Recalling bits of his role as Herman Munster, Fred Gwynne was the embodiment of the movie judge in “My Cousin Vinny”: tall, imposing, formal and clad in a black robe. He insisted on following traditions, gaveled out of hearings and used the legal jargon we expect in our courtrooms. These traditions are drawn from various sources and for various reasons.
Congressman Daniel Edgar Sickles has a most remarkable life story. Born in New York City during the presidency of James Monroe, Sickles quickly rose through the ranks of New York society. He attended New York University, studied law and was admitted to the bar. Just a year later, at the age of 28, he was elected to the New York Assembly.
More than a decade ago, when I was working as an assistant prosecuting attorney, I was assigned to a case in which a recent prison parolee was accused of sexually assaulting the kind-hearted woman who agreed to take him into her home after his release from the penitentiary. He had significant mental health problems and they became quite evident when he appeared, via video hook-up from the jail, for his arraignment in the Delaware Municipal Court.
Multiple media sources reported this week that, in the wake of the presidential election, the government website We The People (petitions.whitehouse.gov) had received secession petitions from all 50 states with the petition from Texas having garnered more than 100,000 signatures by mid-week. In response, other petitions had been filed asking to allow the city of Austin, Texas to remain in the Union while giving the rest of the state the boot, to require the states to pay their percentage of the national debt before leaving and to deport all people who had signed a secession petition.
Not since Alaska and Hawaii joined the Union in 1959 has the United States had to find room for new stars in the field of blue on Old Glory. While several unsuccessful attempts have been made at statehood for the District of Columbia, the next few years should bring some serious discussions about statehood for Puerto Rico following a referendum vote in the territory on Tuesday.
Just four more days until Election Day. The candidates have debated and campaigned. They’ve shaken hands and kissed babies. They’ve posed, stumped, endorsed and “approved this message.” And now it’s up to us. Come Tuesday night, we’ll finally know who the winner is.
Nearly every holiday has been the subject of at least a handful of notable lawsuits and Halloween is no exception. Scary costumes, haunted houses, wandering in the dark and taking candy from strangers are perfect ingredients for frightfully bad legal actions.
It’s election season, and election season inevitably brings its share of lawsuits as parties, candidates and committees challenge the way we conduct our elections. This election season has been no different and while the big election-related legal news of the week was the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to hear an appeal over Ohio’s early voting hours, a major election-related legal story from last month got very little press time.