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Gulfport Mississippi Legal Blog

Firearms-related crime linked to inadequate background reporting

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, of the 4,462 firearms recovered in Mississippi last year, many were used in the commission of a crime. ATF statistics show that 2,187 of those firearms are under investigation and that over 70 percent of the remaining 1,275 firearms were seized from illegal possessors.

A recent case involving the Air Force's failure to report the criminal history of a man who murdered 26 people at a Texas church prompted the Attorney General to order a review of the FBI background check system for prospective gun buyers. According to FBI statistics, background checks on Mississippi's prospective gun buyers have experienced a decline of 43 percent in the last five years.

Military divorce: special rules and requirements

There are special rules and requirements that apply to military divorce. State and federal military laws apply to service members and their spouses, making the process different than that for civilians. Service members cannot be sued or begin divorce proceedings while on active duty under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Also, the court may exclude service members from such proceedings for 60 days after active duty.

For civilians, jurisdiction, or a court's authority to hear their case, is typically established according to where they live. However, jurisdiction over a service member's divorce may be established where they hold legal residence and not where they are currently stationed. Whether a service member will be able to file for divorce in the state where they reside, where they are stationed or where they claim legal residency generally depends on state law. Issues of divorce such as property distribution, child custody and child support will be decided in accordance with the state's laws in which the divorce petition was filed.

5 signs that divorce is looming

Divorce is a difficult choice to make. It is generally not something that most people wake up and decide to do one day. For many people, it is a culmination of feelings, behaviors and acts over the course of months or even years. For example, you might feel unhappy in your marriage, angry or frustrated. Furthermore, these feelings could have started occurring a year ago.

If you have been unhappy in your marriage, you might be wondering if it is time to seriously consider divorce. Here may be a few indications that divorce is right for you.

Joint vs. sole custody in Mississippi

When Mississippi parents get a divorce, they must come to an agreement on several issues including child custody. There are two types of child custody: legal and physical. Parents who have legal custody over a child are able to make legal decisions that impact the child such as health, education and general welfare. Parents who have physical custody of the child are able to provide the child with a home and daily care.

Parents can also have joint or sole custody of their child. They can negotiate an arrangement that best suits their situation however, if they are unable to come to such an agreement, the court will decide the custody arrangement based on the best interests of the child. Parents who are granted joint legal and physical custody will share in the decision-making on behalf of the child and in the child's daily physical care. This is typically not an arrangement ordered by courts because parents who are able to cooperate regarding physical custody will usually be able to cooperate regarding legal custody as well and often come to an agreement outside of court.

Should I enter into a plea bargain?

A previous blog post discussed plea bargaining - a strategy for defendants who wish to avoid trial, have certain charges dismissed or receive a lesser sentence. This is typically accomplished through three areas of plea negotiation: charge bargaining, sentence bargaining and fact bargaining. There are many considerations for defendants deciding whether to waive their right to a jury trial and enter into a plea bargain.

Plea bargaining is very common; over 90 percent of convictions are from negotiated pleas rather than from jury verdicts. Defendants who wish to receive a lighter sentence, to plead to a lesser crime or to have fewer offenses listed on their criminal record may benefit from plea negotiation. Also, defendants may wish to accept a plea bargain in order to avoid a lengthy and costly trial.

Overview of the Chapter 7 means test"

As this blog has discussed previously, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a great way for a struggling Gulfport, Mississippi, family struggling under the weight of debt get a fresh financial start. Many people in Gulfport prefer Chapter 7 since the process does not involve a repayment plan and can be resolved relatively quickly. Sometimes, a family does not even have to turn over any of their property after filing a Chapter 7.

Perhaps because of these advantages, a little over 10 years ago, the government made changes to push people toward Chapter 13 repayment plans when they can afford them. Now, Mississippi families who make over a certain amount of money may have to file a Chapter 13. It all depends on whether these families pass what bankruptcy experts call the means test, which is a financial assessment that almost anyone filing a Chapter 7 must take.

What can be negotiated during plea bargaining?

Mississippi defendants may be able to resolve their cases through plea bargaining. A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecutor and the defendant on the charges, sentence or facts associated with the defendant's case. The goal of plea bargaining is typically to avoid trial, have charges dismissed or to receive a lesser sentence. The seriousness of the crime, the allegations and evidence and the chances of a guilty verdict are all factors.

There are generally three areas of plea negotiation: charge bargaining, sentence bargaining and fact bargaining. Charge bargaining involves the defendant's plea of guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for the dismissal of a higher charge. Sentence bargaining involves the defendant's plea of guilty to the charge against him or her in exchange for a lighter sentence.

3 signs it’s time to file bankruptcy

When you first opened your credit card account, you probably did not think that you would eventually be struggling to make payments. When you have to choose between putting food on the table and making a mortgage payment or a credit card payment, the choice seems obvious. Unfortunately, a combination of overwhelming debt and loss of income can lead to these kinds of circumstances. If you have found yourself in this position, you are not alone. Several of your Gulfport neighbors have more than likely found themselves in a similar situation.

When debt spirals out of control because of a sudden financial loss, such as divorce, job loss or an unexpected medical emergency, there are relief options available. For some people this might mean only completing a credit counseling course, for others, bankruptcy might be the best solution. Read further to find out if bankruptcy is right for you.

Court ruling: Mississippi woman's rights were violated

A Mississippi federal appeals court recently ruled that a woman's constitutional rights were violated when she was jailed for 96 days without seeing a judge. The woman is now entitled to sue the sheriff and county that wrongfully held her for so long.

The appellate court overruled the lower court's decision, holding that Mississippi sheriffs have the duty to make sure those jailed appear before a judge expediently. The sheriff states that it is not he, but rather the state court circuit's two judges and district attorney, who should be held accountable for the woman's lengthy jailing.

How the blended retirement system will affect military divorce

The Blended Retirement System (BRS) goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. It will make some changes to the military retirement system and other military laws. Many Mississippians believe the BRS will increase the complexity of military divorce cases, and these cases may have different results, depending on the state the divorce is filed.

Under the new system, eligible service members who serve 20 years or more will receive a reduction in their traditional military pension. They will also receive one percent automatic and four percent matching contributions to their Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), as well as mid-career continuation incentive bonuses.

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