Unholy Apostilles: Intermediaries Fleece Unsuspecting Applicants For Government Document Credentialing

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

A concerning practice has emerged over the years where intermediary service providers proffer to obtain apostille certifications on behalf of the those unfamiliar with the credentialing process for documents sent overseas. Unscrupulous providers charge hundreds and some over a thousand dollars for several documents while a typical cost assessed by each state’s secretary of state centers around fifteen dollars per document.

Most of these providers are unregulated and operate from virtual offices or use addresses traceable to private mail box companies such as the UPS Store. Some go so far as making promises of authenticity under legally questionable guises.

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Thieving Maggie

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

In an interesting reversal, a young Chinese child unseated the predominating meme of hungry birds stealing food from humans.

The setup played into the hands of the girl, who took charge of the unsuspecting avian and snatched a morsel directly from the victim dove’s beak. All while her unwitting accomplice–her mother–attracted the bird under the guise of feeding pigeons.

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WA Sex Offender Registration Requirements Can Cause Indefinite Opportunity For Imprisonment Of The Homeless

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

A recent case before the Washington Court of Appeals for Division I highlights what has as a direct result of an increasingly punitive legislation become a perilous trap for a homeless, mentally handicapped citizen–and by extension likely many more.

In February 1998, when he was 23 years old, Jayson Lee Boyd had sex with a 15 year old. On May 27, 1999, Boyd pleaded guilty to Rape of a Child in the Third degree. Boyd was sentenced on July 29, 1999. He has not committed a sex offense since his original conviction. Nevertheless, he is required to register as a sex offender under RCW 9A.44.130 and RCW 9A.44.140. Since his original conviction in 1999, Boyd has been convicted of failure to register as a sex offender three times, all in Skagit County.

Thus his station in life: Seemingly perpetual incarceration is his future.

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Worst Phishing Email Ever

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

I received this week a true gem of a phishing e-mail. I have to admit however that I was a bit disappointed in its transparency.

Usually the notion of the Confidence Man of the past involves lavishing praise on his mark. Since the 1990s when a flim-flam attempted to scam a person they often provide respect by extending the courtesies of a learned barrister representing wealthy Nigerian politicians or royalty. But it seems cynicism finally overcame this fraud and it consumed him.

But then again, this onerous email might act as a filter to winnow out the intelligent from the truly gullible who are more easily victimized.

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Some Appellants Never Get A Break

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

In our criminal justice system, appellants tend to fall into three categories: Those who ultimately prevail in their arguments; those who are unable to convince justices of their case’s merits; and those who fall off a cliff and strike every sharp rock on their way to the bottom. Steven Canha apparently suffered the fate of the last category.

After extensive appeals, one of which was to the U.S. Supreme Court, Mr. Canha lost what could be his final personal restraint petition before Washington’s courts of appeals and now the state’s Supreme Court halted the years long contention for his release from prison.

Mr. Canha argues, in short, for a resentencing based on Washington’s determinate sentencing grid by reason of incompatibility of foreign laws to Washington’s and argues for removal of prior convictions to reduce his prison term. But being probably the most unfortunate man in recent memory, a unanimous Court determined applicability of prior violations based largely upon obsolete laws (effective at the time) and time/date dictated ultimately how long his imprisonment occurred.

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NFL Logo No Longer Shown On NFL Sponsor Papa John’s Website

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

After the recent controversy involving NFL players kneeling before the National Anthem at the beginning football games, long time NFL sponsor Papa John’s Pizza no longer displays the NFL Logo or indications of sponsorship on its official website.

While no reference as to the reasons given has been made readily publicly available, there exists the possibility the company might be having at least reservations with presently displaying a logo engendering increasing disfavor with large segments of its customer base.

Papa John’s once branded itself as the Official Pizza of the NFL.

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The United Methodist Church And My Loss Of Faith In Its Mission

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

It comes with much personal reflection that after the United Methodist Church’s Annual Conference for the Pacific Northwest Conference area, encompassing where I live in Washington State, I decided to leave the church after seeing what I believe to be the church leadership moving away from spirituality and Christian teachings to a place where members of the hierarchy in our conference use the Church as a platform to pontificate a particular flavor of politics, aligning itself with an American political party, promoting organizations that provide legal advice to those who evade the law, and worst of all having members that promote an organization that advocates the killing of law enforcement officers. This is a sad outcome, but it represents an evolution of thinking becoming endemic to particular districts. I do not believe that most of the districts approve generally of these changes but unfortunately for me they encompass the area I reside. The best choice for me was to end my relationship.

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