Whitman's “City Invincible” is Camden, not Camelot

Daydreaming
(The Shoe Shine Boy)

John George Brown (1831-1913)
[Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
“In a dream I saw a city invincible.”

The proud motto of America's poorest city, Camden, New Jersey, appears above its City Hall entrance.

Derived from Walt Whitman's I Dream'd In A Dream, the motto is somewhat ironic.

Because of rampant poverty and crime, it is only in a dream where one may hope to see Camden as an invincible city.

And because of the city's decay, one expects most people would hope to see Camden never at all.

Despite the irony, however, the choice of these words from Whitman's poem is also fitting.

Its ambiguous opening may mean this describes a dream within a dream.

Indeed, assuming this was Whitman's intent, the poet's dream represents unattainable human aspiration.

I Dream'd In A Dream

I dream'd in a dream, I saw a city invincible to the attacks
    of the whole of the rest of the earth,
I dream’d that was the new City of Friends,
Nothing was greater there than the quality of robust love—it led the rest,
It was seen every hour in the actions of the men of that city,
And in all their looks and words.

Camden, America's poorest city, fights crime, poverty
March 8, 2013


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Although Camelot may never come to Camden, her residents today hope and dream of a better future there.

South Jersey Criminal Defense Trial Attorney Michael Smolensky, Esq., knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide consultations on all criminal cases pending in a New Jersey court.

Call Now—(856) 812-0321.

Camden, New Jersey

Camden, New Jersey

America’s poorest city struggles with crime, violence
March 7, 2013



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Le Marauder
François Barraud (1899–1934)
[Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
Is Camden really like this?

I attended Rutgers School of Law—Camden, and I clerked for a criminal court judge in Camden.

To truly begin addressing Camden's many problems, one must understand it is a city of many contradictions.

People in Camden need help. But the people I have met distrusted any hint of benevolence.

Many people in Camden did not complete high school. Despite opportunities for further education, only a few people have embraced them.

In a city where the poor steal from the destitute, where people shun gainful employment because it means loss of Medicaid, and where rodents feast while people live in poverty, is it any surprise that local leaders are running in a hamster wheel? Under these circumstances, one can easily become jaded by Camden's daily vagaries.

Yes, Camden is really like this.

Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Smolensky, Esq., knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide consultations on all criminal cases pending in a New Jersey court.

Call Now—(856) 812-0321.

Where Are Dishonest Attorneys Minted?

South New Jersey Trial Lawyer Lawyer Michael A. Smolensky Esquire brings honesty and integrity to the courtroom. Call Now--(856) 812-0321
The Art Expert
By Adolf von Becker (1831 - 1909)
[Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
Does a character trait for honesty matter in the legal profession? Based on my professional experience, a mere character trait for honesty is not enough. A lawyer should make it a professional habit.

Without resorting to ethical rules, the reason is simple. Among other considerations, one accustomed to conducting business out of court amid exaggeration, fabrication, deception, and subterfuge can be expected to do the same in court. And you had better believe that it absolutely matters in court. In addition, clients not only expect but more importantly deserve honesty and candor.

During the summer after my first year of law school (1L year), many fellow students competed for a position with Rutgers Law Journal.

True to the time honored tradition of law school indoctrination, we were told during the 1L academic year about the importance of Law Journal as to one's career.

Some of my classmates, like me, were indoctrinated before we set foot on campus. Naturally, those of us who were accepted on Law Journal thought we had clenched the brass ring.

But it turns out the opportunities we had imagined and hoped for did not materialize. Rest assured, however, I am unable to name anyone who committed any of the egregious violations of trust mentioned above.

Despite my personal experience, I continue to believe the story was true, once upon a time. Furthermore, it is only fair to admit that as I write this I can think of classmates who benefited from volunteering for Law Journal—two exceedingly talented students.

Cynicism is an occupational hazard of practicing law. While I cannot exempt myself from the affected, in all sincerity I am honored to post a piece of my legal research that was selected for publication in Rutgers Law Journal.

The 6 Steps to “Better Thinking”

“Better Thinking” on Quora*

Forbidden Fruit
George Agnew Reid (1860-1947)
[Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
While researching social media websites, I recently discovered Quora.

After poking around enough to satisfy my curiosity, I created a user account, and I found this question: “How do I become a better thinker?”

I reviewed some of the submissions, and I posted an answer. Based on positive feedback, I am sharing it here.

