LinuxQuestions.org
Welcome to the most active Linux Forum on the web.
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Non-*NIX Forums > General
User Name
Password
General This forum is for non-technical general discussion which can include both Linux and non-Linux topics. Have fun!

Notices


Reply
  Search this Thread
Old 11-02-2018, 08:56 AM   #1
dogpatch
Member
 
Registered: Nov 2005
Location: Central America
Distribution: Mepis, Android
Posts: 307
Blog Entries: 2

Rep: Reputation: 79
Looking for a U.S. constitutional attorney


Have been trying in vain to find a constitutional lawyer willing to tackle a case against some governmental offices. The issue is whether they can change a citizen's personal identification without the citizen's consent. Specifically, the MN dept of vital records has changed the data on my birth certificate, making my compound last name into a single name, run together, all upper case, and no space. That cannot be legal. The Social Security Administration has done the same thing. The upshot is that i can no longer use the surname inherited from my father. This is causing confusion with certain personal identification issues here in Nicaragua, including some significant monetary losses. Other issues as well besides the corruption of my last name.

Am having trouble finding a law firm willing to tackle this, nor any precedent, although this cannot be legal, and i cannot be the only citizen affected.

Posting in 'General', of course. This may relate tangentially to the 'Windows v. Linux' argument, since it might result from the Microsoft filename convention of converting everything to uppercase. The government engineers may still be in the Microsoft ghetto and unable to create a database that respects the case and punctuation of the member's name. That, of course, need not be a problem if an index key is created using standard library science rules ignoring case and punctuation, leaving the original last name field intact. Anyway, would like to find a way to liberate said engineers from the ghetto, and, more importantly, redeem my family name as well.
 
Old 11-02-2018, 11:23 AM   #2
MensaWater
LQ Guru
 
Registered: May 2005
Location: Atlanta Georgia USA
Distribution: Redhat (RHEL), CentOS, Fedora, CoreOS, Debian, FreeBSD, HP-UX, Solaris, SCO
Posts: 7,517
Blog Entries: 15

Rep: Reputation: 1470Reputation: 1470Reputation: 1470Reputation: 1470Reputation: 1470Reputation: 1470Reputation: 1470Reputation: 1470Reputation: 1470Reputation: 1470
Do you have a copy of the MN birth certificate showing what you think it should show? If not, isn't it just possible what is on the birth certificate is what was recorded at the time of your birth rather than a government conspiracy? At birth you hardly would have been in the position to either balk at or consent to what was on your birth certificate.

What you might want to do is look for lawyers who handle "legal name change" to start getting yours changed to what you think it should be.

This seems more likely an issue of a bureaucrat making an assumption rather than a plot to rob you of your rights. I'm assuming you're at least 18 so this probably happened long ago.

As an FYI: In the U.S. it is commonly the father's surname listed last but in many hispanic cultures it is listed second and the mother's surname listed last. This leads to Americans innocently calling you by the last name they see on the assumption that is your legal surname and the other is your "middle name". Confusion is added because many hispanics in the U.S. (including visitors) know of our convention and use that by default.
When I worked in a Houston TX hotel years ago I always had to ask people what name they wished to go by because I knew of the difference (after a while). I didn't do that to insult people but rather to find out their preference as I would have no way of knowing which standard they'd used when registering.

https://blog.myheritage.com/2011/07/...-1-the-basics/

Last edited by MensaWater; 11-02-2018 at 11:24 AM.
 
Old 11-02-2018, 02:05 PM   #3
dugan
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Nov 2003
Location: Canada
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 8,498

Rep: Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523
They don't have a "Lawyer Referral" service where you live?

Last edited by dugan; 11-02-2018 at 02:09 PM.
 
Old 11-02-2018, 02:40 PM   #4
dogpatch
Member
 
Registered: Nov 2005
Location: Central America
Distribution: Mepis, Android
Posts: 307
Blog Entries: 2

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by dugan View Post
They don't have a "Lawyer Referral" service where you live?
No. I live in Nicaragua. Tried MN's referral website, resulting in no constitutional lawyers, and a couple civil rights lawyers who responded by saying this issue was not their area of expertise.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MensaWater View Post
Do you have a copy of the MN birth certificate showing what you think it should show? If not, isn't it just possible what is on the birth certificate is what was recorded at the time of your birth rather than a government conspiracy? At birth you hardly would have been in the position to either balk at or consent to what was on your birth certificate.

