Furman and Furman Attorneys LLP

Highly Specialized Criminal Defense, Fire Arms and Self Defense, Personal Injury and Adoption Law Firm
serving clients in Florida and Alabama

 

partiers

In 2016, crackdowns on Spring Break partying, by young people, in the Florida Panhandle, led to many choosing to flock to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, in Baldwin County, Alabama, near the port city of Mobile. This year, local law enforcement officials have issued official warnings, in the local press, that young people engaging in underage drinking, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and general rowdiness, will face a zero tolerance policy. The area has long attempted to cultivate a “family friendly” atmosphere, and the local climate is no longer favorable for young people who come to the beautiful local beaches to cut loose.

Wednesday, 07 October 2015 09:39

Raw Cuts

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raw takes

Friday, 14 August 2015 12:48

The Federalist: Abortion Is The New Slavery

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Just as our ancestors grappled with the evils of slavery, abortion is the moral battle of our time. Here are three main reasons why fetal tissue harvesting is morally wrong, even if it's legal.

When I first saw the bombshell video of a Planned Parenthood doctor blithely describing over lunch how to crush unborn babies and harvest their organs, my response was visceral: I cried. When the second and third videos were released—the latest one containing footage of technicians picking through limbs and organs—my horror grew. Like most Americans opposed to abortion, I felt a revulsion in the story that seemed to require no explanation.

But it’s become clear that an explanation is, in fact, required. While some on the left have been deflecting the ethical issue by focusing on legal technicalities, a significant number are defending the practice of tissue sale (or donation) itself. “What’s so wrong,” their argument goes, “with using the body of a fetus who was going to be aborted anyway? Isn’t it better to use it for research and cures? Your real problem isn’t with tissue donation at all,” they conclude, “it’s with abortion.”

 

For the most part, that last charge is true. The heart of the matter, and the core of my objection, is abortion itself. I admit that pro-choice Americans who support using fetal body parts for research are adopting a logically consistent position. If unborn children have no right to life, they certainly have no right to bodily integrity that should trouble us. In fact (the reasoning consistently goes), this practice could actually be seen as praiseworthy and redemptive: a way for aborting women and doctors to give back by doing their part for science.

I understand this argument, but I couldn’t disagree more. A society that accepts the commodification of aborted babies’ body parts isn’t better or more humanitarian than one that merely allows abortion: it’s even more inhumane, more depraved.

I would go so far as to say that this is a pivotal moment for Americans grappling with abortion. The Planned Parenthood videos—and the surrounding debate over the use of fetal tissue—have revealed just how closely abortion parallels the last great moral evil enshrined in American law: slavery. And like that immoral institution, very few of us have clean hands. It’s easy to demonize those directly involved in the practice, but if we refuse to acknowledge the reality of what these videos show us about ourselves, we have no right to condemn our 19th century forebears.

So—setting aside the question of whether Planned Parenthood’s activities are legal—what exactly is wrong with using aborted children’s bodies for profitable research? I see three key problems.

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Right to Bail and Pre-trial Release Procedures:

The most critical difference between Federal and State Court when it comes to bond, is that the procedure is very different than that in State Court.  Many persons charged in Federal Court have been arrested before by State authorities.  In most states, including Alabama, there is a Constitutional right to reasonable bail, based upon the charge and other factors, except in Capital Cases.

The right to bail has been abolished in Federal Criminal Cases.  Defendants are either released, pending trial, or detained until the case is finished.  The Courts look at the nature of the charge, the Criminal Record of the accused, ties to the community, likelihood of flight and other factors, in making that judgement.  

Trial:

In State Court, most Defendant’s find that, because of the overcrowded Criminal Dockets, that their case may be set, and reset, a number of times, before they are required to go to trial or work out a Plea Bargain.  Being represented by an experienced, skilled Attorney generally guarantees that the case will be pending for a number of months, if not a year or more.  This gives the Criminal Defense Lawyer time to closely examine the State’s case, and witnesses, and gives the accused time to make the crucial decision as to whether to go to trial, or negotiate a Plea Agreement (Plea Bargain).  In Federal Criminal Cases, the Defendant is required to Plead Guilty or  Strike A Jury, within 60 days of being arrested.  All Federal Prosecutions are, by Federal Law, on a fast-track.  Federal Criminal Cases can be continued, or reset, only under certain special circumstances.  This has the result of giving the accused, and his Federal Criminal Attorney, much less time to make critical preparations for the Federal Criminal Trial, and/or Plea Agreement. 

Monday, 07 October 2013 16:08

Current Music Projects

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On September 6, 2013, 4:30 a.m. Mobile Police responded to the 700 block of Bonneville Drive for a report of a prowler. Upon their arrival, officers discovered 37 year-old Ray Anson Mitchell in the yard of a residence. Mitchell engaged the officers in a physical confrontation and one of the officers tased him with the taser having no effect. During the continued physical altercation Mitchell was able to obtain a taser from the officer and tased one officer. When Mitchell attempted to tase a second officer, the officers then fired shots striking Mitchell and he was pronounced dead on the scene. 

