Why the Violence Against Woman Act Died

Since 1994, the Violence Against Women Act has protected millions of women and families across the United States by providing law enforcement agencies with numerous resources to help counter spousal abuse. The bill was originally penned by then-Senator Joe Biden in 1992 with the sole intention of protecting women from violence. Along with funding prosecutions against sex offenders, the Violence Against Women Act also established tougher penalties for habitual sex offenders, training of law enforcement agents, a national hotline for victims, a federal rape shield law, and a number of other provisions to benefit victims of abuse.

The law has continually helped millions of women every year across the nation because Congress has continually reauthorized the bill for almost two decades. In fact, this continual reauthorization of the bill in both 2000 and 2005 has been an achievement for a Congress not typically known for its bipartisanship. Unfortunately, like many initiatives this past year, the 112th Congress could not reach an agreement in 2012, killing the bill for the first time ever.

One of the primary causes of Congress’ inability to reach a compromise was a strong resistance from House Republicans – due in large part to the bill’s new provisions to cover an additional 30 million women. Specifically, the bill extended protections to women on college campuses. This came into consideration after the murder of Yeardley Love in 2010 at the University of Virginia. The bill also provided new law enforcement measures to protect Native American women on tribal reservations, immigrant women – no matter their status – and also women in the LGBT community.

“It was an inexcusable failure by House Republican leaders and one that will have real-life implications for women who now find themselves with nowhere to turn for help,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), wrote in an article on CNN.com.

Before reaching the House, the Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization by a vote of 68 to 31 with the support of 15 Republicans.

“This seems to be how House Republican leadership operates,” Murray said. “No matter how broad the bipartisan support, no matter who gets hurt in the process, the politics of the right wing of their party always comes first.”

On the other hand, House Republicans blamed Democrats for not budging on many issues, especially the LGBT, undocumented immigrants, and tribal jurisdiction provisions.

This battle began in the Senate last April when Democrats proposed the bill with the newly added provisions. Democrats drafted the re-authorization with input from anti-domestic violence advocates and law enforcement agents. Even with strong opposition from Republicans who wanted the provisions concerning LGBT women, Native Americans, and illegal immigrants removed, the re-authorization passed on to the House.

With no intention of supporting the act, House Republicans responded by presenting a scaled-back version of the bill that focused primarily on making it harder for illegal-immigrant victims to achieve citizenship under the U Visa. House GOP leaders eventually passed this version of the bill on a partisan vote even with President Barack Obama’s threat to veto the bill.

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) urged the Senate to resolve the differences, arguing their version of the bill was unconstitutional. On the other hand, Democrats fought for the GOP to pass the Senate’s original version of the bill claiming it passed with strong bipartisan support and that President Obama had already threatened to veto the House’s version of the bill.

Democrats felt they had a chance in December when Vice President Biden met with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to see if they could negotiate and reach a compromise. Unfortunately, both sides refused to budge on major issues involving the LGBT, undocumented immigrants, and tribal jurisdiction women.

A GOP source told Talking Points Memo (TPM) that Biden showed “good faith,” but that the Senate Republicans threw up too many “roadblocks,” and presented a “my way or the highway,” attitude.

In the end, the bill failed to reach President Obama’s desk before the end of the year.

While this is the kind of law that should exist, there are instances where situations of domestic violence can be arise solely to damage the alleged perpetrator’s reputation. In some cases, no domestic violence ever occurred at all. While it can be immensely difficult to prove violence one way or the other, courts generally side with the accuser. Because of this, it’s important for someone who is accused of domestic violence to have a strong defense. The help of an attorney can really make a significant difference in the crafting of such a defense.

What are Miranda Rights?

Your Miranda Rights are a set of rights granted by the Constitution. In the event that you are arrested, you should be aware of what your legal rights are. These include the right to avoid self-incrimination and the right to seek legal counsel.

The “Miranda Rights” receive their name from a man who was arrested, but was not aware of his legal right to avoid self incrimination, nor his right to counsel. Because of this, he signed a document admitting he committed a rape without the presence of a lawyer. When the prosecution tried present the document as evidence in trial, Miranda’s attorney objected to its admissibility. The document was written in a way that implied Miranda was aware of his rights when he really wasn’t. The Supreme Court later determined that the police violated Miranda’s constitutional right to legal counsel when they had him sign a legal document without the presence of an attorney. Furthermore, they violated his fifth amendment right to avoid self incrimination as a direct result.

Miranda Rights need to be read when arrestedIn many cases, police officers must now recite what are called a crime suspect’s “Miranda Rights” to him or her at the time of arrest. These include “the right to remain silent” and the right to legal counsel. While it is not always an absolute requirement to read these rights to individuals who are being arrested, most of the time officers feel obliged to do it.

Your right to legal counsel in the face of criminal charges is incredibly important. A criminal defense attorney will be intimately familiar with how to fight the charges against an accused criminal. He or she will more than likely fare much better in court as well, as the training an attorney must undergo is long and in-depth. The examinations that they take to become certified to practice law are difficult and require them to be knowledgeable. All in all, the various certification boards don’t allow just anyone to practice law.

