Bigger & Harman, APC - July 2019





DRIVER Attorneys Defending Your Right to the Road

JULY 2019

A SEASON FOR FREEDOM Lessons From a Founding Father

In my office hangs a portrait of Peter Muhlenberg casting off his clerical robes to reveal his Continental Army uniform. It’s a poignant image I can’t help but look at while I sit down to write this 4th of July article. Muhlenberg may not be as famous a Founding Father as Jefferson, Hamilton, or Ben Franklin, but his life really captures what it means to be an American. Muhlenberg was a Lutheran preacher when revolutionary tensions began to rise across the colonies. However, prior to becoming a man of the cloth, he’d served some time as a foot soldier in the British army, as well as a stint with a German mounted infantry unit. During this service in his younger years, he gained a reputation for being particularly daring — the German Dragoons called him “Teufel Piet,” or “Devil Pete.” This reputation got George Washington to reach out to Muhlenberg when the colonies began their desperate bid for independence. quoted Ecclesiastes 3 saying, “To everything there is a season … a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” Letting that last line hang in the air, he concluded, “This is a time for war,” and removed his robes to stand before his people in full-dress uniform. Men flocked to join his newly- formed 8th Virginia Regiment and take the fight to the British. The portrait depicts this dramatic moment but also captures the Muhlenberg’s recognition that life often demands that we play different roles in its saga. This son of German immigrants went from a private citizen to a United States Senator, and also served as a priest and a general. Much like the passage he read, seasons defined Muhlenberg’s life, and he was flexible enough to change with them. Famously, Muhlenberg addressed his Virginia congregation in his black reverend’s robes and

For me, Muhlenberg’s image is an ever-present reminder for the need to balance my own life. At home I’m a husband, at church I’m a devout worshiper, at court I’m a fierce advocate for my clients, and on the basketball court I pretend to be an athlete. I keep this portrait in my office to encourage me to draw strength from each aspect of my life without letting one overpower the others. But on the 4th of July, Muhlenberg’s lesson is more significant.

“To everything there is a season … a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”

To be a reverend in Virginia under British rule, Muhlenberg had to be sworn in as a member of

the Anglican Church, despite his Lutheran beliefs. Today, we are lucky to live in a nation where we are free to worship, to choose our own careers, to participate in politics, and to move between these seasons of our lives without reprisal. And we enjoy these liberties today because of brave men and women like Muhlenberg, who, over the course of our history, shed the robes of their comfortable lives to fight for their country.

Happy Independence Day.

– Paul Harman

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DID YOU SEE THAT? 3 Famous UFO Sightings (Besides Roswell)

Going stargazing this summer? Be sure to keep your eyes out for unidentified flying objects (UFOs)! July 2 is World UFO Day, commemorating the supposed UFO crash that took place in 1974 in Roswell, New Mexico. Everyone knows about the strange things that happened in Roswell, but let’s look at a few lesser-known, but no less strange, UFO sightings. THE FIRST FLYING SAUCER On June 24, 1947, civilian pilot Kenneth Arnold was flying his plane near Mount Rainier in Washington when he reported seeing nine blue, glowing objects flying in a V formation at around 1,700 mph. Arnold would later describe the crafts’ motions like “a saucer if you skip it across water.” The government confirmed there were no aircraft tests in the area that day. In the following

weeks, other sightings of Arnold’s flying saucers would crop up across the region.

visible wings and emitted no heat or no exhaust trail. The video, which can be viewed at go-fast-footage , shows the object in the fighter’s targeting system. The pilot and the weapon systems officer can be heard shouting and asking, “What is that, man?” The video leaked in 2017 along with news of the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program (AATIP), a secret U.S. government organization investigating UFOs. Most UFO sightings have rational explanations. Even the famous Roswell Incident was proven to be debris from a surveillance program the U.S. military used to spy on the Soviet Union. But there’s something to be said about how a UFO sighting makes us look up at the night sky and wonder if we’re not alone.

THE RENDLESHAM FOREST INCIDENT Things got weird at a Royal Air Force military base in England on Dec. 26, 1980. At around 3 a.m., two Air Force members saw odd lights falling into the nearby Rendlesham Forest. They reported finding a metallic object giving off lights and still moving. The object was gone when police arrived, but they found unusual markings at the site. A few days later, more servicemen went into the forest where they spotted three mysterious bright lights in the sky that shone for hours. EAST COAST GO FAST VIDEO In 2015, a U.S. Navy Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet strike fighter captured video of a bizarre, fast-moving object that had no



It’s one of the most embarrassing, nerve-wracking moments in a driver’s career: watching the red and blue lights flash in your side mirror as the officer slowly walks towards your rig. Rolling down your window, you scramble to find something to say — grasping for anything that could justify why you were going over the speed limit. But chances are, the officer has heard it all before. Here are the three most common speeding excuses, and why they fall flat.

