Law Firm of Lindsey Daugherty | Denver, CO 80210 | (970) 290 - 8465 | Douglas, WY 82633 | (307) 359 - 3607

Law Firm of Lindsey Daugherty | Denver, Colorado Attorney

"It Should Be This Hard To Get Married"

This is a quote a recent client spoke while looking at the mountains of paperwork and checklists I had just given her. Hers was a simple divorce, relatively speaking. Modest assets and one child with an already agreed upon parenting schedule were the only issues here.

Simplifying the divorce process is something that legislatures in many different states have been attempting to address. In Minnesota, there is currently legislation that would offer couples a chance to “create their own divorce terms, outside the family court system.” However, there are differences of opinion as to whether the divorce process needs to be simplified. One attorney quoted in the article stated that “if the parties are in accord, getting a divorce is nearly as easy as getting a driver’s license.”

In response to the above quote, I’m guessing my most recent client, who was in “accord” with her soon-to-be-ex  would then argue that it must be extremely hard to get a driver’s license in Minnesota.

 

 


Church bells causing January divorces?

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The month of January is the most popular month for divorces.  Too much family time, not wanting to dump your spouse during the holiday season, and resolutions of a skinnier, tanner, smarter and single you,  are all various reasons that people file for more divorces in January, hoping for a fresh start.

One man in Rhode Island actually cited the too-loud chiming of church bells as a reason for his divorce in an article found here.  Having already rid himself of his spouse in a divorce proceeding, this man has now filed a lawsuit to overturn a state law that says government may not restrict the free exercise of religion in order to stop the chiming that occurs over 700 times a week. While it’s not looking hopeful that he will win this lawsuit, if your marriage is irretrievably damaged (either by church bells or something else), and you are like the high percentage of other couples filing for a divorce in January, the following resources may be helpful:

Avvo Divorce Process

Judicial Branch of Colorado                                                                                     

Metro Volunteer Lawyers

 Colorado Divorce Resources

                                                                          

 

 

You Come Home......To Different Furniture??

Apparently some criminals are smarter than others. In Washington, a couple came home after a vacation to find their house full of furniture they didn’t recognize. Not only did the criminal who broke into the couple’s apartment think that the couple wouldn’t notice his unwanted interior design work, the criminal also left incriminating evidence scattered throughout the apartment.

As we all know, furniture can be heavy, and the furniture swap culprit must have gotten hungry because the couple found receipts inside of empty pizza boxes inside the apartment containing his personal information, as well as a traffic ticket that had his name and address. This detailed information the furniture culprit conveniently left led to his arrest and conviction of residential burglary. The full article can be found at www.glasshalffulllaw.com. 

 

In Colorado, burglary involves an unlawful entry onto another’s property with the intent to commit a crime. A complete definition can be found here.

He's Clearly Not A Ninja Turtle

A Florida woman is facing aggravated battery charges for stabbing her boyfriend after he threatened to harm her pet turtle. Reports are not clear how many times Marie Seymour, 53, stabbed her boyfriend but she does claim that he "came after her" after making the threat. Ms. Seymour could face up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Begging the important question of who would protect her beloved turtle during her extended absence?

Ms. Seymour may have a legitimate self-defense claim if her boyfriend did in fact approach her in a manner that made her fear an imminent threat of violence. However, such a defense does not extend to the protection of pets, no matter how beloved they might be. Pets are considered to be property, meaning the defense of others argument will not apply to Ms. Seymour's actions. 

Hopefully, the turtle's shell will be enough to protect him from any further threats if Ms. Seymour does take a trip to prison. Otherwise, he may want to learn some self-defense moves. 

To read more, please visit: http://blogs.findlaw.com/legally_weird/2014/11/fla-woman-stabs-boyfriend-to-defend-pet-turtle-deputies.html

Helping the Homeless Could Mean Handcuffs

Two pastors and a 90-year-old man were arrested in Fort Lauderdale for feeding the homeless in public. Arnold Abbott, the 90-year-old, runs a non-profit called "Love Thy Neighbor" (you can find more information about the organization here: http://lovethyneighbor.org). Mr. Abbott and the two pastors had prepared 300 lunches to pass out to the homeless just outside of Stanahan Park. The three were only able to pass out 3 of those lunches before being arrested. 

The reason for their arrest was a new ordinance restricting charitable groups' ability to feed the homeless. Mr. Abbott and the pastors are the first to be charged under the new ordinance. The ordinance specifically restricts groups from being within 500 feet of residences when passing out food, the groups must obtain a permit or get permission from property owners, and must provide a portable restroom. As punishment, Mr. Abbott and the pastors could face a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail. 

