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Prison Policy Change Not Responsible for Alleged Crime Spikes

Thursday, January 31, 2013

New data shows a spike in crime in California, and already, overenthusiastic public policy groups are seizing on this data as proof that California's new prison plan is not working, and is actually increasing crime.

Under the overhaul of the state’s badly overburdened and disastrous prison system, individuals, who would have earlier been sent to overcrowded state prisons, are now being sent to county jails. That has coincided with a spike in crime rates in California. According to Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics, there was a 7.6% increase in homicide in California, and a double-digit increase in burglary and auto theft in the first 6 months of 2012. The spike seems to be apparent when you compare it with statistics during the same period of time in 2011.

Already, several groups have pounced on those statistics, claiming that the reason for the spike in burglaries, and property crime is the fact that many criminals are not in prison where they belong, but in county jails.

But a closer analysis of the facts seems to point San Jose criminal defense attorneys to a totally different conclusion. The change in prison policy seems to have actually resulted in a drop in crime rates in several counties. According to the Center, there has been an increase in property crimes and violent crimes in approximately 40 of the 69 largest cities in the Golden State. Those increases are fairly significant. However, the crime rates have varied significantly across counties, with San Mateo showing a 3% increase, while Santa Barbara recorded a 13% decline in those crimes.

According to the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, there is no association between the crime hikes and the large proportions of offenders, who are now being sent to county jails, and not state prisons. In fact, according to the Center, there has actually been a drop in crime rates in 5 counties which have received high numbers of these prisoners under the new plan.

Cohabiting Couples More Likely to Have Traditional Housework Roles

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

According to a new study, couples who live together without marriage are much more likely to have traditional household responsibilities and roles, compared to couples who are married.

The study conducted by Cornell University focused on working-class couples who cohabit without marriage. The study found that cohabiting couples who live together without marriage tend to have more traditional roles in housework. In such relationships, women were responsible for supervising the chores, even when they did most of the household work.

In these households, women were responsible for completing a disproportionate amount of household duties. This was even though the women in the cohabiting relationship were much more likely to demand equal partnerships, and even though the men were progressive enough to want a partner who earned a living.

None of the couples in the survey shared equal financial and housework responsibilities. Traditionally male dominant roles seemed to be much more common in these relationships, with men assuming the dominant position in the household, but continuing to be fine with the fact that their partners were working and earning money. Just because the women contributed to most of the household work, did not necessarily give them a bigger say, or a more dominant role in the household.

The study did not investigate whether such unequal division of duties or the existence of a male dominant household structure proved detrimental to the relationship. However, the results of the survey do confirm to San Jose family lawyers, the need for cohabiting couples to outline their financial obligations and rights clearly in a cohabitation agreement.

Sperm Donor to Be Held Liable for Child Support Payments

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

An interesting case from across the country is raising intriguing questions about the responsibilities of sperm donors in child support matters.

This case is out of Kansas where him where San Jose family lawyers find that a man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple resulting in the birth of a now 3-year-old girl, is being held accountable for child support payments for the little girl.

It all began when William Marotta answered a Craigslist ad asking for sperm donors for the couple, Angie Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner. The lesbian couple who had been together for 8 years, had already raised children and adopted several others, but now wanted children of their own.

In 2009, Marotta donated his sperm, and as part of the agreement with the couple, waived off compensation and all his rights over the child. As part of the agreement, the couple also stated that he would not be held responsible for any child support payments or liabilities in the future.

However, soon after the child was born, Schreiner and Bauer separated, and were faced with troubled times. Bauer, who was the main earning partner, was unable to work because of an illness, while Schreiner was forced to apply for public assistance. She filed for Medicaid in order to obtain health insurance for the 3-year-old daughter.

However, the Kansas Department of Children and Families stated that it would be willing to provide help, but only if Schreiner released the name of the child's biological father, so that he could be asked to pay child support. The agreement between Bauer and the couple which clearly stated that the couple would indemnify Marotta of any child support-related payments and any other expenses seemed to be meaningless, because the artificial insemination was done not in a clinic, but through a Craigslist ad, bypassing the state’s legal protocols on this issue.

Marotta will now be held responsible for $6,000 in past child support, as well as future child support.

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