Is An Exceptional Lawyer Essential?

Do you consider an “exceptional” lawyer to be essential? Will you truly be content employing a mediocre attorney?

There may have been a point when one distinguished between exceptional and essential. In the past, many individuals may have been content in utilizing a physician, dentist, accountant, an attorney and/or any professional, perhaps as long as they were not inferior. However, is it any different in reading or watching the news, utilizing a barber or beautician, going out to dinner, or watching a movie? When the emphasis is on the desired result, it becomes essential to want a higher standard, receive value and choose to utilize the services of an exceptional or superior individual. In this regard, therefore, the significant keyword and the number one criterion in selecting the people we employ or retain to perform services (and the things we do), becomes very important; doing anything else, such as what may only be “o.k.” becomes tantamount to accepting mediocre and, at times and at best, this is superficial, inadequate, deficient and, even worse, useless and a waste of time.

Most of us want more, with the emphasis on an effective outcome. Yet, some will inevitably place a greater importance on the apparent cost rather than the potential adverse outcome. In other words, they do not automatically ask “what do I have to lose, such as the priceless time I have, my professional career, credibility and/or personal integrity?” Therefore, with all of this in mind, many do not want “just o.k.” and, instead, focus on exceptional as the measurement for the individual with whom they choose to employ and, often, on the things they do with the time they have.

In selecting a lawyer, competence is the same criteria because it can be critical. The website Avvo provides a profile on all of the attorneys in the United States. This website provides one with the opportunity to decide whether (s)he wants an attorney who is exceptional, as well as knowledgeable, competent, skilled and highly experienced, particularly with a proven and written record of ongoing favorable results. For example, it might not at the outset seem as important in choosing a contractor, until one first looks at testimonials to determine whether there are others who have spent their savings or mortgaged their home, only to then experience their contractor departed from the plans and specifications, delayed at great length on the work and/or did not actually complete the project. The cost to correct the deficient workmanship can exceed the original price of the contract or simply be overwhelming as to the nature and time to resolve.

In the practice of law, it can be critical the attorney does more rather than less. It is essential in order to diminish the risk or not gamble on the outcome. Hence, in choosing a lawyer, it is recommended you evaluate the advantages of a comprehensive scope in the work to be performed involving, among other things, indispensable steps, such as a full risk assessment; an exhaustive factual and legal analysis; focused research; essential strategizing; and utilizing credible experts to evaluate and provide an opinion integrated into a proper and lengthy forensic report concerning such issues, including those directly or indirectly, related to the standard of care, competency, prudence, judgment, fitness, lawfulness, honesty, moral turpitude,  etc.

In summary, what some may have previously thought were unnecessary principles because they did not think they required selecting an attorney who is exceptional, now are considering the above issues as extremely important fundamentals and, therefore, essential characteristics in choosing the right lawyer to provide advice and representation (and most if not all of the things they do).

What To Do If You Get A Call or Letter From The Government?

If you receive a telephone call or a letter from the Government, it is extremely important that you obtain experienced legal counsel at once. It may be possible to “nip it in the bud” during the pre-file and/or investigative stage. This is why it’s so important to seek legal advice in the early stages of a case. Do not be naïve to think you can handle it yourself and/or any lawyer can do so on your behalf.

Some lawyers handle a huge caseload, have their junior associates and paralegals perform the work, and may be best described as an assembly line or cookie cutter law firm. You deserve an attorney who will prepare a proper strategy that is accompanied by comprehensive written legal and factual arguments that address the issues.

It is noteworthy that there are several possible outcomes of an investigation, including the following:

1. Closed, the complaint is found to be “unsubstantiated;”
2. Closed, the complaint is found to be “inconclusive;”
3. Closed, the complaint is found to have merit but insufficient evidence to prosecute given the burden of proof and likelihood of prevailing;
4. Closed, an investigative fine is imposed;
5. Referred to the local District Attorney, referred to the State of California Attorney General for the filing of an Accusation, civil complaint and/or an Interim Suspension Order, referred to the U.S. Attorney, local City Attorney, or other Legal Division for prosecution;
6. Referred for issuance of a citation; and/or
7. Referred to another law enforcement agency for prosecution.