Criminal defense attorneys are essentially tasked with protecting the rights of those who are charged with crimes. Their job is to do everything within their power to be certain that the court or legal process is not denying an alleged criminal his or her guaranteed rights while formulating an argument, based in law, that will free the defendant from the accusations.

Filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

People are often confused whether to choose between filing for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Although both options help in ending debt issues, Chapter 13 is a believed to be the more reasonable of the two: Chapter 13 gives the option of reorganizing repayment plans while keeping some properties, while Chapter 7 allows debtors to pay for the debts through liquidation of properties. Sorting out which one will work best for you before deciding which type of bankruptcy to file is the key in ending debt and starting anew.

The first step in filing for Chapter 13 is to know if you are eligible for it. As stated on the website of Birmingham-based Greenway Law, LLC, it is best to have your documents ready to prove that you have enough income to confirm a repayment plan. Next is to check and confirm if your debts are too high, or you can work out an achievable plan or payment. It should be clear to you and on your document how many properties you have and their estimated value because this can directly affect your repayment plan.

Consulting with a lawyer helps in filing out bankruptcy forms to make sure everything is filled out correctly. They can also help in advising you regarding the filing of your forms. After filing, you will be requested to appear in two hearings together with the trustee at the courthouse for review and future plans. Since these meetings are what help determine your intention of repaying your debts, creditors are allowed to attend for them to ask questions and even negotiate. A confirmation hearing will be called for you to present your repayment plan, where creditors can subject and the judge to decide whether to approve or not.

The repayment plan begins 30 after the judge has approved of it. If problems occur, you should report to the court immediately. Missed payments would dismiss the Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. After completing the requirements for the repayment plan, the bankruptcy is discharged, freeing you from any legal obligation for past unpaid debts that are listed on your repayment plan.

Although bankruptcy cases tend to be complicated, asking advice and guidance from lawyers would make it easier and more manageable.

Getting Compensation for Insurance Bad Faith

Allegations of breach of contract claims and tort claims. Insurance policies are essentially a contract between the insurance company and the insured. The distinction is important when it comes to the amount and types of compensation.

Insurance companies are bound by the “implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing” that apply to any contract; failing to act in good faith or to deal fairly with their insured constitutes a bad faith claim, which is a tort claim. On addition, the claimant can also sue the insurance company for a standard contract breach under state business laws. The difference between the claims is that exemplary or punitive damages are not allowed under contract law, but may be permitted under tort law, depending on the circumstances. In effect, the insured may sue for more than the face value of the contract’s terms under a tort claim.

Insurance laws in the US are state-specific, so claims for insurance bad faith will be subject to laws that apply in the state where the claim is made. Under Texas law, there are specific limitations and coverages depending on the type of insurance, the nature of the insurance bad faith, and the number of occurrences. According to the website of Dallas-based law firm Smith Kendall, insurance companies employ a number of strategies that may be considered acts of bad faith. However, insurance law can be quite complex, so it is advisable for any potential claimant for an alleged insurance bad faith to consult with a bad faith insurance lawyer with extensive knowledge of tort and contract law in the state and experience in handling claims.

How You May Be Able to Protect Your Tax Refund during Bankruptcy

When a person is facing debt substantial enough that they are considering filing for bankruptcy as a way to get a fresh financial start, every asset and amount of money that he or she has is important and can make a huge difference in his or her life. Thus, the tax refund money that a person may receive after filing their taxes can be extremely important or even be the difference between being able to afford basic living necessities, such as food and housing. However, when a person files for bankruptcy, particularly Chapter 7 bankruptcy, any assets and sums of money they have are considered part of the bankruptcy estate, meaning that they can be used to pay off some of their bills and loans. As such, any person in this situation may be very anxious about their ability to keep the money they receive as their tax refund.

Although tax refund money is typically considered part of a debtor’s estate that is eligible to be liquidated or used to pay off debts, this does not mean that a person in this situation is without options for keeping their tax refund money. In order to do this though, a person must be careful and should consider the following possible options:

  • Spend the tax refund money prior to filing for bankruptcy. This is a touchy issue, as doing this can be seen as fraud or the objects purchased with the money considered part of the bankruptcy estate. As such, if you choose to delay your bankruptcy filing, you should discuss the particulars with a bankruptcy lawyer and make sure to spend any tax refund money on essentials, such as food and bills.
  • Claim certain bankruptcy exemptions. When filling for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a person is allowed to exempt certain assets and funds from being used to pay off debts. These exemptions are unique to each state’s regulations, so it can differ from state to state; however, most of the time a debtor has the option of using a wildcard exemption. This exemption allows a person to exempt any property or assets up to a certain amount.

Keeping your tax refund money is difficult, but not impossible. However, with legal support it may be easier for you to find a way to keep this much-needed money.