About a year or so ago, I took over a case from some out of state lawyers on a rear-ender car crash that caused my client some long-term injury. The other personal injury attorneys got policy limits from the at-fault driver. It was a very small amount. It did not begin to cover the injury to my client.
My job was to get my client’s insurance to pay for the rest. This is called uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). Fortunately, my client had plenty of coverage. You should review your policy to make sure you have at least $250k in coverage. It tends to be very cheap and will save you if a person without adequate insurance, or no insurance, hits you. There are very few car crashes where your medicals will be under $50k. If you have a broken bone or any kind of head injury, it can be well over $100k.
A UM/UIM case is very similar to any car crash case, except there are duties by my client to her own insurance company and duties of the insurance company to her. We have to cooperate with them, which usually means that we have to provide a medical release and make a statement. [Both should be done only at the direction of a competent car crash lawyer, no without one.] The insurance company must pay the claim in a reasonable time following cooperation. If we do not cooperate, they do not have to pay. If they do not pay after cooperation, we can sue them for bad faith, meaning three times damages plus attorneys fees and costs. Suffice it to say, the insurance company does not want to suffer a Bad Faith plaintiff verdict.
There were issues on this case and we had to litigate due to timing. In the end, we were able to settle prior to trial for an amount with which my client was pleased. I believe we got every dime the insurance company was willing to pay without a trial. Client really did not want to go to trial.
I was happy to help the client. She continues to heal. The money will help her.
Insurance companies, whether your own or the at-fault driver’s, want to pay as little as possible. Adjusters get bonuses based on results. When they make you an offer, it is because they think this will save them money. An offer of $5000 or less is a low-ball offer to clear the case. It does not represent your damage or injury. It means the adjuster clears a case and gets closer to a bonus. A higher offer usually means they fear the case is worth much more.
A personal injury lawyer can help maximize the offer. A good personal injury lawyer will help to make sure you return to health. I am not a doctor and I cannot diagnose, but if you are hurting and the doctor says nothing is wrong, we should discuss how to proceed. You need help.
If you want a personal injury lawyer that will listen to you and work to help you get healthy, and get your bills paid, let’s talk.
The NCADRC was founded to help innocent and overcharged people accused of crimes against children. If you are charged with harming a child, you will be vilified everywhere you turn. There are innumerable organizations only “thinking of the child” and ready to make sure you are convicted. Many are run by folks that were harmed as children and cannot see that you could be innocent, whether sexual assault on a child, child pornography, child abuse, child death, SIDS, shaken baby or other false allegations. Sadly, there are few groups concerned with making sure the science and other evidence is the truth. NCADRC is one. I went to this conference because I want to make sure the truth is told in court.
I love this conference because it focuses on science. Nearly all of the presenters were experts in their field. They present their argument and support it with the peer reviewed, scientific publications that show the truth. And, we get the articles to read for ourselves. A scientist expert is one part of the criminal defense of child abuse and sexual assault on a child.
I enjoyed learning from Dr. Richard Ofsche on False Confessions. I had seen him testify as an expert in a Colorado Springs homicide trial when I was a young public defender about 20 years ago. He shows how police can make a person feel that the only way to avoid a lengthy prison sentence or the death penalty is to confess, even if you did not do it. The popular documentary Making a Murderer shows Brendan Dassey’s “confession,” and it seems to have all the hallmarks of Dr. Ofsche’s presentation. The Central Park Five “confessions” exhibit the same pressures and police lies. The police present false and misleading evidence to get a confession, regardless of any actual evidence. They break down all defenses to the crime, often using “evidence” they know is false. Helplessness is the goal. Once a person is helpless, they will do just about anything. Much of this is taught to all police officers in Reid Method training, but usually not by Reid certified trainers. I own "Criminal Interrogation and Confessions" by Inbau, Reid, Buckley and Jayne, as well as the response by Ofsche. The first time I read it, I could not believe how closely it mirrored most of the interrogations I had in my cases. How do innocent people end up in prison, false confessions obtained by poorly trained police (and snitch testimony).
In most criminal defense cases, including child abuse and child sex assault, the police want a confession because they know the science is lacking and these cases can turn on the word of a child. A confession, even a false one, will convict many. If the police are asking you questions, it usually means their case lacks something that they can solve with your statement. Just say, I want a lawyer and nothing else.
If you are innocent, you need a criminal defense lawyer trained in spotting and fighting false confessions. I will listen and help you show the truth.
CHILD ADVOCACY CENTERS AND FORENSIC INTERVIEWS
In any case where a child is a victim, the police will arrange a forensic interview at a child advocacy center. Nearly every sexual assault on a child or child abuse case will have a forensic interview of the child. I have studied these interviews and the proper protocol for over 20 years. I have seen very few forensic interviews where the protocol was followed. This conference added to my knowledge.
