A bi-partisan group of 8 Senators, known as the "Gang of Eight," have introduced new legislation to fix our broken immigration system. The "Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act" is a compromise but contains many of the keys reforms required in order to successfully reform our immigration laws.
Contained in the 844 pages of proposed legislation are key components such as a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented aliens currently in the United States a well as proposals to strengthen our border security and prevent the employment of authorized workers.
If you have any questions, please call (617-926-8944) to set up a free half-hour consultation with one of our immigration attorneys.
On April 5, 2013, the SJC issued a series of decisions that clarified, once and for all, that socially sharing a marijuana cigarette is not the equivalent of distributing marijuana. Until these decisions, some law enforcement officers would try to avoid the impact of the decriminalization of marijuana, by suggesting that persons who socially share marijuana were drug distributors, even absent an exchange of value for marijuana.
Honoring the common sense approach to the decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana, the SJC has ruled that “the social sharing of marijuana does not constitute distribution in violation of G.L. c. 94C § 32C(a).” Commonwealth v. Jackson. In Jackson, the court determined that the officer, who allegedly observed two people sharing what appeared to be a marijuana cigarette, did not have probable cause to believe either of those people was committing the crime of marijuana distribution. Accordingly, searching the defendant was improper, because police are not supposed to search citizens solely on the basis of civil infractions.
The SJC applied the same logic in Commonwealth v. Pacheco, when it ruled that an officer who smelled freshly burnt marijuana, and saw a small bag (less than an ounce) of marijuana on the floor of a vehicle, did not have probable cause to believe that a crime had been committed, and could not then search the trunk of that vehicle for those reasons. Similarly, in Commonwealth v. Daniel, the court ruled that the smell of burnt marijuana, coupled with the driver producing two small bags (less than an ounce) of marijuana to the officer, was not enough to create probable cause of criminal activity to entitle the officer to search the vehicle (as there was no evidence the driver was impaired).
Although LaFountain & Wollman, P.C., does not advocate the use of drugs, it commends the Supreme Judicial Court for honoring the democratic process and protecting the rights of the people to be free from unreasonable and unlawful searches and seizures. If you or someone you know has been subject to an unjust search or criminal charge, feel free to call us today to see if our criminal attorneys can help.
This week, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court clarified the standard of review to be used by Probate & Family Court judges when reviewing a complaint for modification of a child support order.
In the case of Morales v. Morales
(SJC-11104, March 12, 2013), the SJC ruled that a trial court judge's denial of a divorced mother’s request to modify a child support order was in error because the judge applied the “substantial and material change in circumstances” standard of review, rather than the statutory “inconsistency" standard. In so ruling, the SJC has made it clear that when the Child Support Guidelines apply to a child support modification proceeding, including one that seeks to modify an order that is less than three years old, it is not necessary to prove a substantial and material change in circumstances.
If you would like to speak with a qualified family law attorney to discuss this recent development, please call (617) 926-8944, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
As of March 4, 2013, USCIS has begun accepting applications for provisional unlawful presences waivers from certain visa immigrant applicants before they depart from the United States. These provisional waivers are available to immediate relatives of United States citizens who are currently present in the United States and who require a waiver of inadmissibility due to unlawful presence.
If you are the spouse, child, or parent of a U.S. citizen and are unable to adjust status to that of lawful permanent resident of the United States due to having accrued unlawful presence, please contact one of of our immigration lawyers to set up a free consultation. Our immigration attorneys are available to meet at our Watertown office Monday through Friday, and by appointment on the weekends.
USCIS has announced that as of February 1, 2013, those intending immigrants who receive an immigrant visa package from a U.S. consulate or embassy overseas must pay a new $165.00 immigrant fee in addition to the Department of State application fee.
USCIS has stated that this new fee will cover the costs of production and delivery of the permanent resident card, more commonly known as a "Green Card." This fee is to be paid online through the USCIS website after receiving the visa package from the consulate or embassy but before departing for the United States.
If you have any questions regarding this new fee, please contact us to set up a a free half-hour legal consultation with one of our immigration lawyers.