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Monday Blog Follow-up

Sometimes you just don’t feel like it…

'Yes, I know we're hyenas - but sometimes I just don't feel like laughing, Kate.'
‘Yes, I know we’re hyenas – but sometimes I just don’t feel like laughing, Kate.’

This really is a crazy follow-up blog (here in case you missed it) from yesterday. Not very positive, but it really amazed me. This quote relates:

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When I walked into the office yesterday, paralegal Lauren said that she had read Our blog and asked, “Did you see what happened to that doctor?”. Then she told me.

I remembered the story but did not know it was the same doctor. From NBC12.com, Doctor found guilty in death of Chesterfield woman. This same doctor (Dr. John E. Gibbs III) killed his girlfriend! It had been an unsolved murder for over three years. This article references his child neglect conviction that was mentioned in the blog, as well.   

Honestly, this is one of those stories that truly ticks me off. And, who knows what bad things he was doing to his patients! We can see his character in both of these instances.

I like this quote on character too, and I feel like posting this before I post our funny pic o’ day. I just feel like this positive reminder needs to be inserted here.

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And then for pic o’ day, I post another quote… because I also need to laugh!

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Home Alone

Let’s start Our Monday Blog with coffee…as it should be started. Our Coffee Time!

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And a laugh

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Today I am going to really write a legal blog. I know…it’s crazy! Let’s start with the story of the case.

The case is Gibbs v. Commonwealth, a Chesterfield Circuit Court Case.

It was the afternoon of February 22,2016. Gregory Gentry worked maintenance at the Clairmont Apartments in Chesterfield. He noticed a “little boy wearing no jacket, a T-shirt, some pants and shoes without socks” wandering outside the complex. Gentry said it was very cold, causing him to wear a sweatshirt and jacket.

He and his supervisor followed the boy (later determined to be five-years-old) as he crossed through the privacy fence of the complex, through the gate and up past the local Costco. Then, into the gas station parking lot next to the busy street.

They caught up to the boy and found out that his father was Dr. John Gibbs, who had gone to work at the hospital. The boy said that his father had told him to walk up there and meet him at the hospital. He refused to tell them his name, but said that he was thirteen-years-old.

They managed to convince the boy to return to his apartment by offering a ride on Gentry’s shoulders. There, they called the police and waited for the father (doctor) to return.

About 40 minutes later, the police arrived. Eventually Dr. Gibbs also arrived. Upon learning that his son had been wandering outside alone, Gibbs offered no thank you for bringing his son back. The only thing that Dr. Gibbs uttered was that his son was a liar for claiming that he was thirteen.

He also told the officers that his son was lying about being told to come up to the hospital. He had been instructed to stay home, because he had been suspended from school.

Gibbs was charged with… and then convicted of felony child neglect for leaving his kindergartner home alone . He appealed the conviction.

Judge Randolph A. Beales wrote the opinion on behalf of the Virginia Court of Appeals. The Court found that Dr. Gibbs acted with reckless disregard for the life and safety of his child by leaving his child alone for over an hour while he drove to a prearranged meeting.

In fact, it was noted that the child had wandered away only a month earlier, in similar circumstances. That time, the father had left the son with his older brother. The court said that this should have also alerted him that the child would wander off.

The real question to legally answer is “when is it legally acceptable to leave your child home alone?”

The Court applied six factors previously described in the case of Barnes v. Commonwealth, 47 Va. App. 105 (2005),

The first factor: the gravity and character of the possible harm.

The Court said that there was potential harm likely to occur, when the child left the apartment alone and ventured across the street, to the parking lot of the Costco and gas station.

The second factor: the degree of accessibility of the parent.

The Court noted that the record of the trial shows that Gibbs made himself completely inaccessible to his son. He was unable to see or hear him if the child needed assistance.  The Court also noted that it appeared that the child truly believed that Gibbs was working at the hospital and that he was supposed to meet him there.

The third factor: the length of time of the abandonment.

The Judge noted that although there is no rule regarding how long a child may be left alone before a parent may be considered criminally negligent, Dr. Gibbs left his son alone for longer period of time, than in prior cases where this court held that the evidence was insufficient to support a conviction.

The fourth factor: The child’s age and immaturity.

The Court notes that the child was already suspended from school at the time of the incident. His prior behavior had caused a required meeting between Gibbs, school officials and the child.