What you might want to do is look for lawyers who handle "legal name change" to start getting yours changed to what you think it should be.

This seems more likely an issue of a bureaucrat making an assumption rather than a plot to rob you of your rights. I'm assuming you're at least 18 so this probably happened long ago.
OF COURSE I've seen the original birth certificate! I had in my possession a legal - and accurate -reproduction of it, but that was 40 years ago, and I've long since lost that copy. Now (since 2000, they say) MN will only issue (at a cost) photocopies of the original, and those photocopies are clearly stamped as 'not legal'. The bureaucrats themselves freely admit that the names have been deliberately altered. When I asked whether there have been others seeking redress or if there have been any attempted or pending lawsuits, the bureaucrats clammed up, absolutely refusing to answer that question. What does that tell you?

I also know the name that was originally used in my Social Security account. I'm the one who signed it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MensaWater View Post
As an FYI: In the U.S. it is commonly the father's surname listed last but in many hispanic cultures it is listed second and the mother's surname listed last. This leads to Americans innocently calling you by the last name they see on the assumption that is your legal surname and the other is your "middle name". Confusion is added because many hispanics in the U.S. (including visitors) know of our convention and use that by default.
When I worked in a Houston TX hotel years ago I always had to ask people what name they wished to go by because I knew of the difference (after a while). I didn't do that to insult people but rather to find out their preference as I would have no way of knowing which standard they'd used when registering.
OF COURSE I know about the differences in naming conventions. I was born in MN, now live in Nicaragua.

The issue is not the difference in naming conventions. The issue is that my life-long family name has been changed by U.S. bureaucrats, causing confusion and legal problems. I do not want a lawyer to change my name. I want one who will recover my true name. I also want to shame the bureaucrats for playing God with people's family identity. I can't be the only U.S. citizen facing this problem, but I'm at a loss finding others, especially since I currently live outside the U.S.

Last edited by dogpatch; 11-02-2018 at 02:45 PM.
 
Old 11-02-2018, 04:40 PM   #5
MensaWater
LQ Guru
 
Registered: May 2005
Location: Atlanta Georgia USA
Distribution: Redhat (RHEL), CentOS, Fedora, CoreOS, Debian, FreeBSD, HP-UX, Solaris, SCO
Posts: 7,517
Blog Entries: 15

Rep: Reputation: 1470Reputation: 1470Reputation: 1470Reputation: 1470Reputation: 1470Reputation: 1470Reputation: 1470Reputation: 1470Reputation: 1470Reputation: 1470
You can remember exactly what was on a document 40 years ago? I still have a copy of mine but wouldn't swear to what it says without pulling it out and looking at it now.

FYI: MN Authorities are State authorities not U.S. Government (Federal) authorities.

You say they "freely admit" but won't talk to you about possible litigation. The latter is hardly surprising nor is it surprising they won't give you information about others. That is the kind of thing that would have to be done in discovery and given the prevalence of identity theft they may give very little detail even in discovery. The former is something you should ask them to send to you via email or other permanent record you could use later.

It seems unlikely that the State of MN and the Federal Social Security Administration (SSA) colluded to change your information at the same time. If they both have the same information it seems more likely the latter got it from the former when they originally issued your SSN. 40 years ago it was not required to issue an SSN for children yet so you likely got your SSN as a teen or an adult when you went to work.

To even think of filing litigation most lawyers would have to determine how you were "harmed" by the action and how you could be compensated for that harm. If you are trying to get money but can't because of this and can't as you've indicated then you should really think of filing an action regarding getting that money that might compel other authorities to respond. For example if you're trying to get SSA benefits you feel you're entitled to then why not get a lawyer that specializes in SSA litigation?

If you really think Constitutional rights are involved you might want to send a complaint to the Minnesota ACLU for the birth certificate issue.

So far everything you've said seems to be aimed at grinding an axe rather than solving a problem so it may be lawyers haven't been interested either because they don't see any real "constitutional" issue or they see no chance of making money on the case.
 
