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When the Gatekeepers of Your Identity Are Hacked

Well, it looks like Equifax just got hacked.  The "credit reporting agency" says it may have affected 143 million people.  That is essentially 2/3rd of the people in this country with credit.

According to Bloomberg, Equifax is "also offering free credit-file monitoring and identify-theft protection."  That last part - identity thef protection - Heh.

Who do they report identity theft to?  That is the question

Some Post Harvey Thoughts

Right after a disaster, the cockroaches come out in droves.  In this case, by cockroaches, I mean scammers, thieves, and all around bad folks.

I will get back to the bad guys in just a minute.  If your home was damaged by Harvey, before you do anything else, take photos of all of the damage you find.  Then, make sure you repair Things like the roof or broken windows and keep the receipt.  This will all come in handy later.

If your vehicle took on water higher than the floorboard, do not try to start it.  You may cause more damage than the flooding did.  Take it (towed) to the same kind of dealership of the make of the car and have them check it out.  Hopefully you were smart enough when you  bought car insurance, that you purchased the highest towing coverage you can (it is the least expensive thing to buy).

Oh, and the stupid crap about having to file your insurance claim before September 1, 2017 is just that.  A bunch of crap.  HB 1774 does not change the insurance claims process. A person making a claim with his/her insurance company after September 1, 2017 will go through the same process as a person making a claim before September 1, 2017.

Back to the roaches, er bad guys.

If any contractor comes to your house to give an estimate - do not pay them anything.  If the contractor says they will "negotiate" with the insurance company, send them on their way.  If someone comes to your house claiming to be an insurance adjuster, that person should have ID, and should know your name and who you have a policy with, and the type of coverage.  If they don't, send them on their way.

If any contractor tries to act like there is some sort of rush to get things done, send them on their way.  FEMA will not be going door to door - anyone who says they are FEMA going door to door is likely a crook.  You have to apply for assistance with FEMA before they send anyone.  Then they will arrange an appointment.

If anyone wants to get any information from you that appears to be a possible contractor or represetative from the government.  Ask for ID.  Take a picture of that ID.  Do this befor speaking with them.

Whatever You do - Stay safe!

Something Some Folks Should know About School Zones

Note - this is not legal advice, it is however a practical explanation of traffic laws (at least in Texas)

Ok, near me there are some school zones tat are marked improperly.  What they do is they have  a traffic control device (sign) that ends the school zone, but then they have an "END SCHOOL ZONE" sign way after, by Texas law, the school zone ends.

Traffic law is pretty simple for the most part in Texas concerning signs.  The most recent traffic control device, or sign, sets the speed.  Example, you are approaching a town and you are on a road marked "SPEED LIMIT 75".  That means the speed limit is 75 MPH. When you come upon a "SPEED LIMIT 65" (the most recent sign) that sign designates the speed limit to be 65 MPH.  Now the same is true leaving the town.  You start out , say at a 30 MPH speed limit.  You see a sign that says "SPEED LIMIT 45" (most recent traffic control device) so now the speed limit is 45 MPH, and so on, and so on.

So, here is the problem - the school zone starts with a "SCHOOL ZONE SPEED LIMIT 20" (with some specific times). It means during those times, the speed limit is 20 MPH and you cannot use a wireless device while driving in the school zone.

Then you come upon a "SPEED LIMIT 35" sign.  At that point you may or may not be in the School Zone, but the speed limit is now 35 MPH.  There is later a sign that says "END SCHOOL ZONE" and "SPEED LIMIT 35."  Since there is a sign that says "END SCHOOL ZONE" it designates that the area where you cannot use a wireless device is now over, or ended.

However, intentional or not, the "SPEED LIMIT 35" sign in the middle of the school zone sets the speed limit back to 35 MPH.  That is the most recent traffic control device and it sets the speed limit, just as the "SCHOOL ZONE SPEED LIMIT 20" had set the speed limit to 20 MPH from the previous speed limit.

If it was done intentionally, I smell a speed trap.  If not, well, they may need to remove some unnecessary signs.

Whatever you do out there - Stay Safe!

Process Service - It is All About Integrity

OK, I had an inner debate whether or not to post about this.  I don't like to point out when other folks in my profession screw up. However, I was hired, basically to clean up someone else's mess.  SO I thought I would talk about it in generic terms.