Plus, they considered that he had left the apartment by himself, just a month before this and then wandered to the apartment complex swimming pool. The evidence at trial showed that Gibbs should have known that son was immature, apparently unruly; and as a five-year-old, not mature enough to remain alone at his apartment for an hour.

The fifth factor: Protective measures taken to keep the child safe.

According to the Court, there was little evidence to support that Dr. Gibbs did anything to make the child or the apartment secure and safe before he left for his meeting. He never tried to find someone to take care of his son; he didn’t try to reschedule the meeting; and he did not consider taking his son with him.

The sixth factor: The Court considers “any other circumstance that would inform the factfinder on the question whether the defendant’s conduct was criminally negligent.”

In conclusion, the Court upheld the doctor’s conviction. They went on to reason that there is no specific rule that says that any parent who leaves their five-year-old child at home alone, will be automatically guilty of felony child neglect.

According to the opinion, parents are still given leeway regarding the care of their children. Each circumstance and child can be quite different. A parent has a right to decide(within reason), when and for how long, a child is mature enough to be left home alone.

 

 

For pic o’ day, I am changing directions… but this repeat always makes me laugh!

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The Story of “Chipper Dean”

It’s Friday! That means positivity and that I can blog on anything. And yes…I am positive that positivity is a word!

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Unbridled positivity!

I always wanted a nickname. But, I learned early on that you cannot give yourself a nickname.

My full name is Joel Dean Bieber. As a little kid, I wanted to be called Chipper Dean Bieber. I cannot say why. Maybe from the RCA dogs Nipper and Chipper?

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My parents wanted to teach me how to introduce myself and shake hands. So, they would tell me to introduce myself to an adult. I would stick out my hand and say, “Hi, I’m Chipper Dean” and my parents would immediately correct me and tell the confused person, “That’s not his name!“. How can you be angry at Chipper?

As a sixth-grader, I was the manager for the junior high and high school basketball team. They all had this “thing” where they would transpose their first and last name letters. For instance, Rob Dibbert would be called Dob Ribbert. So I called myself Boel Jieber. (Bowl Jeeber) No one called me Boel Jieber…thankfully!

When I went to college, I refused to wear glasses, and my contacts hurt my eyes. So, I was constantly asked, “Why are you squinting?”. On the back of my fraternity shirt I put “Squint” as my name. Again no one called me Squint… you probably are getting the continual theme here.

I guess I could now try to call myself Happy Joel. However… again… no one would!

Have you ever heard someone describe themselves as “I’m a people person” or “I’m a real salesman“. I don’t think you can say that about yourself either.

Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver or gold“. Today we would say that a good reputation and respect are worth more than silver and gold.

I guess trying to give myself a nickname is much like trying to tell someone about your character or reputation. It’s what others think about you…not how you describe yourself.

Every day, I am working on my name in my personal and professional life.

And I have to sometimes remind myself of that when driving! Right?

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I hope you have a great weekend! These are the good days!

 

The Controversy of Choosing to Die

This blog reminds me of the expression of the dog trying to catch a fly. I think you might have this same expression at the end. Most of the time, I like to write on positivity. Once you read the article and blog, you tell me!

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At age 104, scientist David Goodall has decided to end his life. At BBC.com, he details why he is ready. According to the article, the well-known ecologist and botanist is not suffering from a serious illness, but he now wants to end his life. Why? Because of his diminishing independence.

David Goodall has bid farewell to his home in Australia to fly across the world. He reports that “My feeling is that an old person like myself should have full citizenship rights including the right of assisted suicide“.

He told ABC News that he hoped that people would understand his decision. “If one chooses to kill oneself then that’s fair enough. I don’t think anyone else should interfere.”

This is how he looks now, and this lady is accompanying him on his trip to Switzerland. That’s where assisted suicide is legal.

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He looks fully functional, but he feels like he has had enough. The article details all the things that he has done recently, including editing a 30-volume-book on the topic of Ecosystems of the World.

I thought I would post this as a topic today because it deals with something that most people want to ignore… death. Plus, there are true differing opinions on whether a person should be allowed to determine the choice of when they die… versus leaving death to determination by God. There is a lot packed into that last sentence. Pretty intense!

I found this article to be extremely interesting because this man is not terminally ill. He just feels as though he has had enough.

And now, I want to lighten up the blog a bit. So……

For pic o’ day… who doesn’t want a pony?