How important are the following? Your career! Your personal and professional image and reputation! Your credibility! Your ability to maintain your current and/or have the opportunity to obtain future employment!

If an investigation is opened against you, is the number one priority the cost of your defense? However, does it make sense that the reason a lawyer may charge less is to do less? Is it likely a cut-rate attorney charges a lesser amount because (s)he handles a large volume of cases and, therefore, your expectation of personal service and winning results may be unfulfilled? Is it sufficient for you if the attorney does the obvious and no better than an “ok” job? Do you prefer quality, passion and a dedicated lawyer who is extremely motivated to win, works harder and seeks to go beyond the minimum, with a strategy for a compelling defense and offense? Do you want a lawyer with consistent winning results or are you willing to gamble on the outcome?

When you receive a call, visit or letter from an investigator, consider each of these factors when selecting a lawyer with a proven record and one who will truly fight for you. Remember, the investigator has the government on his/her side with superb lawyers to prosecute their cases and you deserve to have a formidable and premier attorney on your side, and to level the playing field.

CA Supreme Court ruled that unlicensed school employees can give insulin injections

Commentary by Sam Spital, California State Board License and Criminal Defense Attorney

It strains credulity to believe the Supreme Court declared that California law permits unlicensed employees to give insulin injections, albeit pursuant to a doctor’s order. It is a slippery slope and this opens the door to even more situations in which the training and education of a licensed nurse are being marginalized.  The American and California Nurses Association based their arguments on California law (Bus. & Profs. Code section 2700 et seq.) that heretofore has held only licensed nurses can administer insulin.Specifically, the Legislature has mandated in the Nursing Practice Act the requirements for licensure with specific courses of education, scientific knowledge, skills and clinical training, and these include the administration of medications [Bus. & Profs. Code section 2725(b)(2)]

The author did not relate any of the pros and cons, nor alternatives to an increasingly important concern in public schools throughout California since more and more parents are discovering school nurses are unavailable on a regular basis (only 5% of the schools in California have a full time nurse on duty; 26% have no nurse on duty and the rest have only part time nurses).

No citation to the actual Supreme Court case was set forth in the article, but the name, citation and link are as follows:  AMERICAN NURSES ASSOCIATION vs. TOM TORLAKSON, August 12, 2013 (Case #S184583)


Four child welfare workers will be fired after death of boy

Los Angeles county officials say that four child welfare workers were negligent and guilty of many missteps in a case involving an 8-year-old boy named Gabriel Fernandez. As a result of their lapses, the boy died. The four workers have received letters informing them that they will be fired.

Fernandez died in May. He was found with broken ribs, burns, and a fractured skull. His mother and her boyfriend have been charged with murder and torture, and though the Department of Children and Family Services received many complaints of abuse, they had been discounted and not dealt with.

It is heartbreaking that these people knew that a child was most likely being hurt but they did nothing to stop it. Hopefully the firing of these four employees marks a change and sends a message to other employees that this behavior and these serious mistakes are not all right.

The challenge for Child Protective workers is that they are faced with making complex decisions in the investigation of abuse &/or neglect. On the other hand, they have the benefit of engaging in a dialogue with their managers and even confer with experts in the field to make appropriate decisions.

Erring on the side of caution protects the child(ren), but doing nothing exposes the child(ren) to serious and life threatening injuries. Perhaps the real conundrum involves the huge case load they have, in which many contend they need greater and ongoing education and training.



Employees obligated to assist employers during investigations

A California ruling suggests that an employee is obligated to assist their employer during the investigation of another employee’s discrimination claim.

John McGrory was investigated, but it was determined that he had not discriminated against another employee for being a lesbian. However, he was fired for violating the company’s sexual harassment policy and being uncooperative during the investigation process. He then sued Applied Signal Technology for wrongful termination, saying that his termination violated public policy. The court, however, did not agree.

If an investigation is happening in a workplace, employees should be respectful and cooperative. It is a privilege, not a right, to have a job. If in doubt, you should see the advice of an employment lawyer, first being certain the attorney has no conflict of interest.


Gun owner charged in accidental shooting death

55-year-old Todd Conrad Francis is being charged with three felony counts: involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment and criminal storage of a firearm.

