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How Many Adults Making Bad Choices Can You Count?

How not to parent – Let’s see how many bad decisions we can count!

DALLAS – A Dallas County jury found a father accused of theft for taking away his daughter’s cellphone as punishment not guilty on Tuesday.

Ronald Jackson, 36, was charged with theft of property of at least $50 but under $500, a Class B misdemeanor.

Dallas County criminal court Judge Lisa Green ordered the jury to find Jackson not guilty after ruling the state failed to present sufficient evidence to continue the case. – Hmmm, maybe prosecutors should focus on real crimes rather than assisting the execution of a bad parenting squabble?

Jackson said he took his 12-year-old daughter’s cellphone as punishment after finding inappropriate texts in September 2013. – Good on ya, Bro!  Oh wait, probably should discuss it with the other parent (there are always 2).

A few hours later, officers from Grand Prairie police showed up at his front door, asking for the iPhone4 back. – at least in Enid, the response, rightfully so, would be, “yeah that’s a civil matter, please stop calling, and also stop making bad life choices.”

“At that point, I decided the police don’t interfere with my ability to parent my daughter,” Jackson said. – I actually agree with this one.  Police shouldn’t have been involved.  Still, the person who raised the child for the first seven years of her life should be able to “interfere” don’t ya think?

Michelle Steppe, the child’s mother, sees it differently.

“As a mom, I’m upset because — number one — the property belongs to me,” she said. – Ohhh, I see.  This has nothing to do with your daughter and parenting choices, it’s about a piece of metal, glass, plastic thingy.  Come on Frodo…(I’ve actually never seen that movie that character is in, Lord of the Rings?  I was gonna google it, but figured it would be easier to disclaim the movie if my analogy is wrong.)

Steppe told jurors on Monday she called police the day her daughter lost the use of her phone for disciplinary reasons. – Because God forbid you talk to the man you made a baby with…

“You can’t take someone’s property, regardless if you’re a parent or not,” Steppe said. – Uhmm, yeah you can.  It’s called being a parent.  Please stop having kids.  We don’t need the eventual self-centered entitled youngsters you are certain to raise with that kind of attitude.

Ronald Jackson and Michelle Steppe readily admit they are not a couple anymore. – Being a couple has nothing, NOTHING to do with being parents. Grow up.  

Jackson said they were never married, but had a child together. – Which still makes you parents of this child…

Steppe said Jackson didn’t become a part of his daughter’s life until she was seven. – See why she’s angry at you, dude?

Three months after the phone incident, Jackson received a citation in the mail for theft of property less than $50 in value, a Class C misdemeanor. – 3 months?  What possibly took this long to investigate.  Oh yeah, it’s because some city attorney sat on it thinking, “I spend over a hundred thousand dollars on law school and undergrad, and this is what I do in a day….”

According to court documents, the city attorney’s office offered a plea deal in January 2014 if Jackson returned the phone – Wait, he still has the phone?  Bad parenting choice number 1279349fnh36834033.

Jackson hired an attorney and requested a jury trial in municipal court.

Court filings indicate the city attorney’s office requested the case be dismissed that same month, and refiled with the Dallas County District Attorney’s office as a more stringent Class B misdemeanor, punishable by six months in jail and a $2,000 fine. – Hmmm, he hires a lawyer and asks for trial.  To make certain we seek revenge and allow mom to use the city attorney’s office as her own vengeance department, we punish dad for requesting a constitutionally protected right?  Unfortunately, this is how prosecutors often act.  Take your penance or be subject to the wrath of the king!!!

Cameron Gray, a defense attorney representing Jackson, said a warrant was issued, and that his client was arrested at his home in the middle of the night in April 2015. – The middle of the night!  Let me guess, no knock warrant because of exigent circumstances the perpetrator would dispose of the evidence, a phone worth more than $50, but less than $500.  Holy crap police, can you try not to make people think you’re a clandestine secret gestapo?  Why not call the dude, and say, “hey, there’s a warrant out.  Can you meet us at the station to walk you through?”  Or, call the lawyer and ask him to walk his client though.  Instead, some sleepy eyed judge signed some piece of paper shoved in front of him in the middle of the night and authorized “DAY OR NIGHT” service of the warrant for the hardened criminal.

Jackson posted a cash bail of $1500 to get out of jail. – $1,500?? For an Iphone 4.  I just checked ebay.  Most Iphone 4’s are under $100.  There are a couple “brand new in the box” for just under $200.  In fact, they should’ve called me. I have an old one in really good condition he could’ve use to post bail.