The 6 Steps To “Better Thinking”

Read Quote of Michael Smolensky's answer to Thinking: How do I become a better thinker? on Quora
* For the uninitiated, Quora organizes knowledge by allowing users to work together asking and answering questions. Quora users earn credibility based on peer reviews--upvotes and downvotes.

South Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Smolensky, Esquire, knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide consultations--answering and asking questions--on all criminal, juvenile, and municipal court cases in New Jersey.

Call Now—(856) 812-0321.

Peter Gabriel fights injustice with video

Peter Gabriel fights injustice
with video



Power & the Rule of Man

In this talk, Pater Gabriel spoke about WITNESS. According to its website, this 20-year-old nonprofit organization enables people to create video documentaries to tell the world about human rights abuses.

Gabriel described the individual photographers as brave. The violent subject matter of the WITNESS recordings suggests “bravery” is an understatement. Authorities with power know the significance of video documentation. After all, many people understand power corrupts. Indeed, there are those who know it corrupts absolutely.

Power v. the Rule of Law

On November 26, 2012, an ABA Journal item addressed recording government authorities in America. The United States Supreme Court refused to review a Seventh Circuit decision about an Illinois criminal statute on Constitutional Grounds. The statute created a felony for one to record the audio of “all or any part of any conversation” unless all parties to the conversation give their consent. A defendant four to fifteen years if one of the recorded individuals were performing duties as a police officer. American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois v. Anita Alvarez, No. 11-1286 (7th Cir. 2012) available at http://www.ca7.uscourts.gov/tmp/OE0MH5TM.pdf.

In this case, ACLU-Illinois had planned a “police accountability program” in Chicago. This involved openly recording official police conduct in public places. In addition to recording video, the activists were also to record audio of police and individuals speaking at a volume bystanders could hear.

ACLU-Illinois intended, among other things, to record police at protests and demonstrations (“expressive activities”) on streets, sidewalks, plazas, and parks (“public fora”). The organization also planned to record police at expressive activities carried out by its members. To protect videographers from criminal charges, ACLU sought to prevent enforcement of the statute on First Amendment grounds.Ibid.

Rule of Law Prevails

The Seventh Circuit found the statute restricted far more speech than necessary to protect its legitimate interests. Applying the principle that audio and video recordings are among expressive media commonly used to preserve and share information and ideas, the Circuit Court determined the First Amendment also protects making these recordings. Thus, the Circuit Court found the statute would violate the First Amendment’s free-speech and free-press guarantees if applied to ACLU videographers.Ibid.

Notably, the Seventh Circuit ruling is limited to the Illinois statute. Other jurisdictions have considered the issue, including but not limited to the First Federal Circuit, and the State of Oregon. Laws may vary in different jurisdictions. To avoid legal consequences, one ought to find out the law where one lives and plan one's course of conduct accordingly.

Michael A. Smolensky, Esquire, fights injustice in courtrooms across New Jersey.

TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences -- the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer -- TED includes the award-winning TED Talks video site, the Open Translation Project and TED Conversations, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize.

Stop Criminalizing Mental Illness

Elyn Saks

A Tale of Mental Illenss—From The Inside




mental health, elyn saks, TEDTalks
Corral de Locos
(Courtyard with Lunatics)

Francisco de Goya (1746 - 1828)
[Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
We must stop
criminalizing
mental illness. It's
a national tragedy and scandal that
the L.A. County Jail is the biggest
psychiatric facility in the
United States. American
prisons and jails
are filled with people
who suffer from
severe mental illness, and many
of them are there because
they never
received
adequate
treatment. I could have
easily ended
up there
or on the streets
myself.


--Elyn Saks



South Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney Michael A. Smolensky, Esq., on the World Wide Web.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

How To Use A Paper Towel




Incentives

Joe Smith promised his audience would never forget the mantra, "Shake! Fold!" But I had other reasons to test his method. Mr. Smith had caused me to reflect.

I recollected learning the importance of personal hygiene from my parents—one of many reasons I am grateful to them. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!) I also recalled articles about wintertime hand-washing to prevent sickness. Additionally, I remembered care providers describing intentionally obsessive hand-washing habits in hospital and clinic settings.

But I could not recall a single discussion, article, or paper-towel-hand-drying-experience involving the use of just one. All this provided an overwhelming personal incentive to test this method.

On a grander scale, this seemed the least I could do personally to reduce paper waste.

Results

I am happy to report my test results support Joe Smith's method. And, I might add, my test conditions did not provide the benefit of "interstitial suspension."