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No Monkey Business!!

Selfies are the theme!

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Today’s legal question: Why is a corporation considered to be a person by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Citizens United Case (See Washington Examiner article) even though a monkey is not allowed to copyright his selfie? I guess I could get crazy and also ask why the PaMunkey Indian Tribe can own a casino! (Richmond.com)

Did you see this story about Naruto? (Yahoo Story) Yes, I know…crazy that we even know his name!

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Who would have thought that a monkey would be involved in a copyright lawsuit? It’s obvious that he doesn’t have good lobbyists working for him.

It all started when a judge ruled that a monkey does not have the right to own a selfie. Then on appeal, three judges unanimously upheld a lower court ruling and dismissed the original lawsuit that had been brought by PETA. (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). The picture was taken by using a  UK-based photographer’s camera. Apparently, the monkey walked up… and pressed the button. 

Then in 2015, PETA filed suit on behalf of the monkey against wildlife photographer David Slater, seeking financial control of the now-famous selfie of the grinning monkey in the picture above.

The Appellate Court seems irritated with having to decide this case. Here’s what the opinion said,  “We must determine whether a monkey may sue humans, corporations, and companies for damages and injunctive relief arising from claims of copyright infringement”.  Judge Carlos Bea continued, “We conclude that this monkey — and all animals, since they are not human — lacks statutory standing under the Copyright Act.”

Then, they sent the case back to the lower court… to determine what attorney fees that PETA owes the photographer’s attorney. I wonder if they will ask the monkey to help bear that burden. This whole story makes me “paws” (see what I did there?) and wonder… what would cause an organization to think that monkeys should have financial rights? Come on!

 

And finally for pic o’ day, this has nothing to do with the blog but it truly makes me laugh!

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Newt & Joe

Slate.com had an article about Melania Trump and how she “utilizes” (my word) sleeves. The article is titled Why Melania Trump Rarely Uses Sleeves As They Were Intended: A Few Theories.

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And when I think about it, I guess she does wear her coats often like this picture. In the article, they show many pictures of her in that coat-wearing-mode. And then they speculate on why she wears  “Shoulder-robing”.

They seem to recite what might be considered as… the democrat theory. Because maybe it’s her way of not having to hold hands with the President. Come on! Their additional theories are all over the board. It’s all about looking at thinking through the lens of perspective.

I think that if the writer is going to speculate about not wanting to hold hands with her husband, they should also include viewpoints from other political views.

For instance, maybe if you are a republican, you might speculate that she is very fashion-forward. As an independent, you might think she is simply cold. If you have no political view, you might speculate that she is Inspector Gadget. Yes…that’s it! Inspector Gadget!

Of course, it could be like looking at this person. At church or in McDonald’s? Although they clearly answer it for us with the caption:

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There are different ways of looking at things. That’s something Captain Obvious would say. But, I saw it occur at the Richmond Forum on Saturday night.(Info on the event here)

Joe Scarborough and Newt Gingrich and moderator Mara Liasson addressed the topic “Perspectives on the Party in Power”.

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Former Speaker Newt Gingrich brought a laugh to the crowd when he described how politicians used to be able to work together. He said that politicians from both parties would argue in the morning, negotiate in the afternoon, and drink together at night. And that’s how they got things done. Now, there is not as much communication.

I looked for an article to attach on the evenings events, but couldn’t find it. The reason I am blogging about it is because I thought that the topic was well handled from two different viewpoints.

Joe Scarborough is a former republican congressman, who is now an MSNBC host. He had a falling out with the President. Then, President Trump publicly attacked him by calling Scarborough “crazy“, and also calling his co-host/now fiancee Mika Brzezinski “dumb as a rock“. (Story Here) So there might be some personal motivation in his disagreement with the President.

Newt Gingrich is known as a supporter of President Trump. His wife was appointed by Trump as an Ambassador to the Vatican. (She was confirmed by a 70-23 vote in the Senate) And he is now a Fox News contributor.

Mara Liasson was also an interesting pick as the moderator because she is a political correspondent for National Public Radio (which republicans sometimes attack as too liberal) and she is also a contributor/panelist for Fox News. Thus, she gets attacked by both parties.

Scarborough has recently written a book titled “The Right Path“, which discusses where he believes the Republican Party has gone off the rails and how it can be restored to again be the Grand Old Party.

