Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The patented selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

 

Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis. The objective is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel.

 

Stephen Hébert is a New Orleans-based sole practitioner, defending clients in criminal matters across Louisiana. After working as a Law Clerk at the Louisiana 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal, an Assistant District Attorney at the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office and an associate at a highly regarded commercial litigation firm, Hébert started his private practice in July 2010. Hébert’s outstanding abilities in criminal defense have since been repeatedly recognized by Super Lawyers: Hébert was named to Rising Stars in 2012 and 2013, and this is Hébert’s third consecutive selection to the Louisiana Super Lawyers list.

 

While criminal defense comprises most of his practice, Hébert’s current practice areas additionally include general civil litigation and plaintiff’s personal injury. 

 

Click here to review Stephen Hébert’s full profile at Super Lawyers.

 

Motorist should never drink and drive.  Nonetheless, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office will be conducting a sobriety checkpoint at an undisclosed location on the West Bank this Wednesday (December 21) evening.  This check point will occur between 7 p.m. and 1 a.m.  As such, instead of drinking and driving, please use a designated driver or cab service when going out on the town.

 

 

In December 2015, 840 people died as a result of drunk driving crashes nationwide, including three deaths in Louisiana. The Christmas and New Year’s Eve time period resulted in 579 crashes and 14 deaths. A total of 43 percent of the crashes involved alcohol.

 

As a result, the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), in partnership with the Louisiana’s Destination Zero Deaths (DZD) team, is reminding area residents to 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' this holiday season. State and local law enforcement officials are looking for drunk drivers, with a heightened awareness beginning December 16 and continuing through the New Year.

 

Please remember to use either a designated driver or cab service when partying during this holiday season.

 

 

 

The New Orleans Police Department will conduct a sobriety checkpoint at an undisclosed location in New Orleans Thursday night (Oct. 22), starting at 9:00 p.m.  This checkpoint will remain in place until 5:00 a.m. Friday morning.   

 

Drivers should have proof of insurance, driver's license and vehicle registration if requested by officers. 

 

 

The New Orleans Police Department will conduct a sobriety checkpoint beginning at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 24, 2015, to 5:00 a.m. on Friday, September 25, 2015.  Motorists will experience minimal delays and should have the proper documentation available if requested (i.e., proof of insurance, driver’s license, etc.).

 

 

For the fourth consecutive year, New Orleans Magazine has recognized Stephen Hébert as a Top Lawyer.  After working as a prosecutor and an associate at a highly regarded commercial litigation firm, Hébert established Stephen D. Hébert, LLC - Attorney at Law in July 2010; and, since that time, Stephen's outstanding work has been repeatedly recognized.  New Orleans Magazine has previously named Hébert a Top Lawyer in personal injury litigation in 2013 and criminal defense in 2012 and 2014.  This year, New Orleans Magazine is again recognizing Hébert's work in criminal defense.

 

Click here to review the full story.

 

 

Although the exact locations were not disclosed, the Hammond Police Department has announced it will set up DWI checkpoints over the upcoming Labor Day weekend.  The checkpoints will run through September 3 and September 6 "between late evening and early morning hours," according to the release.

 

"We are giving ample warning to all motorists that if you drink, do not drive," the force wrote. "If you drink and drive in Hammond, expect to be stopped by the Hammond Police Department. If it is determined that you are driving while intoxicated, you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."

 

 

 

The Louisiana legislature recently passed major reform regarding the criminal penalties for marijuana possession that went into effect on June 29, 2015.  These significant changes are set forth below.

 

2015 La. Sess. Law Serv. Act 295 (H.B. 149) (WEST)

LOUISIANA 2015 SESSION LAW SERVICE

2015 Regular Session

Additions are indicated by Text; deletions by

*** or by =Text.

Vetoes are indicated by  Text ;

stricken material by  Text .