Observations

The most impressive aspect of this method is its simplicity. This infinitesimal lifestyle change offers tremendous benefits. Indeed, this is “brilliant.”

For all these reasons, I will remember Joe Smith's hand-drying method.

Questions

  • In what condition do you want to leave the world for the next generation?
  • Do you aspire to improve our world during your lifetime?
  • What task would you recommend?
  • Is this task similar in simplicity to Joe Smith's method?

NJ Lawyer Michael A. Smolensky, Esquire, on the World Wide Web.

Impersonation, Theft of Identity, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-17

Impersonation, Identity Theft, Theft of Identity, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-17, November 30 2012, Paulsboro, Mantua Creek, railroad bridge collapse, Gloucester County, New Jersey, NJ, Criminal Defense, Lawyer, Attorney
Le bal masqué
(The Masked Ball)

Albert Lynch (1851 - 1912)
[Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons

Narrative

On November 30, 2012, a railroad bridge in Paulsboro, NJ, collapsed over Mantua Creek, according to chicagotribune.com.

Seven freight train cars derailed, spilling hazardous chemicals into the water and air, chicagotribune.com reports.

Exposure to hazardous chemicals in the air and water, as described on the web cite for the Chigaco Tribune, caused people to evacuate their homes and go to the hospital.

On December 18, 2012, county officials warned Paulsboro residents to be aware of scam artists, according to nj.com.

South Jersey Times reports unidentified individuals going door-to-door telling residents they will receive $800 in cash in exchange for signing a release not to file a claim.

They have been asking for social security numbers, according to nj.com

Some suspects have posed as utility employees, dressed in work uniforms and wearing hard hats, as reported by South Jersey Times.

According to the news, officials are urging residents to report suspicious activity.

Identity Theft, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-17


A person is guilty of an offense if the person:

Impersonates For A Benefit:
  • Impersonates another or assumes a false ID and
  • Does an act in such assumed character or false ID
  • For the purpose of
    • Obtaining a benefit for himself or another or
    • To injure or defraud another;
False Representative For A Benefit:
  • Pretends to represent some person or organization and
  • Does an act in such pretended capacity
  • For the purpose of
    • Obtaining a benefit for himself or another or
    • To injure or defraud another;
Impersonates To Obtain A Service:
  • Impersonates, assumes false ID, falsely states, or misleads
  • Regarding the ID of any person
  • In an oral or written application for services
  • For the purpose of obtaining services;
Obtains And Uses ID Of Another:
  • Obtains personal ID information about another person and
  • Uses or assists another person in using the information,
  • In order to
    • Assume the ID of another person, or
    • Represent himself as another person,
  • Without that person's authorization and
  • With the purpose to
    • Fraudulently
    • Obtain or attempt to obtain a benefit or service, or
    • Avoid payment of debt or other legal obligation, or
    • Avoid prosecution by using another's name;
Impersonates To Avoid Payment
  • Impersonates, assumes false ID, falsely states, or misleads,
  • In the course of an oral or written service application,
  • With the purpose of avoiding payment for prior services.
  • Purpose to avoid payment for prior services may not be presumed unless the person has
    • Not made full payment for prior services and has impersonated another,
    • Assumed a false ID or
    • Stated falsely or mislead about any person's ID
    • In the course of an oral or written service application.

Identity Theft, Grading


The violation of this statute is a crime as follows:

Second Degree Crime
  • The actor
    • Obtains a benefit or deprives another of a benefit
    • In an amount of $75,000 or more; or
  • The offense involves the identity of five or more victims
Third Degree Crime
  • The actor
    • obtains a benefit or deprives another of a benefit
    • In an amount of at least $500 but less than $75,000, or
  • The offense involves identity of at least two but less than five victims, or
  • The actor
    • Obtains a benefit or deprives another of a benefit
    • In an amount of less than $500 and
    • The offense involves the identity of one victim, and
    • This is a second or subsequent conviction for such an offense;
Fourth Degree Crime
  • If the actor
    • Obtains a benefit or deprives another of a benefit
    • In an amount of less than $500 and
    • The offense involves the identity of one victim.
    • This is a first conviction for such an offense.
Experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Smolensky, Esq., knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide consultations on all cases in New Jersey involving Impersonation and Identity Theft. Call Now—(856) 812-0321.

NJ Attorney Michael A. Smolensky, Esq., on the World Wide Web.

