JUDr. Oldřich Ševčík
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Professional biography of JUDr. Oldřich Ševčík
My name is Oldřich Ševčík.
I was born in the year of 1956 in the city of Brno. I come from a neighbourhood called Nové Černovice. This neighbourhood is today on the suburbs, or if you want to, on the outskirts of the city of Brno. Originally, there was a village, called Černovice, close to Brno. This was a real village, with everything, there is to it. This means, that there were fields, animals, land owners. Later on, in newer days, in the 19th century, right next to Černovice, new houses were built, with little gardens, in front of them. New middle class moved there, whose members were clerks, traders, teachers, physicians, craftsmen and others and others. This neighbourhood was known as Nové Černovice, which means New Černovice and the original Černovice were called Staré Černovice, which means Old Černovice. I come from New Černovice, Nové Černovice in Czech. Old Černovice were (Černovice is in Czech a plural) traditionally agricultural and catholic. New Černovice were traditionally very urban, bourgeois. Both of these neighbourhoods were very strongly non-communist. I grew up in a typical middle class family, with a strong admiration of everything democratical. Unfortunatelly, at the time, when I grew up, there was a communist regime in my country. Ever since I was a boy, I knew, that sooner or later, I would escape and I would go to the United States of America, to live there, to study there and to do whatever life brings me. In the year of 1968, there was a certain improvement in the living conditions of the people of my country. This time is sometimes called Prague Spring. I did not sympathize with the leaders of the so called Prague Spring, because they were all old communists and communists can never be reformed. In the August of 1968, this so called Prague Spring was crushed by soviet invasion anyway. True hard liners came into power. My decision to emigrate was irrevocable, even though I never experienced any hardship, such as hunger or anything like that. Our family owned a house, a car, country cottage, huge library. I visited sport clubs. On the other hand, I was not allowed to travel to the western countries, I was not admitted to higher education.
In the year of 1979, I was succesful in emigrating through Hungary and Yugoslavia to Italy and Austria. I took an advantage. This is what happened. Rumanians did not sell gas to foreign visitors for other currency, than for western money. A tourist had to have dollars, or other money of this sort, to buy gas. For this reason, for a very short period of time, Czechoslovaks were allowed to travel through Yugoslavia, if they traveled to Bulgaria. I pretended to travel to Bulgaria and for this reason I was allowed by the hungarian border guards to leave Hungary and enter Yugoslavia. I entered Yugoslavia. Of course, I did not continue to Bulgaria, but I went to Italy and later to Austria. There I lived in a refugee camp and later on, in a small hotel. In 1980 I received a US visa and in January of 1981, I went to Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
On the beginning, I worked as a dealer in casinos. I had some money from Austria, where I worked almost all the time. This gave me some freedom, which meant, that I did not have to look for some odd jobs, such as stadium sweeper, porter and so on. Instead of that, I went to school for casino dealers and I worked in various casinos, dealing mostly craps. Craps was my most favoured game, because dealing craps is based on knowledge, not on friendship with the shift boss. If you deal for example Black Jack, you do not have to know a whole lot. But, you have to be polite, pleasant, you have to say „good luck“, „have a nice day“, and so on. I was never like that. I always liked challenges. Each casino game, I have learned the hard way, which means I always went to dealers school, everytime I wanted to learn a new game, I stayed there for a month or even longer. For learning all these games, I have spent quite a few money. But I have learned baccarat, Black Jack, poker, roulette, craps. I worked also as a pit boss, that means, somebody, who oversees the games. It was a great experience, I learned a lot from talking to different people, different groups of people. I learned all kind of idioms, sayings, slang. I took some courses for working in a real estate agencies and I did that too. From 1985 to 1988, I served in US military, specifically in the Army, US Army. I reached the rank of a sergeant. Once my contract for the service was up, I returned back to Las Vegas. I did not stay in the Army. After some hesitation, once I completed my term, I did not stay in the Army. I considered to re-enlist, but I did not. Military service gave me a lot. I learned many things. I learned how to take care of myself. I improved my English and I also improved my Spanish. I associated myself at times with spanish speaking soldiers, such as Portorikans, Mexicans and others. I tried to meet them as much as possible, just to talk to them. I had a sympathy to them in general, because they are close to our, Czech mentality. They like to play soccer, cards. Anglo-Saxons like to play different games. They like to play first of all baseball, football and basketball. I played all these games. I really enjoyed my time in the Army. I learned a lot from white Americans, I learned a lot from black Americans, I learned a lot from spanisch speaking Americans. I loved them all. I shall never forget my budies from the Army. I liked to listen to New Yorkers, I liked the way they speak. I liked to listed to black soldiers from the Deep South, as they were telling me about their families, their fields, black preachers preaching the Gospel. After three years, I left the Army, when my contract was finished. There is not one single day, when I would not be thinking about the Army and my Army days. To these very days I feel love and gratitude to the Army. I always tell to everybody, that I was and I always will be part of the Army. However, I felt that my place was already somewhere else. I wanted to return to the university. I wanted to be a lawyer someday. For the time being, I have studied at the local state university in the great state of Nevada in the city of Las Vegas, which is my second hometown. The name of this university is University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Before that and at the same time, I studied at the Clark County Community College (today called Community College of Southern Nevada) and at the Mohave Community College, which are so called junior colleges, that means two year schools, from where courses taken may be transferred to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, UNLV for short, or any place else. Starting in 1988, I worked in casinos once again and in a real estate agency. At the same time, I was taking classes at the UNLV. I concluded my studies in 1991 and in the same year I returned to Czechoslovakia, to my country, once a change of political system took place in 1989.
