additional vacancies as they occur.

This new position of State Public Guardian will be housed under the umbrella of The Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. The State Public Guardian in Oregon was created through the passage of SB 1553 in February 2014.”

Visit the Oregon Jobs website for the position announcement, description, and applicant requirements.

Laughing Darkly: Human Frailty, Animal Comfort, Regulatory Food for Thought

Justice Bedsworth, in A Criminal Waste of Space, August 2014:

“Deciding Between Comfort Animals and Comfort Food,” by Justice William W. Bedsworth

Excerpt: “Edward O. Wilson is a biologist. A very perceptive biologist. He sums up the human condition this way, “We have Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions, and god-like technology.”

No one who has spent even five minutes marveling at Facebook posts or deciphering Twitter feeds or counseling someone whose Instagram has come back to haunt him can doubt the accuracy of that observation.

And it occurs to me that there are few areas of human endeavor in which its application seems more ubiquitous than our relationships with animals. Especially when we try to write laws and regulations dealing with animals.

We love animals. But it’s a problematic usage of the word ‘love.’...” [Link to full Justice Bedsworth August 2014 Criminal Waste of Space column.]

If you’re ever inclined to comment on proposed federal regulations, visit Regulations dot gov.

To comment on proposed Oregon administrative rules, visit the Secretary of State’s OAR websites and then visit the Agency’s website where they presumably have posted Rules for Comment information. See, for example: DPSST ADMINISTRATIVE RULES

 

‘All jokes aside, when and why does a person “Take the fifth”?’

The Martindale dot com Legal Library is a source of many types of legal documents, including articles like this one:

“Taking the Fifth – A quick reference,” by Charles M. Farano, attorney.

Excerpt: “All jokes aside, when and why does a person ‘Take the fifth’?

We make jokes about it at parties and with our friends when we are confronted with uncomfortable situations, comments or questions, but it can be a serious consideration when you find yourself on the edge of a criminal investigation. Under what circumstances should a person actually consult a lawyer regarding something we joke about despite its importance?

Basic Right Stated

The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution says that no person can be compelled in a criminal proceeding to testify against him or herself. This right can be asserted in any proceeding, civil or criminal, administrative or judicial, investigatory or adjudicatory, and it protects against any disclosures that a person reasonably believes could be used in a criminal prosecution or that could lead to evidence that might be used in or might lead to the filing of an indictment . The United States Supreme Court has been zealous to safeguard the values of that underlying the privilege. It can be asserted in any proceeding in which the witness reasonably believes that information or testimony sought, could be used in a subsequent state or federal criminal proceeding….” [Link to full Martindale dot com article.]