all the time — and it never works. Much like admitting you don’t know the speed limit, blaming a hill only makes you look worse. Either you weren’t using your breaks, or there’s something wrong with them. This excuse can quickly turn into an equipment inspection if you aren’t careful. I’M LATE This is probably the most honest reason why most of us speed. But no matter how important your delivery is or how time sensitive your payload, the officer will not be sympathetic. “You should have planned better,” they’ll tell you. It’s almost always better to be a little late and go the speed limit than be extremely late because of a speeding ticket. So, is there no hope of justifying your speed? The truth is there are plenty of legally sound defenses for speeding, but these arguments are best saved for the traffic court judge. By consulting a professional team of dedicated traffic lawyers, you stand the best chance of keeping your driving record clean.

I DIDN’T KNOW THE SPEED LIMIT This is an incredibly common justification used by speeders, despite being the weakest. Just like any other crime, being ignorant is not a defense. In fact, admitting you don’t know the speed limit may suggest to the officer that you’re an inattentive driver. It’s best to be polite, sign the citation, and call us!

I WAS GOING DOWN HILL Having the Grapevine in our own backyard, Kern County officers hear this excuse from truckers

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INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE MISSION Thanks to your referrals, we were able to give $600 to fight human trafficking. To learn more about International Justice Mission, please go to To protect the poor from violence by rescuing victims, bringing the criminals to justice, restoring survivors to safety and strength, and helping local law enforcement build a safe future that lasts. Our long-term vision is to rescue millions, protect half a billion, and make justice for the poor unstoppable. MISSON

Last month, the firm got a chance to check out some amazing rides and help a great cause. The 2019 Chuy’s Summertime Car Show was one of the biggest Bakersfield has ever seen, with over 200 cars on display! Not only was this event free to spectators who wanted to check out some classic hot rods, but all proceeds from sponsors and car registrations went to support the Bakersfield Firefighter Burn Foundation! As fans of our brave firefighters and hot rods alike, supporting this event was a no-brainer for us! We’re proud to have been gold- level sponsors and to have contributed a 50-inch TV to be raffled off to donors. To all the organizers, thank you for organizing this fantastic car show, and congratulations on making it such a resounding success!

See you next year, The Bigger & Harman Team








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1701 Westwind Drive Suite 203 Bakersfield, CA 93301


Lessons From a Founding Father ............................ PAGE 1

Going Stargazing? Watch out for UFOs! ..................... PAGE 2

Reasons for Speeding .................. PAGE 2

Hot Rods for a Cause ................... PAGE 3

A Tail of Bravery ............................ PAGE 4

Have a ticket in California? Give us a call, and we’ll help you out! Regardless of the location, we can point you in the right direction free of charge!

Amid the devastation of the wildfires that tore through California in the fall of 2017, a few heroic tales rose up to give people hope. One such tale was of Odin, a loyal Great Pyrenees guard dog. Along with his sister, Tessa, and eight rescue goats, Odin is part of the Hendel family. It was mid-October when the Hendels were awoken by the smell of smoke, a fierce orange sky, and sounds of destruction — urgent warnings from Mother Nature. Gathering everyone as quickly as they could, the Hendels got their human family members and Tessa in the car, but Odin, seated proudly next to the eight goats, refused to get in. Try as they might, the Hendels could not get him to come with them, and there wasn’t enough room in the car for the eight goats. With the firestorm quickly approaching and the risk of losing even more family members increasing with each passing minute, the Hendels made the heart-wrenching decision to leave Odin and the goats behind. The family made it to safety with Tessa in tow, relieved to be together but heartbroken that Odin and the goats weren’t with them. After several agonizing days, it was finally safe enough for them to return home and survey the destruction. What did the Hendels find? Ashes, rubble, their barn and home burned to the ground — and Odin. There he was, still guarding his eight goats THE GUARDIANWHOWOULD NOT LEAVE HIS WATCH Odin Lives Up to His Legendary Name

and some small deer that had sought shelter with the brave canine. Weakened, burned, and limping, but nevertheless steadfast, Odin had never left his goats, even as the fire raged around them. Odin wagged his tail as he saw his family, happy to see they were also safe. The Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue and the Goatlandia Animal Sanctuary provided temporary shelter for the goats and pups while the Hendels rebuilt their barn. Odin received all the care he needed, along with a lot of love and treats. Today, Odin and his goats are back with their family, rebuilding their lives after this devastating wildfire. But the Hendels, and anyone who’s heard the story, won’t soon forget the bravery of Odin, the amazing pup.

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