Francis’ 9-year-old daughter was playing with her neighbor Eric Klyaz in the garage on June 4. They were handling Francis’ 9 mm pistol when it apparently went off, killing Klyaz. At the time, the children were being babysat by the girl’s 14-year-old brother.

Francis surrendered at the police headquarters on Tuesday and was released after posting $100,000 bail. He will be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. on June 25 in San Diego Superior Court.

This is a tragic situation, and our hearts go out to the family of all of those involved.


FBI arrests 14 in connection with international gambling ring

The FBI staged raids on Wednesday during which they arrested 14 people, one of whom may be a manager in an international gambling ring. This violent ring, which has been operating for a decade, is alleged to have taken millions of dollars in illegal sports bets.

The FBI launched a full-scale investigation into the case, sending undercover agents to become part of the organization in 2011, and setting up wiretaps.

The organization, called Macho Sports International, may have been led in part by 37-year-old Amir Mokayef, who was one of the people arrested on Wednesday. Agents spent the day confiscating items from his home. They also froze his assets, as they may have all come from his illegal dealings.

Mokayef will return to federal court on Friday for a detention hearing.

Attempted murder suspect arrested

Police arrested an attempted murder suspect in Vista on Tuesday, eight hours after he went on the run.

Kenneth Wayne Welch, 42, allegedly beat his girlfriend, then left the scene in his pickup truck with their 5-month-old son. Welch left the unharmed child with a relative.

Welch’s girlfriend said that he hit her on the head and tried to run her over with his truck. Luckily, the girl’s injuries were not life-threatening.

After spotting a police car, Welch crashed his truck on Mar Vista Drive and attempted to run, but gave up and surrendered to the deputies.

Welch has a criminal record that includes prison time for robbery, domestic violence and vehicle theft.


Alleyne vs. the United States

On June 17, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of   ALLEYNE vs. UNITED STATES, Case # 11–9335, in a 5-4 opinion, overruled the 2002 Supreme Court case of Harris v. United States, 536 U. S. 545, and in doing so held any mandatory minimum sentence that increase the penalty for a crime must be submitted to the jury for their determination of the actual sentence.

Here the jury form documented the defendant used or carried a firearm as part of his crime, but not that the firearm was brandished, which increased the penalty to a 7-year mandatory minimum sentence instead of the 5-year minimum. Even though his counsel objected because the verdict form was not correct and, therefore, violated his Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial, the District Court overruled the objection, by relying upon the case of Harris vs. United States. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the Harris decision ruling it is permissible under the Sixth Amendment for judicial fact finding that increases the mandatory minimum sentence for a crime. The Supreme Court overruled the Harris decision, vacated the judgment of the Fourth Circuit and remanded the case, holding brandishing is a fact that increases the prescribed range of penalties mandatory minimum sentence and as such is an element of a crime that must be submitted to the jury for its determination as to whether the prosecution proved that specific detail beyond a reasonable doubt.

Accordingly, if a judge intends to impose a higher sentence than the minimum mandatory penalty, he cannot do so unless the jury concludes the underlying legal conclusion is supported by a fact, which on turn is supported by evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.

Read more here.

20-year-old Wrongfully Fired

It’s important to know your rights as an employee.

20-year-old Anthony worked as a cook and dishwasher at a Mountain Mike Pizza franchise near Antelope, CA, for six months. Anthony also suffers from bipolar disorder. During the time he was employed at the pizza place, his disorder did not affect his work performance. On one of his days off, Anthony had a breakdown and had to be hospitalized overnight, causing him to miss his shift the next day. His boss asked him to bring in a doctor’s note, which said “Crestwood Psychiatric Clinic” at the top.

As soon as Anthony’s employer found out about his bipolar disorder, she allegedly cut his hours to zero, while still keeping him on as a technical employee. She told him that she had no hours for him. This went on for about three weeks, until Anthony sat down with her. Then, he said, she accused him of threatening her, the company, and another employee.

Anthony had the presence of mind to contact the California Labor Board after he got fired, since he felt that his former employer was violating California labor laws. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against in the workplace, make sure to use the proper legal channels to report the incident and take action.


Ratings and Reviews

BBB 10.0Samuel Eugene Spital
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