Posts filtered by tags: Ask the Lawyer[x]


 

Can Trump be held liable for the violence on January 6th at the Capitol? Ask the lawyer

Q: This is my first question: The NAACP and a member of Congress have filed a lawsuit against former President Donald Trump and Rudy Guliani accusing them of conspiring with extremist groups to block the presidential electoral vote count on Jan. 6, and are liable for the riot. Does that case have any chance of succeeding? -H.D., Torrance Ron Sokol A: The lawsuit says the defendants (Trump, Guiliani, the Proud Boys, and the Oath Keepers) shared a common goal “of employing intimidation, harass...
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What conduct is subject to the death penalty under federal law? Ask the lawyer

Q: With the high number of federal executions at the end of President Donald Trump’s administration, I began to wonder what crimes actually qualify for this and must they be committed on federal lands? -S.M., Long Beach Ron Sokol A: Our federal government had not executed an inmate since 2003, but that changed in July, at which time a former white supremacist (Daniel Lewis Lee) was put to death for the 1996 murders of a family of three. There were then a total of 10 executions in 2020 and in...
Tags: News, Senate, Sport, Joe Biden, Soccer, United States, Biden, Donald Trump, Ada, Trump, Marina del Rey, Manhattan Beach, Top Stories LADN, Top Stories OCR, Top Stories PE, Top Stories IVDB


How does a recall of the governor work? Ask the lawyer

Q: Gov. Gavin Newsom may be subject to recall. How does that happen? What does it require? -G.N., Seal Beach Ron Sokol A: California citizens have the authority to carry out a recall of an elected official, such as the governor, by Article 2 sections 13-19 of the California Constitution. To begin the process, the first step is a notice-of-intent-to-recall petition signed by 65 voters. For the actual recall petition itself, the signature amount must equal a percentage of the total number of v...
Tags: News, California, Senate, Sport, Soccer, Ada, Gavin Newsom, Trump, State, Manhattan Beach, Newsom, La Crescenta, Top Stories LADN, Top Stories OCR, Top Stories PE, Top Stories IVDB


Can Trump legally be tried, convicted by Senate despite being out of office? Ask the lawyer

Q: The purpose of impeachment is to remove someone from office. So is the U.S. Senate trial legal even though former President Donald Trump is out of office? And what’s the point? -C.K., Pasadena Ron Sokol A: The Constitution provides Congress with the authority to impeach and remove the president, vice president and other federal “civil officers” for treason, bribery or “other high crimes and misdemeanors.” It is part of the critical checks and balances of our governmental system, and is a ...
Tags: News, Congress, Senate, Sport, Soccer, Donald Trump, Trump, U S Senate, Congressional Research Service, Manhattan Beach, Top Stories LADN, Top Stories OCR, Top Stories PE, Top Stories IVDB, Top Stories RDF, Top Stories Sun


Is this ADA lawsuit against my company a scam? Ask the lawyer

Q: We own a discount clothing store. With the coronavirus, it has been a struggle to stay open, but we are loyal to both our employees and customers. We just got a letter from some law firm saying a person in a wheelchair came into the store but the aisles were not wide enough for her to get through, and so there is a violation of the American with Disabilities Act.  They are demanding we pay the person and fix the problem but we believe the aisles are ADA compliant. Is this a scam? -D.A, Carson...
Tags: News, California, Sport, Soccer, Ada, Trump, Manhattan Beach, Legislatures, Baldwin Hills, Ron Sokol, Ask the Lawyer, Carson Ron Sokol, DA Gascon, Can Biden


What is Section 230 and why is it so controversial? Ask the lawyer

Q: I keep reading about Section 230, and heated arguments back and forth. Just what is going on there? -F.S., Los Angeles Ron Sokol A: Section 230 is a provision of the 1996 Communications Decency Act that protects companies that host user-created content from lawsuits over posts. It shields not just internet service providers (for example, Comcast and Verizon), but also social media platforms such as Twitter, Google and Facebook. Section 230 reads, in part: “No provider or user of an intera...
Tags: Verizon, Facebook, News, Fcc, Congress, California, Los Angeles, Sport, Soccer, Comcast, Federal Communications Commission, District Of Columbia, Local News, Federal Trade Commission, Trump, Manhattan Beach


There’s a new minimum wage law in California? Ask the lawyer

Q: We are a small business (15 employees). The coronavirus pandemic has made everything harder, but now we have a new minimum wage we must pay in California? -L.H., Manhattan Beach Ron Sokol A: A business in California with less than 26 workers must increase the hourly rate to at least $13. There are some cities, however, such as Sonoma, Mountain View, and Palo Alto, that have increased their minimum wage to $15 or more in 2021. Other California employers (with more than 26 employees) must p...
Tags: News, California, Sport, Palo Alto, Soccer, Manhattan, Jerry Brown, Legislature, Wilmington, Manhattan Beach, Top Stories LADN, Top Stories OCR, Top Stories PE, Top Stories IVDB, Top Stories RDF, Top Stories Sun


