Consumers Attend Free Law Classes

5Peoples Law School


About 500 people attend this free program designed to help make the law “user friendly” to the layperson. Among the subjects covered are: basic insurance law, employment law, finding the law, health insurance law, consumer law, bankruptcy, wills, family law, business law, landlord/tenant law, credit, debt collection, how to work with attorneys, and how to file claims in small claims court. Local judges, attorneys, and professors teach all of the classes.

This semiannual event was originated by Richard M. Alderman, Dwight Olds Chair in Law at the University of Houston Law Center, who is known to many as “The People’s Lawyer.” The People’s Law School is conducted with the help of volunteers from the community and from the Law Center faculty and staff.  If you would like more information on when are the next class sessions, call the Community Outreach Program Office at  713-743-2100.

It’s an “amazing service”.  Houston Chronicle

Justice

12th Father’s Day in a Row

This Father’s Day will be my 12th in a row without my daughter, Mandy. She’s been in federal prison for the last 12 years, serving a 15-year mandatory minimum sentence. She dated a drug dealer for a month and got punished for everything he did (FAMM, 2016).   Watch her story.  

CLICK HERE!

COMMENTARY

The narrative has long been about Black men.  This story should now awaken many others who have never thought about our broken system of “justice”.  The mission of the criminal justice system is to create a justice and safe society. – David Keene, Period, Case-Closed!

David Keen is the former NRA president.

Attitude

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. 

It will make or break a company… a church… a home.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.  And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes. – Charles Swindoll

 

COMMENTARY

This is one of my  favorite poems of all time.  It is ancient, but every bit relevant today, thus timeless.  Enjoy, Period, Case-Closed!

30 Years of Mandatory Sentencing

FOR 30 YEARS, federal law has utilized an array of mandatory minimum sentences for various drug offenses. Those laws and other mandatory minimums have come under attack for the impact they have on individuals and the criminal justice system as a whole. Mandatory minimums are unjust, do not rehabilitate people, and are a waste of taxpayer dollars. We live in a time when 77 percent of the public agrees it is time to reform our mandatory minimum laws.  (FAMM, 2016)

COMMENTARY

Pay attention this year to the conversations and debates surrounding mandatory sentencing. It is a chief reason we have mass incarceration in this nation.  Period, Case-Closed!

$1000 of Marijuana 55-year Sentence

This story is a by FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Sentencing):

Thirteen years ago I was standing outside the federal court house in Salt Lake City, Utah, awaiting the sentencing of 23-year-old Weldon Angelos. Together with his family and advocates from across the state, we rallied for the fair sentencing of a father of three who was caught selling $1,000 worth of marijuana to a confidential informant. Despite our best efforts, Weldon was sentenced to 55 years in prison for his offense. His own judge called the sentence “unjust, cruel, and even irrational.” In spite of the judge’s objection, his hands were tied by mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Weldon was sent to prison, 600 miles from his family, to await his release at 80 years old.

Three weeks ago, I received one of the best phone calls of my life. After 13 years in prison, Weldon was home with his family. And this week, I got to celebrate Weldon’s freedom with him, his son Jesse, and the staff at FAMM!  Thankfully, Weldon’s story has a happy ending. But there are thousands like him who are serving excessive mandatory prison sentences. Just like Weldon, there are mothers and fathers across the country who have been separated from their children for lengthy and unnecessary periods of time. Just like Weldon, there are judges who have spoken out against the mandatory sentences they are forced to impose.

COMMENTARY:

Judges are trained in the area of law.  They should be allowed therefore to judge. Otherwise, let the robots run the criminal justice system.  Huh?! Period, Case-Closed!

Regarding Justice

justice scales

In visiting the question about “justice”, in the sense of “fairness in distribution” or “what is deserved”, an injustice, then, occurs when some benefit to which a person is entitled is denied without good reason or when some burden is imposed unduly. (Office for Human Resource Protections, 2016)

COMMENTARY

Mandatory sentencing laws require binding prison terms of a particular length for people convicted of certain federal and state crimes; they are inflexible and a one-type fits all, quick-fix solution for crime.  These laws undermine justice by preventing judges from fitting the punishment to the crime. Mandatory sentencing laws cause federal and state prison populations to soar, leading to the overcrowding (or mass incarceration), and exorbitant costs to taxpayers (FAMM, 2016).  Mandatory sentencing does not make good economical nor common sense (Irvin, 2016). Period, Case-Closed!

Do Not Step On Me

Malcolm x

I think there are plenty of good people in America, but there are also plenty of bad people in America and the bad ones are the ones who seem to have all the power. This is the situation, you and I have to preserve the right to do what is necessary to bring an end to that situation, and it doesn’t mean that I advocate violence, but at the same time I am not against using violence in self-defense. I don’t even call it violence when it’s self-defense, I call it intelligence.” – Malcolm X (1925-1965)

 

COMMENTARY

“I don’t even call it violence when it’s self-defense, I call it intelligence.”  This speaks to where I am at this point in my life.  I am certainly about peace. However, I don’t care who you are, don’t come for me! Don’t hit me, ’cause I will hit you back! Does not the rattlesnake warn you in plenty of time, “don’t step on me?!” Period, Case-Closed!

Small Important Victory in Congress

As you’ll recall, Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) proposed an amendment to the defense authorizations bill in early June. The amendment, if passed, would have given people long mandatory minimum prison sentences for as little as half a gram of the drug fentanyl. This change would have put more drug users and addicts in federal prisons, at huge cost to families and taxpayers.

More than 1,600 of you wrote to your members of Congress to oppose this idea, and they listened! The amendment never even came up for a vote, and the defense bill passed today without the sentencing increases included.

Thank you for your advocacy – playing this kind of defense really matters. Every time we stop lawmakers from making bad sentencing laws worse, we send an important message: mandatory sentencing laws are not acceptable. We want a smarter approach to solving America’s drug problems and keeping the public safe.

Thanks for your hard work and support!  (FAMM, 2016).

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