This ordinance is not the first of its kind in Fort Lauderdale. Previous ordinances have provided one-way bus tickets under the "Homeless Reunification Program," as well as ordinances prohibiting camping and allowing police to seize personal property and store it until they individual can pay a fee.

Mayor John P. Seiler argues that the city ordinances are all done to help the homeless and that the newest ordinance ensures that "all of our public places are accessible and can be safely enjoyed by everyone." I am sure Mr. Abbott, the pastors, and the homeless population of Fort Lauderdale have something to say about that. 

To read more, please visit: http://blogs.findlaw.com/legally_weird/2014/11/2-pastors-90-year-old-man-arrested-for-feeding-homeless-in-public.html

Dump The Guy, Keep the Bling

A New York woman successfully argued to keep the $10,000 engagement ring given to her by a now ex-boyfriend. Debbie Lopez argued the ring was merely a gift, rather than an engagement ring, given in recognition of her "being a great woman and a good mother." You can't make this stuff up, folks. Joseph Robert Torres, who is currently regretting his $10,000 purchase, argued that he proposed to Ms. Lopez and she said yes. Unfortunately for Mr. Torres, the judge did not find that the ring was a conditional gift made in the contemplation of marriage.

In many states, engagement rings are considered conditional gifts that can be revoked in the event that the condition, a.k.a. marriage, does not occur. However, a judge may find that the ring was not given as a conditional gift, but as an outright gift as with Ms. Lopez. For example, a New York man sued for a $53,000 ring. He lost due to some text messages he sent breaking off the engagement. 

So, what can we learn from Mr. Torres' unfortunate story? Fellas, make sure you're clear about what a ring means or you could be out a good chunk of change. 

To read more, please visit: http://blogs.findlaw.com/legally_weird/2014/10/woman-wasnt-engaged-can-keep-10k-ring-from-ex-boyfriend-judge.html

My Spidey Sense is Tingling

A Missouri couple got a rather unpleasant surprise when they purchased an upscale home. The house was infested with 6,000 venomous brown recluse spiders. Susan Trost notice spider webs and their not-so-friendly inhabitants on her first day in the home. The Trosts attempted to resolve the problem with interior and exterior pesticides, but their eight legged tenants refused to find new digs. The Trosts eventually filed a claim with their insurance company and sued the former owners for not disclosing the creepy crawlys. 

Following a jury trial, the Trosts were awarded $472,110 in damages. However, the former owners' insurance company claimed the policy lacked coverage and refused to pay. The former owners then filed for bankruptcy. The Trosts did file a claim against the insurance company for failure to pay their claim and moved from the house allowing it to go into foreclosure. 

Generally, collecting an award of damages comes without the hurdles the Trosts are facing. A financially stable party will normally pay the award rather than force the opposing party to pursue collection. A party may also garnish wages or bank accounts in order to receive their award. But, when the paying party refuses to pay or doesn't have the financial resource to pay, it can be difficult to receive the award. In a case like the Trosts', a bankruptcy claim can cause the judgment to be discharged. 

The legal issues of receiving the judgment present a rather tangled web, but I sure hope the Trosts can find a web and venom free home. 

To read more, please visit: http://blogs.findlaw.com/legally_weird/2014/10/brown-recluse-house-a-web-of-legal-issues.html

Because I'm All About That Bass….and Drugs

A Massachusetts woman was caught smuggling heroin and pain killers underneath a prosthetic butt. Yes, you read that correctly: a prosthetic butt. The woman was arrested after drugs fell out of her pants during a traffic stop. Officers noticed the woman's underwear had a hard exterior that turn out to be the fake booty used to hide the contraband. 

Officers initiated the traffic stop when they observed the car swerving over the double yellow lines and sporting an illegal tint job. After finding the bag of drugs that fell out of the woman's pants, the woman proceeded to lie about her name, scream obscenities at the officers, and state that she was a paralegal. During the booking process, the officer conducted a strip search which revealed the drug filled prosthetic butt. 

The woman is facing some significant felony and misdemeanor drug charges. Her bail has been set at $5,000 and she will likely need the full amount as bail bondsmen are few and far between in Massachusetts. I wonder if she has a booty full of cash hidden somewhere...

To read more, please visit: http://blogs.findlaw.com/legally_weird/2014/10/mass-woman-hid-drugs-under-prosthetic-butt-cops.html

There's a Big Difference Between Mostly Dead and All Dead

A Mississippi man was sentenced to death after being declared "legally dead." How is this possible you might ask? Well, the man had been missing for so long (since 1987) that the court declared him dead. On Friday, the man was sentenced to death for the kidnapping and death of a 12 year-old Las Vegas girl in 2010. 

