Friday, December 15, 2017

Top 10 from Texas Bar Today: Santa, Scrooge, and Dr. Seuss

Originally published by Joanna Herzik.

10. Law Students: Why Should a Law Firm Hire You?Cordell Parvin @cordellparvin of Cordell Parvin LLC in Dallas

9. The Problem with “Acceptable” SpeedingStewart Guss @StewartGuss of Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law in Houston

8. Is Your Company Email to Santa Protected?Cleve Clinton of Gray Reed & McGraw @GrayReedLaw in Dallas

7. Use Your Calendar for Legal Marketing Success in 2018Bruce Vincent of Muse Communications, LLC @MuseCommLLC in Dallas

6. Don’t Unwittingly Abandon Your PropertyJeff Zane of Merlin Law Group @MerlinLawGroup

5. Fact Sheet: Estimating Potential Capital Gains Tax LiabilityTiffany Dowell Lashmet @TiffDowell, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Agricultural Law with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension in College Station

4. Three Recent Arguments in Texas Supreme Court: Offset Clauses, the Rule Against Perpetuities, and the Duhig RuleJohn McFarland of Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody @GravesDougherty in Austin

3. Dr. Seuss and Star Trek at Odds over Copyrights and Trademarks – Peggy Keene of Klemchuk LLP @K_LLP in Dallas

2. Finding Scrooge: Trial-Tested Tips for Seating a Defense-Friendly JuryKacy Miller of CourtroomLogic Consulting, LLC @CourtroomLogic in Dallas and Fort Worth

1. The Greatest Gift My Father Gave MeBrian Cuban @bcuban

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Texas Bar Foundation grant to help CJP upgrade technology

Originally published by Eric Quitugua.

The Community Justice Program, the San Antonio Bar Association’s pro bono project, will be able to expand and upgrade infrastructure thanks to a $20,800 grant from the Texas Bar Foundation.

The money will help CJP replace malfunctioning laptops and cover the purchase of other equipment the program needs for its services.

Since October 2002, the program has held community clinics offering legal advice and services in areas of law including family law, wills and probate, and veterans law. CJP has helped more than 10,000 low-income clients since the start of the clinics, according to a press release. With the grant from the Texas Bar Foundation, the program will be better able to accommodate volunteer demand and assist clients.

The Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $18 million in grants to law-related programs since it began in 1965, according to a press release.

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What is a Voluntary Recall?

Originally published by Paul Cannon.

Most people know that when a product, food, or medication is recalled by a governmental entity such as the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) or the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the recall should be taken seriously. If a government agency finds it necessary to order goods off the shelves and out of circulation, or […]

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An Estate Planning Nightmare: Hopper v. JP Morgan

Originally published by Gerry W. Beyer.

Max Hopper served as Senior Vice President of American Airlines, Chief Information Officer of Bank of America, and was chairman of the Sabre Group. The Texas native accumulated an extensive and impressive resume over the course of his working career….

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Discounts for vacations

Originally published by Staff Report.

Need a vacation? Your Beneplace Savings Program has great deals on luggage, rental cars, hotel reservations and vacation packages—everything you need to get away and have the trip of a lifetime.

If your luggage is starting to look a little worse for the wear, it’s time to start thinking about an upgrade. Save an additional 10% off the already lowest prices on luggage and travel goods from Luggage Designers. They feature the lowest prices on luggage, suitcases, anti-theft travel bags, RFID blocking wallets, backpacks, duffels, handbags, leather goods, totes, garment bags, luggage sets, sports bags, and a complete line of travel accessories for your trip.

Don’t overpay for your rental car. Take advantage of an Enterprise membership and enjoy a discount on their everyday low rates. When you’re ready to go, Enterprise makes it easy. Or try a Zipcar membership—you can book sedans, hybrids, SUVs and vans whenever you need. Then, just walk to the car, scan in with your Zipcard and drive.

Check out great savings on accommodations, by land or by sea. Save up to 20% with Wyndham. From upscale hotels and all-inclusive resorts to something more cost-effective, Wyndham has the right hotel for you! Discount Hotel Reservations offers exclusive rates up to 60% off – with over 8,000 hotels around the globe. Book a vacation with Cruise & Vacation Perks and save 4%! Plus, CVP brings you added-value offers, including special pricing, cabin upgrades and onboard credits.

Current offers provided by Beneplace.

For more information on other discounts you’re eligible for as a member of the State Bar of Texas, visit

Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange
The Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange is a multi-carrier private exchange designed for State Bar of Texas members and their staff and dependents. Available to both individuals and employer groups, the exchange offers a wide range of health insurance choices and more.

State Bar of Texas – Benefits & Services

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The Problem With “Acceptable” Speeding

Originally published by Stewart J. Guss.