If you cannot be trusted that your word is your word in the process service business, you have already lost in the process service business.  See, some young, inexperienced process servers think that you have to show that you serve the papers above all else to have credibility.  This isn't really the case.

First of all, there is this thing in Texas called alternative service.  If I am trying to serve you, and I do not catch you at home (but I can show it is your home), I do not have to serve you in person.  If I make (in most Texas Counties) 3 attempts to serve you at home (or work) and I do not catch you there - whether or not it is because you don't answer the door, or you are just not there - I can write an affidavit stating my attempts and how I know you live (or work) there and a judge more often than not will allow alternative service.  That usually means I can either leave the papers with anyone over 16 at the residence, or I can "post" them to the front door (or gate if I cannot access the door). Posting simply means attaching it (usually bu tape) to the front door.

Here is the key.  The affidavit.  If a process server ever lies on an affidavit - they may as well quit the business.  Why?  Several reasons.  First, you have committed a felony (perjury).  Second, if you lied once - every single service you have done can be contested.  Every single service you do in the future can be contested.  You have no credibility - none.  See every return a process server files is either a notarized statement, or a statement made "under penalty of perjury" when filed wit the court.  Once you have been found out to have lied - there is no reason to believe you.

Do servers make mistakes on returns?  Sure they do - a mistake is not a lie.  It can be corrected with an amended return.  If you make enough returns, you will need to make amended returns.  If you lie on an affidavit or return - You are done.  I mean for good. Forever.  There is no "grace period."

To circle back to what I said earlier, about pressure to show that you "serve" the papers, this is the only motivation I can think of for a process server to lie on a return or affidavit.  Why lie.

As a process server, I am a professional disinterested third party.  My job is to to do the best I can to serve the documents, but if I cannot, there usually are remedies in the system.  It is no skin off of my nose if I do not get someone served, if I have put forth due diligence to get the papers to them.

So, there is someone who knows the specifics of a process server who lied in an affidavit.  That person is now obligated under Texas rules to report this to the JBCC (the folks who regulate process servers).  I hope that this is done.

If You Have Access to a Large Audience - You May Want to Learn Facts Before Spouting Opinions

I am addressing the shooting of Philando Castile in Minnesota.  Yes, there is a video that was shot after the fact where Ms. Lavish "Diamond" Reynolds narrates a video while still sitting in the vehicle next to Castile after he has been shot.  I find it interesting that she calmly tells her story about what happened while Castile is dying next to her.  At this point, I will emphasize the word "story."

Let's look at what she said vs what the facts are:

Reynolds said in the video that the police stopped them for a busted tail light.  This is an outright lie.

The real fact is: The police stopped them because Castile matched the prescription of criminal that had robbed a convenience store.  Well, really he looked like one of the men that was caught on video robbing a convenience store in the same neighborhood. The police had been distributed still photos from the video the day before the traffic stop.

Here is what officer Yanez radioed in when making the stop:  “I’m going to stop a car. I’m going to check IDs. I have reason to pull it over. The two occupants look just like people that were involved in a robbery. The driver looks more like one of our suspects, just ‘cause of the wide set nose.” 

Reynolds says that Castile had a concealed carry permit on his left leg. This has yet to be proven. We know that the local county sheriff (Ramsey MN) did not issue one.  Beyond that, we only have the word of someone who could coldly narrate propaganda while her boyfriend is dying next to her.

Reynolds said the officer told Castile to get his ID.  This does not appear to be the case.  In her video - if you look closely - you can see a gun by his left leg.  You also hear Yanez say "I told him not to reach for it." "I told him to get his hand off it."

What I found most odd during this video is that Reynolds was completely calm whilst giving an intentional false narrative of what happened.  Maybe I am missing something, but that is awfully cold hearted,  One would wonder why she would do such a thing.  Remember what to follow folks.

Now, I am not saying Castile was one of the robbers.  I am saying he looked an awful lot like one of them.  Meanwhile - we know what was stolen in the robbery - cash and 2 cartons of Newport Cigarettes. 