Bono: Action for Africa

In this speech, Bono advocates on behalf of the impoverished in Africa. Distinguishing this courageous work from charity, Bono calls it "justice."



Individual Reflection
How does Bono's talk make you think?
How does it make you feel?
Have you viewed this post based on a talk featuring Ernesto Sirolli?
How does Ernesto Sirolli's talk make you think and feel?
Giving Of Oneself
What abilities do you possess?
Which groups of less fortunate people would benefit from your abilities?
Which ability would you like to give voluntarily?
Which group would you like to help?
Volunteer Organizations
Which volunteer organizations can connect you with your target population?
In what ways is this organization successful?
What challenges must this organization overcome?
Based on this, which group is the best fit for you?

Trial Lawyer Michael A. Smolensky, Esquire, on the World Wide Web.

TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences -- the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer -- TED includes the award-winning TED Talks video site, the Open Translation Project and TED Conversations, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize.

New Jersey Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:156A-29.

Why Google won't protect you
from big brother




New Jersey Wiretapping and
Electronic Surveillance Control Act


Christopher Soghoian described the power of law enforcement officials to obtain electronically stored evidence from providers of either electronic communication services or remote computing services.

Indeed, New Jersey law addresses this. Additionally, law enforcement authorities in New Jersey may also use wiretaps to obtain electronic evidence "in real time."*

Communication Data Warrants


To search and seize electronically stored evidence as described by Soghoian, New Jersey law requires police to get a Communication Data Warrant (CDW).

No CDW shall issue unless the law enforcement agency provides:
  1. specific and articulable facts
  2. showing reasonable grounds to believe
  3. the record or other information
  4. pertaining to a customer
  5. of an electronic communication service, remote computing service or communication common carrier
  6. is relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation.
Armed with either a warrant, a customer's consent to disclose, or a court order for disclosure, police may compel service providers as well as communication common carriers to supply law enforcement agencies with:
  • a record,
  • location data for a customer's mobile/wireless communications device, or
  • other information pertaining to a customer of the service.
Alternatively, if a law enforcement agency in good faith believes an emergency involving danger of death or serious bodily injury to the customer requires disclosure of information relating to the emergency without delay, then the service provider must provide location information for a customer's mobile or wireless communications device, but not a record or other customer information.

New Jersey law empowers law enforcement authorities to get this information under these circumstances without notification to the individual.

Furthermore, the law generally shields any service provider, officer, employee, agent and other specified person who cooperates with the government from civil liability.

A service provider may move before the court to quash or modify the order if:
  • the information or records requested are unusually voluminous, or
  • compliance would otherwise cause an undue burden.

Subpoenas


If a grand jury or trial subpoena is issued, or when the State Commission of Investigation issues a subpoena, then service providers must provide the customer's:
  1. name;
  2. address;
  3. telephone or instrument number or other subscriber number or identity, including any temporarily assigned network address;
  4. local and long distance telephone connection records or records of session times and durations;
  5. length of service, including start date, and types of services utilized; and
  6. means and source of payment for such service, including any credit card or bank account number,
Upon the request of a law enforcement agency, a provider of wire or electronic communication service or a remote computing service must take all necessary steps to preserve, for a period of 90 days, records and other evidence in its possession pending the issuance of a court order or other legal process. The preservation period will be extended for an additional 90 days upon the request of the law enforcement agency.

* A wiretap order permits the interception by law enforcement of a communication contemporaneous with the transmission.

New Jersey Trial Advocate Michael Smolensky, Esq., knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide consultations on all cases involving Communication Data Warrants and Subpoenas. Call Now—(856) 812-0321.

James Cameron: Before Avatar ... a curious boy.



James Cameron spoke about curiosity and creativity during this TED presentation in 2010. In addition to Avatar, Aliens, Titanic, and The Terminator--just to name a few--Cameron described his work on a series of underwater documentaries. If Cameron's portfolio on imdb.com is any indication, his imagination is long from exhausted.

How to "poke and pry with a purpose.*"

  • Which subject stimulates your curiosity?
    About which subject would you like to know more?
  • What activities challenge your intellect?
    How can you advance your knowledge of this subject?
  • How well do you understand the new knowledge?
    How much have you pondered the newly acquired knowledge?
  • Does new knowledge prompt you to ask more questions?
    Which questions remain unanswered?
  • How do you foster your creative thinking?
  • When do you find time to pursue these interests?
  • How do you unite your intellect with your creativity?

