Lawyer Jailed for Refusing to Remove “Black Lives Matter” Pin

GeorgiaLeeLang100Ohio lawyer, Andrea Burton, was handcuffed and led out of a courtroom by an attending sheriff when she refused to comply with Judge Robert Milich’s  multiple requests that she remove her Black Lives Matter pin.  After her refusal, the Judge and Ms. Burton  adjourned to his chambers to discuss the impasse created by Ms. Burton’s position. She argued that the Court’s ruling was an unjustified infringement on her First Amendment right of free speech.

Judge Robert Milich reminded Ms. Burton  that based on Supreme Court case law, he had authority to prohibit any symbolic political expression in his courtroom. He later spoke to the media declaring, “There’s a difference between a flag, a pin from your church or the Eagles and having a pin that’s on a political issue”.

Judge Milich emphasized that his personal opinions had nothing to do with his decision.

“A judge doesn’t support either side, a judge is objective and tries to make sure everyone has an opportunity to have a fair hearing, and it was a situation where it was just in violation of the law.”

Burton was sentenced to five days in jail for contempt of court, although she was later released and her jail sentence “stayed” pending her appeal of the Judge’s contempt finding and  jail sentence.

Upon her release she told the local media that she believed that her First Amendment right overruled the Supreme Court law and Judge Milich’s discretion, and that she ignored the judge’s instructions because she didn’t want to remain neutral to injustice.  “To remain neutral becomes an accomplice to oppression, ” she remarked. She also said:

“It’s an act of civil disobedience, I understand that. I’m not anti-police, I work with law enforcement and I hold them in the highest regard, and just to say for the record I do believe all lives matter. But at this point they don’t all matter equally, and that’s the problem in the justice system.”

Not surprisingly, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People announced they would be following Burton’s case and believe her civil rights may have been violated.

My view is that judges have full authority and discretion to determine what is said and what is worn in their courtrooms. They  have jurisdiction to make findings of contempt for behaviour that does not comport with the required decorum and solemnity of our courts of law.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang







Divorce Lawyer Clandestinely Hypnotizes Female Clients

_DSC4179 - Version 2In a bizarre case out of Ohio, attorney Michael W. Fine, age 58, has been charged with numerous sexual offences arising from private appointments with a number of female clients, either in his office or in counsel rooms at the local courthouse.

The charges include rape, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, attempted rape, 15 counts of kidnapping, three counts of attempted kidnapping and two counts each of attempted sexual battery, attempted gross sexual imposition, gross sexual imposition and illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material.

Mr. Fine’s abusive activities were fostered by his ability to hypnotize his clients and take advantage of them while they were under hypnosis. The first client who blew the whistle on Mr. Fine recounted an uncomfortable feeling every time she left her lawyer’s office, with her disheveled clothing and a feeling she had lost track of time.

She reported the situation to the local police who told her not to return to his office, but she had a better idea. She continued to see her lawyer and secretly recorded what occurred. Later she played the recording and in shock and embarrassment returned to the police where they listened with mouths agape as they heard Michael Fine put her into a trance and then make outrageous sexual suggestions and physical overtures to her.

They asked Jane Doe #1 if she was prepared to wear a wire and video recorder which would be monitored by the police. The plan was that if and when Mr. Fine began his reprehensible acts they would burst into his office and arrest him. And that’s what they did.

The local bar association immediately suspended Mr. Fine from the practice of law and with the accompanying publicity 30 more women presented themselves as victims of his sex crimes. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Fine gave up his license to practice law.

The current indictments against Mr. Fine involves six women only, as many of his other victims are unable to provide sufficient evidence to satisfy the criminal burden of proof. However, police say they are continuing their investigation.

Not surprisingly, at least one victim has filed a civil suit against Michael Fine and the law firm that employed him. Her case is particularly alarming as she retained Mr. Fine to bring a civil suit for sexual abuse she endured as a child. She reportedly became close to him and considered him a second father.

Fine’s tactics included schooling his clients on relaxation and “mindfulness” techniques, a front for hypnotism and his own selfish sexual gratification.

He has plead not guilty to all charges.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

Creative Ohio Judge Renders Unusual Criminal Sentences

DSC00507 (2)Diamond Gaston, a 21-year old woman from Ohio was involved in a family feud. She retaliated by spraying pepper spray at her alleged antagonist at a local Burger King, an event that led to her arrest and sentencing for assault before Painesville Judge Michael Cicconetti.

She was offered a choice: she could spend 30 days in jail or be subject to her own pepper spray punishment, administered by her victim in the courtroom. She chose the latter. A canister of pepper spray was produced and several quick shots of the stinging substance blew into her face.

But the canister contained only water…had she learned her lesson? She had, and Judge Cicconetti resentenced her to three days of community service.

Later the same day, 18-year-old Victoria Bascom, appeared before him. She had taken a $30 cab ride but had failed to pay the fare. Judge Cicconetti presented her with two options: She could go to jail for 60 days or she could walk 30 miles at the county fairgrounds over a two-day period, monitored by a GPS. She opted for the walk and a fine of $100.

