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The FALDP Docket, Issue #004 -- Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers e-zine newsletter.
September 15, 2010

THE FALDP DOCKET


The FALDP Docket

Volume 1; Issue 4
September, 2010

CONFERENCE UPDATE - GET READY!

You’re Invited!
To the First Annual FALDP Conference

Saturday - October 9 - 9:00 am -5 pm

El Caribe Resort & Conference Center
2125 S. Atlantic Ave.
Daytona Beach, Florida 32118
www..elcaribe.com

Seven Seas Suite - Conference Room


CONFERENCE AGENDA

9:00 Ken Diaz, Co-Founder FALDP Introduction, Goals, Upcoming Projects
10:00 Lisa Benitez, Clinical Director, Children’s Home Society, North Coastal Division Effects of Family Crisis on Children
11:00 Joseph Delgado, Founder of P.U.L.S.E. Citizens’ Right to Access the Legal System
12:00 Break for Lunch Break for Lunch
1:00 Ruth Tick, Co-Founder FALDP Best business practices, Protecting Against UPL, Answering customers’ questions about legal rights
2:00 Open Discussion Open Discussion
3:00 Ken Diaz Building a Better Website, Internet Marketing
4:00 Ruth Tick & Ken Diaz Opportunities with FALDP, New Products and Services

Admission for the all day event is:

$75. Per Basic member;
and will automatically upgrade you to Premium Membership;

$50. Per Premium Member;
All Members are invited to bring along a guest at no extra charge.

$100. Non-members;
Includes one year Basic Membership

Pay for your Conference fees here on our site: Conference Registration


ACCOMMODATIONS:

El Caribe has generously offered discounted hotel accommodations to Conference Attendees. $69.00 per night (plus tax) for Friday October 8 and/ or Saturday October 9.

Oceanfront rooms, balcony, w/two Queen beds, free parking, free wi-fi, & Continental Breakfast.

Contact: Robin Camacho, 386-252-1558 for reservations, Robin@elcaribe.com

We plan to have a get together on Friday night, October 8, tentatively set upstairs at the world famous Ocean Deck. Then the conference all day Saturday.


MEET OUR GUEST SPEAKERS:

Joseph L. Delgado, Guest Speaker

For nearly 30 years, Mr. Delgado has been a staunch advocate for citizens’ right of self-representation and access to the courts. He fervently believes that our legal system -- courts, judges, and the Rule of Law -- should not be the sole domain of attorneys. Delgado believes, as did our founding fathers, that American jurisprudence was intended for the benefit of, by, and for The People.

In 1992, while living in Hawaii, Delgado galvanized the support of thousands of citizens and successfully killed the State’s first attempt to criminalize the unlicensed practice of law (UPL) statute.

In 2007, taking his self-litigant rights interests to the next level, Delgado launched, founded and became the Executive Director for People United for Legal System Equality (P.U.L.S.E.), a tax-exempt organization advocating for the fair and equal treatment of pro se litigants. His Pledge of Solidarity for self-litigants is seeking signatures of support from like-minded individuals.

It is the honor and pleasure of The Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers to have Mr. Delgado speak at our First Annual FALDP Conference.

Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women.
When it dies there,
no constitution,
no law,
no court can save it.

Honorable Judge Learned Hand



Lisa Benitez, Guest Speaker

Lisa Benitez, Clinical Director of Children’s Home Society, North Coastal Division, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and National Certified Counselor (NCC). She is also an adjunct professor at the Institute for Health Services at Daytona State College; and the Director of Koinonia Counseling Center, LLC. With a Master of Arts degree in Counseling from Reformed Theological Seminary, Ms. Benitez has over fifteen years experience working in all areas of social and human services.

In addition to her years of experience as a counselor, she has over ten years of working as a trainer to community professionals regarding social dilemmas and child/family issues. Ms. Benitez provides individual, family and group psychotherapy to adults, youth and children. Being a legal expert in the courtroom regarding abuse issues, she also brings extensive experience in helping the family unit when dealing with traumatic situations. Her specialty is working with individuals struggling with chronic pain, abuse/trauma, depression, anxiety and relationship problems.