Speaker Gingrich has recently written a book titled “Understanding Trump“.  In the context of the book, he was able to ably defend President Trump. He views the President as a Disruptor that was needed. I looked Disruptor up for definition: to cause disorder or turmoil.  Gingrich believes that right now, that is exactly what this country needs.

I am not going to recite their differing perspectives (I went to the Wizards game last night and saw an exciting win, but now I need more coffee!), but I found myself persuaded by both of their viewpoints. Pretty impressive persuasion!

One of the last things that Newt (I just wanted to use his first name because it has always grabbed my attention. Plus, I do like Fig Newtons… just throwing that out there) mentioned that was not necessarily related to Trump. But, a good reminder on how to get things done politically.

You ought to know who you are, what you believe, and what you’re trying to accomplish. And then you got to find a way to get it done“. That sounds good for politics, but also good advice for every day living!

And for pic o’ day…things do work themselves out!

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Political Winds Plus Some Ramblings

This is a thinking blog starter for Friday… right? It is only understood by coffee drinkers!

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Let’s start with something that is hard to understand. And then something that is understandable.

Hard to understand? It’s a story from Wavy.com. This whole story is crazy to me. Especially the Cheetos.

The title of the article says it all.  Homeowner finds naked intruder in her tub, eating Cheetos. There is a lot wrong with that. Hard to understand! I guess you can look for the positive and be thankful that she did not steal their goldfish! Boom!

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And now to the understandable.

Earlier this week I had breakfast with a member of the Virginia House of Delegates. I had never personally met him, so I did some background research on bills that he had introduced in the last session, bills he had supported, and donors who had made contributions to election/reelection.

I found that Geico had been one of his contributors. They had given more significantly to some Republicans, but he was one of the few Democrats that had received a political contribution from the insurance company, even though it was only $250.

I asked him why he thought that Geico had contributed to his campaign. He advised that he sat on a subcommittee of three legislators that handled insurance legislation. All three of them had received political contributions from Geico.

And that’s how it works! Easy to understand. Does it make you want to say “Good Day”?

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And finally, have a great weekend!

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An Expert or an “Opinionater”

I know it is hard to believe, but I am truly starting the blog with a picture that is related to the subject matter. I know… that is some crazy blogging!

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Please fight through the blog today because there really is a purpose. I mean it!

This is probably more of a sports blog… because I wanted to write about the upcoming NFL draft. But, I am writing it in the context of law.

(Here we go…talking some legal) To be qualified as an expert in a jury trial, you have to be qualified to give an opinion that is beyond common knowledge. The Virginia jury instruction tells jurors:

In considering the weight to be given to the testimony of an expert witness, you should
consider the basis for the opinion and the manner by which the expert arrived at it and the
underlying facts and data relied upon.

Which leads me to the the concept of “experts” as it pertains to NFL football drafting.  (And yes, I do enjoy using the “emphasis quotes” which is probably as irritating as seeing someone using “air quotes” when they talk) Football fans know that it’s almost time for the NFL draft. My email in-box is being targeted with all kinds of offers to buy draft information, and sports sites are filled with updates and predictions on who will be drafted in the first round. These “experts” all have their opinions.

So let’s travel back to 1998. It’s the draft and the Indianapolis Colts are on the clock with the first pick. Do they pick Peyton Manning or do they pick Ryan Leaf. Well, here is Vic Carucci’s thoughts on who to pick:

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Carucci’s opinion that the Colts should select Leaf is actually laughable now. The reason I post this scouting report is to show that experts can be absolutely wrong. He missed it here.

Recently I watched an ESPN 30 for 30 episode about the 1993 NFL draft. The year that John Elway was drafted first. During that ESPN documentary, we are reminded of their draft expert, Paul Zimmerman, who proudly proclaimed that it was a mistake for the Miami Dolphins to draft Dan Marino. “I don’t understand it”

He went on to say that no one was there to coach him and that it was a mistake for the Dolphins to draft him. They had other needs. That was his draft expert opinion.

I close with the thought that I have seen more expert opinion that should really be more”Opinionater” than expert. In trial, I see defense experts making the proclamation that someone needs no more treatment and has no permanent injury… after only seeing medical records and not even seeing the person.

I had one defense expert tell me under oath that he felt more qualified to give an opinion after not seeing my client, because this made sure that he was not impacted by any bias. Solely basing his opinion on the records. Of course, he smirked when I asked him if he refused to see patients in his office… because meeting them would cause a bias of his treatment. Boom! That is no expert opinion. That is silliness.

