How to Research Any Legal Issue Using Free Resources on the Internet

Free legal advice is hard to come by as legal help is expensive. Much of the cost is related to the time attorneys spend conducting legal research. Before someone hires a lawyer, they should perform a legal research on their own. This can result in significant savings on legal bills. There are a number of free legal resources on the Internet that can be used for this purpose. This article describes a method anyone can use to research any legal issue using free resources on the Internet.

Start by Researching Broad Categories of Law in General

The purpose of legal research is to find the very specific laws that apply to a given legal issue. Unless the researcher has been trained to perform legal research or experience with this particular legal issue, the research process should start by considering the law in general. This means the researcher must cast his nets wide. Starting with a broad category of law is advisable.

This part of the legal research process is not aimed at discovering the answer to specific legal questions. Rather, this part of the legal research process is aimed at gaining an understanding of what issues and sub-issues should be considered. This will often help change the way the legal issue is worded and lead the researcher down an entirely different path. Unfortunately, researchers often succumb to the temptation to skip this step and, as a result, they often miss these valuable alternative research paths.

Information about general categories of law can be found throughout the Internet. Legal article websites and specialized law firm blogs can provide a good starting point. Search engines can help researchers find these Internet resources. Information linked to these resources should also be explored. The researcher should read these law articles by making a mental note of the types of issues and facts that are being addressed. The researcher should also make note of any law that is mentioned in the legal articles, such as case names, statute numbers, or citations for administrative rulings.

Continue Researching the Actual Law

With a broad understanding of the issues and facts, the researcher can now focus on finding the specific law applicable to his legal issue. There are a number of different types of laws in the U.S.

With federal law, the sources of law include: the Constitution, federal statutes, court opinions from federal courts, and rulings from federal agencies (with international issues, treaties may also come into play). These sources of law are described in their order of authority. For example, the Constitution trumps all other sources of law and administrative rulings are trumped by all other sources of law. Notably, court opinions may either create law (this is called common or judicial law) or define ambiguities in the Constitution or statutes (i.e., fill in the law). Each state in the U.S. has developed these same sources of law for issues particular to their state. City and local governments have also established many of these sources of law for issues specific to their city or locality.

This overview provides a way of searching for legal authority. The legal researcher must initially decide whether to search for federal, state, or local law. Then the researcher must try to find and comprehend the law, focusing on the law that has the highest authority. Very few legal questions will involve references to the Constitution. Most legal questions will involve one or more statutes and one or more court or administrative rulings supplementing or interpreting the statute.

Researchers may be able to work backwards by finding the court or administrative rulings and then finding the statutes cited in the rulings. Nonetheless, the researcher should not forget that the statute is probably going to be the most authoritative source of law. The researcher should also know that lower court and administrative rulings may not be a valid statement of the law. Judges and agencies make mistakes and they often put those mistakes in writing. If a court or administrative ruling is contrary to the statute or some policy argument, the researcher may need to argue that the ruling should be overturned or differentiate the facts from the facts involved in the legal question being researched.

The researcher should be able to find most of these sources of law on the Internet. The U.S. House of Representatives has a copy of the U.S. Statutes on its website. Many of the federal courts publish their court opinions on their websites. Most federal agencies publish their administrative rulings on their websites. Most state legislatures, courts, and agencies also have the same free legal advice resources on their websites. There are a number of third party websites that compile these laws and allow users to search the law for free.

Conclude the Research by Applying the Law to the Facts at Hand

With an overview of the law and issues involved and a review of the law itself, the legal researcher should be at the point of reaching a conclusion. This involves applying the law to the case at hand. It is often necessary to write this part down, as what seems solid will often become distorted with a closer look. Let’s work through a real life example.

I want to know what I can do about a speeding ticket “someone” received while driving through an area designated as a school zone. This “someone” was driving in Lubbock, Texas. While the “someone” does not normally speed through these areas, the road was a four lane U.S. Highway and the driver was merely going with the flow of traffic. The driver did not see a sign on the road at the time. The driver has since driven back through the area and noticed that the speed limit sign is quite a ways off in the distance. The driver would not have seen the sign because he entered onto the highway and was pulled over by the police after the location where the speed limit sign was located.

