Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Houston Man Forfeits More Than 1000 Animals Seized from His Property

There is certainly nothing wrong with being an animal lover. Pets can bring great joy to people and are often considered members of the family. Every school kid loves taking a field trip to the zoo to admire the majestic lion and the tall giraffes. However, it is important to draw a line when determining the number of animals that you are going to bring into your home, even if you do so with the best of intentions. I would argue that 1000 animals is going a bit beyond the number of creatures for which you can care effectively. Today, a judge in Houston agreed with that assessment.

Joselito Rivera Boado had 1009 animals seized from his property last week by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Today Boado agreed to forfeit all but two dogs to the agency, with those two animals going to his ex-wife once given a clean bill of health and spayed and neutered. Mr. Boado also will be turning over his home in northwest Houston in order to pay for the medical and boarding costs of all the animals.

Mr. Boado still may face criminal charges for the condition of the animals on his property, although charges have not been filed at this time.

There is nothing wrong with bringing Fluffy or Spot into your home and then showering your new pet with love. I advise against increasing the number of animals at your home until the population of cats and dogs equals that of a small town. If you do, however, find yourself facing criminal charges for your negligent animal ownership, the criminal defense attorneys at Bertolino LLP can help. Please contact our Austin, Houston, or San Antonio office today.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Houston Authorities Search for Grandma Bandit

If I asked you to describe your grandmother, there are probably some common responses that come to mind. She is always trying to feed you another serving of dinner. She is ready with a piece of hard candy retrieved from the bottom of her purse. She is filled with an unconditional love for her family. I doubt that "ideal personality and physique to be a successful bank robber" comes to mind. However, the city of Houston has just been introduced to a woman who the FBI has dubbed the "Grandma Bandit."

The mystery woman robbed two Compass Banks in Houston today, within an hour of one another. In both instances, she claimed to have a gun and demanded money. And, she was successful in both of her efforts. She was bold enough to decide that she did not need to wear a mask when engaging in criminal activity, so authorities were able to tell that she appears to be between 55 and 65 years of age. Perhaps she was operating under the incorrect assumption that the camouflage cap she was spotted wearing at both crime scenes would shield her from any detection.

If you can offer any tips that lead to this woman's arrest, you may find yourself in possession of a $5000 reward. So, if you see an older woman who is between five feet, two inches and five feet, seven inches and is wearing a purple shirt decorated with feathers, please contact the Crime Stoppers Hotline at (713) 222-TIPS or the FBI's Houston office at (713) 693-5000.

If you are a grandmother, or even a second cousin or uncle once removed, who has been accused of a crime, you need legal representation. The law firm of Bertolino LLP has offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio with criminal defense attorneys ready to help you. Please contact us today and let's discuss how we can help.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tom DeLay Shows Off His Texas Dance Skills

There have been celebrities with a wide range of talents who have graced the stage of the hit television program "Dancing with the Stars." We have watched professional athletes, singers, and actors compete to see who has the most graceful and impressive. This season marks the first time that a former member of Congress will lace up his dancing shoes, and the great state of Texas gets to claim him. Former Congressman and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is perhaps the most surprising contestant on this season's program.

DeLay is not exactly someone that I would naturally assume to be a winning presence on the dance floor. "The Hammer," as he was nicknamed during his time in Washington, D.C., is more known for his ability to pull together the votes needed to pass the legislation he favored. Only time will tell if his talents to bring his fellow legislators to his side on a controversial bill will translate to a strong execution of the tango or waltz. He did manage to survive the double elimination that just occurred in the first week of competition, so perhaps he will be around for a while. Perhaps DeLay's stint on "Dancing with the Stars" will mark a whole new career path.

If Tom DeLay is reading this blog, I want him to know that there are attorneys at Bertolino LLP who are experienced in the area of celebrity law. There may be world tours, television specials, and tap shoe endorsements in your future. We can help you negotiate the necessary contracts and make sure that your talent is being marketed in the best way possible. Please contact our office as soon as you are done with rehearsal and let's talk about what we can do for you.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Stalker Arrested at Texas Ranch Shared by Ty Murray and Jewel

Celebrities encounter a wide range of difficult challenges that are unique to their very public position. They face the possibility of their marital problems becoming front page fodder for every tabloid magazine sold at the grocery store checkout. Perhaps one unflattering photo taken during what was assumed to be a private moment could change the course of a person's career. Unfortunately, the famous members of our society also deal with the fact that they are magnets for mentally ill men and women who are hoping to gain their own level of celebrity status by entering the world of a celebrity. Singer Jewel experienced this scary reality on her Texas ranch last week.

Jewel shares a ranch with her rodeo husband, Ty Murray, in Stephenville, Texas. The quiet life that they enjoy away from the constant spotlight of Hollywood or New York was disturbed last week by a man who claimed to be on a mission from God. Michael Lawrance Kozelka of Wisconsin was found twice on the 2000-acre ranch and apprehended without incident by security. When searched by local authorities, he was discovered to be carrying a knife. I guess, in this instance, that God's message was not one of peace. Kozelka is currently in jail with a $30,000 bond and is facing charges of stalking, which could lead to up to ten years behind bars.

The celebrity law attorneys at Bertolino LLP are experienced with the special circumstances that accompany the life of a high-profile client. We go to great lengths to protect their privacy and handle all legal conflicts discreetly. If you are a celebrity and you are facing any of the risks that come with your profession, from poor management to a breach of contract to being stalked by an overzealous fan, we can help. Please contact our Austin, Houston, or San Antonio office today and let's discuss what you need.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

San Antonio Mother Arrested After Children Discovered Alone in Parking Lot

When you compile a list of the acceptable places for two children under the age of five to be at 2:00am, I imagine that the brainstorming effort does not take long. After you get past the standard answers -- their own beds, perhaps cribs if they are young enough, or maybe even safely asleep in car seats as their parents drive through the night to make it to grandma's house -- there really are not many other options. I certainly hope that no one would think to include "wandering aimlessly around a parking lot" as a proper location for young kids. Despite this logic, two children were indeed discovered walking among parked cars in their apartment complex. Now, their mother is facing criminal charges.

