Q: Why Didn’t The Chicken Cross the Road?

  • A1: Because he should never have gotten himself halfway into the exercise.
  • A2: Because he brought someone along who wasn’t as committed as he was.
  • A3: Because that someone alone has the good sense to not make the attempt.
  • A4: Because he thinks he can defy norms and conventions; she knows otherwise.

Or, could the answer be …

  • Z1: Because he thought it was the most expedient means to an ends … so why not?
  • Z2: Because she led him on a misadventure which he didn’t have the good sense to redirect.
  • Z3: Because he was paid to escort her across the road despite its treachery and money justifies the risk.
  • Z4: Because he has a yellow umbrella which he thinks will shield him from city-bound traffic at 8:22 AM.

If you are thinking of playing chicken with your neighbor in a boundary dispute, make a commitment to go all the way to the endpoint or don’t start it at all.

Justice Smiles is here to evaluate your merits and to assist you to determine whether the adventure is worth the effort. To start before making a commitment, please fill out less than a dozen questions linked [HERE].

BTW – When I glanced back at these two idiots, they were returning from whence they came. So, they were able to get smart after all.

The Other Washington


Several years ago when I was yet a “China Hand”, I would often hear those involved in Washington State politics refer to D.C. as “The Other Washington”. At the same time, people who live on the East Coast refer to “our” (local) politics as “The Other Washington”. I am quite certain that this hasn’t changed.

Now disregarding your political inclination, imagine what happens when someone gets all bent out of shape when someone from the other location will not submit to the same view. Essentially this person for the sake of maintaining the “integrity” of her self identity absolutely has to have her belief recognized as to which location is the “real Washington”… which of course also allows her to distinguish it from “The Other Washington.”

Pretty stupid … right? Quite evidently, this is a trivial discussion. But, this dichotomy can help to understand some of the zaniness attendant to boundary disputes. So let’s explore this mental construct a bit more and then draw some conclusions.

Imagine we have a person living here in Greater Seattle transplanted from D.C. and she still wants to maintain that she now lives in “The Other Washington” because naturally in her mind D.C. is “the real Washington.”

Now it would be one thing if this person went around town wearing  cap and scarf of the NFL’s Washington Redskins. Though many in our state who are loyal to the Seahawks may find it “different” when she opens her mouth and talks about how she is living in “The Other Washington”, most people would probably dismiss the matter as an allowed loyalty to her version of reality. Who cares – right?

But what happens when she becomes absolutely “in your face” about this “issue?” You can be just about certain she will receive a good dose of “Seattle Nice” whereby when she goes on one of her rants people will just smile – albeit likely with a cringe – in order to appease her rather strident view. Yet here, they will do their best to just give this person plenty of space.

Now that is the critical point. Because this person is not challenged on her (locally) out of place perceptions, she has been given more space … i.e. a vacuum.

Here, please remember that “nature abhors a vacuum.” So, this oddball likely becomes increasingly expansive and perhaps expressive in her view because she is not self-limiting and her mental boundaries are rarely if ever challenged … its just not worth it.

Unfortunately for you, this person now moves in next to you and gets it in her head that she is entitled to land which the majority of people – i.e. both jury and judge – are highly unlikely to [assist to] determine as hers.

The jury isn’t disinclined to grant her the land because she disregards normal convention. No, instead the jury is simply assisting the court to determine the facts and afterward the judge determines how those facts will fall into place with respect to the law.

Remember though, this person fails to recognize bounds and has not been challenged for her transgression of them for quite some time because of the space given to her.

Question #1: Do you think she will use rational faculties when presented with law and fact?

Answer: NO!

You are likely in for one heck of a confrontation in which her patterns of thought must be interrupted and scrambled before she will begrudging relent to have her physical boundaries properly bound.

If money were no object, having the court drop its gavel to interrupt her “regularly scheduled program” might be completely satisfactory.

But, with the exception of extraordinarily wealthy individuals, money is indeed an object.

Question #2: What is the best answer for anyone who isn’t an extraordinarily wealthy individual involved in an impossible situation like this?  

Answer: Do everything you can to get the matter to mediation.

Now, there are three types of mediation approaches: (1) facilitative; (2) evaluative; and (3) transformative.

