About Benjy Schirm, J.D.

Benjy Schirm, J.D. Articles written 147

Benjy Schirm is a storyteller, writer and advocate. He attended the University of Iowa as an undergrad, worked as a theater artist, and went on to earn a J.D. from Western Michigan University so he could take his storytelling from the stage to the courtroom. He has contributed to legal publications in Minnesota, and is a North Star Lawyer, full-time public defender serving Rice County, and on the 4th District Ethics Committee as an investigator.

Articles written by Benjy Schirm, J.D.

When Fake Online Profiles Ruin Lives

What can be done when you're a victim of catfishing in California?

As the digital world explodes, people continue to derive a great deal of pleasure from the internet, and spend a large portion of their leisure time on it. Unfortunately, there are those that have begun to impersonate others online in order to foster relationships. Catfishing, as it’s been called, has become a real problem for many unwitting victims—leading to heartbreak, monetary loss and sometimes even suicide. With the proliferation of online dating and social networking, many people are …

Can You Sue for Contracting an STD?

Georgia has created safety nets for its health crisis victims

In 2016, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) labeled Georgia as the fourth “most sexually diseased” state in the nation. Its studies show that one in every 51 Georgians will contract HIV during their lifetime, making it the second-worst state for risk of infection. Nationwide, the CDC reports, half of gay black men and a quarter of gay Latino men will contract HIV/aids if infection rates stay the same. And with the proliferation of dating apps like Tinder and Grindr, the numbers may get …

How Bail Bonds Work in Maryland

Explaining the lender systems for posting bail and getting out of jail

Getting arrested and accused of a crime is not only an intensely stressful and scary experience, but a potentially confusing one, too. A lot of procedural information comes in rapid fire succession as someone is processed. And some of it deals with the most pressing concern: How to get out of jail. In Maryland, arrestees are met by a judicial commissioner. It is their job to determine if the person who was arrested should stay in jail, be let out on a bail, or be let out on their word. These …

Privacy Concerns Over Smart Speakers

Privacy rights in the age of automation and convenience

Every American has the fundamental right to privacy in their own home, including freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, as dictated by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Smart home technologies such as Amazon Echo (the hardware device that the Amazon Alexa voice assistant operates on), Google Home, Apple HomePod, and others allow homeowners to control various features of their home and even browse the web using only their voice. Despite …

How Arraignments and Bond Hearings Work in Michigan

The first steps in the criminal justice system in Michigan

Your phone rings in the middle of the night. You answer. “I’m in jail. I was arrested.” In hushed tones, you try to understand what has befallen your loved one, then the call is over. What now? The next steps vary dependent on what is being alleged, but the process is similar and knowing the first steps may save you or your loved ones time, effort and money. Bail & Arraignment Depending on the offense and the facility they’re calling from, you may be able to bail them out …

Are Gym Owners Liable for My Injuries at a Gym?

Understanding the enforceability of liability waivers in Colorado

As we roll into the holidays on a buffet of sweets and heaping dinners, we often find ourselves staring back at the choices we’ve made over the past year and realize that some of those choices have stuck around—literally. Health clubs, CrossFit gyms, fitness centers, and yoga studios all know that the biggest time of the year is New Year. But when droves of people arrive at gyms, they are greeted with a piece of paper full of legal gobbledygook. What does it all mean? What happens if …

Planning Your Pet's Future

How to create a trust or estate plan for your pet in Minnesota

To say that pets are family members doesn’t quite encompass the depth of feeling that comes with loving and cherishing a furry, feathery, or scaly member of the clan. As with all facets of estate planning, the responsible thing is to have formal arrangements in place for the care of your beloved pet in the event of your death. In May 2016, Minnesota passed legislation codifying your ability to set aside money and provide care instructions for your animal after your death. Pet trusts are now …

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