Over the past half century, parenthood has undergone a change so simple yet so profound we are only beginning to grasp the enormity of its implications. It is that we have our children much later than we used to. This has come to seem perfectly unremarkable; indeed, we take note of it only when celebrities push it to extremes—when Tony Randall has his first child at 77; Larry King, his fifth child by his seventh wife at 66; Elizabeth Edwards, her last child at 50. This new gerontological voyeurism—I think of it as doddering-parent porn—was at its maximally gratifying in 2008, when, in almost simultaneous and near-Biblical acts of belated fertility, two 70-year-old women in India gave birth, thanks to donor eggs and disturbingly enthusiastic doctors. One woman’s husband was 72; the other’s was 77.

These, though, are the headlines. The real story is less titillating, but it tells us a great deal more about how we’ll be living in the coming years: what our families and our workforce will look like, how healthy we’ll be, and also—not to be too eugenicist about it—the future well-being of the human race.

That women become mothers later than they used to will surprise no one. All you have to do is study the faces of the women pushing baby strollers, especially on the streets of coastal cities or their suburban counterparts. American first-time mothers have aged about four years since 1970—as of 2010, they were 25.4 as opposed to 21.5. That average, of course, obscures a lot of regional, ethnic, and educational variation. The average new mother from Massachusetts, for instance, was 28; the Mississippian was 22.9. The Asian American first-time mother was 29.1; the African American 23.1. A college-educated woman had a better than one-in-three chance of having her first child at 30 or older; the odds that a woman with less education would wait that long were no better than one in ten.

It badly misstates the phenomenon to associate it only with women: Fathers have been getting older at the same rate as mothers. First-time fathers have been about three years older than first-time mothers for several decades, and they still are. The average American man is between 27 and 28 when he becomes a father. Meanwhile, as the U.S. birth rate slumps due to the recession, only men and women over 40 have kept having more babies than they did in the past.

In short, the growth spurt in American parenthood is not among rich septuagenarians or famous political wives approaching or past menopause, but among roughly middle-aged couples with moderate age gaps between them, like my husband and me. OK, I’ll admit it. We’re on the outer edge of the demographic bulge. My husband was in his mid-forties and I was 37—two years past the age when doctors start scribbling AMA, Advanced Maternal Age, on the charts of mothers-to-be—before we called a fertility doctor. The doctor called back and told us to wait a few more months. We waited, then went in. The office occupied a brownstone basement just off the tonier stretches of New York’s Madison Avenue, though its tan, sleek sofas held a large proportion of Orthodox Jewish women likely to have come from another borough. The doctor, oddly, had a collection of brightly colored porcelain dwarves on the shelf behind his desk. I thought he put them there to let you know that he had a sense of humor about the whole fertility racket.

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Monday, 03 June 2013 11:45

THE IRS AUDITED OUR ADOPTION EXPENSES TWICE

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“This feels like the movie Groundhog Day,” I told our CPA when we were notified by the IRS that our family’s adoption tax expenses were being audited for a second time. And there was not anything new that the IRS wanted to look at; just the same audit of the same expenses. All for a second time.

In 2009, my wife and I adopted our daughter Rachel from India, and immediately petitioned the local California court, which then officially declared my wife and me to be Rachel’s adoptive parents.  We gave the local Social Security office all of our paperwork, but it delayed giving our daughter a social security number. A few months later, we filed our 2009 returns anyway, and the IRS audited our adoption expenses. After much shuffling of papers, the IRS notified us that our adoption tax credit would not be allowed for 2009, but could be used for 2010. The IRS even suggested a specific dollar amount.

When we filed our 2010 returns, we claimed the exact amount for the adoption tax credit that the IRS had suggested. The IRS audited our adoption expenses anyway!

This time I re-sent to the IRS not only all of our adoption expenses – the exact same expenses sent in the previous audit – but I added a copy of the IRS letter from the previous audit. The IRS accepted our adoption expenses and allowed the tax credit. No changes were made to our 2010 tax returns.

This saga was all in the back of my mind when I heard that the IRS was harassing various conservative groups that were applying for non-profit status. There were also reports of IRS audits expanding beyond the group itself, auditing the personal and business returns of the person filing for tax-exempt status on behalf of the conservative group. In one case, an application for non-profit status by the group “True The Vote,” resulted in not only hundreds of questions from the IRS, but an over two-year wait on the application. The IRS then audited the personal and business returns of the head of True The Vote, and ATF, OSHA and a state version of the EPA all piled on and inspected the family’s business for good measure.

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