Aug 192013
Janet Russeth, J.D. AIPS Instructor

Janet Russeth, J.D.
AIPS Instructor

This past week the Associated Press reported that there is a recent movement to hold drug dealers responsible for their “clients” overdoses.  Prosecutors from various states are aggressively using state laws to prosecute drug dealers for causing overdose deaths. These statutes have been around for years, yet are rarely used, but the recent skyrocketing numbers of heroin deaths have caused prosecutors to go after dealer in hopes that they can put a dent in the supply of heroin. 

Heroin has become the drug of choice due to its lower cost and availability. It has affected the popularity of prescription pain killers, such as OxyContin, since they are expensive and hard to obtain. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, heroin usage has increased by 66% between 2007 and 2011 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that heroin overdose deaths have increased 55% between 2000 and 2010.

In New Jersey, criminal court prosecutors are using the seldom used drug death statute that carries a 20 year maximum sentence and  makes it a first degree crime if you are a dealer and responsible for a user’s death. Interestingly enough prosecutors are using a drug dealer’s business tool, the cell phone, as evidence against them. Cell phone records and texts can be used to show that the user contacted the dealer for drugs and the dealer responded to the call or text.

Many states are also holding drug dealers liable in civil court they are found to have distributed an illegal drug that harms an individual. The distribution need only be in the same geographic area and during the same time period as the person who took the drugs. So the injured user could actually go after the drug dealer for money damages in civil court. With this crackdown on overdose deaths, you may also see families of the deceased going after dealers in civil court.  

So do you want to learn more? If so, then sign up for the AIPS Criminal law online paralegal class!  To find out more information on the Criminal law online paralegal class visit the curriculum page of the AIPS website ( at

  •  August 19, 2013
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Aug 132013

Midsummer’s Night Dream:  Your Paralegal Certificate

Next Class Begins August 19! 



 A goal is a dream with a deadline! –  Napoleon Hill

So, what was your deadline to begin your paralegal studies?  August has arrived.  Your early summer excitement segued into thoughts of back to school and preparation for fall.  If you are bemoaning the fact that you didn’t move on your dream of applying to the AIPS 100% Online Paralegal School, before now, never fear!  You still have time!  The next class begins August 19.  Let’s refresh your memory of the reasons why you want your Paralegal Certificate…and, why you want a 100% online program.  Then, move toward your goal.      

The work place is a competitive place!

Your Paralegal Certificate will give you the law-related credibility and paralegal skill set that you desire and need.  Plus, it confirms that you have mastered substantive legal coursework.  Not everyone can say that!  To learn more about the importance of this credential, go to: .

You want to continue your education and gain paralegal credentials!

Your goal has always been to be the best you can be in your career.  You understand how impressive paralegal credentials, such as the Paralegal Certificate or national paralegal certification (, will look on your resume.  It’s a fact!  These credentials will give you an edge and will address one of the “desired qualifications” often found in paralegal job applications.  

A 100% online paralegal school allows you to control when you attend class!

Let’s face it!  Life is crazy busy.  The thought of leaving your home to attend a traditional classroom just doesn’t sound good at all.  You are not alone.  The AIPS paralegal program is designed for busy working adults, just like you.  Early Birds and Night Owls are able to study at the time of day that works best for them.  Now, doesn’t that sound crazy good?!  (

Take the AIPS course!  Don’t bother with other online courses.  The course is a good   investment, affordable, and you will get top of the line instructors as well as quick, online tech  assistance throughout your course.  Subjects were kept interesting, interactive, which made me look forward to my classes.

Ana Lawler
Tustin, California

The AIPS Advantage!

  • Affordable
  • Interactive online format
  • Experienced – training paralegals since 1978, with over 15 years of online experience
  • Comprehensive, real-life applicable curriculum

This goal…this midsummer dream…can be reached! To learn more, go to or call 1-800-553-2420.  Apply, today

Paralegal Newsletter of the American Institute for Paralegal Studies paralegal school

  •  August 13, 2013
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Aug 102013

Immigration Law is a complex and high demand area of law for attorneys and paralegals.

Immigration Law, very simply defined, determines who may enter the United States, how long they may remain and when they must leave. 
Enjoy this short video from the American Institute for Paralegal Studies Video Lecture Series.
YouTube Video

YouTube Video

  •  August 10, 2013
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Aug 092013

Criminal Law Update:

“He who represents himself has a fool for a client.” Quote by Abraham Lincoln.

Nidal Hasan has defied those famous words from the great President Lincoln.

Major Nidal Hasan is the Army psychiatrist who is on trial for killing 13 people while on a shooting rampage almost four years ago in Fort Hood, Texas.

Hasan is an American born Muslim who allegedly believed that he was killing on behalf of the mujahideen (holy warriors). He allegedly fired more than 200 rounds at unarmed soldiers while yelling “God is great” and believed he had a jihad duty to kill as many as possible.