Judge Cicconetti is well-known for his creative sentencing. In one case he sentenced a drunk driver to a trip to the morgue to view crash victim’s bodies. For young offenders he often uses community service orders, like the time a teen drummer was ordered to play his drums in a local park as punishment for criminal mischief.

Judge Cicconetti eschews a “law and order” approach, saying:

“I do whatever I think will prevent a person from coming back in the courts again, Yeah it’s a little different. It’s a little unique, but maybe we just need that a little bit in the judicial system.”

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

Will State of Ohio Allow Parents to Terminate Daughter’s Chemo?

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In a difficult case from Akron, Ohio the Amish parents of a 10-year-old girl with leukemia, have found themselves in a court battle over who has the right to make life and death medical decisions.

The little girl was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma in April 2013 and was being treated with chemotherapy, when she begged her parents, Andy and Anna Hershberger, to terminate the treatment. Her parents were advised by doctors that with extensive chemo, over a two-year period, their daughter had an 85% chance of recovering from her illness.

This cancer is highly aggressive and when diagnosed the child is usually at stage 4.

Torn by their daughter’s pleas and the debilitating side effects they observed, they terminated the treatment in June and ended up defending the State’s court application to appoint as a temporary guardian, Maria Schimer, a former nurse, who is also an attorney, to make medical decisions in the child’s best interests.

The couple told the judge they were using holistic and herbal remedies together with the power of prayer. Medical experts testified that without treatment the girl had less than a year to live.

After hearing the evidence, Medina County Judge John Lohn ruled there was not a “scintilla” of evidence that the girl’s parents were unfit or incapable of making appropriate decisions for their daughter and dismissed the guardianship application.

However, an appeals court saw it differently, holding that it did not matter if the parents were fit and capable of making a reasonable decision, the only issue was whether the appointment of a guardian was in the child’s best interests.

The case will now go back to Judge Lohn for a new hearing. In the meantime, the chemo treatments have been resumed, pending a fresh ruling.

From an ethical perspective, the debate centers on the tension between respect for the parent’s wishes and religious beliefs, on the one hand, and the life of a young child, who may not survive without the treatment recommended by her doctors. The child’s desire to stop the chemo is understandable, but a child of ten is not capable of understanding the ramifications of her request.

In the child’s best interests, her parents must choose Life.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

Divorce Rates Double For Over 50’s

GEO CASUALThere are lots of divorce statistics floating around, some are accurate, but others are not. For example, it’s a myth that fifty per cent of Canadian marriages will end in divorce. Those are Americans numbers, that have recently dropped to 45%, while here in Canada it is closer to 40%.

However, a new study out of Ohio’s Bowling Green University from the Center for Family and Demographic Research tells a new tale.

Researchers Susan Brown and I-Fen Lin relied on 2009 data from the American Community Survey compiled by the United States Census Bureau. The question asked was: “Whether you were divorced or widowed during the calendar year 2009?”

Here’s what they found:

1. The divorce rate for persons over 50 has doubled since 1980;

2. One in four divorces involves spouses over 50-years-old;

3. Blacks and Hispanics are more likely to divorce than Caucasians;

4. Disabled persons are more likely to divorce or be widowed than non-disabled persons;

5. The less education you have, the more likely you are to be divorced or widowed.

Sobering facts that support the upward trend called “grey divorce”. Theories for the increase in divorce among older people range from our longer life spans to the financial means of women who work outside of the home in increasing numbers.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

Baby Boomers Embrace Divorce

An unprecedented phenomenon is taking place among baby boomers. In 1970 only 13% of adults over 50 were divorced, separated or never married. Today 33% of adults between 46 and 64 are divorced, separated or never married, according to census data compiled by Bowling Green State University in Ohio. As well, experts believe those numbers will increase as younger people approach their 40’s and 50’s, keeping in mind the lower rates of marriage among this age group.

The ramifications of this new reality are enormous for society in general. While older spouses typically rely on their spouses for support and care, the elderly single will look to government programs to assist them.

Statistics show that unmarried boomers are five times more likely to live in poverty than their married counterparts. They are also three times more likely to need food stamps, disability payments and social assistance.

Experts offer the following reasons for the surge in grey divorce:

1. People are living longer and married couples in their 50’s or 60’s are more reluctant to spend the rest of their lives together in a bad marriage;

2. As women become more financially independent they are more willing to leave a situation that their mothers and grandmothers could not, for purely economic reasons;

3. Baby boomers who experienced the sexual revolution of the 1960’s and 1970’s feel less social pressure to marry or stay married;

4. Being divorced or single as an older adult no longer holds the stigma it once did.

In our throw-away, secular society it is not surprising that the marriage covenant between husband and wife no longer has any value. However, spouses who have been abused verbally, emotionally, or physically can never be faulted for getting out to protect themselves and often, their children.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang