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Effects of Domestic Violence on Phoenix Child Custody

The sad fact is that many victims of domestic violence do not recognize it for what it is. They think that it is normal that their mothers lock them up in a closet for days on end as punishment, or their husbands to hit them for burning dinner. Domestic violence victims are also inured to verbal and emotional abuse because it has been going on for as long as they can remember, but this can have far-reaching consequences in the way they think and live. Many become domestic abusers as well because they think it is the way it should be.

It is often only when a third party sees the marks or recognizes the signs of domestic violence and reports it that it comes out and becomes documented. Of course, the victim may eventually realize the abuse and then reports it. In any case, when divorce is petitioned in Arizona and the issue of child custody comes out, documented domestic violence has a significant effect on the court’s ruling.

Divorce court judges are tasked to determine where the best interests of a child lie. To do this, they look at a number of factors, two of which involves domestic violence. What the court would like to know is that if there is indeed evidence of sustained abuse of the parent or child, and the extent of the domestic violence. In a contentious divorce, one parent may allege domestic violence where none exists to win custody, and this will come out in an investigation and count against the accusing parent.

When either parent has actually been convicted of child abuse or domestic violence, there is a good chance that the court will decide against granting at least physical custody of the child and may even rescind visitation rights for the convicted parent if the pattern of abuse is severe and extensive. This is to protect the abused parent and/or child from further violence.

But a conviction alone is not enough for the court to remove the parental rights of the convicted parent if he or she successfully defeats the “rebuttable presumption” that the child’s best interests is served by doing so. A Houston divorce lawyer can best explain how this legal assumption can be upheld or defeated.

Community College Student Announces Shooting Online before Firing

An 18-year-old New River Community College student turned himself in to police after firing a shotgun at the school’s mall campus Friday, killing no one, but injuring two women.

The most bizarre part of this story, besides the obvious derangement a person has to have to believe shooting their colleagues is a good idea, is that the gunman posted his intentions online just moments before carrying them out. A post on online anonymous image forum 4chan allegedly made by the shooter states his name, the type of gun he planned to use (a “Stevens 320 shotgun”), and even linked to his student profile page. It also included a photograph of the school’s entrance.

Moments after the post went online, shots broke out at the mall. When officers arrived, the gunman put down his weapon and surrendered. So far, his motive remains unknown.

The shooting took place ten miles from Virginia Tech, the site where one of the worst college shootings in history occurred almost exactly six years prior. The Virginia Tech shooter killed 32 and injured 17 more before turning a gun on himself. In his internet post, yesterday’s shooter said he had no intention of killing himself unless the situation got really far out of control.

It’s important for college students to remain on the lookout for suspicious behaviors and report them to the authorities to help fight the influx of shooting rampages that seems to have risen in recent years.

Decreasing Drunk Driving on College Campuses

Drunk driving is an incredibly serious problem on college campuses across the United States, as colleges provide an environment in which under-age individuals can get relatively easy access to alcohol and in far too many instances, binge drinking is common, if not encouraged.

Drunk driving places everyone on the road in harm’s way, and can have devastating effects on unsuspecting, law-abiding motorists. Fortunately, many university administrators are taking action to try and reduce drunk driving incidents on and around their campuses. Some steps that university administrators have taken in recent years have included:

Initiating Safe Ride Programs: Safe ride programs can be run either by campus officials, or as a volunteer organization that students themselves participate in. With these programs, individuals who find themselves intoxicated off campus can call a number and receive a free ride back to their dorm or apartment. This discourages drunk driving, and helps to create a safer environment on roadways near a university, and helps students avoid criminal charges like DUI, DWI, OWI (in places like Wisconsin), or DWII (in places like Oregon). In most states, speaking with a DUI or DWI lawyer could help you alleviate the stress when issued a drunk driving ticket.

Cutting Out Student Courts: Many universities have student courts or disciplinary councils that establish penalties for students accused of crimes or violating school policy. However, in order to discourage more serious crimes, like drunk driving, many schools have decided that crimes of this nature will not be handled on campus, and instead, those charged with drunk driving will have to hire a drunk driving lawyer and defend themselves in the legal system, not on campus.

College Students Drinking

Creating Zero-Tolerance Policies: One incredibly effective deterrent that some schools have put in place is a zero-tolerance policy for drunk driving arrests. These policies basically state that if a student is convicted of drunk driving, they will be kicked out of school, even if it is a first offense.

Through these and other policies, school officials are hoping to limit the number of drunk driving incidents that occur on and near college campuses, and in doing so, keep their students, faculty, and staff safe.

 

Most Common On-Campus Criminal Offenses

Most college students want to believe that their college campus is a safe, secure environment where they are free to learn and have fun without the threat of serious danger. Unfortunately, crime on college campuses is a reality that far too many students have to contend with. The Office of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education collects annual information on a variety of crimes that occur on college campuses each year. While these reports include all alleged crimes, the statistics are shocking in some respects.

At public, 4-year (or more) institutions with 10,000+ students, the most commonly reported criminal offense in recent years was burglary, with 6,712 burglaries reported in 2011, down from 7,241 the year before. These ratings are for on-campus events only, so these numbers do not reflect burglaries or alleged burglaries that take place in off campus student housing, like apartment complexes.

A far distant second to burglaries, motor vehicle theft is the second most reported criminal offense on college campuses of the above-mentioned size, with 1,349 reported motor vehicle thefts in 2011, up from 1,336 in 2010.

Finally, the third most commonly-reported criminal offense on college campuses is forced sexual assault, with 1,153 reported in 2011, which is a slight increase from 1,038 in 2010.

Depending on the offense at hand, crimes that occur on college campuses can be dealt with in a number of ways. For more serious criminal offenses like those listed above, non-campus law enforcement is often involved, and most of the individuals accused of these crimes will need to secure the assistance of a criminal lawyer to defend them.

However, for some smaller offenses, individuals may not need to secure outside legal representation, as the matter may be dealt with on-campus. Many large universities have student courts that deal with on-campus offenses, and for some offenses, students will simply represent themselves in front of this organization if charged with an offense.

Some crimes on campus are more severe and require higher authority. Campus police and courts can only handle cases to an extent.If your case needs more attention, you or your peer may need to speak with a lawyer about your legal options and the upcoming steps to seek out compensation. A criminal attorney from your state may be able to answer any questions that may arise from your situation. Seeking out the legal guidance for these type of situations may be helpful.

 

On-Campus Disciplinary Actions

There are a variety of offenses and violations that can occur on a college campus, with varying degrees of severity. For more severe crimes and offenses, off-campus law enforcement frequently must be called in to handle the incident, resulting in criminal charges against the accused individual(s).

However, for a wide variety of offenses that take place on colleges and universities across the U.S., the schools themselves have a system in place to deal with violations of school code, rules, or honor codes.  Some schools have a disciplinary committee in place, often comprised of both students and teachers or administrators, while others have a completely student-run Student Court that will rule on offenses that take place on campus and issue penalties to those accused.

In 2011, various alcohol-related violations were the most frequently dealt with on-campus crime, with 81,541 incidents reported at public, 4 year (or higher) institutions with 10,000 or more students. Depending on a school’s rules, many of these cases will be dealt with internally, and outside law-enforcement and criminal lawyers will not be involved in the case at all.

However, for more serious offenses, like drug-related offenses, incidents might be dealt with on campus, by outside law enforcement officials, or by both. For campuses the same size as those referenced above, there were 21,689 drug abuse incidents reported in the U.S. in 2011 that resulted in on-campus disciplinary action.

Much less common of an on-campus offense was possession of a weapon, with only 423 incidents reported in 2011.

While alcohol intoxication, drug use, and weapons possession can all pose potential dangers to the safety and well-being of college students, many universities are taking aggressive action against students accused of these actions, exposing some to state or federal legal action, while others to on-campus penalties, including suspension or expulsion.

 

 

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Larry Benneth+