Jantel Thomas of San Antonio told authorities that she needed to deal with a family emergency and decided to leave her two girls, ages 18 months and four years, alone in their apartment. The children found their way out of the relative safety of their home and took to the parking lot screaming for their mother. Fellow residents first tried to return the girls to their apartment but quickly realized that no adult was present. The police were called and the girls were taken to a children's shelter. They have since been placed with a relative.

Thomas has been taken to the Bexar County Jail on a $10,000 bond. She faces two counts of abandonment.

The attorneys at Bertolino LLP understand the sensitive nature of crimes involving children. We have criminal defense attorneys who can work with someone accused of such a crime in a way that respects all parties involved. We also have lawyers experienced in the area of family law. If safety of children is in question a new custody situation must be arranged, we can help. Please contact our Austin, Houston, or San Antonio office today if you find yourself in need of legal assistance.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Houston Texan Player Fined for Message on Shoes

I am pretty sure that for as long as humans have roamed the earth, clothes have been used as a form of expression. In today's culture, we can share our opinions on politics, celebrities, or music through our choice of T-shirts. Some young women choose to offer self-descriptive words on the back of their shorts. With football season now underway, fans of the sport can be seen wearing jerseys to advertise their allegiance to a particular team. Even the football players themselves can use their attire to make statements. Unfortunately, such fashion choices can sometimes be costly. Just ask Dunta Robinson, cornerback for the Houston Texans.

Robinson wore shoes that read "Pay Me, Rick" on the heels during the Texans' loss to the New York Jets last weekend. Robinson is making $10 million this season, but apparently wishes that general manager Rick Smith could pay him more. Robinson has been designated as the team's franchise player, but new salary negotiations cannot take place until the end of the season.

The footwear fashion statement, which Dunta Robinson insists was meant as a joke, has been fined $25,000 by the Texans for conduct detrimental to the team. He also faces an additional $5000 fine from the NFL for a uniform violation. Robinson has indicated that he plans to pay any fines that he is issued without appeal, as he just wants to put the incident behind him.

At Bertolino LLP, we have attorneys who are experienced in the specific needs of sports law. If you are an athlete who is dealing with a difficult contract negotiation or a dispute with team management, our lawyers can help. Please contact our Austin, Houston, or San Antonio offices today to discuss your case. And, in the meantime, keep all Sharpies away from your shoes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

85-Year-Old Austin Man Charged with Shooting City Workers

For generations, people have joked about the stereotypical grumpy old man who is always yelling at the kids in his neighborhood to get off his lawn. Many either fear turning into such a person as they age or revel in the idea of earning, through reaching a certain level of seniority, the right to yell at the people who have always caused you grief. In one Austin neighborhood this week, residents learned of their own very real version of the elderly man who protects his property to extensive ends. Unfortunately, in this case violence resulted and criminal charges have been filed.

Henry Ralph Schots, age 85, heard workers who had been hired by the city of Austin to clear brush. He thought that the seven men participating in this clean-up effort were trespassing on his property. Schots fired a total of eight shots at the workers, with some of the bullets coming close to causing harm. When the workers left the scene to meet with the police officers who had been summoned, Schots followed them in his car and was confronted by the officers. A search of his car revealed the gun that had been used against the workers.

Schots now faces seven felony counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. If convicted on all counts, he could spend the rest of his life in prison. At this time, he remains in jail awaiting the next steps in his legal process.

If you believe that people are trespassing on your property and your life is not in imminent danger, the solution should not be to make an attempt on their lives. Instead, unless you are afraid or unable to do so, I suggest that you try talking to the people first. However, if you should choose to aim your gun at innocent city workers, you will need a lawyer. The law offices of Bertolino LLP has attorneys who are experienced in the area of criminal defense. If you are facing criminal charges, please contact our Austin, Houston, or San Anotonio office today and let's discuss how we can help.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

San Antonio Ranks High in Repeat Teen Births

San Antonio has received one of the top national rankings in a category that the city would have preferred to go unmentioned. Child Trends, a nonprofit group that focuses on child development, has released a report showing that San Antonio has the third-highest percentage of repeat teen births among large cities. Out of all of the teen births that take place in the city, 26% of them are repeat births. Another city in Texas, Dallas, has the highest number of repeat births among teens and Jackson, Mississippi ranks second. With the national average of repeat teen births dropping over the past two decades, why are cities like San Antonio seeing an unfortunate increase in their numbers?

Dr. Janet Realini of Healthy Futures, a nonprofit group based in San Antonio that focuses on the prevention of unplanned and teen pregnancies, offered her opinion on why San Antonio's number of teen births is so high. She believes that a lot of young people from minority or economically disadvantaged homes do not feel that they have many options concerning their future and are often without role models to show them alternatives to early sexual activity and teen parenthood. Also, the problem may stem from the fact that teenagers are not educated on how to prevent pregnancy, either from the schools or their own parents.

In the cases of teen pregnancy, the chances are greater that the baby is being born into an unstable home environment. The couple probably is not married, meaning there are likely issues of child custody and financial support that must be resolved. The family law attorneys at Bertolino LLP have the experience to handle the delicate issues involving children. We have offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio ready to serve you. Whether you are a teen mother or a parent entering into a divorce after decades of marriages, our lawyers can help.