During the two day trial Jackson’s daughter, now 15, took the stand and testified about her father taking her phone.  – It took the State 2 days to get a verdict directed AGAINST them?  See earlier note about prosecutor re-examining career choices.  Oh yeah, I almost forgot.  You made your daughter testify.  No sarcasm here.  You are bad people.  I mean that in a very sincere and honest way.  Adults who put their children in the middle of a squabble over a damn phone!  It happens every day when your children are seen as property.

“It was the last thing as a mother I wanted my daughter to go through,” Steppe says.  “I’m always here for my kids.” – No you’re not.  What you fail to realize is you are exactly not there for your daughter when your zealous need for revenge makes her a pawn in your parade of horribles trying to ruin HER dad’s life and relationship with his daughter.

Steppe said she was confused by the verdict because she purchased the phone and maintained cell phone plans under her name. – Let’s see.  Dad was charged with stealing the daughter’s phone, but mom testified it belonged to mom.  I want to cuss at the prosecutor.  Charged wrong.  The whole case was, “you stole daughter’s phone.” Evidence shows, “not daughter’s phone.”  Can’t steal something someone doesn’t own.  “she was confused…” I bet that’s not the first time…

“Even if you purchase something with your own money and have a receipt, it’s not yours,” Steppe says.  “Someone can take it from you.” – The horror. 

Jackson says the ordeal has permanently ended any chances to have a relationship with his daughter. – Well, it was a good run.  Actually two people’s parenting choices ended those chances.  Your inability to commit to a woman with whom you procreated, your inability to talk with the other parent about disciplining your child, Mom placing revenge and property over her daughter’s well-being, and many other choices are what ended that relationship.

“I have to separate myself from them,” Jackson says.  “I can’t ever have a relationship with them again.”  Chicken sh That’s because you’re not a real dad. 

Gray says the case is not over. – Oh wait, you do get to have a relationship with them!! Just a completely broken, dysfunctional one.

He says he plans to file a federal complaint for civil rights violations for the way his client was treated by the Grand Prairie Police Department and the city attorney’s office. – Blah blah blah

Jackson still has the phone. – ErrMaGerd!  I read through this whole thing thinking those people over 18 years of age had worked that deal out behind the scenes, but since the wheels of justice began rolling we couldn’t stop the train!  You still have the phone!  I bet your boss has a “How to Deal with Difficult 9 Year Olds Book” for dealing with you.  Grow up.

Yes, I have added a lot of sarcasm.  Hopefully, it highlights the absurdity of the choices these parents made, have made, make, are making, will make, and are going to make.  Parenting choices are HARD, especially in a split situation. We advise clients to get counseling, learn how to parent through divorce, work with the other parent, and be REASONABLE AND RESPONSIBLE with the upbringing of your child.  One more thing.  This story is so weird that CLEARLY we are not getting the whole story.  Sound Familiar.  While we are having fun and making jokes, we do know that EVERY story like this has two sides, and the truth.  Be careful what you repeat and believe about other people’s custody stories.

Please. Please. Please. Don’t pay us to help raise your child.  Be good people and give your kids a healthy parent.

Credit – Dave Goins, WFAA. January 27, 2016


Mind for Rent: Leave the JNC alone.

It is the start of a new legislative session in Oklahoma.  Currently, the state is facing a $900 million budget shortfall, and an education funding fiasco.  Many new bills, proposals and pet projects are being filed at the state capital by our legislators.  Despite real problems facing the State, Representative Kevin Calvey is digging up bones of his previous idols, and putting them back into the stream of legislation.

Representative Calvey is cross-bearer for dismantling the Oklahoma Appellate Court system, and throwing it into the pig pen that is our state political system.  Despite repeated failures, Calvey has introduced reclaimed legislation to politicize the appointment of appellate judges in Oklahoma.

I remember when he was first running for the legislature, and thinking here is a citizen-soldier with a solid conservative foundation.  Surely many people hoped this average Oklahoman would add another notch in the “non-politician serving our state” belt.  We hoped the two party political cyst growing in Oklahoma would remain benign in him so he could be a voice for Oklahomans, not a self-serving fight promoter.  Instead, it appears the cyst is cancerous.  His “solutions” are for problems that don’t exist.  The cancer has metastasized and overtaken his political body.

