Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Michael Carter Files for Judge, Says Wentzville's Court Cannot and Will Not Be Treated Like A Cash Register for the City.

". . . avoid making people feel like they are in a cattle chute where the only purpose is to fill the government coffers.  I refuse to run a court as if it were a cash register." Former Judge and Candidate Mike Carter

Wentzville Missouri, December 16, 2014

After campaigning successfully for the November referendum to ban red light cameras in St. Charles County, former municipal judge Michael Carter has filed to run for judge in the City of Wentzville.  Carter helped lobby for the countywide ban on the use of red light cameras which passed with over 70% of the vote.  While serving as judge in Wentzville previously, Carter became an outspoken opponent of municipal courts that emphasize revenue over justice.

State Representative Bryan Spencer, R-District 63, worked with Carter to ban red light cameras in St. Charles County and is working with him on a proposed statewide ban.  Spencer said he is, "very hopeful Carter will bring his common sense approach to Wentzville.  He is right in step with State Senator Eric Schmitt concerning municipal court revenue. In fact, Carter was bringing up the issue of justice versus revenue generating years ago."
Judge Carter Weds A Couple

"I'm running to make sure the Wentzville municipal court is run in the most professional, fair, and impartial manner," explained Carter, adding, "It is essential that those accused are given an opportunity to be heard, for the facts of each case to be weighed, and for those found guilty to be punished in a way that changes their behavior in the future so that our community and families remain safe."

When Carter previously held the municipal judgeship in Wentzville in 2010, then Mayor Paul Lambi publicly decried Judge Carter's approach to assessing defendants' fines, accusing him of playing "Let's Make A Deal" on court fines. Carter emphatically defended his actions and accused city officials of being more interested in revenue than justice. He vows to continue his justice-centered approach if reelected.

"I'll see that our municipal court is run efficiently and with decorum, to avoid making people feel like they are in a cattle chute where the only purpose is to fill the government coffers.  I refuse to run a court as if it were a cash register. The current judge is known to take pride in the amount of revenue he has raised for the city. That, simply put, is a huge problem for the citizens of Wentzville."

Current Wentzville Mayor Nick Guccione approves of Carter's goals and agrees that fining citizens is not the way to raise revenue for a city. "Wentzville is a great place to live and we want to keep it that way. The goal of the court should be to help keep the citizens safe, not to drain their pocketbooks. Carter will help us reach that goal."

Besides his public service as municipal judge in Wentzville, Michael Carter runs his own successful law firm, Carter Law Offices, LLC, focusing on real estate, small business, criminal and traffic law.  His previous employment experience includes the Missouri Western District Court of Appeals, Missouri Attorney General's Office, the United States Senate, and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Missouri - St. Louis.

Michael Carter is a husband and father.  Carter is also a Director at the St. Louis Board of Realtors.  He holds an Undergraduate Degree from UMSL, a Masters in Journalism from University of Missouri at Columbia (Mizzou), and a Law Degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia (Mizzou).  Carter worked his way through college waiting tables and driving for UPS.  

Friday, December 12, 2014

Former City Judge Says "O'fallon Driving While Distracted Ordinance Likely Unenforceable" O'Fallon Throws Ordinance At Community To See If It Will Stick.

O'Fallon Missouri, December 12, 2014

O'Fallon Police
Checking Your Blind Spot in O'Fallon Missouri Could Potentially Get You A Ticket For Distracted Driving Says Former Judge Mike Carter

There is a debate raging in the City of O'Fallon between some government officials, who say they are taking a stand for public safety, and residents who feel a local ordinance is intrusive on their rights.  While many local communities have enacted distracted driving ordinances to deal with texting while driving, O'Fallon has expanded the definition of distracted driving to include a whole litany of things many drivers take for granted.

Currently, state law only bans texting for those 21 and younger.  Because the State Law says it supersedes local ordinances, the O'Fallon City Attorney believes cities which only ban texting may be subject to having those laws challenged.  O'Fallon is attempting to get around that potential problem by writing a much broader law that would apply to any distraction.  Other communities, such as the City of St. Charles, have simply banned texting for drivers of all ages while operating a motor vehicle and don't believe there is a conflict with the state law.

Checking Your Blind Spot Could Potentially
Get You A Ticket In O'Fallon Missouri
For Distracted Driving Says Former Judge
Mike Carter
 So how broad is the new law? 

