May It Please The Court: Weblog of legal news and observations, including a quote of the day and daily updates

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Quote of the Day - Our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed in them. - Henry David Thoreau
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There are 2033 Journal Items on 255 page(s) and you are on page number 63

I'll Take Half And You Can Have Half

Nobody Wins

Landowners and housebuilders Mr. and Mrs. Bowers, Hillsboro, Ohio residents, allegedly refused to deed over the property and house they built where 66-year old Rodney Rogers lived.  They had a verbal agreement to transfer the house, but as is frequently the case, things get confused when they're not in writing.

Apparently, however, Mr. Rogers thought the Bowers had wronged him when they refused to sell the house to him and deed over the land, and he elected to take the law into his own hands.

Well, a power saw to be exact.

He literally sawed the house in half.  About chest-height, somewhat parallel with the ground, all the way around the house, excluding the doors and windows.  Inside (link has video and sound), there's a six- to eight-inch chunk of drywall missing, and all the 2x4 studs are cut clean through.  You can see the irregular cut outside the house (link has video and sound), as well, extending through all the way from inside.

According to this AP story, the Hillsboro Sheriff says the only thing holding the top half of the house on the bottom half is "gravity." 



Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, September 28, 2007 at 18:16. Comments Closed (0) |

Amazon Opens The Floodgates - Well, Almost

Hold on to your hats - iTunes has a competitor, and it's an open source competitor.  Amazon is offering not only music without copy protection, but unlike Apple and several other sites, the songs can be downloaded on any MP3 player, be it Zune, iRiver or just about any kind of cell phone.

Not that it's expected to make an immediate dent in the sale of iPods or music from iTunes, but Apple will have to deal with it sooner or later.  Likewise, the initial round of offering from Amazon's MP3 site, offered now in beta, doesn't include several major music labels who still require copyrights locks on their music.

Amazon has paid attention to history's lessons about music and radio.  Most don't know that when radio first came out, artists regularly filed suit against radio stations that played their music.  The artists thought radio would cut into sales of their records.

Will open source AmazonMP3 open up music?  Will it some day extend to movies?

Time will tell.  But remember, you heard it here first.



Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, September 27, 2007 at 00:22. Comments Closed (0) |

Constitution Prevents Search And Seizure Without Prior Judicial Review

Regular readers know MIPTC comes down on both sides of the issues surrounding the Patriot Act.  There are some good parts to it and others ... well, let's just say that portions could be read to rewrite a 200 year-old document we call the Bill of Rights.  Apparently, I'm not the only one who agrees.  For what appears to be the second time, another federal judge has declared as unconstitutional the parts of it that allow search and seizure without judicial overview.

As most members of law enforcement know, you have to get a judge's permission to conduct a search of someone's home.  The Patriot Act, in certain circumstances, allows federal law enforcement personnel to bypass the judge.

Not anymore.

The Bill of Rights prevents just exactly that type of behavior.  Sure, the country needs aggressive enforcement against terrorists here.  But there's nothing wrong with going to a judge, in private, and explaining the need for the search warrant.

You likely remember from high school civics class that they call it a system of checks and balances.  



Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 at 18:45. Comments Closed (0) |

Did You Miss Your First Chance? Pony Up $20M - $30M, And Buy The Magna Carta

Save your shekels and by December 10 be prepared to spend up to a mere $30 million to own the "most important document on Earth" - the Magna Carta.  Latin for Great Charter, it was written in 1215 and confirmed into English law by the end of the century, it mandated the King of England to cede certain (shall we say inalienable?) rights to citizens. 

Among many other things, it confirmed the writ of habeas corpus.  It is the document considered largely the basis for our own Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  But, it's not the only one.  There are allegedly only four copies extant:  two in Britain, one in Australia and one here. 

That is, until you find one at a garage sale for $1.59.

Can't afford the price tag for the real one?  You can have your very own, readable copy here.  Otherwise, you'll need to head over to the National Archives, where this copy is presently on display, in the next two months. 



Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 at 22:22. Comments Closed (0) |

Tip 'O The Hat To Lawyer Mark Robinson

Mark Robinson is a one-man force in the courtroom and the community.  He's featured this week in a National Law Journal article as a lead-up to an even this week.  Mark has received many accolades, and many like that spoken by a former colleague and California state senator, Joe Dunn, who said, "He's a straight shooter. He's tough as nails in a courtroom, in front of a jury, but he's an individual you can trust. That's given him an incredible reputation."

MIPTC is proud to be able to attend Loyola Law School's Tribute to Champions of Justice dinner, a black-tie event at the Beverly Hills hotel to honor Mark's work.  Mark has been instrumental in securing not only victories in the courtroom, but also in bringing the new Bren School of Law to the University of California, Irvine. 

Kudos, props a tip of the hat, a pat on the back and a shout out to Mark for his fine work.



Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, September 24, 2007 at 00:04. Comments Closed (0) |

How Much Does The Government Know About You?

A lot more than you can imagine.  If you fly, then they likely know about the books you read and the kind of clothes you wear, among many other things, such as where you're from, how you paid for your plane tickets, your motor vehicle records, your past one-way travel, seating preferences (I like exit row, aisle, thank you very much) and the meals you ordered in-flight.

They probably even know the color of your underwear.



Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Sunday, September 23, 2007 at 18:31. Comments Closed (0) |

It Doesn't Exist. It Doesn't. It Doesn't.

I've never been to Taiwan, so I don't really know whether it exists or not, but the underside of many of my electronics promises otherwise.

The United Nations, however, doesn't seem to agree, and has said so for the last 15 years.  It won't allow Taiwan to join the UN. 

Maybe next year.



Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Saturday, September 22, 2007 at 18:44. Comments Closed (0) |

Ten Commandments Legal In Kentucky Courthouse; Unconstitutional In Alabama Courthouse

Call me silly but I don't know how to reconcile a federal court ruling in Kentucky that displaying the Ten Commandments in a courthouse is constitutional and displaying the Ten Commandments in an Alabama courthouse is unconstitutional.

I guess that's why I live in California where we can't have a cross in the middle of nowhere.



Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, September 21, 2007 at 00:31. Comments Closed (0) |



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