It is our honor and pleasure to have Ms. Benitez share her insights with us. For more information about Ms. Benitez and her work, please visit these websites:
www.koinoniacounselingcenter.com
www.chsfl.org


FALDP MEMBER BENEFITS:

  • Members will have more credibility in the marketplace by advertising their membership in our Association. We provide all members with FALDP logos to display on their website or any other print advertising. At last, Florida legal document preparers can show the world their professional pride.
  • Members must meet certain educational standards or have experience preparing legal documents in Florida. Members must also agree to abide by the FALDP Pledge. We hope these policies will prevent unfounded accusations that members are untrained, inexperienced, or offering legal advice.
  • Members will have access to information that affects the delivery of legal documents to consumers -- updated forms, law changes, publications, and research materials. Through our business networking opportunities and information exchange, we strive to further educate members, so that they may in turn educate consumers. We plan to offer members access to a wide variety of legal self-help books and software for easy download or purchase from our site.
  • Our free monthly newsletter, The FALDP Docket will provide event calendars, legal news, articles, and updates. We hope that members will actively participate by writing their own stories and struggles to include in our newsletter.
  • Members will have opportunities to learn about legal practice areas, where it is not necessary to be an attorney, such as patent law, social security appeals, and bankruptcy. Through articles on our site, in our newsletter; e-books; or seminars, members will have multiple opportunities to expand their areas of concentration and increase their expertise.
  • Premium members will receive referrals through our FALDP website; where consumers can search our database by County, Court District, or area of expertise. As our site grows we expect more and more consumers to be able to locate legal document preparers to help them complete their forms. As more consumers find us, your business will grow along with us.
  • Members will have access and discounts to professional products and services. As self-employed individuals or small businesses many legal document preparers have little or no access to health insurance. In the future we plan to provide members with the opportunity to join a group health insurance plan through FALDP.
  • As members, we should all have a voice for our opinions and concerns of the state of our industry. We encourage an active and involved participation in this association. Without our members, our association cannot exist and help us further our professional goals. Together we are only stronger.


Web Reviews

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, located online at www.eff.org, is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting consumer rights in the digital age. Their “About Us” page states the following:

From the Internet to the iPod, technologies are transforming our society and empowering us as speakers, citizens, creators, and consumers. When our freedoms in the networked world come under attack, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is the first line of defense. EFF broke new ground when it was founded in 1990 — well before the Internet was on most people's radar — and continues to confront cutting-edge issues defending free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights today. From the beginning, EFF has championed the public interest in every critical battle affecting digital rights.


The Big Picture:

Free Speech, Freedom of Religion, and Media Construction

A top news story this week -- aired, analyzed, and argued, up until 9/10 -- would Terry Jones, unheard of until now small time Gainesville preacher with a congregation of 50, burn a pile of Qurans and cause an international incident? The question was asked and asked again, until Jones decided against hosting the bonfire, and so the world spins along.

What do you think? Was he a publicity seeker? Is it alright to burn holy books? Books in general? What if he had planned to burn a pile of Bibles? Would burning the Qurans really have put our troops at risk? Would Jones’ Quran burning be justified given the planned Ground Zero Mosque? Have Americans been complacent long enough, and high time someone finally made a stand? Is he a hero, villain, or buffoon?

My personal and political opinions contained herein are not necessarily shared by FALDP, FALDP members or anyone else.

So, here goes.

Let me be perfectly clear, the United States of America is not a Christian nation. Our forefathers were not necessarily Christian. Thomas Jefferson, among others, was a Deist. Deists believe there is a God, but Jesus was not necessarily the son of God. If Jones’ Quran burning caused others to retaliate by burning Bibles that is a religious controversy, not a political one. So, from a political standpoint the incident is irrelevant.

But, you might argue, its just wrong to burn any holy book. A news article from Reuters, dated May 5, 2009 describes the U.S. military destroying Bibles in Afghanistan.