Determining which of these three approaches to pursue is perhaps the most important determination when seeking to bring a boundary dispute to resolve.

If wanting help evaluating your boundary dispute and determining the best process and strategy to attempt to bring resolution to it, please answer less than a dozen questions by contacting Justice Smiles [HERE].



Justice Smiles’ Welcome to Prospective Clients

Thank you for taking some valuable time from your schedule to review this law blog.

If you are at all like the majority of those who have previously engaged Justice Smiles, pllc (“Justice Smiles”), you are anxious about a negative situation which is or could possibly unfold with your neighbor.

From this day forward, you have a choice. You can choose whether or not to engage your neighbor in a spirited battle over boundaries.

Justice Smiles will help you determine the likely legal outcome in a “money is no object”, pure merit-based assessment.

Additionally, Justice Smiles will help you craft the best strategy in recognition that “money is no object” is probably neither your reality nor that of your neighbors.

Beyond this, Justice Smiles helps you engage your neighbor in a “conversation” – whether by negotiation, mediation, or through the courts – to reconcile boundaries of decency, privacy, safety, self-expression, aesthetics, and other uses and abuses of real property.

Notably, a surveyor’s opinion as to the proper property boundary does not address these other boundary questions as to how you will interact with respect for and toward your neighbors … and them toward you.

These other boundary questions are generally the drivers of boundary disputes. Justice Smiles’ hard fought experience understands this all too well.

So, if you recognize through your frustration, anger, and fear that indeed these other boundary questions are the problems which need to be resolved, Justice Smiles welcomes your contact and is ready to help.


James Comey is the Double-Hinged Gate of American Democracy


Today’s op-ed section of the Los Angeles Times leads with the intriguing question: “Why doesn’t James Comey run for President?” [1]

This of course is completely impractical with exactly one week to go until the 2016 election. But there is an important sentiment worthy of exploration here.

Just like this election in which many undecided voters  – myself not least of which included – believe we have a choice between the most unfit Presidential Candidates past, present, and (hopefully) future, Comey was not only once, but twice confronted with making a choice of the lesser of evils.

Specifically, on July 5, 2016 in his prepared remarks titled: Statement by FBI Director James B. Comey on the Investigation of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s  Use of a Personal E-Mail System, he indicated:  

From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time; and eight contained Confidential information, which is the lowest level of classification. Separate from those, about 2,000 additional e-mails were “up-classified” to make them Confidential; the information in those had not been classified at the time the e-mails were sent. [2]

This shows either that Secretary Clinton is careless in the handling of sensitive information, had an improper disregard for the duty to safeguard sensitive information, or some combination of both. In that Secretary Clinton has been embroiled with numerous other scandals over her career – as is generally the case with any politician along the path for the highest office – it would have been worthwhile for the country to know what the emails contain right?


Note again that of those 30,000 e-mails, 8 contained information which was “Top Secret”; “Secret Information” ballooned to contained 36 chains of emails; and again [only] 8 e-mails (or perhaps e-mail chains) contained what would normally be considered Confidential information. Strikingly, 2,000 emails were apparently on the bubble as and were up-classified to Confidential status.

Now note that the purpose of the FBI is NOT to shape presidential elections, but rather “[t]o protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States.” [3]

So, notwithstanding the fact that Republican challenger Donald J Trump “earnestly” sought for Secretary Hillary Clinton to disclose her emails so much so that he offered during the first presidential debate to release his [faulty] tax returns if she did so … who was fooling who? [4]

Those emails are privileged and the fact that they were on a private server wouldn’t remove that status from them such that were open to review … again the initial issue is the LOCATION of the information NOT the INFORMATION itself.

This is the reason why James Comey was duty bound to stop further investigation and allow the election to proceed.

However, the feared effects of the wrongly placed LOCATION came back to haunt Secretary Clinton when it was found that her emails were on the same servers as her closest aid Huma Abedin.

Huma Abedin through marriage – which incidentally also privileges conversation – on August 29, 2016 separated from her husband Anthony Weiner. [5]

In a separate investigation of his emails and sexting miscreance, it was discovered that the INFORMATION was beyond secured bounds in that it showed up in Anthony Weiner’s continued sexting investigation. [6]

It is because of this fact, that James Comey was now duty bound to the American public and the FBI to share that information is out … while yet refraining from specifying what that information is.