In 1991, I enrolled at the Masaryk University in Brno, Faculty of law. In 1997 I was graduated as a magistr, „Mgr.“ for short. This title is usually compared to western master of law. My dissertation was written about Constitution of Illinois. I wrote it in the cooperation with the Department of constitutional law and political science. In this work of mine, I emphasized the significance of the constitution of this particular state for inhabitants of this state. I covered some of the historical development, basic information.
In 1998 I started working as an „advokátní koncipient“, which is a lawyer, who may not yet run his or her own legal office, but must work under a guidance of another lawyer, who is a member of the bar. In this position I worked in several legal offices, for several attorneys-at-law. To work as an „advokátní koncipient“ and later on as an attorney-at-law, I have decided already in the USA. To my arrival in the US, I was not interested in law what-so-ever. I became interested in the „learned profession“ only in the US. I saw attorneys-at-law fighting for their clients, they defended their civil rights and freedoms, they fought against discrimination, they defended the poor and the helpless, who got out of a bad situation, thanks to a lawyer. They got out of a situation, for which they are not responsible. When I worked for other attorneys-at-law, I decidedly tended to become defence attorney, I was decided to practice law in the field of criminal law, defending in criminal matters. In 2002 I went back to school to pass a doctoral examination. It consisted of writing a work, a doctoral dissertation, and studying hard for oral examination in front of an examinors board. My dissertation work had a name Importance of constitutions of the several states of USA. For these purposes I translated from English into Czech and attached to my work the Declaration of Independance, US Constitution, Lousiana Constitution and Arizona Constitution. Here I dealt with the importance of individual constitutions in the US. By that, I mean the importance of state constitutions. To this, I can give you a small example. US Constitution guarantees the right of the accused to a trial by a jury, consisting of the local citizens. US Constitution is beig interpreted by US Supreme court, state supreme courts and others and others, that is by local courts, local judges, local policemen and so on. US Supreme court has for example ruled, that in very unimportant cases, a judge sitting alone may condemn somebody, without assembling a jury. State constitutions of some states in the US go in their defence of human right further, or much further, than US Constitution and US Supreme court. They guarantee the jury trial in all the cases, in every case. (Of course, each accused wants to be tried by a jury, not by a judge, sitting alone.) State constitutions also discribes, how the particular state functions, how long is the term of the governor and so on. It is a very extensive theme. In the USA, there is not only one system of law. There is the federal system of law and there are more systems of state law. One interesting thing is, that there is also the indian law, which exists within the boundaries of indian reservations. I should probably not use the term „indian“, because native Americans prefer to be called by their very nationality, such as Apache, Mohave and so on, or at least Native Americans. Whatever term I use, however, I do not mean to be impolite and I mean it in the best sense possible, since I visited some reservations and have a respect for members of native tribes. As a boy (and even as a grown man) I have read all kinds of books from the Far West, cowboys, Indians....Native Americans have their own laws, their own customs, their own authorities. They do not care that much about the laws of the white man, they are not interested in US Constitution, at least as long as they are on their own teritory.
Once I have passed my doctoral examination, and I have succesfully defended my doctoral written work, the board of examiners decided, that I have passed and in October of the year of 2002 (more than thirteen years ago) I was graduated to the rank of doctor of law, to be precise, to the rank of doctor of both laws, that is „iuris utriusque doctor“, „JUDr.“, for short. My doctoral proceedings I underwent at the Masaryk university at Brno, Faculty of law, Department of constitutional law and political science, just like in the case of my dissertation work, needed to be graduated from the law school. It can be said, that I obtained my doctorate at a respectable universtity, not in some dishonest way, by taking some courses by mail, or something like that. I received my „JUDr.“ the hard way, honestly.