The exact wording of the relevant section of Ordinance 6042 paragraph C reads:

"It shall be prima facie evidence that a vehicle operator is not exercising the highest degree of care if the operator of a moving vehicle engages in any conduct that causes his or her vision or attention to be obscured, diminished or directed away from the path of travel or operation of the vehicle, including, but not limited to, by using a mirror to engage in grooming; reading anything located in the vehicle other than operational information displayed on vehicle gauges and equipment; writing; drawing; manually inputting information into a GPS or mapping device, or turning one's head substantially away from the path of travel to observe things in the vehicle or outside the vehicle but contrary to the path of travel."

Proponents like to point out that things like putting on make-up, checking your hair in the mirror, writing down an address, or texting are dangerous and should be banned.  However, opponents believe that the wording of the law could include normal occurrences like turning your head to find out if your child unsnapped his seatbelt, looking for an address or sign on a commercial building, or even getting your sunglasses out.

Opponents of the new law have begun a petition drive to try to have the City Council reconsider the ordinance or place it on the ballot in April.  Former State Representative Cynthia Davis of O'Fallon says that the new law violates individual liberty and is an intrusion,    and Councilman John Haman, the lone dissenting vote on the Board of Aldermen, has expressed concern that people could be pulled over for eating or having a beverage.

O'Fallon Police Chief Roy Joachimstaler has said that officers would mainly use the law when investigating accidents that have already occurred.  But some are concerned that since the new law says that turning your head away is "prima face evidence", a police officer could pull you over just for seeing you turn your head. 

Judge Mike Carter
Current Judicial Candidate and former Municipal Judge of Wentzville Missouri, Mike Carter, says that "there are very serious questions about the validity of ordinances that use terms like "prima facie" and allow for the wide latitude of police discretion that O'fallon's new ordinance allows for; especially if O'fallon's police chief is suggesting his officers will rely on witness testimony after accidents to determine if a driver was potentially eating, correcting a child, adjusting the air conditioner or reacting to a deer coming into one's peripheral vision. It even looks like you could potentially get a ticket for checking your blind spot."

Someone convicted of violating the ordinance would be subject to a fine of up to $500 and up to three months in jail, or both.  Some worry that the heavy fines have the potential for abuse in order for the city to make more money.  Officials deny that it is intended to generate revenue.

Opponents hope to collect the required 416 signatures to have the City Council reconsider the ordinance or have it placed on the April ballot.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Liking Specific Points (“ReallyLike”) Within A Picture Optimizes Viewer Expression, Sentiment and Interaction With Shared Photos – Drives Social Network Evolution

Allows users to specifically like a pair of shoes their friend is wearing in a photo, comment on a pretty backdrop, or draw attention to a previously unnoticed photo bomber . . . revolutionizes social network interface by thickening and making more robust the sentiment conveyed with a single gesture.

St. Louis Missouri December 4, 2014

On any given day, most of us come across hundreds of photos while scrolling through our news feeds on our favorite social media sites. Many of these images are wholly unremarkable, but it's not uncommon for one or more portions of a photo to cause us  pause. Up until now our ability to share our thoughts or feedback with the image's owner has been limited to leaving a comment about the image as a whole or, more frequently, just by clicking "like " to justify not saying anything in particular about the picture. 
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There are times when clicking "like" simply is not targeted enough to accurately express the sentiment you'd want to convey. Inventor Nick Carter grew increasingly frustrated by this forced limitation on expression and as a result he came up with the idea for “ReallyLike”.

“ReallyLike” is an invention that would allow viewers on equipped social media pages to click on any small portion of an image and either "really like" that specific point in the picture and/or leave a comment specifically about that targeted spot in the photo.

“ReallyLike” enables users to specifically like a pair of shoes their friend is wearing in a photo, comment on a pretty backdrop, or draw attention to a previously unnoticed photo bomber. The possibilities are unlimited and would exponentially expand users' ability to quickly and efficiently communicate and express sentiments with their social media cohorts. The current “like” function that most social network users are accustomed to conveys little meaning in light of the specificity that “Really Liking” a point in a picture offers, this invention revolutionizes social network interface by thickening and making more robust the sentiment conveyed with a single gesture.

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Carter is no stranger to technological developments, having already created the ios app Vamp (currently in closed beta which limits a sender’s content awareness of a “selfie” photo or video before sending to a friend, thereby encouraging better raw content), as well as running Twitch Ranks, a site that allows users to continuously rank, see ranking results, and/or participate in world-wide live-streamed tournaments while gaming for titles such as League of Legends.

Carter’s “ReallyLike” is currently in patent-pending status through the assistance of Cooley LLP attorney Bill Galliani, who helped pave the way for other huge technological innovations used by Snapchat, Roku and other tech savvy first movers.

Contact:  Shelly Cronin, 314-895-4040    Shelly@CarterLegal.com