It appears I need to research city and possibly state law. I was able to find several websites that discuss what to do about traffic tickets. Most of these articles discussed various defenses and strategies. One of these articles discussed the specific school zone sign requirements for Minnesota. I wonder if the City of Lubbock or State of Texas has such a rule.

In looking at the traffic citation, I notice the police officer left the space blank where it provides me with the citation to the municipal ordinance I violated. I was able to find the local municipal code for the City of Lubbock online. The municipal code has a great index that helped me find the applicable section of the municipal code. I noticed the specific code section provides a list of all of the authorized school zones inside of the City of Lubbock. The location involved in the speeding citation, which is written on the traffic citation, is not listed in the code. It was not an authorized school zone.

The municipal code cites me to the state statute for determining what an authorized school zone is. I was able to find these statutes online too. These statutes explain that a local school zone cannot slow traffic on a U.S. highway. I was cited for driving on a U.S. highway.

The end result was that the City of Lubbock had decided to put up a school zone sign to slow down traffic on this street. The city agency responsible for putting up the sign would have (or should have) known this was not an authorized location for a school zone. The school zone sign went up anyway. Using the sign as justification, the police started issuing tickets to motorists who drive through the unauthorized school zone.

I assume most of the persons cited for this traffic violation merely paid the fine. The “someone” in my example had his traffic ticked dismissed by the local municipal court. Had the other persons cited for this traffic violations used the free legal research tools available on the Internet they too could have had their traffic citations dismissed.