I still worked as an „advokátní koncipient“ (a lawyer, who works for another lawyer and is under his guidance) and in the year of 2006 I succesfully completed bar examination. (Several days of written examinations, then one session of oral examination.) Prior to bar examination, I had to take part in two Monday through Friday courses of instructions, given by the bar. (Czech bar association.) One course of instructions took place in Seč (a city in Bohemia, far from my hometown), it was an introductory course of instructions. To conclude my praxis as an „advokátní koncipient“, another course of instructions took place in Špindlerův Mlýn. This was also a Monday through Friday course of instructions. Besides these two one week courses of instructions, I had to take some twenty instructions, for a day or a half a day. These instructions were also organized by the Czech bar association. All of these instructions took place in working days and working hours. I had to take an unpaid day off or I had to use my vacation. When I went to one week instructions, I had to stay in a hotel. This hotel I had to pay out of my own pocket. I had to pay all my travel expenses, as well as my meals. Of course, I did not get any extra vacation, I had to use my regular vacation. While in law school, I worked as an interpretor and a translator to earn some money, since I did not have any scholarship or anything like that. I also worked as an interpretor and a translator while already working as an „advokátní koncipient“ after a law school graduation.
From the January of 2007, I am on the list of attorneys-at-law, who are members of the Czech bar association. I am listed as an attorney-at-law acting individually. That means, that I am not a part of some bigger legal office. I cooperate with some other attorneys-at-law, who also act individually.
At present time, my office is located at the following address:
I pursue a genaral praxis, most of the time I defend clients in general criminal matters, traffic accidents and on lesser scale in economic criminal cases (white collar crime). I also represent clients in other legal matters, such as civil law, family law. I represent mostly individuals, not companies.
I am mostly interested in human rights protection as well as protection of civil rights. There should be equal rights guaranteed to everyboy, regardless on his or her religion, nationality, race, place of origin. Discrimination of any kinds shoul be outlawed. I am also interested in constitutional law, but constitutional complaints I file very seldom, almost never. Constitutional complaints, which are being decided by Czech Constitutional court are very time consuming and their succes rate is very low. I prefare not to go very far in criminal proceedings and if it is possible, for example, make an agreement with the district attorney (prosecutor) about the criminal charges to be lesser and thus, less punishible.
I am very much interested in functioning of the system of jury trial, as it exists in the countries, where there was not totalitarian regime. Public enlightenment, advertising jury trial, so that in time, when jury trial shall be brought back in the Czech republic, as I hope, it will, is necessary. So, when the time comes, and jury trial will be restored in the Czech republic, the public, the people, will be informed about the meaning of jury trial and how it works.
I would also like to see general reform of the system of law in the Czech republic, I would like to see, that we get rid of the communist heritage and that is in each way possible, in each aspect. Persons, who served to the communist regime, that is in any respect, should leave public service, such as the courts of justice, police.
I try to improve my understanding of law and I try to work on foreign languages, I try to improve their knowledge and practical use.
Should I state clearly, who my role model is, than I have to admit and honestly say, that my role models are some of the known attorneys from the USA. I might mention Clarence Darrow for example, who saved from electric chair a whole lot of clients and he even defended a teacher, who taught the evolution theory. It is obvious, that the conditions in the United States are different from the ones in our country, the Czech republic. In the USA, there is a completely contradictory trial in the courtroom, where defendors (and prosecutors) summon their witnesses, hear them and then, it is the jury, who decides. It is needful to say, however, that not even in the USA was anything given to anybody for free. The system of justice, which is in the USA, jury trial, was not given for free. The people had to fight for it. Until this very day, this system, this benefit of jury trial, is under heavy attack, various groups try to get rid of juries and of the jury trial. Some want to change US Constitution just a little bit, some even want to rewrite US Constitution completely. Despite all the facts, US attorneys are a role model for me. ( I had the chance to watch them quite a few times. Today, in the times of the internet, it is commonplace.) They have a great knowledge, wisdom. Before they start studying „the learned profession“, they have to have a degree in undergraduate studies, they have to study liberal arts, science, or something like that. They have a great vocabulary, good manners and they are always very well dressed. I could even say, that they are, sometimes or some of them, unique in their way of dressing. Long topcoats, hats, suits, cufflinks, ties...They never take off their jackets, many of them never unbotton their jackets, even when they sit, which is not very common these days. But most importantly, they really fight for their clients.