Monthly Archives: November 2014

Legal Definition of the Day: Public Defender

A public defender is an attorney paid by the government to represent indigent individuals who’ve been charged with committing a crime.  To fully understand what these lawyers do, I recommend you watch a compelling documentary, Gideon’s Army.  This film follows … Continue reading

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Word of the Day: Settlement

A settlement is a legally binding agreement between opposing parties to resolve a lawsuit.

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Word of the Day:  Prosecutor

A prosecutor is a lawyer who initiates criminal cases, on behalf of the government, against those accused of a crime.  He or she handles the criminal case from inception through trial.  

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On This Day in Legal History

In the case of Reed v. Reed, Sally Reed and her former husband, Cecil, each petitioned an Idaho Probate Court to be appointed administrator of their son’s estate. The Court appointed Cecil Reed without analyzing either parent’s qualifications, since an … Continue reading

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On This Day in Legal History

In 1927, the United States Supreme #Court decided Gong Lum v. Rice. The issue was whether a Chinese student had a constitutional right to attend an all-white public school in her district.  The Supreme Court said that she didn’t.  Chief … Continue reading

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On This Day in Legal History

On this day in 1961, the United States Supreme Court decided Hoyt v. Florida.  The Court held that it was permissible to exempt women from jury service.  Read more about the facts of this case and the Court’s ruling @ http://goo.gl/j4TixG.

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Life-Without-Parole Sentences for Juveniles

Inmates in South Carolina filed a lawsuit claiming their sentences were violative of the 8th Amendment.  When they were minors they were sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.  They argued that the 8th Amendment guarantees against such “cruel … Continue reading

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On This Day in Legal History

On November 17, 1980, the United States Supreme Court decided Stone, et al. v. Graham, Superintendent of Public Instruction of Kentucky.  The case arose after Kentucky legislators passed a law mandating the posting of the Ten Commandments in every public … Continue reading

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Three Justices Honored at Yale

Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas were recently honored at Yale Law School.  Following the award ceremony, they engaged in an informal, candid, discussion with Professor of Law Kate Stith.  The Justices shared tidbits from their personal lives, … Continue reading

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On This Day in Legal History

On this day in 1882, Former Associate Justice Felix Frankfurter was born in Austria. In 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt nominated him to the United States Supreme Court. Unlike nowadays, it wasn’t customary for nominees to appear before the Senate … Continue reading

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On This Day in Legal History

In 1957, the Alabama legislature passed a law changing the boundaries of the City of Tuskegee. By doing so, only four or five African American voters were left within the City limits, yet not a single white voter was effected … Continue reading

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On This Day in Legal History

On October 16, 1914, Takao Ozawa applied for citizenship after living in the United States for twenty years.  He was born in Japan, but attended high school and college here. He had children who attended American schools and English was … Continue reading

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Teaching Evolution Was Once a Criminal Act

In bygone days, an Arkansas law prohibited public school teachers from explaining the theory of human evolution.  If a teacher were found guilty of violating the anti-evolution law, then he or she was subject to termination and a fine no … Continue reading

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Civil Rights Attorney John Doar is Remembered

Take a look at today’s New York Times piece entitled, “John Doar, Federal Lawyer on Front Lines Against Segregation, Dies at 92.”   The article pays tribute to Mr. Doar’s tremendous accomplishments in the civil rights area.  Go to http://goo.gl/PZjKWF.

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On This Date One Justice Was Born, Another Retired

On November 12, 1908, Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun was born. He’s probably best known as the author of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized a woman’s right to have an abortion during the first trimester.  To learn … Continue reading

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On This Day in Legal History

On November 11, 1918, Germany and the Allied forces declared an armistice that brought fighting to an end in World War One.  The following year “Armistice Day” was celebrated on November 11.  After World War Two and the Korean War, … Continue reading

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President Obama Nominates a New Attorney General

President Obama has nominated U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch to replace Attorney General Eric Holder.  If confirmed by the Senate she’ll become the first African-American woman to head the Department of Justice.  For a thorough understanding of the Attorney General’s responsibilities, … Continue reading

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On This Date in Legal History

On August 9, 1960, African American boys and girls entered a nationwide chain store, S. H. Kress, in Greenville, South Carolina, and sat at a lunch counter designated for whites only.  The store manager turned off the lights, announced the … Continue reading

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NY’s Highest Court Warns Against Modifying the Miranda Warnings

The law requires after a suspect is taken into custody that he or she be “Mirandized” before being interrogated.  That means suspects must be told– you have a right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used … Continue reading

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