Can Biden reverse Trump’s executive orders? Ask the lawyer

Q: We will soon have a new president and, clearly, he will seek to undo at least some of what President Donald Trump has done. Can President-elect Joe Biden simply end Trump’s executive orders? -M.O., Tustin Ron Sokol A: Executive orders are directives issued by the president with regard to operations of the federal government. They do not carry the same weight as an act of Congress enacted into law. For example, The Dreamers program (formally known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ...
Tags: News, Congress, Barack Obama, Sport, Joe Biden, Soccer, General Services Administration, Biden, Donald Trump, Trump, Herbert Hoover, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Dwight D Eisenhower, Harry S Truman, Top Stories LADN


What is going on with bail and DA Gascon? Ask the lawyer

Q: I have two questions. First, what is the legal basis for new Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon to establish “zero bail” even though Proposition 25 was defeated. Also, have the counties stopped setting bail now? -M.N., Torrance Ron Sokol A: Proposition 25 on the November 2020 ballot sought to replace cash bail with risk assessments for detained suspects awaiting trial. It was defeated, but  the newly elected Los Angeles County D.A. supports the concept of no cash bail. Kee...
Tags: News, California, Los Angeles, Sport, Soccer, Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles County, Superior Court, Manhattan Beach, George Gascon, Gascon, Ron Sokol, Torrance Ron Sokol, Ask the Lawyer, DA Gascon


Could the president declare martial law? Ask the lawyer

Q: While claiming voter fraud and a rigged election, can President Donald Trump declare martial law? -C.K., Rancho Palos Verdes Ron Sokol A: While there is no precise definition of martial law, a basis for it exists when “certain civil liberties may be suspended, such as the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, freedom of association, and freedom of movement.” Further, the writ of habeas corpus (the right to a trial before imprisonment) may be suspended. Curfews may be s...
Tags: News, Supreme Court, Sport, Soccer, Biden, Donald Trump, George W Bush, Trump, Abraham Lincoln, Manhattan Beach, Ron Sokol, Rancho Palos Verdes Ron Sokol, Ask the Lawyer


Just what does a presidential pardon mean? Ask the lawyer

Q: Presidential pardons are not so unusual, but what does it really mean? You’re innocent, charges are dropped? -B.W., Woodland Hills Ron Sokol A: In 1915, the United States Supreme Court stated in the case of US v. Burdick that a pardon carries an imputation of guilt, and acceptance of the pardon carries a confession. It would not be accurate therefore to describe a pardon as a complete exoneration or a proclamation of innocence. A pardon is simply the act of the United States president set...
Tags: News, Supreme Court, US, Sport, Soccer, United States, Ronald Reagan, Pasadena, Trump, Nixon, George H W Bush, Richard Nixon, Manhattan Beach, Woodland Hills, United States Supreme Court, Burdick


Can I be held responsible for damage caused on city-owned property? Ask the lawyer

Q: I have a very large pine tree on my property adjacent to the city sidewalk. The tree is city-owned but I am responsible for maintenance, which I have done consistently. Several months ago, a heavy pine cone fell from the tree and broke a neighbor’s windshield. It’s not the first time this has happened. The current neighbor is now demanding I pay for the cost of the windshield (he even asked me to lie to my homeowners insurance company and not mention that the tree is city-owned. I refused. My...
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Can my employer require me to take a coronavirus test? Ask the lawyer

Q: The company I work for has told all employees that a coronavirus test is mandatory prior to returning to the work space. Is this legal? -S.P., San Pedro Ron Sokol A: The short answer is yes. In April, the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission stated that it is legal for employers to require employees to take COVID-19 viral tests. Further, in July, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing provided similar guidance. Employers have a responsibility to maintain a saf...
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Is it likely the Supreme Court will decide the 2020 election? Ask the lawyer

Q: Is the outcome of the 2020 election going to be decided by the Supreme Court? -B.G., Torrance Ron Sokol A: The United States Supreme Court has limited jurisdiction, and only takes a very modest number of the cases submitted to it. If there is an authentic federal question pertaining to the 2020 election (such that the Constitution is implicated), the high court could take up an actual controversy. To date, however, the legal challenges on behalf of the president have largely been unsucces...
Tags: News, Supreme Court, US, Sport, Soccer, North Dakota, Manhattan Beach, United States Supreme Court, Top Stories LADN, Top Stories OCR, Top Stories PE, Top Stories IVDB, Top Stories RDF, Top Stories Sun, Top Stories Breeze, Top Stories LBPT