Wonderful, Magickal, Mustika-Pearls Part 1

Freaks and anomalies are found abound in Nature and her creations–if we would just look for them. “Mustikas” or “Magickal Pearls” having their origin in animals and plants are just some of Nature’s curiosities hardly known or mentioned in the literature of the Occident, accept perhaps in faerie tales. It is different in the East, however. Pearls, other than those originating from oysters are mentioned in the Hindu scripture, “Sri Garuda Purana,” where it explains the powers of several types of pearls derived from mammals, reptiles and even the natural conditions or specific events of Nature. In Indonesia, legends are found in which brave men died searching for these pearls–and when acquired they are treasured and valued as high as other family heirloom items such as kerises, spear heads, and other sacred objects. Almost all magickal stones mentioned in Arabian, Chinese, and other Eastern tales or legends actually refer to mustikas, or magickal pearls of an organic origin. Dragons, for instance, in Chinese lore, are known to guard pearls–these pearls are actually produced by them rather than acquired from some external source.It would be appropriate here to explain the word “Mustika”: it is from the Kawi language, of an old Javanese origin and translates as, “magick jewel,” or “precious stone.” Some Indonesian occultists use the word to refer to any magickal object or power. That most western occultists and shamans do not mention animal pearls or pearls originating from plants is quite unusual in itself. One would expect this knowledge to be universal, especially among aboriginal shamans in all parts of the world–yet we find that this is not–as far as we can tell (if anyone can offer us some info on this regard we would greatly appreciate it). In contrast, the shamans of India, China, and South-East Asia are always on the look-out for these occult objects as they hold great power and magickal virtues–powers and virtues often employed in magickal work, mystical rites, spiritual development, and occult healings. In the past, kings, ministers, and noblemen sought for them and paid handsome rewards for those able to acquire them–many have died trying. Unfamiliar with pearls of origin other than oysters, westerners approach the subject with a good deal of skeptism–even those involved in the occult are somewhat surprised at the possibility. This shows that a good deal of work and investigation still lies before the seeker and average practitioner of the occult from the Occident in the probings of Eastern Mysteries. We also still have to hear what open-minded zoologists and botanists have to say about these mustika-pearls.In Indonesia, a shamanic specialist on the animal kingdom called a “pawang” is normally the one that goes looking for these objects in the jungles and wilderness. Sometimes magickal pearls are acquired in an occult manner directly from the faerie realms where they are guarded by elemental beings–often with considerable psychological struggle. Pawangs are those who speak the “language” of animals, birds and plants. The pawang would meditate and sleep in the wilds requesting Nature for her gifts in the form of mustikas. In dreams or while in the trance-state he is guided by the spirit-dwellers and guardians of the forests and jungles as to where mustikas may be acquired, and sometimes what he has to do in order to acquire them. He is almost always directed to caves, nearby lakes or streams and shown the cadavers or remains of animals or plants and trees where they are found. Animals are never hunted for their pearls, as shamans and pawangs respect them. Nevertheless, pearls are also sometimes found in animals being hunted for food by native huntsmen. It is said that it is the senior members of any animal species or those displaying exceptional qualities that yields mustikas.Occasionally, ordinary people in a rural environment would have visitations in dreams by the regional spirits. These intelligences would direct someone to accept a special gift from Nature lying at a certain spot. These dreams are often found to be substantially true as the object is located–objects which are normally mustika-pearls.Why are mustikas so highly valued? Magickal pearls are held in great regard not only because of their scarcity, and sometimes beauty, but also because of the power that resides in them. These pearls are formed with the help of elementals spirits–gnomes, elves, and other etheric beings of Nature. That etheric spirits help to form gems is not quite unknown in western occultism. In the fairy tale, “Snow White,” for instance, we read of 7 dwarfs working in their “mines.” From the esoteric perspective, they were actually not mining at all, but forming gems and crystals. Tales such as hens laying “golden eggs” possesses some truth if considered in the light of magickal pearls. There are many such golden eggs available. Elementals are Nature’s handmaidens and are the hidden forces acting behind all phenomena and natural formations or creations. Elementals help “paint” the flowers and nourish them with prana and the necessary gases. Science calls the latter process osmosis, but behind the physical scene, in the etheric world, one may perceive fairies frolicking among plants, flying to and fro, entering and exiting the stem and leaves of plants taking the pranic globules from the air and into the flora.Such similar work as the above are being done by elementals in the formation of mustikas. The difference with ordinary gems and crystals is that these elementals eventually make the pearl their dwelling place until released by the destruction of the pearl or for some other cause–thus sometimes we have genuine pearls without the elemental spirit present. Below we quote a paper, “Conversations on Occultism” by H.P. Blavatsky on elementals to give a greater insight on these beings (italics are ours) :”Student.- If I understand you, an elemental is a centre of force, without intelligence, without moral character or tendencies, but capable of being directed in its movements by human thoughts, which may, consciously or not, give it any form, and to a certain extent intelligence; in its simplest form it is visible as a disturbance in a transparent medium, such as would be produced by ‘a glass fish, so transparent as to be invisible, swimming through the air of the room,’ and leaving behind him a shimmer, such as hot air makes when rising from a stove. Also, elementals, attracted and vitalized by certain thoughts, may effect a lodgment in the human system (of which they then share the government of the ego), and are very hard to get out.”Sage.