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La victoria es mía

After defeating my landlord (successfully winning a civil suit against him) and beating all the false criminal charges dropped that were filed by the local police department, I'm becoming more confident in my abilities to overcome adversity and more importantly to stand up for what I know is right.

The District Attorney of Allegheny County conceded that there was insufficient evidence to find me guilty of even a summary offense. Therefore, after what I hope is my final appearance in court for 2014, I won't have a criminal record.

Nevertheless, it strikes me as odd that in most American cities, four-fifths of the black population has a criminal record. After a year of postponing court dates and getting all the facts straight, volunteering, and proclaiming innocence, I'll be able to expunge my records on 10/08/2014, which is the last time I'll appear in court for that offense.

The reason the majority of black males, in particular, have records may not be because they're the most aggressive group of men on the planet, but rather because they're the first to be profiled and are targets of the criminal justice system. I want to file a civil suit after getting everything removed from my record, perhaps that's what the detective fears. But, this sort of thing needs to stop. We need to be made aware of all the options available to us as citizens. Information asymmetry is hurting the profession as much as it was hurting the health care market in the U.S.

Solving problems of incarceration, unemployment, and lack of social mobility will not be helped by these court officials. We need to have a different approach to penalize people who may indeed commit criminal acts. The court system is too confusing. Perhaps, the private sector ought to form start-ups aimed at making the system more egalitarian for defendants. Of course, more reform needs to first occur in order to ensure that the transparency is totally legal, but in the future. It should not be as complex to mount a sophisticated argument against someone, even if it's the police department.

I'm not surprised by my wins, I'm moving forward more shrewd than ever and making sure to keep a low profile as I re-focus on my burgeoning modeling/acting career, learning new technical skills, and reforming my start-up ideas. The last quarter of this year will likely be more productive than this time last year because I'm no longer worried about the legal issues that I had to face this past year and everything will be pristine on paper after the second week of October.

Legal Zoom

Now, the best news is that I beat my landlord in court.

The judge ruled in my favor. The landlord has no right to do anything illegal in order to obtain rent.

This meant that the whole month of July, I was able to live in the apartment rent-free.

The bad news is that I still haven't found another place to move.

However, since winning in court, the landlord has been much more amicable and actually declared a truce.

Every day, I ask people for job leads and there are a number of them. In a couple weeks, I'm going to court to get a prior legal issue resolved. It will be a whole eleven months since getting into a heap of trouble over something that is relatively minuscule.

The one positive about this whole situation is that I'm much more cautious about everything that I do. Taking less risks and laying low for awhile seems like a wonderful idea.

Jobs come and go, but character lasts for a lifetime. Although we all make mistakes, for whatever reason people magnify some of those that I make while ignoring their own.

Zoom out and appreciate the human behind the writing. Whenever, I can, I give back to worthy causes and God knows that I have a good heart for people. Nevertheless, sometimes I run before walking and don't take the time to really read instructions or look the other way when crossing the road. Life doesn't come with an instruction manual.

Zoom into your own life and notice how judgmental and condescending you may sometimes be when dealing with other people. The more you realize how sanctimonious you may seem, the easier it is to change and identify with those who have struggled in life.

When I finally do get my act together, which isn't a single moment, but rather an ongoing process, I'm sure I'll zoom out and appreciate these struggles and the number of lessons I learned along the path to wisdom.

Legal Issues

Court is a place that I do not want to become familiar with, however, due to some legal troubles, I'll appear thrice this year. Rather than sugarcoat everything, I'm going to address the issue right here. From my perspective, the court case tomorrow is about getting compensated for all the times that the landlord has made threats against me. Landlords are supposed to collect rent, hire contractors, cleaners, and those able to upkeep a property. 

The landlord that I have had over the past year has to reacquaint himself with his job description. In the last two months, the behavior that the landlord displayed towards his tenants became more unstable. Whenever I have been late in the past, the landlord commits questionable acts. For instance, stealing items from my room and trying to instigate a fight, putting a board on my bedroom door, taking the door off its hinges entirely, which exposes my room to all the visitors in the apartment and the roommates, and finally making threats about following me to work and fucking me up. 

These questionable acts grew worse because they were never reported and since landlords tend to have power in our society, none of his tenants have the gall to face him and his attorneys in court. However, the landlord met his match the minute he allowed me to stay on his property. Although it is going to be tough to prove my side beyond a reasonable doubt, I want to go forward and show him that I'm not afraid of doing the right thing. Besides, if no one else cares about their well-being and possessions, that does not mean that I have to follow suit. 

I'll continue sharing details, especially as the cases unfold and I make sense of everything (positive and negative) that has occurred in the past few years. It's a shame that it's been a whole year since I updated any blogs. 

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