From the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension's Facebook post:

"...Suspect #2: Black male, shoulder length dreadlocks (some had been pulled into a bun), green baseball cap, sunglasses, a small mustache and some chin hair, tan pants, tan shoes with white soles, and a green long sleeved jacket. The two are suspects in an armed robbery that occurred Saturday, July 2 around 7:30 p.m. at the Super USA at 2424 Larpenteur Avenue in Lauderdale. The suspects took cash from the register and cartons of Newport cigarettes."

Maybe it is coincidence, but look what kind of cigaretts you see in Reynolds hand in a video shot later.

All I am saying is - the false narrative or literally the false narration - has already been accepted by most of the media and everyone from President Obama to the governor of Minnesota.  I cannot yet say for sure the shooting was justified - but the pendelum sure has swung that way.

Stay safe!

Will Smith Killed - Road Rage, or a Planned Homicide?

New Orleans Saints own Will Smith was allegedly shot and killed by Cardell Hayes after a traffic accident.  Apparently Hayes rear ended the car that Smith was Driving.  Smith's wife was in the car.  She was also shot but was taken to the hospital for treatment.  Smith leaves behind his wife and 3 children.

Thiis has been reported as a "road rage" incident.  However, Hayes has a shady history, and was somehow supposedly workig security for the New Orleans Saints.  How a guy that had plead guilty in 2014 to the illegal carrying of a weapon and drug paraphernalia works security kind of has e baffled.

It is also interesting to note that Hayes had filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NO PD.  It is interesting that former NOPD commander Billy Ceravolo was named specifically in that suit.  He was also seen together with Smith and Pierre Thomas earlier that same evening.

As of now, the NO PD is saying that Hayes and Smith did not know each other.

It all may be just circumstance, but it is hard to believe it is just circumstance.

Stay Safe!

Fisking a "Copblock" Video

I decided to fisk this "copblock" video.  The reason is that it is labeled "JSO SHERIFF ILLEGALLY DETAINS ME. I SET THEM STRAIGHT."

While this guy is probably quite proud of himself, he would have likely gone to jail if I was a the cop who had stopped him.

First here is the video:

Second, before you wish to argue - he is indeed the person that was stalking (he just allegedly has a license to do so - unbeknownst to the officer since the guy chose to act like a dickhead.)

 I guess neither the guy in the video nor the cops understand "reasonable suspicion."  Reasonable suspicion is a very low bar to clear.  This stop is exactly the classic example of what reasonable suspicion is.  The cops handled it poorly.

Let's look at reasonable suspicion.  Reasonable suspicion is commonly said to be based on "specific and articulable facts", "taken together with rational inferences from those facts", and the suspicion must be associated with the specific individual.

Let's look at the reasonable suspicion in this incident:

There was a dispatched report of a vehicle that matches the description of the stopped one possibly stalking someone in the area.  These are specific and articulable facts.  Apparently the stop was made because the officer made the rational inference from the facts that this could indeed be the same vehicle as reported.  The driver is the specific individual connected to all of these facts.

When the cop stopped him, all he had to say is "The reason I stopped you, is that your vehicle matches the description of a vehicle that is reportedly involved in a crime in this area."  If the driver did anything remotely like the guy in the video, he then should have had the driver exit the vehicle (because if I am the cop, at this point the driver is affirming to me he is likely the potential criminal involved and therefore could possibly be a threat if he is indeed the criminal).  The officer should have checked him for weapons and then began his investigation.  He should have begun with questions the officer has a right to know. Questions like:

Is this your vehicle?
Do you have any weapons in the vehicle?
Have you been driving around this neighborhood for a while?

OK, before I continue, let me point out that the police officer does not have to say what crime he is investigating.  It is not the driver's right to know at his point, as a part of the investigation, the officer is determining if the potential criminal is probably the criminal (if he is probably the criminal - then he may arrest the guy).  How he reacts to the investigation itself can help determine if he is probably the guy committing the crime.

If the driver decides to be uncooperative, and not answer any questions, the officer could determine at this point, that based upon all the facts, this guy probably is the guy that has committed the crime.  He can proceed in a way that is appropriate.  Also note, that while the dickhead in the video has the right to not answer questions, the officer is not obligated in any way to justify his actions to the dickhead.

Well, stay safe - and don't make the mistake this guy did - he got away with it - but he could have gotten arrested and lost his license - trying to "prove a point" and he was wrong.