- Correct, in general, except as to their ‘effecting a lodgment.’ Some classes of elementals, however, have an intelligence of their own and a character, but they are far beyond our comprehension and ought perhaps to have some other name.”Student.- Am I to understand that a clairvoyant or clairaudient has to do with or is affected by a certain special class or classes of elementals?”Sage.- Yes. A clairvoyant can only see the sights properly belonging to the planes his development reaches to or has opened. And the elementals in those planes show to the clairvoyant only such pictures as belong to their plane. Other parts of the idea or thing pictured may be retained in planes not yet open to the seer. For this reason few clairvoyants know the whole truth.”As to the moral character of elementals, they have none: they are colourless in themselves – except some classes – and merely assume the tint, so to speak, of the person using them.”It is the presence of these elementals in pearls that give them an extra feel of power. Normal gemstones and crystals do not have any elemental spirits dwelling in them unless willed by an occult practitioner; mustikas, however, do have an etheric being living in them as a matter of course. Lacking a spirit dweller, a mustika-pearl is still more powerful than an ordinary gemstone or crystal as it possesses the energies of the Guardian Group-Spirit or Intelligences (Animal Totems/ Plant Devas) of the animal/plant species embedded in it.Some occultist believe that the beings living in mustikas are human spirits, but we feel this to be untrue. Human spirits do not return to dwell in animals or stones but live in the various realms of the astral and higher regions.Elementals dwelling in pearls are not demonic; although some may be amoral. Some may assist the owner to gamble for instance–directed to do something negative by its master. The elemental would not know the difference between good and evil or the natural law of consequence. Elementals love to imitate human beings in clothings, names and titles. Thus, psychics of high-caliber have found that most elementals adopt the titles and names of saints and kings. These names and titles should not be taken too seriously, but when given by the elementals themselves, they do respond psychically to them. Acquiring the names and details of the elemental dweller is not an easy process, although once acquired and contact made with the pearl-intelligence, many things may be known about the origin of the mustika and its virtues. Yet, psychics who manage to contact the elemental spirit are probably 40-70% accurate in this matter. It should be noted that even without such knowledge, the powers and virtues of a magickal pearl may still be readily felt by those possessing it after a short period of time.Undeveloped psychics may have trouble detecting and communicating with elementals. Interacting with human spirits and jinns may not pose a problem but elementals may sometime elude them. This is because elementals will not interact with humans that are spiritually unbalanced and have not harmonized their element psychologically within the psyche. For this reason, genuine mustikas or magickal pearls may be mistaken for fakes by psychics who know no better. Sometimes other factors fool people who think they know something about mustikas; two such factors are the color and form of a pearl. When shown a genuine pearl of a certain color and size, like one having its origin from a bamboo plant, for instance, they would search for further bamboo mustikas having only such characteristics–other genuine bamboo pearls of a different form and color would be labeled as “false.” This is unreasonable as there is nothing in Nature that are exactly alike. Oyster pearls, as an example, come in various colors, sizes, and forms. Oyster pearls are not always round, they may come in pear-shape forms, as in tear-drops, and even flat pieces resembling angel-wings. We personally possess bamboo pearls as large as a chicken egg, red in color. We also have blue and green, and black bamboo pearls of diverse shapes and sizes. Not all of our stock are presented on our web-site. The pearls shown are merely representative of what is available. Those ordering mustika-pearls from us are not always given the exact same mustika as seen in the pearl-pictures–mustika-pearls are one-of-a-kind.Descriptions from ancient texts as to the color and shape of a mustika do not tell the whole story as not enough pearls were found at that time to make a proper comparison or a true statement. To put it plainly, mustikas or magickal pearls of the same animal or plant origin do not always have the same color, size or form. They may appear as an unworthy object or as a thing of beauty–their appearance should not be too much of an issue for the magickal practitioner, for their true value lies in their occult nature.In their natural state most mustikas have rough textures. It is only after being tumbled and polished do they give a lustre. It is actually in their natural state that one may see that a mustika is genuine as they are unlike any crystal or gem stone in their uncut, untumbled, and unpolished state. Sometimes natural objects such as a grass or part of an insect may be found embedded within them–these magickal pearls often possesses additional power.Pearls may be tested by the layman whether they are genuine or fake using the finger test; however, this method is not conclusive–it does entail having some psychic sensitivity on the person testing it. The method is to hold a pearl with the right hand between the thumb and forefinger. Inhale and hold your breath, then feel the energy flowing along the arms to the heart. Exhale when you need to. Repeat the breathing cycle–the more you do this, the more definite will the energy be felt. The arm holding the pearl would feel intensely heavy at one point–this effect is generally not felt with ordinary stones and objects. You may test this for yourself should you possess a magickal pearl. Some people make a mistake of stating that testing every object makes their fingers tingle and thus feeling this