* Zora Neale Hurston

Law Office of Michael A. Smolensky LLC on the World Wide Web.

TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences -- the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer -- TED includes the award-winning TED Talks video site, the Open Translation Project and TED Conversations, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize.

Pay-To-Play Penalties, N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20.1; Record Falsifying and Tampering, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-4

Pay-To-Play Penalties, N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20.1, Record Falsifying and Tampering, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-4, New Jersey, NJ, Election Law Enforcement Commission, ELEC, Hamilton Township, Mercer County, Ocean County, Monmouth County, Criminal Defense, Lawyer, Attorney
Avaricia
(Avarice)

Jesus Solana, Madrid, Spain
[CC-BY-2.0],
via Wikimedia Commons

Narrative

On November 30, 2012, Philip Angarone pleaded guilty to third-degree tampering with public records or information, and fourth-degree prohibited corporation contributions through employees, according to njtoday.net.

The 40-year-old entered his plea to fraudulently avoiding the restrictions of New Jersey’s Pay-to-Play Act before Hon. Wendel E. Daniels, J.S.C., in Ocean County, reported njtoday.net.

Pay-to-Play governs political contributions by businesses that are party to or are attempting to win contracts with State government entities, according to New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC), available at wwwnet1.state.nj.us/lpd/elec/ptp/p2p.html (last visited Dec. 6, 2012).

The Hamilton Township resident worked for Birdsall Services Group, as reported by courierpostonline.com.

Angarone joined an existing scheme to make illegal contributions when he began working at the Monmouth County firm in 2008, reported courierpostonline.com.

According to courierpostonline.com the former marketing director, Angarone together with other employees contributed amounts under $300, the threshold for reporting them.

Birdsall reimbursed contributors with bonuses that the company did not report to the Election Law Enforcement Commission and with government agencies that awarded the firm contracts, according to njtoday.net.

Angarone admitted in court, according to njtoday.net, that he and others at the firm fraudulently failed to disclose the illegally reimbursed political contributions to ELEC.

Under the plea agreement, according to njtoday.net, at the sentencing listed for April 26, 2013, the State will recommend the court sentence Angarone to:
  • Up to 364 days county jail as a condition of a term of probation;
  • Forfeiture of $26,775 for illegal contributions;
  • Forfeiture of any contributions subsequently returned to him; and
  • Disqualification from participating in public contracts for five years.

Pay-To-Play Penalties,
N.J.S.A 19:44A-20.1

The New Jersey Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Reporting Act proscribes the following conduct:
  • No corporation or labor organization of any kind shall provide any of its
    • officers,
    • directors,
    • attorneys,
    • agents or
    • other employees
  • any additional increment of
    • salary,
    • bonus or
    • monetary remuneration of any kind
  • which, in whole or in part, is intended by that corporation or labor organization to be used for the express purpose of
    • paying or making a contribution,
    • either directly or indirectly,
    • of money or other thing of value
  • to any
    • candidate,
    • candidate committee,
    • joint candidates committee,
    • political party committee,
    • legislative leadership committee,
    • political committee or
    • continuing political committee.
N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20.1(a).

The Pay-to-Play law designates this as a fourth degree crime for:
  • Any
    • officer,
    • director,
    • attorney,
    • agent or
    • other employee of a corporation or labor organization
  • to provide another employee of that corporation or labor organization
  • any additional increment of
    • salary,
    • bonus or
    • monetary remuneration of any kind
  • for the purpose described in this subsection
Ibid.

Falsifying or Tampering with Records, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-4

New Jersey Law sets forth the following proscribed conduct for issuing a false financial statement, a third-degree crime:
  • when a person with purpose to
    • deceive or injure anyone or
    • to conceal any wrongdoing;
  • he by oath or affirmation
  • knowingly makes or utters a written instrument
    • that purports to describe
    • the financial condition or ability to pay
    • of some person and
    • which is inaccurate in some substantial respect; or
  • Represents in writing
  • that a written instrument purporting to describe a person's
    • financial condition or ability to pay
    • as of a prior date
    • is accurate with respect to such person's financial condition or ability to pay,
  • whereas, he knows it is substantially inaccurate in that respect.
N.J.S.A. 2C:21-4(b).

Experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Smolensky, Esquire, knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide consultations on all cases alleging fraud. Call Now—(856) 812-0321.

Law Office of Michael A. Smolensky LLC on the World Wide Web.