ACT NO. 295

H.B. No. 149

THE UNIFORM CONTROLLED DANGEROUS SUBSTANCES LAW

BY REPRESENTATIVES BADON, BARROW, BOUIE, BURRELL, COX, EDWARDS, HONORE, HUNTER, JACKSON, JAMES, JEFFERSON, TERRY LANDRY, NORTON, PIERRE, SMITH, AND ALFRED WILLIAMS

AN ACT to amend and reenact R.S. 40:966(E) and (F), relative to the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law; to provide relative to penalties for possession of marijuana when the amount possessed is fourteen grams or less; to provide relative to penalties for possession of marijuana when the amount possessed is fourteen grams or more, but less than two and one-half pounds; to provide relative to a cleansing period for certain offenses; to provide relative to the possession of more than two and one-half pounds and less than sixty pounds of marijuana; and to provide for related matters.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of Louisiana:

Section 1. R.S. 40:966(E) and (F) are hereby amended and reenacted to read as follows:

<< LA R.S. 40:966 >>

§ 966 Penalty for distribution or possession with intent to distribute narcotic drugs listed in Schedule I; possession of marijuana, possession of synthetic cannabinoids, possession of heroin

* * *

E. (1) Possession of marijuana, or synthetic cannabinoids. (1) (a) Except as provided in Subsections E and Subsection F of this Section, on a first conviction for violation of Subsection C of this Section with regard to marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, or chemical derivatives thereof, or synthetic cannabinoids the offender shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, imprisoned in the parish jail for not more than six months, or both. punished as follows:

 

(i) On a first conviction, wherein the offender possesses fourteen grams or less, the offender shall be fined not more than three hundred dollars, imprisoned in the parish jail for not more than fifteen days, or both.

 

(ii) On a first conviction, wherein the offender possesses more than fourteen grams, the offender shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, imprisoned in the parish jail for not more than six months, or both.

 

(iii) Any person who has been convicted of a violation of the provisions of Item (i) or (ii) of this Subparagraph and who has not been convicted of any other violation of a statute or ordinance prohibiting the possession of marijuana for a period of two years from the date of completion of sentence, probation, parole, or suspension of sentence shall not be eligible to have the conviction used as a predicate conviction for enhancement purposes. The provisions of this Subparagraph shall occur only once with respect to any person.

 

(2)(a) (b) Except as provided in Subsection F or G of this Section, on a second conviction for violation of Subsection C of this Section with regard to marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or chemical derivatives thereof, or synthetic cannabinoids the offender shall be fined not less than two hundred fifty dollars, nor more than two thousand dollars, imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than five years, or both more than one thousand dollars, imprisoned in the parish jail for not more than six months, or both.

 

(b) If the court places the offender on probation, the probation shall provide for a minimum condition that he participate in a court-approved substance abuse program and perform four eight-hour days of court-approved community service activities. Any costs associated with probation shall be paid by the offender.

 

(3) (c)(i) Except as provided in Subsection F or G of this Section, on a third or subsequent conviction for violation of Subsection C of this Section with regard to marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or chemical derivatives thereof, or synthetic cannabinoids the offender shall be sentenced to imprisonment with or without hard labor for not more than twenty years, and may, in addition, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than five thousand dollars two years, shall be fined not more than two thousand five hundred dollars, or both.

 

(ii) If the court places the offender on probation, the probation shall provide for a minimum condition that he participate in a court-approved substance abuse program and perform four eight-hour days of court-approved community service activities. Any costs associated with probation shall be paid by the offender.

 

(d)(i) Except as provided in Subsection F of this Section, on a fourth or subsequent conviction for violation of Subsection C of this Section with regard to marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or chemical derivatives thereof, the offender shall be sentenced to imprisonment with or without hard labor for not more than eight years, shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars, or both.

 

(ii) If the court places the offender on probation, the probation shall provide for a minimum condition that he participate in a court-approved substance abuse program and perform four eight-hour days of court-approved community service activities. Any costs associated with probation shall be paid by the offender.

 

(4) (e) A Except as provided in Item (a)(iii) of this Paragraph, a conviction for the violation of any other statute or ordinance with the same elements as R.S. 40:966(C) Subsection C of this Section prohibiting the possession of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or chemical derivatives thereof, or synthetic cannabinoids shall be considered as a prior conviction for the purposes of this Subsection relating to penalties for second, third, or subsequent offenders.

 

(5) (f) A Except as provided in Item (a)(iii) of this Paragraph, a conviction for the violation of any other statute or ordinance with the same elements as R.S. 40:966(B)(3) Paragraph (B)(3) of this Section prohibiting the distributing or dispensing or possession with intent to distribute or dispense marijuana, of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or chemical derivatives thereof, or synthetic cannabinoids shall be considered as a prior conviction for the purposes of this Subsection relating to penalties for second, third, or subsequent offenders.

