The Livesay & Myers Blog

How Criminal Trials Are Like MMA Fights

Posted on March 12th, 2014, by Benjamin Griffitts in Criminal Defense. No Comments

Mixed Martial Arts (“MMA”) has been a sport for about 20 years, but in the last several years, it has gone from being a fringe spectacle to a mainstream sport covered by ESPN and airing matches on major networks. An initial glance at a singular fight might illicit myriad emotions from the viewer, ranging from excitement to disgust. You might view fighters as thugs or beasts, or you may see them as noble gladiators or elite athletes. Whatever your opinion, there is one undeniable fact: the fifteen or so minutes that make up the fight are just a fraction of the time, preparation and work that goes into an MMA contest.

The criminal trial process is extremely similar to an MMA fight, much more than you might realize. Criminal lawyers are often judged based upon their performance in the courtroom, but the … Read More »

Transfer of Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits in Divorce

Posted on March 6th, 2014, by Stephanie Sauer in Divorce, Family Law, Military Divorce. No Comments

Military divorce cases often involve discussion of military retired pay, the Survivor Benefit Plan, and continuation of the spouse’s medical benefits after divorce. A growing topic of discussion in these cases is the servicemember’s education benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Increasingly, these benefits are becoming a topic of negotiation in separation agreements between divorcing couples.

The GI Bill can cover all in-state tuition and fees at public degree-granting schools. It also provides for a housing stipend and book allowance while in school. The benefits may be used up to 15 years after the servicemember’s discharge from active duty. Eligibility for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits requires a minimum of six years of service. Separate requirements apply for reservists. Servicemembers may transfer their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to a spouse or child, but only after meeting an additional service obligation of four years.

Under 38 U.S.C. § 3020(f)(3), Post-9/11 … Read More »

How to Help Your Criminal Attorney Protect Your Immigration Status

Posted on March 4th, 2014, by Eugene Oliver in Criminal Defense, Immigration Law. No Comments

Being charged with a criminal offense can be an anxiety-causing event for anyone. But immigrants charged with crimes face not only potential criminal punishments but also the potential impact on their immigration status from a criminal conviction. If you are an immigrant charged with a crime, here are four ways to help your criminal attorney protect your immigration status from the very beginning of your case:

Identify Your Status. It is crucial that you identify your immigration status for your criminal attorney as soon as possible. The immigration consequences of a criminal conviction can vary greatly depending on whether you are a lawful permanent resident, asylee, non-immigrant visa holder, completely without status, etc. If you are unsure of your status, make sure you bring copies of all immigration paperwork with you to the initial consultation with your criminal attorney. Immigration status should be the … Read More »

When Are Juveniles Tried As Adults in Virginia?

Posted on February 27th, 2014, by Eugene Oliver in Criminal Defense. No Comments

While most juvenile criminal offenses in Virginia are resolved entirely within the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court (JDR Court), there are certain circumstances where cases are transferred and certified to the Circuit Court for resolution. Cases transferred and certified to Circuit Court result in the juvenile being tried as an adult, and resulting convictions can have substantial and lifelong effects on the juvenile.

There are three different ways that juvenile charges can be transferred to Circuit Court for adjudication in Virginia. They are commonly referred to as Section A, Section B, and Section C transfers based on their corresponding provisions in Virginia Code § 16.1-269.1. Section A transfers can theoretically originate from any felony charge, whereas Section B and Section C transfers can only occur when the juvenile has been charged with certain serious felonies. For any transfer, the juvenile must be … Read More »

Immigration Court Delays: When Will Your Case Be Heard?

Posted on February 26th, 2014, by Jennifer Varughese in Immigration Law. No Comments

Proceedings in present day immigration court present a very stark contrast. Many cases now drag on for many months or even years before being heard. But when an immigrant’s day in court finally arrives, overcrowded court dockets often leave the judge with only a few minutes to decide the fate of the immigrant and their family.

If you or a loved one are currently going through deportation (now known as removal) proceedings in immigration court, and have filed an application for relief, you are likely aware of the sometimes extraordinary length of time it takes to resolve a case. Lengthy delays for a trial (known as an Individual Hearing) are commonplace in many of the 50+ immigration courts located in 29 states.

Our local court in Arlington, Virginia currently has five immigration judges (often referred to as IJs), after losing one to retirement earlier in the year. Perhaps … Read More »

Five Things to Expect When Your Child Is Facing Criminal Charges

Posted on February 26th, 2014, by Eugene Oliver in Criminal Defense. No Comments

It can be an unsettling process when your child faces criminal charges. Many parents worry about the consequences for their child’s future and are confused by both the process and the terminology surrounding the juvenile justice system. Unless you have been intimately involved in the juvenile system for a long period of time, it is very difficult for you to predict what will happen in your child’s case. Having realistic expectations on what you as a parent will face in the juvenile system will ease the stress on your family and put you in a better position to protect your child’s future. Here are five things to expect when your child is facing criminal charges in Virginia:

1. The Juvenile System Is Not There to Teach Your Child a Lesson.

It should be no surprise that for many juveniles facing criminal charges, it is not the first … Read More »

Guidance For Immigrants Filing Taxes

Posted on February 24th, 2014, by Susannah Nichols in Immigration Law. No Comments

Tax season can be a stressful time for anyone; for immigrants the process of filing taxes can often become overwhelming. Failure to properly file their U.S. taxes may negatively affect a non-citizen’s own immigration situation or the chances for a family immigration petition in the future. I too often discover clients either in immigration proceedings or who are petitioning for a green card for their spouse, who have been improperly filing taxes for years. Having to go back and amend tax returns from past years is a time-consuming and costly process, which can be avoided by the immigrant’s properly filing their taxes in the first place. To do so, immigrants must answer a few questions up front:

Are You a Resident or Non-Resident For Tax Purposes?

If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must first determine if you are considered a “resident” or “non- resident” alien … Read More »

Virginia Same-Sex Marriage Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

Posted on February 15th, 2014, by Ariel Baniowski in Family Law. No Comments

As you may have already heard, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has ruled that Virginia’s voter-approved 2006 Marshall-Newman Amendment (aka the Virginia Marriage Amendment) is unconstitutional. The Amendment modified the Constitution of Virginia to (a) prevent the legal recognition of any union or partnership between same-sex couples, and (b) define “marriage” as exclusively between one man and one woman. In Bostic v. Rainey, decided on February 13, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge Arenda Wright Allen found the Virginia ban on same-sex marriage to violate the Due Process and Equal Protection provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The judge wrote in her opinion that “[g]overnment interests in perpetuating traditions, shielding state matters from federal interference, and favoring one model of parenting over others must yield to this country’s cherished protections that ensure the exercise of the private … Read More »

Criminal Appeals to Circuit Courts in Virginia

Posted on February 14th, 2014, by Benjamin Griffitts in Criminal Defense. No Comments

The right to appeal an unfavorable or unjust ruling in a criminal case is at the heart of our criminal justice system. In Virginia there are two categories of criminal appeal: appeals to circuit courts from lower courts, and appeals from circuit courts to higher courts. After briefly touching on the latter, this article will serve as a guide to the former: criminal appeals from district courts to circuit courts in Virginia.

Appeals from circuit courts in Virginia. Rulings by city or county circuit courts in Virginia may be appealed (depending on the area of law) to the Virginia Court of Appeals or Virginia Supreme Court. In those circumstances, the circuit court judgment remains in effect until and unless the appellate court decides to vacate or reverse the lower court’s decision. A relatively small percentage of criminal cases actually go through this level of appeal. … Read More »

How to Help Your Criminal Defense Attorney Defend You

Posted on February 3rd, 2014, by Eugene Oliver in Criminal Defense. No Comments

We all understand that you hire a defense attorney to help you through a tough situation. It may therefore seem counter-intuitive that you have a duty to help your attorney. However, the direction your case will take is often determined by the steps you take on your own. Whether it is what occurs at arrest or in preparing your case, there is a lot you can do to positively (or negatively) influence your chances of success. Here are the best ways to help us defend you in court:

Don’t Admit Anything to the Police and Don’t Consent to a Search

This should be the cardinal rule of interaction with the police—do not admit to anything illegal and do not consent to a search. It always amazes me the number of cases where there is a confession to a crime or someone consented to a search when they … Read More »

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