New dictionary reviews!

The Civil Law Dictionary I wrote with Stephan Kinsella has been getting some renewed attention lately. The reviews are in and they’re very good!

Last month, Philip Gragg reviewed the Dictionary in the latest issue of LSU’s Journal of Civil Law Studies. From the article:

This work is a great access point to Louisiana law, particularly for those unfamiliar with the state. It is also a quick reference that could be used by practitioners.

Those are two of the main audiences we were shooting for with the Dictionary: out-of-state attorneys just wading into our legal system and practicing Louisiana attorneys needing a quick reminder about words they promptly forgot after taking the bar exam. Success!

Just today, Jeff Richardson reviewed the electronic version of the Dictionary on his blog, iPhone J.D. His review even included some really nice screenshots of the e-book version in action on his iOS devices. Shiny.

His bottom line:

If you practice law in Louisiana, or if you just want to impress your friends with legal terms that almost sound naughty such “naked owner” and “usufruct,” then consider getting this ebook for your iPad and iPhone.

I appreciate that someone else finds those legal terms vaguely dirty. (As for dirty common law terms, have I got a springing executory interest for you.)

Many thanks to both Messrs. Gragg and Richardson for taking the time to write these very nice reviews!

LA GOP declares victory over its elected convention delegates

The Louisiana GOP has no respect for its members, its own rules, or the truth. And I’m mad as hell about it.

Today, the Louisana GOP discarded history and formally adopted an official narrative [local PDF archive] of what happened at the state convention. The press release claims that Ron Paul delegates “refused to participate in the state convention,” and that the party just had to appoint delegates to the national convention itself since the Ron Paul delegates didn’t participate.

I was there, I participated, and we won. I was even elected to be an alternate delegate to the national convention. Local news sources saw Ron Paul delegates participating in the convention. There’s plenty of video showing the Ron Paul delegates’ participation. There was even a political cartoon!

But the Paul victory upsets the party and undermines the story that Mitt Romney has already won all the marbles. So the organization ignored its loss and declared victory. Despite Ron Paul delegates comprising a majority of the state convention and despite the convention electing a slate with Ron Paul delegates to the National Convention next month, the party has decided to send a gaggle of party insiders to the national convention instead of the duly elected delegates.

The Ron Paul delegates—my friends and I—played by all the rules. We followed every procedure and won the contest fair and square. But now the party is rewriting history and doing everything it can to maintain the status quo.

The Louisiana GOP’s behavior is childish, underhanded, and despicable. Worse, it shows a complete lack of respect for its membership, a contempt for our electoral process, and a disregard for the law and the organization’s own bylaws. Shame on the state party and shame on its chairman, Roger Villere.

Last stop: presenting our case to the credentials committee of the Republican National Convention. The committee may rubber stamp the state party’s outrageous behavior and seat the state party’s anointed delegation, but they’ll have to do it in front of God and everybody. Hopefully, they’ll do what’s right.


I got elected!

A few weeks ago, Louisiana republicans voted on delegates to this year’s state Republican Convention. The results were certified this week, and I won! Thanks to everyone who came out and voted for me!

I will be representing my congressional district next month at the state convention. There, we’ll select the delegates who will represent Louisiana at the Republican National Convention this year in Tampa and will help pick our presidential nominee. Very exciting.

So you want to buy a machine gun.

Since I’m a lawyer and a gun enthusiast, I occasionally field questions like “Can I buy a machine gun?” or “Are silencers legal?” from friends and family members. And like so many other questions, the answer is almost always “Maybe.”

Federal law prohibits certain individuals from possessing any firearms (under the applicable laws, a silencer counts as a firearm by itself, which is linguistically and logically silly). The list includes felons, fugitives, illegal drug users, those who have been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, and those under certain restraining orders. For the whole rogue’s gallery, see 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). States have similar prohibitions against certain people possessing firearms. And individual states may also regulate gun ownership for those who aren’t prohibited outright from owning guns. For example, New York bans the possession of machine guns but allows other guns. In Massachusetts, would-be gun owners must complete a licensing process. On the other hand, some states take a much more permissive view of gun ownership. I happen to live in a free state, and I’m most familiar with Louisiana law, so I’ll focus on it. Continue reading

Louisiana tax sales: a field guide

When property owners don’t pay their property taxes, the parish tax collector (the Sheriff in most places) advertises the property in the parish’s official newspaper and sells it at a tax sale. But buying property at a tax sale isn’t quite like buying it in a normal sale.

What you’ll pay now.

At least at first, the price is fixed. It’s the amount of taxes due on the property plus interest and costs for the advertisement and sale of the property. Unsurprisingly, this is often quite a lot less money than the property is worth. In municipalities with over 450,000 residents, if the property doesn’t sell for the asking price, the tax collector can offer the property for sale again with no minimum bid. But before you get too excited about your fantastic deal, you should know that there are a few little wrinkles.

You don’t fully own the property right away. If you buy at the tax sale, you purchase a “tax deed” from the tax collector and you have something called “tax sale title.” Some time after the tax sale, the tax collector will file a tax sale certificate in the parish’s public records. That certificate makes your tax sale victory official and formally notifies everyone that you bought the property’s tax title. But more importantly, the recordation starts the clock running on the last owner’s redemptive period. Continue reading