 

(2) Possession of synthetic cannabinoids. (a) Except as provided in Subsections F and G of this Section, on a first conviction for violation of Subsection C of this Section with regard to synthetic cannabinoids, the offender shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.

 

(b) Except as provided in Subsections F and G of this Section, on a second conviction for violation of Subsection C of this Section with regard to synthetic cannabinoids, the offender shall be fined not less than two hundred fifty dollars nor more than two thousand dollars, imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than five years, or both.

 

(c) Except as provided in Subsections F and G of this Section, on a third or subsequent conviction for violation of Subsection C of this Section with regard to synthetic cannabinoids, the offender shall be sentenced to imprisonment with or without hard labor for not more than twenty years, and may, in addition, be fined not more than five thousand dollars.

 

(d) A conviction for the violation of any other provision of law or ordinance with the same elements as Subsection C of this Section prohibiting the possession of synthetic cannabinoids shall be considered a prior conviction for the purposes of this Paragraph relating to penalties for second, third, or subsequent offenses.

 

(e) A conviction for the violation of any other provision of law or ordinance with the same elements as Paragraph (B)(3) of this Section prohibiting the distributing or dispensing or possession with intent to distribute or dispense synthetic cannabinoids shall be considered a prior conviction for the purposes of this Paragraph relating to penalties for second, third, or subsequent offenses.

 

(f) If the court places the offender on probation, the probation shall provide for a minimum condition that he participate in a court-approved substance abuse program and perform four eight-hour days of court-approved community service activities. Any costs associated with probation shall be paid by the offender.

 

F. Except as otherwise authorized in this Part:

 

(1) Any person who knowingly or intentionally possesses two and one-half pounds or more, but less than sixty pounds of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or chemical derivatives thereof, or synthetic cannabinoids shall be sentenced to serve a term of imprisonment with or without hard labor of not less than two years, nor more than ten years, and to pay a fine of not less than ten thousand dollars nor more than thirty thousand dollars.

 

(2) Any person who knowingly or intentionally possesses sixty pounds or more, but less than two thousand pounds of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or chemical derivatives thereof, or synthetic cannabinoids shall be sentenced to serve a term of imprisonment at hard labor of not less than five years, nor more than thirty years, and to pay a fine of not less than fifty thousand dollars nor more than one hundred thousand dollars.

 

(2) (3) Any person who knowingly or intentionally possesses two thousand pounds or more, but less than ten thousand pounds of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or chemical derivatives thereof, or synthetic cannabinoids shall be sentenced to serve a term of imprisonment at hard labor of not less than ten years nor more than forty years, and to pay a fine of not less than one hundred thousand dollars nor more than four hundred thousand dollars.

 

(3) (4) Any person who knowingly or intentionally possesses ten thousand pounds or more of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or chemical derivatives thereof, or synthetic cannabinoids shall be sentenced to serve a term of imprisonment at hard labor of not less than twenty-five years, nor more than forty years and to pay a fine of not less than four hundred thousand dollars nor more than one million dollars.

 

 

Super Lawyers Magazine has named New Orleans criminal defense attorney Stephen Hébert to the Louisiana Super Lawyers list for 2015.  Hébert began his private practice in July 2010 after gaining invaluable experience while working in the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office and at a highly regarded commercial litigation firm.  While criminal defense comprises most of his practice, Hébert’s current practice areas include general civil litigation and plaintiff’s personal injury.  Super Lawyers Magazine has previously recognized Hébert’s outstanding work as a criminal defense attorney, selecting him as a Rising Star in 2012 and 2013.  Yet, this is Hébert’s first selection to the Louisiana Super Lawyers list.

 

Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a patented multiphase selection process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with third party research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis. 

 

The objective is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel. Since Super Lawyers is intended to be used as an aid in selecting a lawyer, Super Lawyers limits the lawyer ratings to those who can be hired and retained by the public (i.e.- lawyers in private practice and Legal Aid attorneys).

 

The Super Lawyers patented selection process involves three basic steps: creation of the candidate pool; evaluation of candidates by the research department; and peer evaluation by practice area.

 

Step One: Creation of the Candidate Pool

 

Lawyers enter the candidate pool by being formally nominated by a peer or if identified by the research department during the research process.