Can I sue the weather person for a wrong report? Ask the lawyer

Q: I watched the weather report on TV. He said it would be cool, slight breeze, with absolutely no mention or indication of rain. I dressed and planned accordingly, wound up getting drenched by a lot of rain, got a bad cold, had to be off my feet for a week, and lost work time. Is there a claim that can be made for that false weather report? -M.C., Huntington Beach Ron Sokol A: Sounds like your claim would be for personal injury. The elements of such a claim are that the weather person had a...
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Are there certain problems with clients that lawyers often have to deal with? Ask the lawyer

Q: This might be a little unusual since I am an attorney, and your questions typically come from lay people, but given the many years you have practiced law, have you found that lawyers tend to have certain difficulties with clients that occur more often than not? -J.J., Long Beach Ron Sokol A: I will start by responding to your question with a question: Is there any relationship you can think of that does not at some point endure some level of challenge? For example, parent-child; husband-w...
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Is it legal for me to have a space burial? Ask the lawyer

Q: I have an interest in my ashes being sent into space after my demise. Any law that prohibits it? -R.C., Seal Beach Ron Sokol A: First, embalming, burial and cremation are regulated, including if ashes are to be scattered. As to outer space, the law requires the ashes to remain in a container; it is not permissible for your ashes to be spread in space, as if being scattered at sea. Research further indicates only a portion of ashes may be included so that the container is not too large. In...
Tags: News, Sport, Soccer, West Hollywood, Manhattan Beach, California Cemetery, Supreme Court Justices, Funeral Bureau, Ron Sokol, Ask the Lawyer, California Department of Consumer Affairs Its


Could we have more than nine Supreme Court Justices? Ask the lawyer

Q: It is a political season so maybe this is exaggerated, but there does seem to be serious discussion about increasing the number of persons who serve on the Supreme Court. Is that just talk or could it really be done? -N.G., Los Angeles Ron Sokol A: The U.S. Constitution grants Congress with the authority to determine how many justices sit on the Supreme Court. The number has varied from five and ten, but since 1869 has held steady at nine. Bottom line, if Congress increases the number, an...
Tags: News, Supreme Court, Congress, Los Angeles, Sport, Soccer, Manhattan Beach, United States Senate, Lomita, Supreme Court Justices, Ron Sokol, Ask the Lawyer, N G Los Angeles


How can I protect my screenplay from theft? Ask the lawyer

Q: I have a screenplay that is going to be shopped around. For various reasons, I think there will be real interest. How do I ensure no one who reviews it, steals the ideas and storyline? -V.S., Los Angeles Ron Sokol A: Two immediate options come to mind to seek to protect your script: Register it with the Writer’s Guild of America and/or the U.S. Copyright Office. The WGA provides recordation of when the script is received, and provides proof of authorship of the work. It does not, however,...
Tags: News, White House, Los Angeles, Sport, Soccer, Manhattan Beach, U S Copyright Office, WGA, Guild of America, Top Stories LADN, Top Stories OCR, Top Stories PE, Top Stories IVDB, Top Stories RDF, Top Stories Sun, Top Stories Breeze


If I vote in person in November, what do I have to bring? Ask the lawyer

Q: I have received a mail-in ballot, but prefer to vote in person. What do I need to bring? -J.L., Inglewood Ron Sokol A: In most cases, California voters are not required to show identification to a polling place worker. If, however, you will be voting for the first time after registering to vote by mail, and you did not provide your driver’s license number, California identification number, or the last four of your social security number for the mail-in ballot, you may be asked to provide ...
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Is there a legal basis for reparations? Ask the lawyer

Q: With all the protests about social injustice in our country now, one argument being made is that reparations should be paid for slavery. Is there a legal basis for that? -F.C., Tarzana Ron Sokol A: Discussion with regard to reparations for slavery is not new. In 1783, Belinda Royall submitted a petition to the Massachusetts General Court requesting a pension from the proceeds of her enslaver’s estate. She was a Ghanaian-born woman, enslaved by the Royall family there, and abandoned by her...
Tags: News, Congress, Senate, White House, Sport, Soccer, House Of Representatives, Manhattan Beach, Massachusetts General Court, Royall, Top Stories LADN, Top Stories OCR, Top Stories PE, Top Stories IVDB, Top Stories RDF, Top Stories Sun


Can I go through divorce without an attorney? Ask the lawyer

Q: We have been separated for a year and have now decided to call it quits. I met with a few divorce attorneys, but their prices seem awfully steep. Isn’t this something I can do myself?  -G.N., Signal Hill Ron Sokol A: I start with an old adage that may not be well-received, but here goes: “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.” Now, that said, I know some folks who have handled their own divorce. In one instance, a gentleman did it himself; his wife had a lawyer. There w...
Tags: News, California, White House, Sport, Soccer, Manhattan Beach, Ron Sokol, Ask the Lawyer, G N Signal Hill


What if a President refuses to leave the White House after losing the election? Ask the lawyer

