Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Notario abuse law unenforced

The Nashville Business Journal reports that the term "notario publico" is still being used in Tennessee to trick Spanish-speakers into paying for fake legal services.

"Notarios typically obtain a notary public license and then market themselves to the Hispanic community as notario publicos - who, in Mexico and other Latin American countries, are licensed attorneys. But in the United States, a notary public is authorized only to witness the signing of legal documents."

"A 2002 Tennessee law - requiring notary publics without law licenses to clarify their non-attorney status in advertisements and forbidding them from providing legal advice or from accepting fees for legal advice - has not been enforced."

"'It's an underground problem because the English speakers never see it,' says Nashville lawyer Sean Lewis. 'The notarios blatantly do whatever they want to do, with no oversight.'"

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