Interestingly enough, he has chosen to represent himself, not with the plan of winning, but instead losing. It appears that he is proud of his actions and wants to be remembered as a terrorist that killed for his faith. In his attempt to become a martyr, he started his opening statement by stating that the evidence would show that he is the shooter and that he carried out the killings on behalf of the mujahideen. At least this self represented defendant wants to lose.

One of the basic things taught in law school is that you are a fool to represent yourself in most cases. Attorneys to go school after college for at least three years and have to take a comprehensive and difficult bar exam to practice law. They study many legal doctrines, rules, and procedures that a layperson would never know without this extensive education. Unfortunately, not everyone sees it this way. I have seen defendants represent themselves in criminal court and it is a sad and painful sight to see someone make numerous legal errors while their freedom hangs on the line. Would you let a surgeon operate on you that didn’t go to medical school? I didn’t think so.

Janet Russeth, J.D. AIPS Instructor

Janet Russeth, J.D.
AIPS Instructor

So do you want to learn more? If so, then sign up for the AIPS Criminal law online paralegal class!  To find out more information on the Criminal law online paralegal class visit the curriculum page of the AIPS website ( at

Jul 262013

Family Law Update: Gay Couples Unsure Whether to Say “I do”

Twelve states currently allow same sex marriages. Thirty-five states explicitly ban same sex marriage and three states do not allow same sex marriage, but do not ban it. One of these is California. In June, the United States Supreme Court brought same sex marriage back to California and many gay couples saw the opportunity to rush and get married.

Yet, many experts advised California gay couples to re-examine their marriage commitment and not to rush into tying the knot. The reason for the warning because what happens if these couples divorce. In California, a community property state, couples that divorce must split their property in half. Under a community property statute everything acquired during the marriage, with the exception of gifts or inheritances, is owned 50/50. In non-community property states courts follow the doctrine of equitable distribution and award a “marital interest” in any property that was acquired during the marriage through the efforts of both spouses. This acknowledges the contributions of both spouses, whether the contribution is financial or through a spouse’s work in the home, regardless of whose name is on the legal title.

One solution may be a prenuptial agreement and it may avoid splitting property in half upon divorce. A pre-nuptial agreement is entered into prior to the marriage.  Some of the issues it addresses include: Listing separate property and income; financial assets and income; the voluntariness of the agreement; division of expenses and costs for the household; estate planning provisions; effect of a deceased spouse; remarriage; division upon divorce; and distribution to children upon death or divorce. The agreement can be revised at a later date and may be appropriate when significant financial assets are involved in the marriage. It all depends on the couple and their wishes and expectations of the marriage.  So with the added privilege of marriage for gay couples, come the dire consequences of possibly losing property in a divorce.  Perhaps one outweighs the other.

So do you want to learn more? If so, then sign up for the AIPS Family law online paralegal class!  To find out more information on the Family law online paralegal class visit the curriculum page of the AIPS website ( at


Janet Russeth, J.D. AIPS Instructor

Janet Russeth, J.D.
AIPS Instructor


Jul 192013

 Eye Donation and the Need for a Living Will

I read an interesting article this week in USA today. It was about a study performed by Duke University that more people would donate their eyes if they knew they could. This topic hits home because I have a son that is blind in one eye.  Unfortunately, his blindness is caused by a dead optic nerve in the brain so an eye replacement would not solve the problem. Yet, I was shocked that so many didn’t know that they could donate their eyes.

Over the past years I have sat through many doctor visits and seen many children with severe vision issues.  Donations could help so many. Duke University reported that eye donation is down by 28% despite the fact that people have the option of donating their eyes to be used as transplants or for research to find cures for defects and ailments.   

I am an organ donor. I’m pretty healthy and have some decent eyes so I have repeatedly told my husband to make sure that every part of me is donated, at least those parts that someone wants. This is a crucial point if you wish to donate your eyes or other organs. Make sure you notify your family of your intentions!  You should also carry a donor card or take the appropriate steps through your local motor vehicle office to have your driver’s license reflect that you are an organ donor. You might also want to visit a local organ donation organization and discuss your intentions. Most importantly, make sure you have a living will that states your organ donation wishes.

A living will is a legal document that states your wishes as to life prolonging medical treatment. It can also reflect your wishes as to organ donation. A living will tells your doctor and family what you want as to medical treatment in the event you are unable to speak for yourself such as in the case of a terminal illness or permanent vegetative state. Your local attorney and paralegal can help to prepare your living will so you can share the gift of life and vision!  

 So do you want to learn more? If so, then sign up for the AIPS Estates Wills and Trusts online paralegal class!  To find out more information on the Estates Wills and Trusts online paralegal class visit the curriculum page of the AIPS website ( at


Janet Russeth, J.D. AIPS Instructor

Janet Russeth, J.D.
AIPS Instructor

Jul 162013

It has been said that the health of families reflects the health of society.