So what's the difference between "legally dead" and "all dead"? When someone is declared legally dead it means the possibility that they may still be alive exists. All dead means, well, they aren't coming back. In spite of being declared legally dead, the Mississippi man was very much alive when the police arrested him with the knife and gun that matched the weapons used to murder the 12 year-old girl. 

A kidnapping that leads to the death of a victim is one of the various federal crimes that carries with it the possibility of the death penalty. However, the man will most likely spend decades waiting for his sentence to be carried out. The Mississippi man will be on death row along with a handful of other inmates, some who have been on death row since 1993. So, I guess it may be a while before the man enters the realm of "all dead." 

To read more, visit: http://blogs.findlaw.com/legally_weird/2014/09/dead-man-sentenced-to-death-for-kidnapping-killing.html

Mayonnaise: Shampoo or Condiment?

An Oklahoma City man was arrested for washing his hair in a public fountain using a rather unconventional shampoo: mayonnaise. While his choice of shampoo may seem rather odd, mayonnaise is actually an inexpensive way to restore dry and and damaged hair (visit http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/products-ingredients/mayonnaise-hair-treatment-how-to/ to learn more about mayo's benefits for your hair). 

Jorge Perez was arrested under an Oklahoma City ordinance that prohibits "swimming, bathing, or wading in fountains or the various waterways in Bricktown." A violation of this ordinance does not carry any jail time, but does come with a $302 fine. Reports suggest that Perez was initially arrested under suspicion of disorderly conduct as he did spend a day in jail. 

The unfortunate reality of Perez's situation is that he likely had nowhere else to go to use his mayo-shampoo. Many homeless individuals face the challenge of being arrested for bathing in public fountains under similar ordinances due to limited resources. While his hair may smell like a week-old sandwich, we certainly wish Mr. Perez the best of luck in finding the resources to get off the Oklahoma City streets.

To read more: http://blogs.findlaw.com/legally_weird/2014/09/man-washes-hair-with-mayo-in-public-fountain-gets-arrested.html

Ground Pork, Breadcrumbs, Garlic, Oregano, and…Assault?

A man in Maryland allegedly stabbed a co-worker for eating a meatball from the assailant's lunch. This "Meatball Menace" fled the scene shortly after the incident. 

Maryland law would categorize this lunch time attack as an assault and/or battery. This type of crime can be categorized as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending largely on the extent of the injuries suffered by the victim. The penalty for such an offense can be up to ten years in prison. The victim was hospitalized leaving some to state that the attacker "may be in deep … sauce." 

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An individual can argue some defenses for the assault under state law. However, low blood sugar does not appear to make the list in any state, nor does righteous anger over having your lunch stolen. As the attacker fled the scene, an arrest warrant has been issued. As of yet, he has not been found. 

So what lesson does this Meatball Menace teach us? No meatball is worth the risk, just eat your own lunch. 

Illegal Lemonade Stands?

On a hot summer day, what sounds better than a cool, refreshing glass of lemonade? Many young entrepreneurs get their start with a neighborhood lemonade stand. But, that refreshing glass of lemonade may come with a side of legal issues. 

A man in Florida has made attempts to shut down a neighborhood boy's lemonade stand arguing it is an "illegal business" that reduces the value of his home. The neighborhood man stated in a letter to city authorities that the stand causes "an excessive amounts of traffic, noise, trash, and parking issues." City authorities do not believe they are in the business of regulating kids. The mayor even commended the young man who operates the stand, calling it "a great example."

However, challenges to neighborhood lemonade stands are not unheard of. In Maryland, a group of kids were shut down and charged $500 for having a lemonade stand outside of a PGA tournament. To avoid being shut down, lemonade stands might need the same permits and licenses required by other mobile food businesses. 

So, what's the lesson? I guess when life gives you lemons, make sure your neighbors like lemonade. 

The Blue Devils vs. an American Icon

What does Duke University have in common with John Wayne? They share a common beloved name—“Duke.” John Wayne’s heirs wish to keep the association between the name and Mr. Wayne alive, but the university wishes to abolish that.

Originally the name of his childhood dog, Wayne took on the nickname “Duke” and was referred to by the name throughout his career. Since his passing, diehard fans still associate the name with the famous actor. Wayne’s heirs are now fighting the university to use the name for a new brand of bourbon to be released in Wayne’s memory. The bottle is to feature the nickname and an image of Wayne holding a gun.

Duke University is opposed to the name of the drink because they feel customers may associate the alcohol with the university, potentially hurting the school’s image and reputation.

Both entities hold rights to the name. Thus, Duke University filed a lawsuit against the heirs in federal court in order to show that their claim to the name is superior.

Will the judge be a Blue Devils fanatic and rule in favor of the university? Or will the judge be The Quiet Man with True Grit and decide that the Wayne family may continue to remember the actor by his nickname? We will have to wait and see.

