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Jackson Legal Issues Blog

Bulldog sophomore faces assault charges

It may be easy for many in Hazlehurst to jump to conclusions about the guilt or innocence of any suspect report to have been arrested. Personal experience, familiarity and bias may often shape opinions before the facts of a matter are ever released. The danger in this is that it could potentially compromise the possibility of those that are at the center of such stories being able to be judged fairly should their cases wind up in local courts. A rush to judgment can also unfairly stigmatize someone. Once a person is associated with the stigma of criminal activity, it can very difficult to overcome. 

One can only hope that such a stigma does not continue to follow a young Hattiesburg as he is forced to with criminal charges. The man (who is entering his sophomore season as a wide receiver on Mississippi State's football team), was arrested on assault charges. He has since been released on bond. Whether his arrest has affected is standing as a university student or as a member of the football team has not yet been reported. 

Injuries can remain hidden after a car accident

After a motor vehicle accident, no matter how severe it seemed, you should always go to the hospital for a comprehensive evaluation. As an example, take the occupants of one vehicle who all went to the hospital after a single-car crash in Mississippi. They were reportedly in stable condition. 

Some vehicle collisions are severe enough that you will know there is a problem right in the moment. However, depending on the extent of the crash and how much adrenaline goes through your body, you may not realize something is wrong. It is paramount to see a doctor within 24 hours of a crash, so you can draw a clear causation between the collision and any hidden injuries in a personal injury case. 

What do you need to know about food recalls?

The recent recalls of romaine lettuce had people across the country on edge for weeks, due to reports of E. coli contamination, including some consumers getting seriously ill and at least one death. You might breathe a sigh of relief now that you can find your favorite salad on grocery store shelves again, but like many Mississippi residents, you might also have concerns about possible recalls of your favorite foods in the future.

As you know, contaminated food can make you sick and can even be life-threatening. Food distributors, manufacturers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the Department of Agriculture can issue recalls on food products for numerous reasons. The following information, according to FindLaw, illustrates the problems you could encounter that might prompt a recall:

  • Contamination of the food, including bacteria, glass pieces, vermin droppings or cleaning agents
  • Labels that are missing a warning for a known allergen
  • Mislabeled products – for example, a can labeled “corn” when it contains beans
  • Damaged or improperly stored batches with an increased risk of spoiled or contaminated food

Ocean Springs contractor arrested for not completing work

One might assume that the actions most would classify as "criminal" in Hazlehurst are very well-defined. However, as is the case in almost any industry, there are grey areas when it comes to the law where confusion exists as to whether or not any statutes have actually been violated. There might be some who say that in such cases, law enforcement officials should err on the side of caution and arrest the alleged offenders, and then allow things to sort themselves out. Yet what about the rights of those accused in these cases? 

While several types of fraud have been identified as being criminal, contractor fraud may be viewed as skirting along the aforementioned grey area. That at least is the claim being made by the state attorney in response to being asked about a recent case in Ocean Springs. A local contractor was recently arrested after it was alleged in at least two cases, he collected deposits to perform home repairs and additions, yet never actually completed the work. 

What is fruit of the poisonous tree?

If you face any type of criminal charge(s) in Mississippi, you should know about the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine because it may advantageously affect your case when you go to trial. As LawTeacher.net explains, the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine has been part of American criminal law for over a century. The U.S. Supreme Court first mentioned the concept back in 1886 in the case of Boyd v. United States. Not until 53 years later, however, did Justice Felix Frankfurter actually coin the phrase in another U.S. Supreme Court case, Nardone v. United States.

This doctrine flows from your Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement officers and other governmental officials. The phrase “fruit of the poisonous tree” is a metaphor. The “fruit” part refers to evidence that officers gather against you; the “poisonous tree” part refers to the way in which they go about gathering that evidence. If they seize the “fruit” during an unreasonable search, that search is the “poisonous tree” from which they cannot benefit. In other words, the evidence cannot be used against you in a court of law.

Responding to an assault accusation

Discovering that a possible assault charge is in one's future can certainly be a terrifying experience. Regardless of what happened, the privacy of everyone involved can suddenly be at stake. With harassment being a focal point of concern in today's world, there have been many debates on how one should react to an assault accusation. Mississippi residents may look to successful examples to best approach such a complex issue.

By looking to past incidents, one can develop an understanding of assault charges and the procedures that typically ensue. Business Insider presents three general reactions to sexual harassment allegations, noting that no matter the details of the case, reactions to any claim can be paramount to one's reputation. It is common for men to become defensive in these situations -- and reasonably so. Utter disbelief in regard to the accusation is another typical reaction, followed by the difficulty in empathizing with victims. It is normal for men to shift to self-protection mode; Business Insider points toward societal attitudes regarding assault and harassment for these knee-jerk reactions.

What is the most dangerous work industry?

Earlier in 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 71 people were killed on the job in Mississippi in 2016, down by five from the previous year. Of that number, 34—nearly half—were due to transportation incidents. The next highest category of job-related deaths was workers who received injuries from other people or animals. Fatal contact with equipment and objects was the third-highest category with 12 fatalities.

These numbers are in line with nationwide statistics that attribute transportation incidents with the highest number of work fatalities at 40 percent. Violence and injuries received from other people and animals was the second-leading cause of death at 17 percent, followed closely by slips, falls and trips at 16 percent.

Should lane-splitting be legal?

Motorcycle enthusiasts far and wide have debated over the topic of lane-splitting. An action in which a motorcyclist goes in between lanes during slow-moving or stopped traffic, lane-splitting can save time by allowing motorcyclists to move through congestion quickly. Those in favor of this practice argue that not only can it save time; it can also help motorcyclists get out of uncomfortable, extreme temperatures and can boost fuel efficiency. Currently, lane-splitting in Mississippi is not authorized, but could it one day follow suit after California has adopted this driving practice? 

The Pew Research Center takes a look at this controversial topic in an article on lane-splitting safety, noting that California is the only state that currently allows such actions on the road. However, many states in recent years have made efforts to change strict lane-splitting laws. PEW confirms these efforts by stating that legislators have attempted to push bills that legalize this driving method in at least 15 other states, but to no success. Some motorcyclists have even taken to protests in attempts to modify laws. Currently, PEW shares that seven states -- including Massachusetts and Arizona -- are taking steps this year to legalize lane-splitting.

Should I sign a prenuptial agreement?

In the climate of a 50-percent-divorce rate, prenuptial agreements in Mississippi are more common today than ever before. A premarital contract can lend peace of mind to a spouse-to-be who wants to protect personal and business assets. Like any decision, there are pros and cons to be considered, as outlined by FindLaw below.

Pros of making a prenuptial agreement

Motorcycle safety: tips to avoid distracted drivers

Warm weather is quickly approaching, and that can only mean one thing for many Mississippi residents: the motorcycles are coming out to play. Most are aware of the inherent dangers of motorcycle riding -- especially when compared to the protection of a regular vehicle -- but it is easy to get carried away with the thrills of riding itself. Below are a few tips cyclists can keep in mind when getting out alongside other, potentially distracted drivers.

Before picking up a few safety tips, riders can look to the typical factors involved in accidents across the country. The Insurance Information Institute shares that speeding and alcohol are the top two factors in motorcycle crashes; the type and design of bikes also play a role in accidents. For instance, the III states that supersport motorcycles, which are used most commonly for racing, pose a higher risk to riders than other types of bikes. The III also reported that older motorcyclists were more prone to dangerous wrecks than younger drivers, with decrease in vision and reaction time causing a large majority of wrecks.