as a result of holding a magickal pearl is of no import. This is fallacious, and is not the effect sought. This tingling is the result of the blood pulsation as the fingers are pressed against the hard surface of the pearl. What we are actually after in this experiment is to feel the subtle energy flowing into the arms–thus the pearl should not be held between the fingers too tightly. When the energy flows, it accumulates in the arm before reaching the body–this makes the arm intensely heavy. When one’s subtle nadis or etheric nerves have been cleansed of psychic toxins and enlargened for a greater capacity of energy-flow, just holding a mustika-pearl for a few seconds is sufficient enough to feel the rush of the force.In the days of yore, most men could only mention animal/plant pearls in their writings. Nowadays, magickal pearls are bountiful and readily available to a wider public–to those that seek them. The reason has partly to do with the Aquarian-Age that we find ourselves living in. It is, however, mainly because Nature wishes to offer humanity something that would help men embrace her and not destroy the platform where the other lower kingdoms have their place of evolution. Mustika-pearls are Nature’s gifts to humanity, it connects us directly to the Spirit-Intelligences of the mineral, plant, and animal kingdoms.
As alluded to previously, the reality of mustika pearls are to be found in certain literature. Below we quote fully the summary/translation of the Sri Garuda Purana by the gemologist , Robert S. Brown, regarding this matter. The commentary in square brackets are ours:”Besides (natural) oyster pearls there are seven other types [In fact, almost every animal specie and perhaps plant-life may produce pearls--although rare] found in conch shells, wild boar heads, elephant heads, king cobra heads, bamboo stems, clouds, and fish heads.”Pearls from elephant heads, bamboo stems, boar heads, fish mouths, and conch shells are lusterless, even though possessed of other auspicious qualities [Not all crowns of animals are lusterless--some have clear crystalline-structures and do give forth a sheen; some bamboo pearls also have lustre]. Pearls from conch shells are usually the size of a large kona (the large end of a drum stick), and they possess a color similar to their host shell.”Fish pearls are perfectly round and symmetrical. They possess a yellowish hue like the scales of the pathenam fish which often inhabit the mouths of deep sea whales [Again, not totally true, we have seen shark pearls white in color.]“Boar pearls [we have this pearl available in our collection] are colored like a boar’s tusks and are found only in remote parts of the world. Such pearls are auspicious symbols of the Varaha boar incarnation of the Supreme Lord, Sri Vishnu.”Pearls derived from bamboo appear like hailstones in color, and they are found only within bamboo that has grown in a region populated by religious people [Lots of bamboo pearls in our collection--they mostly come from Ujung Kulon, Java, which secret sources say is one of the remote places where the Indonesian Spiritual Masters regularly convene].”Pearls from the cobra’s hood are perfectly round, like fish pearls, and they radiate a natural effulgence. By repeated washing, a snake pearl becomes as lustrous as a polished sword blade. Anyone possessing such a naga-mani attains piety, rare good fortune, and eventually becomes illustrious as a leader of men, complete with a great collection of all precious gems [Cobra-pearls are not always round, they may also come in other shapes].”Upon acquiring such a snake pearl, the owner should have the rite of installation performed by a priest who is learned in religious formalities. After hearing from the owner how the pearl was obtained and conducting the benedictory ritual, the priest should formally install the jewel inside the owner’s house. On such an auspicious occasion, the sky becomes filled with dark and heavy rain clouds, thunder, and flashing lightning, such as exhibited at the time of universal dissolution. A man in possession of such a snake pearl will never be troubled by snakes, demonic beings, diseases, or disturbances in any form.”Cloud pearls [this could possibly be a "dew pearl" or a variation], being naturally effulgent like the sun, illuminate the sky in all directions and dispel the darkness of cloudy days. Glowing brighter than the combined light of the moon, the twinkling stars, and fire, a cloud-born pearl dissipates even the darkest night exactly like the sunrise. A cloud pearl is so priceless that the entire earth, with her oceans filled with countless jewels and covered in layers of gold, would not be equal in value. Cloud pearls rarely reach this earthly world, because they are usually taken away by the demigods.”Even a low born man would become supreme ruler of the entire world if, as result of some past pious actions, he were to come into possession of such a pearl. The appearance of such a man on earth who obtained a cloud pearl during his lifetime would bring good fortune not only to himself, but to the entire human race as well. No form of evil could even touch the land within an 8,000 mile radius of his birthplace.”THE “OTHER” PEARLS By Richard S. Brown, Gemologist (G.I.A.)How do animal/plant pearls differ from ordinary gem stones and crystals? Mustika-pearls contain energies of the Totem Animal/Plant Spirit-Guardians (Power-Animals/Plant Devas) of the species under its care. During its construction, an elemental spirit appropriates these energies to actually construct every line of force within the pearl and to actually dwell within it after it is fully formed. The energies of the Totem-Animal/Plant Spirit and the presence of the elemental are the two occult factors that differentiates mustikas from ordinary crystals and gems.Extraordinary mustika-pearls are sometimes found. These are the crowns and horns of animals that normally do not possess them. In this category are also the fossilized-eyes and other parts of animals and creatures. Crowns are normally lusterless as described in the Sri Purana Garuda. There are, however, crocodile-crowns that are crystalline in nature. Most crown-pearls come from snakes and centipedes. These crowns normally have a spiral, conic shape. Horns/crowns of animals such as horses (unicorn) and cats do exist, though they are scarce.Copyright © 2006 Luxamore