Q: Could President Donald Trump stay in the White House even if he does not win the upcoming election? -T.W., Tustin Ron Sokol A: Under the 20th Amendment to our Constitution, the person who wins the election will be sworn into office by Jan. 20, 2021. If Trump remains in the White House after that date, it would be very awkward since he would then no longer be president. Could the election somehow be nullified or held up by the courts or Congress? I think not; if you remember, for example, ...
Tags: Florida, News, Supreme Court, Congress, White House, Sport, Soccer, United States, Donald Trump, George W Bush, Trump, Bush, Al Gore, Manhattan Beach, Ulysses S Grant, Top Stories LADN


Would it be legal to privatize the Postal Service? Ask the lawyer

Q: The U.S. Postal Service is losing money. There continue to be many issues about how it is operating. Bottom line, could it be legally privatized? -D.H., Hawthorne Ron Sokol A: Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution grants Congress the authority to establish post offices and post roads. Review of the Postal Service website indicates that it handles 48% of the world’s total mail volume, and in 2019 generated $71.1 billion. So, if the Postal Service was privatized, ...
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Would it be legal to end Social Security? Ask the lawyer

Q: I am on a fixed income, much of which comes from Social Security. Now there is a possible cut to the payroll tax that funds Social Security, and word has it that the program is already running low on money. Would it be lawful for the government to end Social Security all together? -A.W., Tustin Ron Sokol A: Social Security has been upheld as legal by the courts, and has been in existence for many years. The Social Security Act was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935, and tax...
Tags: News, Congress, Sport, Soccer, Social Security, Medicare, Social Security Administration, Donald Trump, Carson, Franklin D Roosevelt, Manhattan Beach, Top Stories LADN, Top Stories OCR, Top Stories PE, Top Stories IVDB, Top Stories RDF


Isn’t my neighbor liable when his tree falls on my property? Ask the lawyer

Q: Our neighbor for years has had a very tall, unkempt tree. It just fell on our yard, and caused plenty of damage. He is liable, right? -C.D., Fountain Valley Ron Sokol A: Knee-jerk reaction: of course he is liable. More studied analytical response: Are you sure that is his tree? In California, the location of the trunk determines ownership; if it started out wholly on his property but the trunk had since extended to your side as well, there may be a level of shared ownership. Assuming the ...
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What’s the best way to protect my assets? Ask the lawyer

Q:  Both of our jobs are on hiatus, and for the first time in our lives we are concerned about creditors. We have done reasonably well, and now want to figure out how to protect our assets. Any suggestions? -H.W., Rancho Palos Verdes Ron Sokol A: This column is not a sufficient place to evaluate all of the steps that may be considered to seek to protect one’s assets. Your wisest course is to sit down with a qualified professional, set out what assets you have and how each presently is held, ...
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Will a liability waiver for the coronavirus be upheld? Ask the lawyer

Q: We have people who come into our business and shop. It has been suggested we have customers sign a waiver related to the coronavirus, so we are not liable if they contract COVID-19 and say it was our fault.  Is that enforceable?  What would it say?   L.H., Torrance Ron Sokol A: For waiver language to be enforceable, it has to be clear, obvious, and unambiguous. It can neither violate public policy nor the law.  A waiver clause as to COVID-19 could include language that: (a) the customer c...
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Is satire in political cartoons fully protected? Ask the lawyer

Q: This is an election year. I saw a cartoon about Trump that was just plain offensive. Does anything go — legally, it’s all OK? -D.H., Hawthorne Ron Sokol A: Political speech is a right fundamentally defended by the First Amendment. Unless actual malice can be proven with regard to a depiction, the public figure or politician is fair game. An important case in this regard was decided in 1970 about former Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty. He sued the Los Angeles Times and its publisher for a cari...
Tags: Amazon, News, California, Los Angeles, Sport, Soccer, Long Beach, Los Angeles Times, Trump, Anti, Manhattan Beach, Paul Conrad, Sam Yorty, Top Stories RDF, Top Stories Sun, Ron Sokol


What if I have a dispute with Amazon over returned items? Ask the lawyer

Q: I ordered some clothes from Amazon but two items do not fit. Now what? I paid, but what if they won’t take them back? -M.M. Rancho Palos Verdes A: In your web browser, type “Amazon, our return policies.” There you will find many details on handling Amazon returns. Research indicates that used or open box items purchased and shipped from Amazon can in most cases be returned within 30 days of receipt; however, Items that have been resized, damaged or otherwise altered after delivery may not be ...
Tags: Amazon, News, Washington, Sport, Soccer, AAA, Laguna Beach, Manhattan Beach, Corporation Service Company, Rancho Palos Verdes, Likewise Amazon, Tumwater WA, Ron Sokol, Ask the Lawyer, American Arbitration Association AAA