Importance of a Living Will (And acting in a non-threatening way when around police)

So this case is a little old now (I meant to make a note of it when it was first authored, but as you can tell that didn't happen). The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of motion for summary judgment made by a police officer and EMT’s. The Plaintiff, Mr. Kent, was hosting his mother and father who traveled from out of state to visit him. His father was in poor health but had previously executed a living will or durable power of attorney indicating he did not wish to have life sustaining measures and a do not resuscitate order in it.

Unfortunately Mr. Kent’s father passed away and he called a non-emergency number to report a natural death. The EMT’s arrived and when they attempted to place an electronic defibrillator on him. Mr. Kent objected to this but the EMT’s insisted upon it unless they were shown the power of attorney. While Mr. Kent’s mother was on the phone trying to get a copy sent to them, police arrived. While dealing with the officer’s the Plaintiff refused to leave the home and because of that he was subsequently tasered. He filed a lawsuit against the county, the county attempted to get the case dismissed before it went to a jury but the judge denied that motion and that decision was recently upheld by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. 

I also know this isn't exactly a criminal defense case - but I think it shows a couple important points. First it is important to have a living will or end of life measure in place and to make sure that your close family members are aware of and in this electronic world - have a copy of it on a smart phone. 

Secondly, one of the reasons the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision was because Mr. Kent did nothing with his hands that was suspicious - it did not appear he was armed or pretended to be reaching for a weapon. He was standing, put his hands in the air, and said “Go ahead and taze` me.” So there has been a lot of new headlines about police shootings, but it is important to remember that you can disagree with police, it happens, but to do it in a non threatening manner. 

The full case can be found here:


FBI and Always Listening Technology

It is no secret that we live in a world that is full of technology and that technology is constantly evolving; becoming faster, smaller, and as a recent article that I read points out - always listening. We may not think much about the hands free Siri option or asking Alexa to play music for us, but a Journalist recently sent in a request under the Freedom of Information Act to the FBI to see if they have wiretapped the Amazon Echo. 

Their response - they did not confirm or deny it. 

If this is the case where they can listen into conversations when the hardware is “off” but listing for a prompt, that is truly a scary thought. My hunch is, and this is only a hunch, the FBI would have to get some sort of signature to authorize tapping this device, but based on the secrecy behind many search warrants, we may never actually find out. And if an arrest occurs based on these always listening devices, the government may not want to prosecute too heavily in order to keep how they do this quiet. 

Here is a link to the full article:


Winning: The act of a person or thing that win. 

When I was in law school as an intern and then as a young newly licensed lawyer winning to me was getting evidence withheld by a bad stop and search of a clients vehicle. It was getting an acquittal at trial, whether that is jury or bench trial. And as a young attorney I had won and those wins were great. But over time practicing in the same courthouse for over 6 years I kept seeing the same faces in custody. 

That is when my definition of winning had started to change. 

I found that the greatest sense of “winning” I started receiving were not the favorable hearing or trial decisions, it was the clients who I was able to get into a diversion court or someone who had a felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor. 

One of my clients once sat in my office crying about how she couldn't do a diversion program - then 18 months later crying tears of happiness as she completed that diversion program and was starting her own business. Now she is still running that business and is very successful. 

Or another client who I keep in regular contact with who has been able to put her past actions behind her and continues to be successful and maintain sobriety. 

Getting and acquittal or evidence thrown out is a win and feels great, don't get me wrong. But being able to effect a lifelong change for the better is the real win. 

Being Comfortable

Being comfortable is something that everyone strives for and looks for. To be comfortable with their surroundings: places, people, events. 

But being comfortable can lead to a plateau and when we reach that plateau we aren't fulfilling our potential. Don't get me wrong, I love being comfortable - it doesn't give me stress or worry. 

But that comfortableness got to a point where I needed a change - and that change happened faster than I could have (or would) ever have imagined. In my professional life I felt like I had done almost everything I could have done - I had started as a young lawyer in a big office and moved through cases with trials, hearings, even appeals. I started off winning trials and even that appeal. Then went through a lot of losses. 

It’s not the losses that made me comfortable - in fact far from it. 

I got comfortable in my surroundings, my wife and I lived in the same place for six years, had the same jobs for that time. It was when we got back from a seeing friend get married in a destination wedding/vacation that we decided we needed to jump off the plateau and try something new.  

Now less than six months later I am sitting in a new office, in a new city, in a new state. Not knowing the Judges or other attorneys like I previously did. Not knowing if I am going to succeed like I previously did.

I have to re-establish myself and that, that is the part I look forward to.