If the health of families truly reflects the health of society, then there must be a system in place to aid families in crisis!  Aid may come in the form of counseling or legal intervention. Family Law is a broad area of law that addresses legal issues that arise in families or in other personal relationships. 

Enjoy this short video on the role of the Family Law Paralegal.


  •  July 16, 2013
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Jul 152013

Zimmerman case goes to the jury  

Jurors in the George Zimmerman found the defendant not guilty of all charges because he was acting in self defense. The trial took three weeks and consisted of testimony from many witnesses such as police, neighbors, friends, family members and even Zimmerman himself. Many wonder why these criminal trials take so long and cost so much. The Jodi Arias trial cost the state almost two million dollars. The Zimmerman trial will most likely go over the one million dollar mark.

What exactly happens during a criminal trial? Let’s review the basic steps in a criminal trial to better understand the process. If it is a jury trial, the trial begins with jury selection. Opening statements, while not evidence, introduce the jury to the facts in question. The prosecution opens first, and presents its case because it has the burden to prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt. After each witness is examined by the prosecution, the defense has the opportunity to cross-examine. When the prosecution closes, the defense has the opportunity to make a motion for a required finding of not guilty, indicating to the court that the prosecution failed to meet its burden. If allowed, the trial is over and the case is dismissed. If not allowed, the trial goes forward and the defense has the opportunity to call witnesses, including the defendant, who can then be cross-examined by the prosecution.  The defense is not required to call any witnesses and the defendant is not required to testify.  After the defense closes its case, each side has an opportunity to address the jury one last time in a closing argument. The closing is not evidence.  After the judge charges the jury, it retires to deliberate and, hopefully, comes to a verdict. If the verdict is not guilty, the case is dismissed and the defendant is released. If the verdict is guilty, the defendant may be scheduled for sentencing or may be sentenced immediately.  

So do you want to learn more? If so, then sign up for the AIPS Criminal law online paralegal class!  To find out more information on the Criminal law online paralegal class visit the curriculum page of the AIPS website ( at


Janet Russeth, J.D. AIPS Instructor

Janet Russeth, J.D.
AIPS Instructor

  •  July 15, 2013
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Jul 112013

 Online Paralegal School

You want it!  What’s holding you back?


  Our doubts are our traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt. – William Shakespeare

 Your goal of attending an online paralegal school is a great one!  You feel, however, like the stone in the pocket of a sling shot…the center of it all, but feeling a little out of control of the situation.   Something is holding you back.  What is it?  Let’s take a few minutes to identify questions and to alleviate doubts that might be holding you back.     

Can I afford it?

Money is usually the first question that comes to mind.  Is the program affordable? 

AIPS Advantage:  You will not go into debt.  You only pay for classes you need to learn the  paralegal skill set.  AIPS is affordable!  Check out out tuition and financing options here.

Can I do it?

Self-confidence questions surface, prior to attempting something new.  AIPS experienced staff and faculty are available 24/7 to help you with academic or technical questions. 

AIPS Advantage:  Try out our program BEFORE you apply.  AIPS offers a Free Introductory Mini Course for Paralegal Studies to acquaint you with the paralegal school process.  You can do it!   Click here to register.   

Do I have the time?

Time is precious!!  So many responsibilities tug at our time.  Can we add one more thing to our day?

AIPS Advantage:  AIPS classrooms are open all day, every day!  You choose the time of day to   study and to attend class.  Our program is designed for busy adults like you

Do I need a Paralegal Certificate?

The work place is a competitive place.  The Paralegal Certificate gives you law-related credibility and confirms mastery of substantive legal coursework.  Advocate for yourself!  Earn the credentials that will help you! 

AIPS Advantage:  You will receive a Paralegal Certificate upon completion of the AIPS paralegal program.  Learn more about this important credential, as well as additional statistics provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

The AIPS Advantage!

  • AIPS paralegal school is 100% online, affordable and interactive
  • Experienced – Training paralegals since 1978, with over 15 years of online experience
  • Convenient – Classes start monthly and are open 24/7
  • Flexible – You choose the program that works best for you
  • Curriculum that is comprehensive, real-life applicable, and taught by practicing attorneys and paralegals 

You do have control of your career future!  You can do it!  Apply, today


  •  July 11, 2013
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Jul 052013

Environmental Law, through state and federal statutes, covers  Air Pollution, Water Pollution, Hazardous Waste, Wilderness, Endangered Wildlife, Endangered Species, among other issues.

Enjoy this short video from the American Institute for Paralegal Studies Video Lecture Series.


  •  July 5, 2013
  •  Posted by at 8:20 pm
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