All posts by Hailey Chavez

About Hailey Chavez

My Name is Hailey Chavez, I am fascinated by the studies of law and am currently making a career out of it.As of right now I am earning my Associates Degree in Paralegal Studies through Community Care College. I truly enjoy doing research, and reading case studies,as well as following major court cases. I currently work in an office, and am very familiar with Microsoft office and Excel. I enjoy the office setting, and the self satisfaction I receive from office work itself. There is so much organization,and regulations that must be followed in this field,and I personally enjoy the qualities that the field of office, and Law work have to offer. Once I have earned my Associates Degree, I plan to further my education in the law field. This is a field of study that I am very passionate about and committed to.

Are we all insane?

As individuals we have all heard of the insanity defense. What does it stand for though?

Attempting to defend oneself with an insanity defense is rather lengthy process. Physiatrist must be brought in to evaluate the one trying to use this defense. They must come to the conclusion that the individual is “Criminally insane” through evaluation of the defendant. At the end of evaluation the conclusion must answer questions to the court. A defendant attempting to use the insanity defense in must have not known what they were doing at the time the crime took place. They must also not have a clear understanding of right from wrong, and have a “need” to kill, these characteristics are known as the M’Naghten Rule. Although, some states have modified this such as Colorado, with the M’Naghten Rule and an added impulse test. In the impulse test the defendant must have acted on impulse and had some sort of mental defect that time making them unable to distinguish right from wrong.

 

A case that occurred two years ago caught my attention with the insanity plea from just doing some research over Oklahoma.

It was the Colorado case of James Holmes. James Holmes is a person who entered a theater in Colorado with a gun, shooting at random. In his act the death’s stood at a 12 body count, the wounded stood at 70. Prosecution and defense are arguing over if he is insane or not. This will determine if he lives or dies, Colorado won’t allow a mentally insane individual to be punished by death.

Oklahoma also has a case involving a man who shot an individual, but his wasn’t based on impulse. Timothy Slawson was charged with first degree murder, but used the insanity defense. Claiming that he has the urge to kill. He  is no stranger to murder he first started with animals, but animals were no longer fulfilling his “need”. Slawson acted upon his want for murder of another individual by hiring a prostitute for a night with the intent to stab her. However, the woman brought along friends causing Slawson to return home for a moment, and go back to the meeting place with a gun. Further details and acts in this crime were very disturbing. He has used the defense of insanity claiming to have a need to “hurt people”, even asking for counseling while incarcerated.

In the case of James Holmes, I can see the insanity defense standing, with Colorado’s law of acting upon impulse. In the way it was depicted in the articles Holmes just entered and started shooting. There is not really any knowledge of premeditation. However, in the case of Slawson, there is so much planning involved, he may be insane but he planned his acts out. From the moment he decided to hire a prostitute and take her life. He even admitted that he had planned it out. He acted with premeditation of his crime of murder and therefore should be charged as everyone else. I personally think that he is using the insanity defense to try and reduce his sentence, because that is aloud. His acts were very repulsive and well thought out. If he is insane, and has the need to hurt others then he should never be released back into society, and receive treatment for his mental illness.  There is a fine line in the insanity defense and it causes a lot of controversy. There are some out there who just really are insane and need mental treatment. Then you have those out there that are just monsters and deserve to be behind bars. Determining that in cases like James Holmes’s are hard there is no doubt that he committed murder but why? With Timothy Slawson, it is clear he is wanted to kill, and pre-planned this his reason is he “wants to hurt others”. He may be insane but only to an extent, I think he knew right from wrong and should not be able to plea insanity.

 

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Will Oklahoma’s Law Industry Go Up in Smoke?

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Twenty-one states have legalized the use of marijuana is Oklahoma next to join in on the “high time’s”? How could this effect our Law industry and Legal system?

2014 started with a bang for “Oklahomans” when senate bill 2166 was attempted to be place in effect. This bill would allow residence of Oklahoma 21 and over to use marijuana for “medical purposes”.  As many know Oklahoma has very strict laws over the possession of Narcotics, especially Marijuana. This bill received quite the attention, on television, social media, it even produced rallies for the legalization of this substance. Many supporters of this cause are of the younger generation, mainly younger than 45, those opposed are older.  However, the bill wasn’t even considered for further review and was denied.

In the latest news Oklahoma supporters are at it again. A new story is floating around on social media stating “Oklahomans may be allowed to vote over the legalization of marijuana come November 2014”. Attorney General Scott Pruitt must approve of the ballot to vote first, then there must be 250,000 signatures of supporters before this will even be place in the hands of the people.

Oklahoma is currently ranked number one for the incarceration of women over the possession of narcotics, at least half of those prisoners placed in correctional facilities over marijuana charges. Male incarceration is not far behind, being ranked number 4 for the same charges. Two questions remain in my mind, “How is this going to affect those who are incarcerated over possession of the narcotic”? and, “How is this going to affect those in the Law field”?

No one knows! They have yet to reach an agreement on how this will effect prisoners, or how this will effect a major industry making this entire cause flawed.