Many drivers think that going a few miles over the speed limit here and going a few more miles over the speed limit there is acceptable speeding—basically a non-event. Speed limits, however, are posted for one important reason—to protect the safety of everyone on the road (other vehicles and pedestrians alike). If you think there’s a time and a place for exceeding the posted speed limit, now’s probably a good time to reevaluate your notions about acceptable speeding.

Speed Limit Laws in Texas

While many states implement absolute speed limits (whatever speed is posted on the sign is the absolute legal limit, and if you exceed that limit, you’ve broken the law), Texas implements presumed speed limit laws (or prima facie speed limits), which allow drivers some flexibility regarding speed—which means that as long as you drive safely within the context of the driving conditions, you’re allowed some wiggle room with the speed limit. Texas law does, however, mark specific instances when you must appropriately reduce your speed:

  • When you approach an intersection or railroad crossing
  • When you drive around a curve
  • When you approach a hill’s crest
  • When you travel on a narrow or winding roadway
  • Whenever you encounter any special traffic hazards, including pedestrians, inclement weather, or dangerous road conditions

As we all know, some drivers don’t think the rules apply to them. If you or someone you care about was injured by a speeding driver, you need an experienced Houston personal injury lawyer. The legal team at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, has the skill, knowledge, and dedication to protect your rights and your rightful compensation.

The Speed Limits

Although Texas implements presumed speed limit laws, it has specific prima facie limits for specific areas:

  • 15 miles per hour in urban district alleys
  • 15 miles per hour on beaches or on county roads that are adjacent to a beach
  • 30 miles per hour on urban district streets
  • 60 miles per hour on unnumbered highways outside urban districts
  • 70 miles per hour on numbered highways outside urban districts

Speed Kills

When you choose to exceed the posted speed limit, you endanger yourself and everyone else on the road. Speed limits are posted for the safety of all, and Texas’s presumed speed limit laws notwithstanding, these limits are not mere suggestions. When drivers choose to embrace acceptable speeding, they elect to drive at a speed for which the roadway wasn’t necessarily built and they make our highways and byways more dangerous.

As your vehicle’s speed increases, your braking distance lengthens, and your available reaction time decreases. In fact, the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that, in 2015, more than 9,500 people were killed by speeding drivers in the United States. Furthermore, for more than two decades, speed has played a role in about a third of vehicular fatalities.

When You Speed

You know that speeding is dangerous in general, but speeding is closely associated with a variety of specific dangers:

  • You increase your odds of losing control of your car.
  • You reduce the effectiveness of your car’s occupant protection devices (seat belts and airbags, for example).
  • You increase the severity of medical, psychological, economic injuries if you crash.

Speeding Explained

The NHTSA considers speeding a form of aggressive driving. Significant societal factors have contributed to the increase in aggressive driving:

  • Traffic congestion
  • Late for a very important date
  • The anonymity of driving

Many drivers blame increased traffic congestion for their aggressive driving patterns, including speeding. Traffic is a fact of modern living, however—if you drive, take a deep breath when you get behind the wheel and stay cool out there.

All of our lives are crammed with important meetings, job functions, kid stuff, and any number of other activities. Life is busy, and with the holidays approaching, it’s especially so. By planning ahead and allowing yourself the time to get where you need to go, however, you aid your ability to arrive safely and timely at your destination.

Many drivers cite the anonymity of driving as contributing to their aggressive driving. When you get behind the wheel, you may experience a sense of detachment—almost as if you are an observer rather than a participant in the action all around you. Some drivers find this sensation loosens their inhibitions on the road. But driving is serious business—never allow the cocoon-like quality of your vehicle to encourage you to drive any way other than safely.

As drivers clock more hours on the road and as traffic continues to intensify, more drivers are adopting aggressive driving habits, including speeding. Check in with yourself when you drive. If you find yourself getting hot under the collar, it’s probably a good time to focus on driving safely. Don’t let your own or anyone else’s aggressive driving endanger your life.

If You Were Injured by a Speeding Driver, Contact an Experienced Houston Personal Injury Attorney Today

When drivers choose their own acceptable speed limits, they put everyone on the road in danger. If a speeding driver injured you or someone you care about, you know just how difficult that can be. Don’t leave your rights to chance—you need a skilled Houston personal injury lawyer.

These cases can be complicated, but your rights matter. The legal team at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, is here to help. We have defended claims like yours for more than 20 years, and we are committed to effectively advocating for all our clients. You don’t have to go through this alone. We’ll thoroughly investigate your case, fight for your just compensation, and file a lawsuit on your behalf if necessary. If you were injured by the negligence of a speeding driver, please don’t hesitate to either send us an email through our online contact form or call our team at (281) 664-6500 for a free consultation today. Remember—you pay us nothing up front when we take your case, and you pay us nothing unless and until we’ve won your recovery.