 

Formal Nominations

 

Once a year, Super Lawyers invites lawyers in each state to nominate the top attorneys they've personally observed in action. Lawyers may nominate attorneys in their own firm, but these nominations count only if each in-firm nomination is matched by at least one out-firm nomination.

 

Each nomination carries a point value. An out-firm nomination has substantially greater point value than an in-firm nomination. Lawyers cannot nominate themselves, and must limit their nominations to others who practice in the same state.

 

Super Lawyer’s procedures and database have several safeguards that prevent lawyers from "gaming" the system. For example, Super Lawyers tracks who nominates whom. This helps Super Lawyers detect any excessive "back-scratch" nominations (lawyers nominating each other) and "block nominations" (where members of the same law firm all cast identical nominations).  Super Lawyers also prohibits lawyers from engaging in "campaigning" or solicitation of nominations from other lawyers.

 

While important, the nomination phase is simply the first step in the process. It puts lawyers on Super Lawyer’s radar for further research and evaluation, and awards points in our rating system. But Super Lawyers limits the value of those points so that no matter how many nominations one receives, it will not guarantee selection.  

 

Research Process

 

The Super Lawyers attorney-led research staff then searches for lawyers who have attained certain honors, results or credentials, which indicate a high degree of peer recognition or professional competence. For example, certification as a specialist in a particular area of practice, or admission to prestigious colleges or academies (e.g.- The American College of Trial Lawyers). The staff identifies these credentials by reviewing a proprietary list of database and online sources, including national and local legal trade publications. 

 

Most of the lawyers Super Lawyers identifies in this process have also been nominated by their peers. Occasionally, however, Super Lawyers finds outstanding lawyers who have been overlooked in the nomination process. These may include: lawyers with national litigation practices who rarely appear in the courts of their home jurisdiction; lawyers in smaller firms or from smaller communities; and lawyers practicing in less visible or highly specialized practice areas.

 

Informal Nominations

 

Throughout the year, readers, clients and attorneys who are not eligible to formally nominate (that is, actively licensed to practice in the same state as the nominee) send us names of lawyers we should consider for inclusion. Though no points are awarded, we add these lawyers to the candidate pool for further research and evaluation.

 

Step Two: Evaluation of Lawyers in Candidate Pool

 

Our research department evaluates each candidate based on these 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement: verdicts and settlements; transactions; representative clients; experience; honors and awards; special licenses and certifications; position within law firm; bar and or other professional activity; pro bono and community service as a lawyer; scholarly lectures and writings; education and employment background; and other outstanding achievements.

These indicators are not treated equally; some have a higher maximum point value than others. 

 

Step Three: Peer Evaluation by Practice Area

 

In this step, also known as the "blue ribbon review," candidates are grouped according to their primary areas of practice. The candidates in each practice area with the highest point totals from steps one and two above are asked to serve on a blue ribbon panel. The panelists are then provided a list of candidates from their practice areas to review, rating them on a scale of one to ten.

 

Final Selection

 

 

Candidates are grouped into four firm-size categories. Those with the highest point totals from each category are selected. This means solo and small firm lawyers are compared with other solo and small firm attorneys, and large firm lawyers compete with other large firm lawyers.  Five percent of the total lawyers in the state are selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers.

 

 

Click here to review Stephen Hébert’s Super Lawyers profile.

 

Stephen Hébert started his private practice in July 2010, representing clients in criminal and civil matters across Louisiana.  Stephen’s work has been previously recognized by New Orleans Magazine, naming Stephen a Top Lawyer in criminal defense in 2012 and personal injury litigation in 2013. This year, New Orleans Magazine is once again recognizing Stephen’s outstanding work in criminal defense, naming him a Top Lawyer in criminal defense for the second time.  Click here to review the full list.

 

People should never drink and drive.  Nonetheless, please be especially sure to rely on a designated driver or cab service if you plan to be out on the town tonight in New Orleans.

 

On Thursday, August 14, 2014, the New Orleans Police Department will conduct a sobriety checkpoint, in Orleans Parish on Thursday, August 14, 2014, beginning at approximately 9:00 p.m. and will conclude at approximately 5:00 a.m.  Motorists will experience minimal delays and should have the proper documentation available if requested, i.e., proof of insurance, driver’s license, etc.