Throwing away $1 million

Two men in New York claim that the Lottery Commission owes them $1 million dollars. Why you may ask? According to their testimony, the lottery website updated late, causing the men to believe that their ticket was not worth any money. The men threw away the ticket only to later discover that the ticket was worth $1 million. 

You may now be asking yourself how these men could prove they actually purchased the ticket. Apparently the men purchased three tickets at the same time: the first and last worth nothing and the middle ticket being the winning ticket. The men have the two losing tickets which they believe show that they would have also possessed the winning ticket. 

The men claim that they called the Lottery Commission to explain the mistake a year ago. At that time, the Commission allegedly said that they would compensate the men. It has been a year, and the men have not seen any money.

I believe there are a couple lessons we can learn from this story:

1. Be sure the website is up-to-date when $1 million is at stake.

2. The lottery can be a heartbreaking game to play.

3. Friends don't let friends throw away winning tickets.

Exploiting Bambi

Imagine you are driving home at night and look to your right. You see a deer near the side of the road up ahead. As you get closer, the deer begins to panic. Before you can brake, the deer bolts out in front of your car, shattering your headlights and destroying the front of your car. According to a national traffic survey, about 1.5 million car accidents involving deer occur every year in the United States.

A group of people in Philadelphia decided to take advantage of this statistic. Officials charged forty-one people with insurance fraud. Reports allege that an owner of an auto repair shop helped customers to avoid increased insurance premiums by claiming that the accident was the result of a deer running into the road. He even had a dead deer, blood, and other props so that the customers could photograph the "crime scene." 

Needless to say, insurance companies and authorities caught on rather quickly.  The shop owner, customers, and even a police officer were charged in the matter. 

The total amount of money involved in the scam is estimated to be about $5 million. 

I'd say those customer wished they had stuck to the true story right about now.

Time for a Divorce: When Your Husband Asks for his Kidney Back

 

Divorce proceedings can get particularly nasty, but one man in particular took it to the next level by asking for his kidney back that he gave to his wife, or else $1.5 million in compensation during divorce proceedings. Just in case you were wondering whether the judge could order the woman’s kidney removed, the kidney is considered a gift and therefore this man had no legal basis for this argument. And really, what would this man do with his kidney once it was returned?

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Property division during a divorce can be a very stressful and contemptuous process. However, even if the love you once had for your spouse is replaced by disdainful contempt, most of the time everyone is much happier settling outside of court proceedings. Settling ensures that both parties can come to a compromise on their own terms, as opposed to a judge giving a final order in the case.

Colorado Revised Statute 14-10-113 contains factors that the court will take into account when dividing property. These include:

(a)  The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of a spouse as homemaker;

(b)  The value of the property set apart to each spouse;

(c)  The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family home or the right to live therein for reasonable periods to the spouse with whom any children reside the majority of the time; and

(d)  Any increases or decreases in the value of the separate property of the spouse during the marriage or the depletion of the separate property for marital purposes.

In order to ensure your rights are being protected and you keep what is rightfully yours, contact an attorney today

Flipping Cars and Felonies

As most of the country is aware, the NCAA championship took place last night, with a win by UConn. While some chose to celebrate by grabbing a drink (or a few) at a bar in relative peace, many others chose to throw light poles through windows, flip over cars, and light fires in the streets. While I’m sure it is exhilarating to flip over a car or rip a light pole out of the street, there are some very serious consequences to these actions.

In Colorado, inciting a riot is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, but if any property damage or injury to a person is involved, one may be sentenced to a class 5 felony. The sentencing range for a Class 5 Felony is one to three years in prison, and/or a $1000-$100,000 fine (plus some serious attorney’s fees).

As such, next time you think you have enough energy/excitement to rip a light pole out of a street, do yourself a favor and take some laps around a track. 


Colorado and Puffing (It’s not all legal!)

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It’s been a cold few weeks, so the last thing anyone wants to do is to go outside to a freezing cold car. Therefore, starting your car and letting it run to warm up (also known as “puffing”) sounds like a great idea in the winter. The word “puffing” in relation to Colorado most likely brings to mind the color green and shops full of recreational marijuana. However, the puffing involving leaving your car running to warm up is illegal in Colorado.

Tickets are plentiful for puffing, and the main reason why the police want to crack down on puffing is because many cars are being stolen while the cars are left running unattended. Depending on where you are caught puffing (the not-fun kind), you will be issued a ticket which includes a fine and a court appearance. Consequently, if you are going to partake in a kind of puffing in Colorado, try not to participate in the kind where you can be fined and ticketed.  

Background Photo Credit: Kasia Broussalian © 2015