William A. Berry (Retired Chief Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court) gave an exploratory surgery for the cancer of political corruption once consuming the Oklahoma Supreme Court in his book, “Justice for Sale.”  The very reason Oklahoma has a Judicial Nominating Commission is because of political corruption.  The system created in response to the court scandal is a team effort between citizens, attorneys, and the governor to appoint non-political judges and justices to our appellate courts.  Notice who did not make the team; legislators.  You know, the group that can’t seem to fund education, can’t stick to a budget, can’t figure out carpet is cheaper than new custom-made marble floors, …  Some of our legislators cannot handle not being able to define what a judge is, or not be able to appoint their friends.  Maybe they just need some positive affirmation and think stacking the Courts will actually increase the chances of their legislation being found constitutional?

I hope my cancer analogy does not offend those stuck in that battle.  This is only politics, not life.  Still, am I wrong to think most Oklahomans are so tired of the school yard games, we feel like some cancer has taken over the minds of our elected officials?

Our JNC allows the judicial branch to stay out of the political playground.  The system keeps our judiciary independent from both Republicans and Democrats.  Calvey’s proposal would give a partisan governor the chance to appoint cronies, a partisan legislature the opportunity to define the qualifications for judges, and would put all appellate judges in Oklahoma on the campaign trail instead of the trail for justice.

Diligence, Commitment, Truth.

Each attorney having grown up in rural, northwest Oklahoma, Andrew Ewbank, Kaleb Hennigh, and Dalen McVay ambitiously opened their practice, providing exceptional legal services consistent with the work ethics, values, and interests instilled in them by their communities.

Recently Kaleb Hennigh was honored with the 2015 Outstanding Lawyer Award for the state of Oklahoma. He has practiced law for ten years and began serving on the OBA YLD board of directors in 2008. Soon after, he transitioned into a leadership role on the division’s executive team 2011-2013, and ultimately the YLD chair in 2014. In his years of service, he has been involved with many community organizations. He helped establish the Oklahoma Lawyers for America’s Heroes in 2011 and active on the YMCA board and the Enid Public Schools Foundation today.

Kaleb was recognized at the Annual Oklahoma Bar Meeting for his honor, Nov. 4-9. He was awarded a plaque of distinction and we couldn’t be happier. The basis of our practice is not only providing outstanding work but to handle our cases with the same integrity and spirit we were raised to pursue.

Oklahoma is often acclaimed for its people. We’re excited for the wonderful opportunity we’ve been given to exemplify these values through our work. We’re on a mission to serve and protect the nation’s most valuable asset, its people.

4 Easy Ways to Protect Yourself in a Personal Injury Case

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When you or someone you love has been hurt, you may be consumed with worry — rather than how you should handle a personal injury case. When emotions start to settle, it may be time to start taking the steps. Though it may seem like a complex process to begin, there are three things you can do to protect yourself.

1. Write down what happened.
Though it feels like you will never forget what happened, memories fade. As time goes on, our sharp recollections of events may become more difficult. When an occurs, be sure to take notes. Remember to get Who, What, When, Where and Why. Pay particular attention to what the other party tells the police, ambulance, and other people in their car. Someone who knows they have just injured someone can often times develop a memory that is different from what actually happened. You have to have a clear memory in order to set the record straight.

2. Take pictures, and hold on to evidence.
Every case is unique. When you memory faces, pictures are the best way to “stop time” so you can go back and look at what happened. Take pictures showing the weather condition, the amount of traffic, the appearance of the person who caused the injury and the physical damage caused. This will help protect the integrity of the case.

3. If possible, get a police report.
You should always make a police report if involved in a traffic collision. You are entitled to a copy of the report. The report contains contact information for the other driver, their insurance, the wrecker company to towed your car, the date, time and location. This simple report contains so many important details, you cannot afford to be without it. If you see a mistake in the report, ask the officer to correct it. The officer will not be offended as he or she wants it done right.

4. Don’t let the insurance company trick you.
Eventually, an insurance company is going to start calling you. Whether it is your insurance company or the other person’s, know you have the right true answers and to be repaid for what you have lost. Insurance companies often try to diminish your case. You be the judge of what is fair, don’t just take their word for it

Any of this sound familiar? If you’ve been hurt by someone else, we are here to help. Get out of that insurance company’s line by letting Ewbank, Hennigh & McVay help you learn how to negotiate your personal injury case.

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Ewbank & Hennigh Law Firm | 580-234-4334
110 N. Independence | Enid, OK 73701