BY Attorney Corey L. Scott
Most people believe that stupidity is the opposite of intelligence or to be dumb. However, I recently discovered a definition of stupidity as “overlooking or dismissing conspicuous information.” In this context, stupidity is to overlook or dismiss critical, life changing information staring you in your face. The good book puts it like this: “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6. Truth be told, people suffer serious consequences because of the lack of the very information that they casually DISS ON A DAILY BASIS.
Legal knowledge that was: conspicuous, out in the open, a google search or phone call away, hidden in plain sight. But distracted people walked right past it. Distracted by the latest Trump tweet or Kanye West rant or just wasting time on Instagram. Doesn't really matter why they were distracted, just that they were until they couldn't help but pay attention to the legal consequence that landed SMACK-DAB-IN-THE-MIDDLE OF THEIR LIFE! Like the loss of their family home to foreclosure when one simple filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court would've stopped the foreclosure proceedings “dead in its tracks.” Or the young father who signed off on paternity affidavit papers at the hospital after the baby HE THOUGHT WAS HIS was born and became locked into 18 years of child support payments only to find out that he's not “the baby's daddy!” Or the mama who marches her child down to the station to “tell the police everything” not knowing the police are allowed to lie during their investigation to get confessions.
Trust and believe that I could go on forever adding to this long list of legal loss and tragedy but here's the trip part—most of these legal outcomes are just flat out STUPID (legally speaking). Because the legal knowledge needed to either address the problem or in plenty of cases, to avoid the legal outcome altogether is conspicuous, in plain sight, out in the open, a phone call or google search away but people overlook it or outright dismiss it every day. Even as they give their full attention to Cardi B's latest IG post or Lebron James' triple double stat line or DJ Khaled's SnapChat from last night or who got divorced on “The Young and The Restless” last week. All of which is fine and dandy, but not at the expense of must know legal information that could save a child or family home or job.
In times like these we can no longer afford to major in minor things. It's simply unacceptable to know all of JAY-Z's lyrics on Meek Mill's latest single but not know what to say if a cop asks to search the trunk of your car during a traffic stop. We can't talk day in and day out about “securing the bag” but not know what steps to secure child support for our children. The point is that it's time out for being STUPID (legally speaking) when the information for being smart, informed and legally intelligent is staring us in the face, literally a phone call or google search away. For these reasons, the aim of the upcoming series of articles, is to shine our legal spotlight on the information necessary to avoid STUPID legal outcomes. Because the “Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.” Johanna Wolfgang von Goethe
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