Old 11-02-2018, 05:03 PM   #6
dugan
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Nov 2003
Location: Canada
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 8,498

Rep: Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523
Quote:
Originally Posted by dogpatch View Post
Tried MN's referral website, resulting in no constitutional lawyers, and a couple civil rights lawyers who responded by saying this issue was not their area of expertise.
You know, usually when you go to a lawyer with a valid issue that is not their area of expertise, they refer you to another lawyer...
 
Old 11-02-2018, 05:10 PM   #7
scasey
Senior Member
 
Registered: Feb 2013
Location: Tucson, AZ, USA
Distribution: CentOS 7.5
Posts: 1,998

Rep: Reputation: 626Reputation: 626Reputation: 626Reputation: 626Reputation: 626Reputation: 626
My 2 cents:
Why do you think you need a constitutional attorney? The munging of your name by the state doesn't seem to be a constitutional issue. I'd think any attorney could help you (or, as said, help you find an attorney that could help).

Normally I'd recommend going to the elected officials in a case like this. Are you a voter in MN? As a constituent you'd (theoretically) have some influence. If you're not a resident of MN, then there are some real challenges.

Also, you should be able to get a certified copy of your birth certificate at any time...yes, there'd be a fee. I paid $25 to the state of Wyoming for each of the copies I have (lost the first one, sent for a second one, found the first one later), but they are definitely legal copies...good for proof of citizenship.

I also had occasion to have the spelling of my first name changed. That was done by affidavit signed by my mother. Both copies indicate that change...the older one is a certified photocopy of the original certificate and the affidavit, the newer one is a printed Certificate with a footnote.

Last edited by scasey; 11-02-2018 at 05:16 PM.
 
Old 11-02-2018, 06:06 PM   #8
yancek
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Apr 2008
Distribution: PCLinux, Slackware
Posts: 8,105

Rep: Reputation: 1619Reputation: 1619Reputation: 1619Reputation: 1619Reputation: 1619Reputation: 1619Reputation: 1619Reputation: 1619Reputation: 1619Reputation: 1619Reputation: 1619
Have you gone through the process outlined in the link below at the Minnesota Department of Health site?

http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/chs/osr/amend.html
 
Old 11-02-2018, 08:37 PM   #9
ntubski
Senior Member
 
Registered: Nov 2005
Distribution: Debian, Arch
Posts: 3,387

Rep: Reputation: 1553Reputation: 1553Reputation: 1553Reputation: 1553Reputation: 1553Reputation: 1553Reputation: 1553Reputation: 1553Reputation: 1553Reputation: 1553Reputation: 1553
Quote:
Originally Posted by dogpatch View Post
it might result from the Microsoft filename convention of converting everything to uppercase. The government engineers may still be in the Microsoft ghetto and unable to create a database that respects the case and punctuation of the member's name.
Sounds like you got bit by one of those Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names. Not Microsoft-specific, unfortunately.
 
Old 11-02-2018, 09:29 PM   #10
dugan
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Nov 2003
Location: Canada
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 8,498

Rep: Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523Reputation: 3523
So you want to tell a court that it’s unconstitutional to use MS products for this?
 
Old 11-02-2018, 09:34 PM   #11
scasey
Senior Member
 
Registered: Feb 2013
Location: Tucson, AZ, USA
Distribution: CentOS 7.5
Posts: 1,998

Rep: Reputation: 626Reputation: 626Reputation: 626Reputation: 626Reputation: 626Reputation: 626
Quote:
Originally Posted by yancek View Post
Have you gone through the process outlined in the link below at the Minnesota Department of Health site?

http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/chs/osr/amend.html
Also see the Birth Certificates link at the left side of that page. Looks like you need to go to the county in MN for a certified copy.
 
Old 11-02-2018, 09:42 PM   #12
frankbell
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Jan 2006
Location: Virginia, USA
Distribution: Slackware, Debian, Mageia, and whatever VMs I happen to be playing with
Posts: 14,179
Blog Entries: 24

Rep: Reputation: 3836Reputation: 3836Reputation: 3836Reputation: 3836Reputation: 3836Reputation: 3836Reputation: 3836Reputation: 3836Reputation: 3836Reputation: 3836Reputation: 3836
I second those who say that this is not a federal matter. It is a state matter. Before relief can be sought in federal courts, resources at the state level must exhausted. Then it must be demonstrated that the state-level decision raises federal issues. As someone else has pointed out, it would be best to exhaust administrative resources before you proceed to the legal system. There's a good chance that a lawyer would direct you to do so.