And for pic o’ day… I think this qualifies as good expert advice!

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Politics…Or Just Ticks?

Yes…. it’s Monday, so let’s start casual

feelin cool

Instead of stressed!

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Does it feel crazy out there? Of course it does. Lots of grab for power. And right now federally, the Republicans are doing everything they can to hold on to the House and Senate with the upcoming mid-term elections.

Conversely, the Democrats feel that they will win the House and Senate majority. Probably part of Speaker Ryan’s reason for not seeking re-election. Probably a better chance in the House according to political analyst. But if they win the Senate, you will probably see them try to start impeachment proceedings for the President.

Meanwhile, we suffer while no one works together. The desire for power!

But, uncertainty is the only certainty in politics. There is a long way to go before November. With that background, I thought that a look-back in this day in history would serve as a contrast to the seeking of power of today.

On this day in 1789, George Washington left his home at Mount Vernon, Virginia, to travel to New York to be sworn in as President. According to the George Washington Papers, many had previously written him and visited him, hoping to get him to agree to be the first president.

In one letter that he wrote to Alexander Hamilton, he let Hamilton know his thoughts, “it is my great and sole desire to live and die, in peace and retirement on my own farm“.  In another letter to Hamilton, he wrote, “I call Heaven to witness, that this very act would be the greatest sacrifice of my personal feelings & wishes that ever I have been called upon to make”.

On April 6, 1788, the senators and representatives met in New York to count the electoral college votes. Washington received all 69 votes for president. Washington was not there. He was reached at Mount Vernon and told of the election results.

And now April 16, 1789, before leaving for New York to be sworn in as president, he spoke to a group of citizens in Alexandria to express his emotions about leaving. “At my age what possible advantages [could I gain] from public life?”

And for our pic o’ day

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What Is Your Passion?

What does your eye doctor think of your eye sight, if they send you this kind of appointment reminder?

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Just sayin’!

Several years back, I was attending a seminar on law and legal marketing. One of the first speakers started his speech by saying that he was going to tell us his secrets for Internet marketing, but was not worried about utilizing them and taking away business. He reasoned that  the majority of us would either be too lazy, or too consumed with our work to follow through on what had made him successful.

Honestly, his speech ticked me off a little. I guess he got my competitive nature riled up. As I thought about what he was saying, it made me realize there was a better way of doing things… but like this fellow in this picture, no matter how hard I worked,  I had lots to learn. There was a better way to do things!

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At the time, that lawyer was one of major Internet marketers in the country. He had his website everywhere. Recently, someone mentioned him to me. That made me realize that I had not seen any of his marketing for a while; that his website was not reaching me. What had happened to him? He is still out there, but it made me think.

A book that I am listening to on Audible, in my car, is written by and also read by Gary Vaynerchuk titled Crushing It!  The book  just came at the end of January At the beginning of the audio book, the author acknowledges that he was going to be adding to it, as he read the audio portion. He noted that technology and marketing had already changed so rapidly, since he had written the book.

I think that’s why the earlier mentioned lawyer was not in my stream of consciousness anymore. He probably has not managed to keep up. It really was not about a competitor catching up to him.

At the Firm, we constantly challenge ourselves to be better. Not just be processors. (I think this coffee server might have just been processing. Right?)

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As Gary Vanderchuk says, “there are entrepreneurs and there are ‘wantreprenuers‘”. Follow your thrill and passion and you will find the “fulfill”. The financial reward will follow the passion. If someone simply wants money, they will not be successful. At some point their “Want To” will run out.

Our motivation and passion can be helping people, beating insurance companies, constantly learning, and seeing something different every day. If someone comes to work to simply get on Facebook or ask everyone how their weekend was, then they probably are not following a passion. It’s just a job to them. Ultimately, their “Want To” is going to run out and make them search for something else.

Coach Vince Lombardi knew how to challenge people. Here is one of his quotes that fires me up! “The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you are willing to pay the price”.

I am challenged by Martha Washington’s (1732-1802) mantra for life, “I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances“.

It’s Our Monday! It’s going to be a great day! I dare an insurance company to deny today!

And finally, for our pic o’ day, I guess this is an example of someone who may enjoy making cakes… but still be processing what someone says to put on their cakes? The definition of literally:

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