Again, he can not share the information broadly. But, the investigation needs to be reopened because of the now recognized lack of security to this information. Again, this is consistent with his duty.

Interestingly, Hillary Clinton is now the one calling for the information disclosure knowing full well that James Comey can not provide it … just as Trump had originally.

So, did James Comey do the wrong thing in both cases? Maybe? But, I think not.

Comey has alerted the public to national security problems for which the experienced Secretary Clinton is believed to be most qualified … but clearly demonstrates lack of facility.

Trump has made a very frontal charge on every and all comers. We have a sense of what he is about in that way … but he is cast as inexperienced and many of the things he has said over the course of this election have been absolutely repugnant.

That said, Clinton – who doesn’t hide it well – [now] appears to have plenty of warts herself.

Who should the vote go to? Well, I thought perhaps if enough people voted for Gary Johnson American might indicate that it is sick of this polarized-political race.

The frames presented by the candidates could not be more stark.

Trump’s “Drain the Swamp” to “Make America Great Again”  v. Clinton’s “Stronger Together” while no less than maintaining democratic politics as usual.

Should an undecided voter cast a ballot for the first woman president with baggage which will continue to spill or a man self-presenting as aggressive and noted for misogyny.

The choice is that of the American people and while not all the INFORMATION is out, the fact that it exists is.

This means we can get on with making this decision with arguably a proper shadow of knowledge in front of us all … AND THEN LIVE WITH THE DECISION OF THE MAJORITY!!! [7]

Let’s not ever forget that we do have a democracy which requires people to make hard decisions which weigh both law and politics in the performance of its defense.

I suspect most believe James Comey is a little unhinged. I do not concur with this sentiment. Instead, Comey has allowed each side to see more information about the other.

The fact that each side has secrets is not his fault. He’s merely the double-hinged gate which allows appropriately limited flow through. Our democracy requires that sufficient information is allowed the governed so they may make this important hiring decision … while at the same time offering protection to the governed by not striking the proper balance. [8]

James Comey for President? We not only could but already are going to do a lot worse no matter who the nation decides. We don’t have a proper choice!

[1] See op-ed piece [HERE].

[2] See Comey’s full prepared remark[HERE].

[3] See FBI Mission website page [HERE].

[4] See Fortune article which includes a debate snipit [HERE].

[5] See New York Times article indicating the Huma | Weiner separation [HERE].

[6] See NPR report titled: FBI Led Back To Clinton Email Server Case By Anthony Weiner Investigation [HERE].

[7] Note that I am not in a present position to expound on the benefits and detriments surrounding the use of the Electoral College. However, I certainly can not condone Trump’s potential unwillingness to cede to the results of the election.

[8] See Scott Adam’s blog for overall analysis which greatly informed this post on James Comey [HERE].

What is a Fulcrum Fact?


A Fulcrum Fact is my designation for the one particular, ambiguous fact for which the argued attached meaning determines the legal contest. 

First, recall a fulcrum is that point on a scale where balance is struck between the scale’s two sides. As such, if the weight and dimensions of both sides are equal then the fulcrum is right in the middle like the pivot point of a teeter totter. Extending this teeter totter example, if the weight or dimensions are greater or longer on one side (and thus by necessity slighter or shorter on the other side), the fulcrum point shifts toward the side with heaver or greater dimensions.

Below I offer my definition of a Fulcrum Fact; the means to identify a Fulcrum Fact through explanation of its elements; and an example of a Fulcrum Fact through review of the 1974 Francis Ford Coppala film The Conversation.

A Fulcrum Fact must be: (1) undeniably relevant; (2) significant; (3) undisputed; (4) ambiguous; (5) central to the alternate theories offered by the opposing parties; and (6) best at incorporating all other relevant facts.

  1. Relevance is the most immediate threshold in determining a Fulcrum Fact. Any fact which doesn’t advance understanding in the pursuit of the truth is a waste of time unless the fact serves to assist the process of casting proper tone or light on the other facts. Notably as a result of this qualifier, one party may offer Casting Facts as relevant whereas the other party may believe those facts irrelevant. This is folly which I address below the body of this post at [1]. The point though is both parties must believe any [potential] Fulcrum Fact assists their case.
  2. Significance is the second threshold in the determination of a Fulcrum Fact. Not only do both parties need to believe the fact assists their case, but each must believe it does so significantly.
  3. Undisputed is the third threshold in the determination of a Fulcrum Fact. If the existence or non-existence of the fact is under attack, the fact is not a Fulcrum Fact until its existence becomes unquestioned by both parties.
  4. Ambiguity is the fourth threshold in the determination of a Fulcrum Fact. Whereas existence is undisputed, the meaning attached to the fact must be at significant – if not complete – odds with the meaning offered by the opposing party.
  5. Centrality of Importance means that both parties must be able to rest control of the ambiguous meaning of the fact as it is central to understanding their theory of the case. This element is the very essence of the Fulcrum Fact because if one fails to have the Fulcrum Fact understood as desired and the Fulcrum Fact becomes understood instead as  desired by the opposing party … the case is won by the other party.
  6. Incorporation of Relevant Facts is the elemental necessity of assuring that the Fulcrum Fact is consistent with the greatest number of relevant facts so as not to need to explain or qualify those facts and the disharmony which may otherwise arise if required to do so.

I recognize this is extremely high concept so I’ll attempt to bring it to bedrock with a short overview of use of a fact very much akin to a Fulcrum Fact as used in The Conversation.

As to expository casting facts The Conversation starts with Jonathan Caul played by Gene Hackman; his regular employee Stan played by the late John Cazele [2]; and a couple of other outside contractors surveilling what seems to be the conversation between lovers as they walk around and around San Francisco’s Union Square.

Though initially obscured, John Caul – who we later learn has apparently exiled himself from the East Coast after one of his surveillance jobs may have resulted in the death of a mother and son – is able to untangle a frighteningly intriguing snippet of dialog expressed by the surveilled man:

“He’d kill us if he had the chance”.

That one phrase is essentially a Fulcrum Fact in that it is (1) undeniable relevant; (2) significant; (3) undisputed; (4) ambiguous; and (5) of central importance to the alternate theories which seem to occur as the conversation which John Caul is either having with reality and to some unclear extently within his own head … and the terrifying endpoints which each portends.

Specifically, the phrase: “He’d kill us if he had the chance” is ambiguous as to whether a question or a statement. Because of this ambiguity its meaning could be (a) an inquiry as to the gravity of consequences if the lovers are discovered by her husband or possibly as  (b) justification for a preemptive strike on the woman’s husband to prevent those same consequences.

Notably, the rest of the movie appears to be John Caul’s quest to identify the remainder of relevant facts in order to (6) incorporate their full meaning.

The Conversation is a thought provoking film eclipsed at the 1975 Oscars by Coppala’s most notable film The Godfather. I recognize some may believe its pacing and conclusion may not be sufficiently current. Yet, I think it is an absolutely fascinating film which wonderfully captures the idea of the Fulcrum Fact.

Although attempting to track the two lines of thought to their respective endpoints requires deep and perhaps unpleasant thought, for those seeking cerebral instead of emotive fright … Happy Halloween!

[1] Casting Facts serve to allow greater “weight and dimension” to the opposing party’s theory of the case and so failure to attack them significantly increases the likelihood the Fulcrum Fact is interpreted to the opposing parties’ advantage.

[2] John Cazele is the late actor who’s most famous role was as Fredo Corleone in The Godfather and The Godfather Part II.

Fame Right off the Stage Trump


In a previous post, I indicated why I think Trump is making this bid for president. He want’s Fame! [1]

Think about it. The guy has plenty of money, but he’s getting older.

He has to be thinking to himself that it won’t be long before things like “Trump steak” will have any meaning.

But, if he can become the United States president. Well, then he would have some sort of permanent legacy upon which to hang his hat.

Sorry Don-Don, I don’t think that’s going to be the case.

True, if you win it, you would be president, but in all reality how many of us remember many of the presidents beyond those which we encounter during our lifetime.

Think you are going to magically snap your finger and a wall will be built to keep out illegal mexicans and then again to balance the current accounts deficit with China. Yea right!

What you will achieve at best is infamy. But, as you have shown to date, that’s a boundary you are not at all afraid to cross.

[1] Enjoy David Bowie’s Fame [HERE].