Good interviews can get accurate information from children. Bad interviews put innocent people in prison. A proper forensic interview of a child, following the accepted protocols, will often get the most accurate information. Studies show forensic interviewers will revert to bad habits within weeks of training and correction. If the child has been coached, or more likely, inadvertently suggested that certain things are true when they are not, a biased forensic interview will not show it. Too many forensic interviewers believe abuse prior to the interview and fail to properly explore coaching, suggestion or contamination. The reason for an unbiased investigation is to ferret out the ways innocent people get accused. At the October 17, 2019 NCADRC conference, Dr. Michael Lamb and Dr. Kamala London discussed forensic interviews, and the science behind them. While I support Blue Sky Bridge and other organizations that help abused children, my experience shows that they can do better. I can spot their errors in interviewing.
If you are innocent of sexual assault on child or child abuse, and a child has told a forensic interviewer that you are guilty, you need a criminal defense attorney that knows the science of forensic interviews. You need a lawyer that will listen to you, and help you win. I will.
SEXUAL ASSAULT NURSE EXAMINERS AND PHYSICAL EVIDENCE OF SEXUAL ABUSE
Wow, what I learned that I did not know. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) collect evidence when a person comes to the hospital after a claimed sexual assault, whether it is date rape, rape, sexual assault, sexual assault on a child or any other form of sex crime. The evidence is often inconclusive of anything. But, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner always seems to want to testify that it is consistent with a crime. The NCADRC taught me a lot of about the injuries they claim show a crime. The truth is peer reviewed, published, scientific articles show much of this “evidence” is common in all people, and common in consensual sex. Sure, it is consistent with a crime, but it is not inconsistent with innocence. The evidence does not disprove innocence to any degree of medical certainty, let alone beyond a reasonable doubt. Dr. Steve Guertin reviewed the relevant studies to help us better understand what the SANE evidence actually means.
If you are accused of a sex crime like sexual assault or rape, you need a criminal defense attorney that knows the truth about SANE evidence. You need someone that can help the jury see that truth (the prosecutor never will). I will listen to you and we will find a way to not guilty.
METABOLIC BONE DISEASE AND FALSE ALLEGATIONS OF CHILD ABUSE
Dr. Marvin Miller presented on bone diseases that can appear, to many doctors, as if it were child abuse. Medicine has many answers, but each individual is different. Each case must be reviewed individually to make sure the truth comes out. Often times, a biased investigation, sometimes with an inadequately experienced, or even biased doctor, will result in felony child abuse charges where a person is completely innocent. There are often injuries to a baby in child-birth that are never known, including broken bones. A year or two later, an X-Ray is done which shows healed fractures and this is used to suggest long term abuse. The truth is it occurred in normal child-birth. And it is common – so common that many babies have the same injury and no one will ever know it, unless they go to the hospital after an innocent fall and the wrong doctor calls it child abuse. Dr. Miller showed us how this happens and what to do about. I will never be fully competent to examine an X-Ray, but he shows things that anyone can see that prove innocence. I learned what to look for, and to make sure someone that knows the science looks at the evidence before even considering a plea.
Has your criminal defense lawyer said you have to plea even though you are innocent? Do you want someone that will listen to you and find a way to show the truth? Let’s talk.
CHILD PORNOGRAPHY – WHY?
How does a person go from an average upbringing and sexual experiences to viewing child pornography? There are reasons. Dr. Kevin McGovern and Dr. Thomas Brewer presented their studies on how this happens. Porn addiction is a big reason, and as with any addiction, there is often a source of addiction other than porn. They exposed myths of those that have viewed child porn, including the common fear that all will eventually perpetrate on a child and that they cannot stop – most never will touch a child. Sadly, there seems to be a connection between the isolation resulting from trauma and viewing child porn – our soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) sometimes find themselves in this trouble. [Anyone with trauma can get here, and MOST soldiers will never find themselves in this spot.] Proper PTSD treatment may have avoided this result. If you are getting deep into porn, get some help before you keep looking for a new thrill from the taboo.
If you have been accused of child porn, you need a criminal defense lawyer that can fight the computer evidence and, if guilty, fight for a reduced sentence.
SHAKEN BABY SYNDROME
This was one of my most anticipated presentations at the NCADRC conference. Dr. Waney Squire spoke about Shaken Baby Syndrome and destroyed it. It is not that a baby cannot be shaken and harmed, this happens. It is that the science that has put many people in prison is faulty.
Dr. Squire exposed the truth and paid the price of losing her medical license. She then won it back by showing she was right all along. In the beginning, doctors were studying the symptoms of a class of baby deaths. A doctor, almost offhandedly, suggested this could be the result of shaking the baby. Others heard this suggestion, and the syndrome was born. Years later, this same doctor revisited his shaking suggestion and was appalled that he was responsible for so much faulty “science.” He fought against the faulty science. The triad of symptoms that only occur in shaken babies? Well, that is a myth – two of the three are common in babies. The third can come from sources other than child abuse, other than shaking a baby. The truth is there is no triad proving shaken baby syndrome.
If you are falsely accused of shaken baby, lets talk. You are going through a tragedy and a biased investigation is accusing you or your family member. You need a criminal defense lawyer that will listen and find a way to show the truth. It starts by listening to you, and not simply believing the police.
CHILD ABUSE PATHOLOGY – THE AUTOPSY
No one wants to be a pathologist in this country. Most doctors spend very little time learning this field, and even the board-certified pathologists often have very little experience, less than 25-50 death examinations. Almost no pathologists have experience with a child death, let alone are experts. Dr. Kris Sperry has that experience. He laments that the crisis of having too few pathologists is causing people to go to prison wrongly. This presentation was designed to help criminal defense lawyers to know what to look for in the autopsy so we can decide if we need an independent pathology expert. I learned a lot. I already knew it starts with listening to you and working to find the truth of your case.
If your child has died and the police are investigating, you need a lawyer that can help prevent charges. If you have been charged with child homicide, you need a criminal defense lawyer that can fight and win.
I have learned about DNA at various conferences over the years. It affects numerous cases, but especially sexual assault, rape, and sexual assault on a child. I even have a hit and run case with DNA on an airbag. Touch DNA has changed the way we view all evidence – it allows very little DNA to be discovered. But it also means that any contact or contact with something in contact with you, can put your DNA at a location – it’s so powerful, it almost makes DNA meaningless.
Dr. Greg Hampikian of the Idaho Innocence Project expanded my knowledge of the science, but also how inclusions and exclusions happen. The meaning of the DNA evidence can be more complex than CSI leads us to believe. It is always to learn more about this every changing field.
If the police say they found your DNA, or are asking you to submit to a DNA Swab, you need a criminal defense lawyer that knows DNA. I do. Collection, type of DNA, contamination, multiple donors, and more affect the meaning of DNA evidence. I will listen to you and we will find the proof of your innocence. I do not accept the police investigation at face value. I will expose its weakness and show the truth.
There is a lot to say about this case. If the roles were reversed, Mr. Botham Jean would probably face the death penalty for shooting a white, female cop in her apartment. Heck, the only reason anyone considered the defense at all is because she was a police officer. If it were two citizens, accident would not have been much of a consideration. And it would not have made the news. It is also unlikely a citizen would have been so quick to shoot and kill.
This is a tragedy no matter what. Mr. Jean and his family would suffer regardless of the trial result and sentence. Convictions do not cure pain. Closure does not come in the courtroom. (There will be appeals, too.) Dealing with the pain of losing someone, or the pain of being a victim of a violent crime or sexual crime, takes more than any court can give. I recommend therapy. If anyone promises you closure through a conviction, they are lying to you and they know it and you should seek other sources for your healing.
As a person tired of seeing police shoot black and brown people (and poor white people), and people with mental disabilities, I am happy for any conviction of a police officer. Some might say this is a form of lynching. I hope officers work to avoid shooting. Police need training on de-escalation and ways to avoid shooting/killing. They need to be trained how to distinguish true life and death situations from the other 99.99% of situations in the world. The true perpetrator was bad training leading to bad thinking.
As a criminal defense attorney, I hear people say the castle doctrine or self defense should not be allowed to be argued to a jury. This I cannot abide. Self defense in all its forms is a protection for the individual when the government tries to second guess decisions, tough ones, that result in harm. When the press is involved, prosecutors start thinking like politicians and stop caring about the facts as much as a future election. Justice is not found in the press. The press is about selling papers. The press will make the facts seem a certain way to get more eyeballs, more clicks, more advertising dollars. Politician prosecutors will think their name and photograph means they can go to Congress or the Senate or maybe even President. But, at least they become a judge.
In Colorado, self defense is allowed to be argued even if there is only a scintilla of evidence. Very small. A judge excludes the defense only very rarely because they know the appellate courts will overturn the conviction. The law is designed to allow a citizen accused of a crime to present their defense. It is up to the jury to decide if the defense is viable. I believe in this theory. And, in the case, it appears the jury found the defense to be lacking. In another case, they might say this defense was viable. I am not in favor of limiting self defense, a right of the people. I favor the wisdom of the jury that sees and hears all the evidence.
Colorado has a make my day law that allows a judge to dismiss cases where person is defending themselves, their family or guests from intruders. The defense can also be argued to a jury if the judge does not dismiss. The basic tenants of self defense is that your reasonably believe you are facing danger, and that your response is reasonable to stop or prevent the danger you face. The greater the danger, the greater the force you can use to prevent it.
While I hope I never have to use force against a person, if I do need to, I want self defense to be a strong, fully developed personal right so I do not get convicted for protecting myself or my people. These rights may not be perfectly applied or argued, but when we need them, I want them there. Most of the time, a jury will do the right thing.
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