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Undocumented Immigrant Not Guilty of Steinle Murder, Will Be Deported

Originally published by John Floyd.

Undocumented Immigrant Not Guilty of Steinle Murder, Will Be Deported

The undocumented immigrant charged with shooting and killing Kate Steinle in San Francisco in 2015 was recently acquitted of murder, although he will be deported to Mexico on other felony charges.


Even before this controversial jury verdict, the Steinle case has triggered a political firestorm across the nation’s political spectrum, fueling the debate about the legal and practical issues surrounding  sanctuary cities should.


This past summer, a bill called Kate’s Law was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.


The law would allow enhanced prison sentencing for immigrants who have repeat incidents of illegally entering the U.S. The bill, however, has stalled in the Senate, and the potential for its revival is uncertain.


Jose Ines Garcia Zarate’s not guilty verdict has generated a renewed political uproar.


President Donald Trump tweeted that the decision was “disgraceful,” and ICE’s Deputy Director Tom Homan called San Francisco’s sanctuary city status “a blatant threat to public safety.”


Steinle’s family was not present when the verdict was read.


What exactly happened to cause uproar?


The Tragic Tale of Kate Steinle and Jose Ines Garcia Zarate


On July 1, 2015, 32-year-old Kate Steinle was walking with her father on Pier 14 in San Francisco. Suddenly, a bullet from a Sig Sauer .40-caliber handgun shot through her back and pierced her aorta. Two hours later, Steinle died in a local hospital. Mexican citizen Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, 45, a man who has had a long-standing problem with non-violent crimes, was charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter, assault with a deadly weapon, and other violations in connection with Steinle’s death.


Known by several aliases, Garcia Zarate had been released from jail about 10 weeks before the killing, where he had been held on drug charges. San Francisco authorities did not report his release to the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which reportedly had been trying to deport Garcia Zarate but had neglected to present a detainer warrant to local authorities.


At the time of the shooting, Garcia Zarate was homeless and wandering around the area. Video at Pier 14 showed Garcia Zarate running away from the scene. His hand was covered with gunshot residue, which was discovered upon his arrest.


Garcia Zarate’s attorney said that his client found the cloth-wrapped gun at the pier and it discharged by accident when he unwrapped it. However, when Garcia Zarate was questioned by police, he admitted to aiming the gun at a seal. He said the gun fired when he stepped on it. After the gun discharged, he threw it into the San Francisco Bay. The gun had been stolen four days earlier from a Bureau of Land Management ranger vehicle parked near the pier.


Throughout the month-long trial, Garcia Zarate’s attorney maintained that the firing was an accident and that the bullet ricocheted 80 feet before reaching Steinle. The details surrounding the shooting were intensely debated by both sides, and the jury deliberated six days before reaching their final decision.


Houston Immigration Crimes Attorney


On Nov. 30 Garcia Zarate was acquitted of all the charges relating to Steinle death but was found guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm, which carries a three-year prison sentence.


Federal officials will report him back to Mexico. This deportation will be Garcia Zarate’s sixth from the U.S.


What the Steinle Case Says about the State of Illegal Immigration and Sanctuary Cities


This case sparked a national discussion because San Francisco is known as a “sanctuary city” for undocumented immigrants like Garcia Zarate. That means local law enforcement officers have decided they do not have a responsibility to enforce immigration laws, which they consider to be under ICE’s jurisdiction.


Attorney General Jeff Sessions has stated that the city of San Francisco bears the blame for the Steinle killing because of its status as a sanctuary city.


Other political conservatives have joined this politicized clamor by charging that Steinle’s death would not have occurred if the San Francisco police had turned Garcia Zarate over to ICE rather than releasing him from jail.


For their part, Kate Steinle’s parents filed a lawsuit against the city of San Francisco and its sheriff in 2016, but it was dismissed earlier this year. Now they have filed a wrongful death suit against both San Francisco and the federal government.


Despite these accusations and potential legal concerns, the recently deceased San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee released a statement affirming San Francisco as a sanctuary city. However, the city has agreed to cooperate with future detention requests from ICE if the offender has a felony conviction for serious or violent crimes within the past seven years.


Kates Law Immigration Crimes


Something that should be noted: even if that policy had been in place at the time of the killing, it would not have held Garcia Zarate in jail any longer because he did not have a history of violence.


Bottom line?


Immigration law is changing rapidly in the current political climate. If you are facing charges for alleged immigration crimes, enlist the help of an experienced attorney who keeps up with the latest happenings and has a track record of success dealing with these types of offenses. Reach out now for your confidential case review.


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