Payday Loans: Learn Your Rights and Responsibilities

Payday loans are a convenient way to quickly acquire needed cash however it is important to educate yourself about your rights and responsibilities before you apply for a payday advance loan. During the repayment period it’s also important to understand your responsibilities and the difference between collection and harassment from the loan provider.Advance payday loans usually allow a person to borrow between one hundred and one thousand dollars unsecured upon the agreement you will repay the loan in lump sums usually direct debited from the borrowers’ bank account. Advance payday loans are easy to apply for; where a person only needs to fill out an application online, provide bank details, photo identification and confirm all information in the application is correct with the loan lender.Your responsibilities about repayment Once you have reached the repayment period you must repay the loan and the agreed fees or interest of the loan, usually this is by agreed direct debit. If you do not repay the loan amount the lender has the right to contact the person to arrange repayment. Should a direct debit fail or the borrower has unauthorized the direct debit not only can the individual incur fees by their bank but also be in breach of their original loan agreement.Your rights about repayment If you have agreed to a payday loan contract you have the right to enquire about a reduced repayment method should you not be able to meet the agreed repayment loan amount. A lender can contact an individual about repayment however lenders must not contact the borrower more than three times a week, must not frighten or make threats towards the borrower. Should this incur the individual has the legal right to report the lender for harassment. A lender can also only contact borrower’s between reasonable hours, usually business hours.What can happen if you refuse to repay an advanced loan If for any reason a borrower fails or refuses to repay an advanced loan a lender has the right to take the matter to small claims court if a repayment cannot be agreed upon. If the lender takes the matter to small claims the borrower may also be responsible for the lenders legal fees, however in some circumstances the lender may not take the borrower to court if the loan amount is small. If the original loan agreement was for an unsecured loan the lender cannot reposes items such as furniture, protected items under the law, however if the borrower has reliable income the court may garnish wages until the loan amount if repaid in full. If the borrower is not working and reliant upon welfare a court will not force a borrower to sacrifice welfare income as welfare is strictly for living expenses only does not cover debt repayment. If you are reliant upon welfare you can refuse to repay the loan until you are receiving a working income.Responsibilities of the lender A lender is responsible to make the terms of the loan agreement clear to the borrower as well as post any legal warnings on the website which can be accessed before applying for a loan. In Australia lender’s must include an FTC warning about borrowing disclaimer on the website. When applying for a loan, explore you are applying with a responsible lender that provides a warning about borrowing FTC legislated statement on the website.In conclusion As a potential borrower it is you must aware of the responsibilities and legal obligations you’re obliged to uphold when applying for an advanced payday loan. It is also in the borrowers best interest to educate themselves about their rights to report harassment or any irresponsible behavior on the lenders behalf.