Go the Minnesota Bar Association site, pick a lawyer that comes well-recommended, and discuss your case with him or her. Given the nature of the case, you might start with a lawyer specializing in family law.

I realize that the distance complicates matters significantly. A web search for "lawyers ranked" may turn up some useful results.

Full disclosure: I am not a lawyer, but I trained as an historian and I pay attention to stuff.
 
Old 11-03-2018, 12:09 AM   #13
dogpatch
Member
 
Registered: Nov 2005
Location: Central America
Distribution: Mepis, Android
Posts: 307
Blog Entries: 2

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 79
ntubski: your reply and link were interesting and possibly helpful. Thank you, ntubski.

scasey: appreciate your tips as well. But this is not a matter of asking MN to please change my name, but a complaint that they did so proactively without my consent. As it seems obvious that this is not an isolated case for an ordinary lawyer, I look for a constitutional lawyer or a previously established (class action?) lawsuit to advise me.

I never said this was strictly a federal issue. (The 'U.S.' in the thread title is perhaps misleading. I only meant to say this is a U.S. legal problem, not of Nicaragua or other country.) It is a question of whether government at any level can proactively change a person's personal identity, especially their family name or the facts of their birth, without consent.

to those who suggest the MN Department of Vital Records: that was the first place I went. I have already noted their lack of cooperation. I never asked for another person's private information. A lawsuit, esp. class action would by definition be a public affair, wouldn't it? The fact that public officials never disclosed to me public information about a possible lawsuit NOR DENIED THAT THERE WAS ANY SUCH LAWSUIT is itself damning, in my opinion. Later went to the MN Bar website and another MN lawyer referral site, with results noted. Don't remember for sure if I tried the ACLU. Think I did, with no response, but may try again, just to be sure.

Yes, I have an email from the Vital Records office admitting that the surname as it appears on the original was altered. And, yes, MensaWater, I do remember the name as it appeared on the birth certificate 40 years ago. Believe it or not - I actually remember my own name and how it was spelled!

My compound last name was never deliberately altered until maybe 20 years ago or so, when banks, businesses, and offices began running it through their database meatgrinders and making it into a single-part name, all upper case or just the first letter uppercase, and no space. That's fine if your name is 'Smith' or 'Johnson'. But the irritation turned into a nightmare when the aforesaid MN office altered it, so that my passport was also incorrect and all subsequent documents here in Nicaragua are screwed up. I should have refused the alteration when my passport was issued, but didn't anticipate the legal problems, and it's way too late for that now. Google searches, requests for legal referrals, have all been in vain, for over 6 months now. I just thought maybe the General forum in LQ might be a last ditch effort to say something like this:

In LQ land is there no O'Brien who chafes at being borged into an OBRIEN? A Van Dorn who now has to submit to being VANDORN? DiMarco now DIMARCO? Any one who not only chafes, but has encountered legal hurdles as a result? Does anyone know of someone else in a similar spot? Prior or pending lawsuits?

Last edited by dogpatch; 11-03-2018 at 12:13 AM.
 
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Hired an attorney, have to administer his laptop szboardstretcher General 11 09-14-2013 08:47 PM
LXer: Expert: New CISPA Bill Isn't SOPA, But Still Attacks Constitutional Rights LXer Syndicated Linux News 2 04-15-2012 02:40 PM
LXer: Second Call for votes for Constitutional amendment: reduce the length of DPL el LXer Syndicated Linux News 0 10-01-2007 06:40 AM
LXer: Another Industry Attorney on GNU GPL v3 LXer Syndicated Linux News 0 04-06-2007 10:46 AM
LXer: IP attorney: Why SCO has no case LXer Syndicated Linux News 0 01-10-2006 09:31 PM

LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Non-*NIX Forums > General

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:28 AM.

Main Menu
Advertisement
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration