Burke Levy, P.C.

Westborough Legal Blog

Do new laws help those charged with Massachusetts theft crimes?

Many Massachusetts residents are aware that two new bills propose significant changes to existing criminal laws. The bills recently passed through the Legislature, and will now go before the governor for signature. That could lead to changes that could help those charged with theft crimes in the state of Massachusetts.

One positive change would be an increase in the age at which a child can be charged and tried in juvenile court. Currently, that age is 7, but the new law would increase the age to 12. Many believe that kids who go into the system at a young age have a very difficult path to a better life as adults. 

Jesse Jackson Jr. and wife settle high asset divorce case

Some Massachusetts readers will recall the divorce drama between former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife, Sandi Jackson. The two have made headlines over the past two years as they struggled to come to terms with how to divide their wealth. The couple recently settled their high asset divorce case, but not after spending a great deal of time and resources fighting things out. 

At one point, Jesse Jackson Jr. tried to subpoena a former police superintendent. He asked for the man's emails, phone records and social media history related to communications with Sandi Jackson. That never materialized. 

Increasing the odds of a favorable child custody arrangement

In a contentious divorce, spouses often end up relinquishing a great deal of control to the courts. If divorcing spouses are unable to agree on the separation of their wealth or the need for spousal support, a judge may have to make those decisions based on formulas and an objective interpretation of the law.

You certainly don't want such a cold process to govern decisions made about your children and your custody of them. While you and your spouse may be having trouble finding common ground, it behooves your children if you take deliberate steps to arrive at a mutually acceptable custody arrangement. If this is not possible, your behavior will definitely factor into the judge's decision about how custody will be divided between you and your spouse.

Will a marriage counselor suggest a family law action?

Many Massachusetts couples want to give their marriage every chance of success before they consider ending the union. For some, couples' counseling is one way to try and reconnect. A marriage counselor works to try and help couples find common ground and redefine their marriage on healthier terms. There are cases, however, when a counselor will suggest that a family law attorney may be the next step on a couple's path. 

In general, therapists make every effort to avoid telling their clients what to do and what not to do. Instead, they try to serve as active listeners, and will guide the sessions to help couples unearth issues and improve communication patterns. Even when asked, many will refrain from giving direct advice. 

Another DUI enforcement weekend is here

It was recently reported that Massachusetts police, particularly in Worcestor County, will be out in force looking for drunk or otherwise impaired drivers. This DUI enforcement campaign is to run from Friday, April 6 through Saturday, April 7. Those arrested during this time frame could be looking at some serious consequences if they are ultimately convicted.

The superintendent for the Massachusetts State Police failed to give many details on this campaign. It was just stated that it will occur on a public street, and the hours of operation will vary. Law enforcement officers will work diligently to minimize any inconvenience this sobriety checkpoint will have on motorists.

The value of a name change after a family law case

Massachusetts women who go through a divorce often want to reclaim their former name. Some feel strongly about making a public statement about their identity, while others find the change to be a powerful symbolic gesture that has deep personal meaning. Regardless of the reason, changing one's name after a family law matter is a multi-step process that many people feel is well worth the effort. 

The first step is taking the divorce papers to the DMV to have a new license or photo ID issued. That step facilitates all other name changes. Most people choose to go to the nearest Social Security office to have a new card issued with the correct name. 

Charged with marijuana possession?

The debate over the legality of marijuana is big right now in areas all across the country. In certain forms, it has proved to be a beneficial drug for certain medical issues. Then there are those individuals who just believe it's a harmless drug that they should be free to use at their leisure. What does the state of Massachusetts have to say about marijuana possession?

Marijuana possession in some states either is no longer a criminal offense or considered a relatively minor crime. In 2012, Massachusetts legalized medical marijuana and in 2016, the state legalized recreational marijuana use. It does not mean that all marijuana possession is legal, though. If charged with marijuana possession, you could face some serious penalties if convicted in court.

Here's how Facebook impacts family law cases

For Massachusetts spouses who are facing a divorce and have a Facebook account, it is highly likely that their social media will play a role in the case. Family law attorneys know that Facebook is a treasure trove of information that can be used to support a client's case. More and more often, social media is playing a pivotal role in divorce and child custody cases, a trend that is playing out across the nation. 

Cheating is one of the biggest issues facing Facebook users, and is the reason for the end of many marriages. Having on-demand access to past friends and lovers makes it all-too-easy to strike up connections with people who would otherwise be far outside one's circle of acquaintances. That can quickly lead to inappropriate relationships, up to and including actual infidelity. 

3 accused of drug crimes in Massachusetts

Facing criminal drug charges is a very serious matter. Three Massachusetts residents are currently accused of weapons and drug crimes after a recent sting operation by Springfield police. They face the possibility of serious punitive measures if they are convicted, including significant time spent behind bars. 

The matter began when police claim they observed drug activity in a Springfield neighborhood. They arrested two men, both 29 years of age, in connection with that activity. Police were then able to obtain a search warrant for a residence within a couple of hours.  

Unusual child custody case sparks debate across the nation

Some Massachusetts readers are familiar with a custody battle involving the authority of tribal courts. The case centers on two parents who lost custody of their infant daughter before they were even able to take the child home from the hospital. The maternal grandmother, part of the Miccosukee tribe, gained child custody rights through a tribal court. There is no word on what grounds that decision was made, and the parents claim that they have not yet seen the legal documentation used to remove their infant. 

When the grandmother showed up at the hospital with state and tribal officers, hospital administrators allowed them to take the infant from the facility. The grandmother allegedly took issue with the child's father, a white man, being part of her grandchild's life. There is also an allegation that the parents had physically disciplined another child in their care. 

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