Should Judges Be Fashion Police?

Judges across the USA are cracking down on people who come to court wearing skimpy and sloppy clothing. They claim the effort will maintain decorum and beef up security.Judges in Delaware’s Kent County are so fed up with people coming to court dressed in inappropriate attire that they instituted a dress code, adopted after one woman showed up for court in her pajamas. Banned are saggy pants, exposed undergarments, bare feet, curlers,gang clothes, muscle shirts, tank tops, halters, bare midriffs, and hemlines more than 4 inches above the knee.

“Courts are a place where serious business is conducted, and that demands appropriate attire”, says Delaware Superior Court Judge William Witham Jr. "We’re not out to treat people as school kids, but we do expect if you come tocourt, you need to treat it with the appropriate respect and dignity it should deserve due to the occasion."

Other instances include:

·         Judges in Texas have banned excessive body piercings and tattoos, unless they are covered.

·         A man in Hamilton County, Ohio, received a warning from a Municipal Court Judge of potential jail time if he showed up again in inappropriate attire. He wore a T-shirt to court featuring the Chucky horror movie character and the words, “Say goodbye to the killer.”

·         In May, Jennifer LaPenta was jailed briefly after a judge in Lake County, Ill., held her in contempt for wearing an offensive T-shirt to court.

·         In Michigan, a man was turned away in April from the courtroom for wearing black jeans. He missed his traffic court appearance and was fined, and he’s challenging the dress code in the state Court of Appeals.

Timothy Fautsko, who advises courts on security issues for the National Center for State Courts, says the dress codes serve a purpose. "I think it maintains order in the courtroom," he says. But some people seem determined to push the fashion envelope. "I had a report of one court that had an individual keep coming into court dressed like a clown," he says. "Again, that pushes the dignity of the court."

Though some attire may seem obvious choices to ban, other clothing can be a tougher call — and barring some attire can raise troubling questions about race, religion and access to justice, legal experts say.

Fautsko says an increasing numbers of courts are adopting dress codes, and for security reasons some specify that faces be uncovered, posing problems for Muslim women wearing veils or burqas. That issue has come to the fore among judges and security personnel in the past six months, he says, adding that courts are "seeking some definitive direction on what to do, and what to do in a uniform manner, so it’s not different from court to court."  Information from:Debra Cassens Weiss, Staff Writer, ABA Journal and J.L. Miller, The (Wilmington, Del.) NewsJournal and the Maricopa County Bar Association Newsletter – October 2010.

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Beneficiary Deeds – Simple Way To Avoid Arizona Probate

Beneficiary Deeds – Simple Way To Avoid Arizona Probate

Beneficiary Deeds are a well-kept secret in Arizona.  It is amazing that more people don’t know about them.  Arizona Statutes (http://www.azleg.state.az.us/ars/33/00405.htm) allows an owner of property to name a beneficiary of their property so that the property can be immediately transferred to the beneficiary upon the death of the owner(s).  If there is a valid Beneficiary Deed recorded with the appropriate Arizona County Recorder, the property does not have to go through Arizona Probate.  Once the owner passes away, all the beneficiary has to do is file a certified copy of the decedent’s death certificate with the County Recorder where the Beneficiary Deed was recorded.

The Benefits of a Beneficiary Deed are: 

  1. Avoids Probate fees and lengthy process.
  2. The property owner keeps control and ownership of the property. The deed does not transfer to the other person until the owner dies. 
  3. There are no property taxes or other liabilities  to the Beneficiary until he/she actually owns the property.
  4. An owner can revoke or change a beneficiary deed at any time.

Beneficiary Deeds are inexpensive, especially if you use a Certified Legal Document Preparer to professionally prepare it.  For example, Arizona Legal Ease (ALE) charges $95 to prepare and record the Beneficiary Deed with the Maricopa County Recorder.  If you want to save even more money, ALE will charge only $50 to professionally prepare the Deed, then you record it yourself!  All we need is a copy of the current Warranty Deed or Quit Claim Deed (so that the exact legal description and names are accurate).  Or, if you don’t readily have that available, we simply need the Maricopa County Tax Assessor’s Parcel ID number (readily found on your tax statement). Pretty simple and definitely a bargain.

For more information email sheila@arizonalegalease.com or call (623) 434-0100.

Certified Legal Document Preparers Make Good Cents

Certified Legal Document Preparers Make Good Cents

If you need legal documents, consider  using an Arizona Certified Legal Document Preparer (AZCLDP). A certified legal document preparer can save you considerable money.  So, what is a certified legal document preparer and what can they do?

Very few people know the Arizona Supreme Court implemented a program to allow individuals and businesses to prepare legal documents without the supervision of an attorney. Certified Legal Document Preparers are often referred to as “independent paralegals”.  In fact, our state association is the Arizona Association of Independent Paralegals

Certified Legal Document Preparers cannot give legal advice, but we can provide general legal and factual information pertaining to legal rights, procedures, or options available to a person in a legal matter when that person is not represented by an attorney.

Examples of documents prepared by AZCLDPs include (but are not limited to): Wills, Trusts, Probate, LLC and Corporation business documents, Divorce, Legal Separation or Annulment, Paternity, Child Support related, Deeds, Guardianship, Termination of Parental Rights, Adoption, Bankruptcy

A good document preparer will not hesitate to recommend you seek legal counsel if you need legal advice.  A qualified preparer with experience, professionalism and integrity is worth his/her weight in gold. 

For more information, go to www.arizonalegalease.com or email sheila@arizonalegalease.com