Law Office of Patrick E. O'Neill, PSC

Jackson Kentucky Legal Blog

Special rules apply when suing the government

Generally speaking, at least in recent time, governments and their employees have been held to the same negligence standard as everyone else. In other words, if an employee of the government acts negligently or negligently maintains public property, then victims of any accident can file a personal injury action.

However, Kentucky residents need to proceed cautiously when suing the government, as there are special rules that apply. For a number of historical and legal reasons, a person who does not follow these rules can wind up unable to pursue even an otherwise valid claim for compensation.

Marijuana use on the rise among college students

Although marijuana remains illegal in Kentucky for all reasons, a recent report suggests that many college students are simply not paying attention to these rules. According to the report, over 40% of all college students said that within the previous 12 months they have used some form of marijuana. This number is up from 38% in 2018. Additionally, one in four college students said that they had used in the previous month, which is an increase from about 21%.

Interestingly, the frequent use, that is, more than 20 times a month, is less prevalent among active college students than among young adults who are not attending college. Over one out of 10 young adults not in college admitted to frequent marijuana use, but only 6% of college students admitted to the same. The number suggest that, at least on college campuses, marijuana is a party drug that students may use on the weekends or when class is not in session.

School principal facing child porn charges

A Kentucky principal who was the subject of some controversy about a decade ago has been arrested by Kentucky state authorities and accused of possessing child pornography.

Police said that they began an investigation after someone at the school complained that they had seen the principal distribute an image of child pornography to someone else. In the course of the investigation, police say that they recovered about 15 images of child pornography that they could connect to the principal.

Texting and driving is more prevalent among younger drivers

According to a recent study that was reported through the national online media, drivers from the so-called Millennial generation, that is, those born in the 1980s through the mid-1990s, are more likely to use a cellular phone while driving.

Specifically, 86% of Millennial drivers confessed that they used their smart phones while behind the wheel. By contrast, only 72% of those from Generation X, that is, those born in the mid-1960s through the 1970s, admitted to the same behavior. Only half of so-called Baby Boomers confessed to driving and using a cell phone.

Federal criminal charges present unique challenges

As with all court cases, most criminal charges get filed in the state courts both in the Jackson area and scattered across the rest of Kentucky. Any criminal charge, from a first-time DUI all the way up to a serious sex crime or a murder charge, filed in state court should be taken seriously.

However, there are also many charges which federal authorities decide to prosecute through the United States Courts. These charges often involve illegal conduct which takes place over state lines, like being involved either in a larger drug operation or in unlawful sexual activity over the internet. Crimes against federal officials or institutions with ties to the federal government, including the post office and banks that are backed by federal funds, are also prosecuted in federal courts.

Cell phones are not the only hi-tech cause of distracted driving

There has been much focus on the part of law enforcement and advocacy groups when it comes to texting and driving and using cellular phones. While this concern is of course well-founded since texting and driving causes serious and even fatal accidents, cell phones are not the only cause of distracted driving.

In fact, according to one report, the drawback of many modern in-vehicle information systems, or IVISs, is that they tempt motorists to take their eyes and minds off the road. For those who may have not heard the term, an IVIS is the computer system many modern vehicles use to help people navigate via GPS, make hands-free phone calls, adjust the music and other features.

Is there a way to speed up the administrative hearing process?

Oftentimes, maybe even more often than not, residents of Kentucky who apply for disability benefits will have their applications denied at the initial stages. This even happens to people who genuinely have an illness or injury that prevents them from working.

At that point, the person applying for benefits will have to ask for, and wait for, a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. The wait can last months or even over a year, depending on the backlog in the system. In the meantime, a disabled person will have to figure out a way to provide for herself without federal Social Security Disability benefits.

Police charge 20 with various drug crimes

A coordinated effort among different law enforcement agencies called Operation River Sweep came to a climax with at least 20 people facing serious criminal charges related to drugs. The group of agencies, called the Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Force, focused their efforts on a city in Northern Kentucky.

According to reports, the police recovered over 350 grams of crystal methamphetamine which police said obviously came from outside of the state. Police also recovered illicitly distributed fentanyl, a painkiller. They said the drug was likely manufactured overseas, either in Mexico or in China.

We represent victims of careless teen drivers

Several previous posts on this blog have talked about the fact that, for a number of reasons, teen drivers pose some extra risk while they are out and about on the road. While some of this extra risk might be just due to inexperience, in many cases, there is also an element of bad or immature judgment involved.

For instance, one previous post talked about the fact that a handful of teens are not going to be careful on nights like prom or graduation and may even choose to drink and drive. Another post discussed problems that teen drivers in particular have with texting and driving or with speeding. These bad habits can, and sadly often do, endanger other motorists that are traveling on Kentucky's roads.

2019's 100 Deadliest Days have arrived

Historically, the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day are dubbed the 100 Deadliest Days on the road because traffic fatalities happen with greater frequency during this time.

While it might not be the only factor, some attribute this spike in the number of roadside deaths to the increased presence of teenage drivers on the roads of Kentucky and the other states.

Law Office of Patrick E. O'Neill, PSC
1029 College Ave
Ste 101
Jackson, KY 41339

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