Many lawyers in Oklahoma practice “Criminal Law”, and possessing narcotics is highly criminal in Oklahoma. Many lawyers are capable of gaining a reduced sentence for first time offenders, second time offenders are a little harder to work with. Lively hood of the law industry in Oklahoma focuses mainly on a lot of these cases, legalization would cause many jobs to be lost. Those who are currently in the law field, and entering that filed will be limited to jobs available because, there would not be too much of a need for them. Legalization won’t only have a huge impact on the law industry, but also a huge impact on  citizens as well. Those who have been incarcerated for long periods of time could be released, if legalization occurs. They have been exposed to an “Animalistic” nature in prison, fighting for survival, over little things that we tend to take for granted here with our freedom. If these individuals are released what happens when the wrong thing is said to one of these ex-convicts? Crime would increase bringing back the need for the law industry.  I have to ask though, why take the risk to cause a problem where there isn’t one? As stated in my first paragraph, many voters are young and they have no idea of the impact this could have on the future.They really need to think about more than just the “here and now”. In my final opinion, Oklahoma should stay true to what it has practiced for so many years, less problems and safer living environments.

 

Sources:

•             http://www.kswo.com/story/25395225/oklahoma-may-be-able-to-vote-on-legalizing-marijuana-in-november?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=10110470 – .U2Yf42G4Jq4.facebook

•             http://www.governing.com/gov-data/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html

•             http://www.ok.gov/ocsw/Issues/Oklahoma_Women_Incarcerated/

•             http://www.ou.edu/cls/wbbtf/Women_Behind_Bars/THE_ISSUE.html

•             http://www.ok.gov/doc/documents/didyouknow.pdf

•             http://newsok.com/marijuana-legalization-supporters-rally-at-oklahoma-capitol/article/3933076

•             http://www.mpp.org/states/oklahoma/

 

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•             http://www.thedailychronic.net/2014/30665/medical-marijuana-ballot-initiative-filed-in-oklahoma/

 

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Oklahoma’s Accident; Lethal Injection in Question

  Is Oklahoma next to abolish the use of lethal injection? In recent events, during an execution Oklahoma officials are being questioned about their ability to be humane in the death sentence. Events that led to this are questionable, was it an honest mistake, or is Oklahoma law enforcement attempting to make their own rules?

      Convicted felon Clayton Lockett was sentenced to death, on April 29 2014. Lockett was found guilty of murder in the first degree in 1999, but continued to claim innocence through the years. After the realization that he would be executed, Lockett spent his time trying to gain more knowledge about and what drugs would be used to execute him. He filed a lawsuit to obtain information from the court but, his appeal was denied on a 4-1 vote.  Originally locket was scheduled to be executed on March 20 2014, but in his refusal to attend his clemency hearing, it was postponed.

        On lockets execution date, things went as planned according to the medical examiner. However, once unconscious and the lethal drugs were administered to Lockett, events took a turn for the worse.  Lockett did not die due to the drugs that were supposed to execute him, he died of a heart attack sometime after being injected. Events leading to lockets death are now in question, as well as the question of the continued practice of lethal injection In Oklahoma

        According to the medical examiner stated that the convicted had a “Botched Vein”.  Lockets attorney argues with this saying his client “was in great shape” and that there is no way his vein was faulty  Another controversy being the state’s ability to meet the U.S. Constitution’s requirement over execution being;  neither cruel nor unusual punishment will be implemented on an individual. Oklahoma’s Governor Marry Fallin, has placed several executions on hold. Governor Fallin has also placed several corrections facilities under investigation demanding testing and information of the drugs that will be administer to death row inmates. These course of events bring much controversy amongst the public, as well as government officials. Due to this incented the one question that stands out is,” Will Oklahoma discontinue the use of lethal injection”?

         This entire situation is tragic but, one must consider that the crimes Lockett committed had to be immensely criminal for him to be sentenced to death in the first place. I am appalled by the dispute of Oklahoma’s Department of Corrections techniques not meeting the guidelines of what‘s stated in the constitution.  I’m not questioning the state’s viewpoint. I am questioning their logic, as well as the logic of others, who believe that what happened should cause Oklahoma to abolish lethal injection. It appears the American public is placing more emphasis on the amount of suffering Lockett had to endure versus the suffering he inflicted upon his victim. During the time of the young woman’s death, there were no overly exclusive ways of communication, and expression of one’s opinion. Now everyone is saying that lethal injection is too inhumane and should be terminated.  But, was it?  The consideration to discontinue the practice is ludicrous, in my opinion.  I continuously see people defend this monster, and forget the life taken from this young woman.  Oklahoma should never consider the discontinued use of lethal injection, however, an investigation should be conducted to insure the administered drugs have the intended effect, immediately upon injection. Criminals on death row, who have committed an offense that requires the Capital punishment, should not remain able to see the world, breathe the air we breathe, wake up day to day, and continue to live, is just wrong. I believe justice was served, you get what you give.

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Let’s Begin..

What are laws? Why do we have them? We have those who enforce the law, but we also have those who defend those involved in legal issues, and we have those who prosecute those who don’t abide by the law itself. Do those we call lawyers work alone or are they helped in some way? An accurate answer to this is yes they do both, but many lawyers have a “Paralegal”. A paralegal is the one who does the research and build the case, deals with clients, and files important documents. Without them lawyers would be effective yes, but they would have a case overload.

I personally love research, and law, I find it so fascinating. In this blog I will present some of my work. Explain to you my journey through college, post videos of case study’s that I have freely analyzed,  and place my opinion on them. This is something I truly enjoy, and I hope you enjoy reading my post as much as I will enjoy posting them.