In an article recently published by the New Orleans Edition of Attorney at Law Magazine, Criminal Defense Lawyer Stephen Hébert weighs in on marijuana reform in Louisiana.  The full article, Tough on Crime or Smart on Crime?, can be read here.

 

In the latest issue of the Greater New Orleans Edition of Attorney at Law Magazine, Todd Knight wrote an interesting piece concerning the personal background and practice of criminal defense attorney Stephen Hébert.

 

 

Read the article here.

 

Stephen D. Hébert has been named by New Orleans Magazine as one of New Orleans' top lawyers in personal injury litigation for 2013.

 

Read the full story here at myneworleans.com.

 

State of Louisiana v. Darryl Tate, Supreme Court of Louisiana, Docket No. 2012-OK-2763

 

In this case, the Louisiana Supreme Court addressed whether Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. __ (2012) applied retroactively in state collateral proceedings. Darryl Tate was a juvenile convicted of second degree murder, and, as such, was sentenced to mandatory life without the possibility of parole. His conviction became final in 1984. But, in light of Miller v. Alabama, Tate filed a motion seeking re-sentencing.

 

The trial court denied his motion. However, the court of appeal granted writs, remanding the matter for a sentencing hearing. The Louisiana Supreme Court then granted writs to address the retroactivity of Miller to those juvenile homicide convictions final at the time Miller was rendered. Upon review, the Louisiana Supreme Court found Miller did not apply retroactively in cases on collateral review as it merely set forth a new rule of criminal constitutional procedure, which is neither substantive nor implicative of the fundamental fairness and accuracy of criminal proceedings. Therefore, the Louisiana Supreme Court reversed the ruling of the court of appeal and reinstated the ruling of the trial court.

 

Attorney at Law Magazine just published an article written by Stephen Hébert, concerning expunging a misdemeanor conviction under Louisiana law.  The article, Expunging the Misdemeanor Conviction: No Article 894? No Problem, discusses expungement procedures both with and without an Article 894 deferral.  Click here to read the full article.

 

State of Louisiana v. Anthony Thomas, Supreme Court of Louisiana, Docket No. 2012-KP-1410

At a jury trial for the offense of aggravated burglary, Anthony Thomas was convicted of the responsive verdict of attempted aggravated burglary. Thereafter, the State of Louisiana filed a multiple offender bill and Thomas was adjudicated to be third offender, thereby requiring a mandatory life sentence. However, this conviction was later reversed due to the prosecutor's indirect reference to Thomas' failure to testify. In 2002, the matter was re-tried. Thomas waived the jury and was convicted by the court of the responsive verdict of unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling. The State, once again, filed a multiple offender bill; and, as a result, Thomas was sentenced to a mandatory life sentence.

 

After Thomas exhausted his direct appeals, he filed an application for post-conviction relief alleging ineffective assistance of counsel and/or double jeopardy. More particularly, Thomas argued that, since the jury in the first trial found him guilty of only a responsive verdict of attempted aggravated burglary, he was effectively acquitted on the aggravated burglary charge and should not have been tried for second time for the same offense. As such, Thomas argued that his counsel should have filed a motion to quash prior to the commencement of the second trial. The trial court granted the Thomas' application and the State sought appellate review. The Louisiana Supreme Court reversed.

 

While the Louisiana Supreme Court found that trial counsel's performance fell below the objective standard, the court also found no prejudice because Thomas was ultimately convicted of an offense that was not barred by double jeopardy. Therefore, the Louisiana Supreme Court concluded that Thomas did not satisfy the "Strickland" standard and that it was in error to grant Thomas post-conviction relief.

 

 

United States v. José Garza, United States Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, Docket No. 12-40530

After an officer noticed that José Garza's truck matched a description given over dispatch, the officer stopped Garza in a tiny border town called Fronton, Texas (only 5 miles from the Rio Grande and the U.S.-Mexico border) when Garza tried to leave a gas station. This stop would lead to an alleged consensual search, which revealed undocumented aliens in the truck's flatbed.

 

Garza subsequently pled to trafficking aliens for financial gain, but he reserved the right to appeal his motion to suppress the search of his vehicle that resulted from the officer's Terry stop.

 

Although the information that lead to Garza's arrest was based on a CI, the Fifth Circuit never addressed the issue. Rather, the court relied on Brignoni-Ponce factors, concluding that the officer had enough information to support an inference of reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

 

In border cases, like in all Terry cases, there must be "specific articulable facts" that form the basis for reasonable suspicion, not just a hunch.