U.S. military says Afghan bibles have been destroyed
Tue May 5, 2009
KABUL (Reuters) – Bibles in Afghan languages sent to a U.S. soldier at a base in Afghanistan were confiscated and destroyed to ensure that troops did not breach regulations which forbid proselytizing, a military spokeswoman said.
The U.S. military has denied its soldiers tried to convert Afghans to Christianity, after Qatar-based Al Jazeera television showed soldiers at a bible class on a base with a stack of bibles translated into the local Pashto and Dari languages.
U.S. Central Command’s General Order Number 1 forbids troops on active duty — including all those based in Iraq and Afghanistan — from trying to convert people to another religion.
"I can now confirm that the Bibles shown on Al Jazeera’s clip were, in fact, collected by the chaplains and later destroyed. They were never distributed," spokeswoman Major Jennifer Willis said at Bagram air base, north of Kabul.


Fair enough. Troops stationed in Afghanistan must refrain from attempts to convert Muslims to Christianity. I don’t recall, however, any public outcry when the bibles were destroyed. Were they burned? So, why couldn’t the media stop talking about Jones’ proposed Quran burning?

Freedom of speech does not apply only to speech that is popular -- that would be unnecessary. The speech that must be protected, as a right and a freedom, is speech which is unpopular.

I disagree with what you say, but defend to the death, your right to say it.

Voltaire

U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Symbolic speech is also protected by the First Amendment. Like flag burning, the burning of books, even holy books is allowed. The First Amendment literally forbids the abridgment only of ‘speech,’ but we have long recognized that its protection does not end at the spoken or written word.” Thus wrote the Supreme Court when it held that a statute prohibiting flag desecration violated the First Amendment. Vietnam era protesters burned the flag in protest of the war -- as an act of patriotism, civil disobedience and protest. The flag burning was and is protected free speech. However, another popular Vietnam era protest technique, also a symbolic act, burning draft cards, was not protected speech, and was, instead, a crime.

Okay, already, fair enough you say, but what about that Ground Zero Mosque? In fact, it’s not a mosque. There won’t be any of the fancy architecture found on mosques, no call to prayers, none of that. It is a proposed Muslim community center complete with basketball courts. And, by the way, it is not going to be built on the site of the former World Trade Center, but blocks away, where a Burlington Coat Factory once stood.

But would our troops in the Middle East have been put at risk if Jones had burned all those Qurans? I think our troops are in the Middle East to fight for our freedom. I think they are there to protect and uphold our U.S. Constitution and our way of life. And I think our troops are already at risk. I think that risk is part and parcel of being at war. If we don’t do our part and uphold the American way here at home, for what purpose are they fighting?

Personally, I say, burn whatever you want, holy or unholy. It’s America. Build your community centers wherever you want. Follow the laws of the land, the laws are for everyone.

And, if the media had not seized upon the sensational story of Terry Jones, the world would have never known. If the world had never known, then our troops would absolutely not have been put at any additional risk. If the media, all of them, all of the 24 hour news stations that relentlessly reported on this sensational non-issue had just not, then no one would have ever known.


Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989).
United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990).


WRITE FOR US

We need your articles, input, and insights. Your articles will be posted on our site, with your byline, and linked to your website. We will edit it for clarity, grammar, spelling and formatting.

Suitable topics are vast. How did you get started? What was your best or worst experience helping a customer? What is your favorite or least favorite part of your work? How did you overcome a specific obstacle? Are you doing something that is unique that you would like to tell us about?

Submit articles to:
floridalegalforms@yahoo.com or staff@faldp.org


RESEARCH HELP

We need your customers’ family law stories -- their adventures, perils, and successes navigating the court system. Every one of them has a story. I want to know how well pro se litigants are able to get the job done. Are your customers educating themselves? Are they being intimidated by opposing attorneys? What about judges? Are the family law mediators helping or hindering the process? When you speak to someone with a compelling story ask them if they are willing to speak with me, so that I can share their story with others.

Ruth Tick, floridalegalforms@yahoo.com

Also don’t forget to make a comment about access to the courts for pro se litigants on the FALDP site. The article is found at the following link: Legal Access For The Pro Se

We value your opinions!


See You At The Conference!!!

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