I had intended to write my column for today about the wonderful gifts that my line of work bestows upon me. Despite the hardships and the pain and the suffering and the self-inflicted harm that one sees in a juvenile court, I had intended to write about the wonderful things that hide in and amongst the sorrow.
Although we have known since early in the morning hours of Wednesday, Nov. 7th that President Obama has been reelected to another four year term, that election is not official until the Electoral College casts its vote and that vote is certified by Congress. The next step in that process occurs on Monday when the Electoral College members cast their votes.
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.