 

While the Brignoni-Ponce case mentions eight factors, the Garza court notes that in considering the totality of circumstances of a near-border stop, it need only find a couple of the factors weighing in favor of the stop, not all.

 

The Fifth Circuit placed considerable importance on these factors:

 

1. The characteristics of the area. Fronton was known to have a high frequency of illegal drug and human trafficking activity.

 

2. Agent experience. The border agent had more than two years' experience in the Fronton area and knew the kind of traffic that passed through.

 

3. Proximity to the border. The gas station was only 5 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border; citing case precedent, the Fifth Circuit explained that "Anything less than 50 miles ... implicates the proximity factor."

 

4. The vehicle's appearance. Plywood boards are often used to hide illegal cargo and can be a sign of possible trafficking.

 

5. The driver's appearance. When the agent approached in his vehicle, Garza nervously finished pumping his gas and quickly moved into his vehicle, giving the agent reason to suspect his nervous evasive behavior."

 

Taken together, without mention of the CI's tip, the Garza court concluded there was reasonable suspicion for an investigatory stop.

 

The Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory has awarded attorney Stephen Hébert the peer review legal rating of AV-Preeminent (4.9 out of 5.0). Martindale-Hubbell peer review ratings are an objective indicator of a lawyer's high ethical standards and professional ability, generated from evaluations of lawyers by other members of the bar and the judiciary.

 

LexisNexis facilitates secure online Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings surveys of lawyers across multiple jurisdictions and geographic locations, in similar areas of practice as the lawyer being rated. Reviewers are asked to assess their colleagues' general ethical standards and legal ability in a specific area of practice. The ratings appear in all formats of the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, in the online listings on martindale.com, Lawyers.com, on the LexisNexis services, on LexisNexis mobile apps.

 

Martindale-Hubbell peer review ratings reflect a combination of achieving a very high general ethical standards rating and a legal ability numerical rating. A threshold number of responses is required to achieve a rating.

 

The general ethical standards rating denotes adherence to professional standards of conduct and ethics, reliability, diligence and other criteria relevant to the discharge of professional responsibilities. Those lawyers who meet the "very high" criteria of general ethical standards can proceed to the next step in the ratings process - legal ability.

 

Legal ability ratings are based on performance in five key areas, rated on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest). These areas are:


• Legal Knowledge - Lawyer's familiarity with the laws governing his/her specific area of practice(s)


• Analytical Capabilities - Lawyer's creativity in analyzing legal issues and applying technical knowledge


• Judgment - Lawyer's demonstration of the salient factors that drive the outcome of a given case or issue


• Communication Ability - Lawyer's capability to communicate persuasively and credibly


• Legal Experience - Lawyer's degree of experience in his/her specific area of practice(s)


The numeric ratings range may coincide with the appropriate Certification Mark:


• AV Preeminent (4.5-5.0) - AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence.


• BV Distinguished (3.0-4.4) - BV Distinguished is an excellent rating for a lawyer with some experience. A widely respected mark of achievement, it differentiates a lawyer from his or her competition.


• Rated (1.0-2.9) - The Peer Review Rated designation demonstrates that the lawyer has met the very high criteria of General Ethical Standing.

 

 

In re: Application of the U.S. for Historical Cell Site Data, United States Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, Docket No. 11-20884

The Government filed three applications under § 2703 of the Stored Communications Act ("SCA"), 18 U.S.C. §§ 2701-2712, seeking evidence relevant to three separate criminal investigations. On appeal, the issue before the court was whether court orders authorized by SCA to compel cell phone service providers to produce the historical cell site information of their subscribers were per se unconstitutional. The appellate court concluded that cell site data are business records and should be analyzed under that line of Supreme Court precedent. As such, the appellate court found that, since the magistrate judge and district court treated the data as tracking information, they applied the wrong legal standard. Using the "proper framework," the appellate court found that SCA's authorization of § 2703(d) orders for historical cell site information if an application meets the lesser "specific and articulable facts" standard, rather than the Fourth Amendment probable cause standard, was not per se unconstitutional. Further, as long as the Government met the statutory requirements, SCA did not give the magistrate judge discretion to deny the Government's application for such an order. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded with instructions to grant the applications.

 

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