Say you finally found the time and money to go to Hawaii. It is a beautiful day. Slight ocean breeze. Swaying palm trees. Smoke from Kilauea Volcano languidly wafting into the sky. The aroma of a whole hog slowly roasting in a pit of sand while poi is being prepared by graceful hula dancers. A Mai Tai with a tiny umbrella calling your name as you lift the coconut shell to your lips. Life is good. Then, just as you finish your Mai Tai and head to the first tee you are accosted by a cacophony of blaring shrieks from every electronic device within earshot: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL!” Now you have a dilemma. You have already … [Read More...] about OOPS!
My Mom’s three brothers and one of her three sisters served in the Army during World War II (1941-1945). Aunt Betty was a nurse, Uncle Bud, who was a rodeo cowboy, was in the cavalry, Uncle Buck flew close air troop support over Europe and Uncle Bill killed and saw killed way too many men from Anzio to Germany. Mom sent any extra we had, and some not so extra, to support her siblings and their comrades. My Mom’s Mom’s Mom’s father, my great-great grandfather immigrated with his parents from Bern, Switzerland in 1852 when he was fourteen. His father served as a career soldier in Switzerland for 21 years. They settled in LaGrange, Indiana. My great-great grandfather, John Giggy, enlisted … [Read More...] about Those Folks Were Tough
Some of you may have noticed I have been a judge for awhile. And, although I know it may surprise you, not everyone of my thousands of decisions has been met with universal acclaim. Occasionally someone may actually disagree with my fair and objective legal analysis and have the bad form to say so. Well, my friends, not if we were in Egypt. According to a report in the Palm Beach, Florida Sun Sentinel of Sunday, December 31, 2017 a court in Cairo convicted 19 people of making public statements, “[t]he court found to be inciting and expressing contempt toward the court and the judiciary”. If you are wondering why I was reading the Palm Beach paper in sweltering 80 degree weather while some … [Read More...] about Oh To Be An Egyptian Judge
Before the scales fell from my eyes my big sister would use me as a test subject for her early cooking experiments. In the summers before I started first grade Janie would order me to sit at an imaginary table and eat what Janie imagined to be food. The table was actually the sun-baked Oklahoma dirt and the food was pies she mixed up using that same dirt, water from a garden hose and bird eggs she stole from furious sparrows. Actually the mud pies tasted about as good as some of our neighbor lady’s homemade lye soap Janie also told me was fudge. As I matriculated to grade school Janie was involved in Home Economics in high school. Now her cooking was for credit and as she was always our … [Read More...] about “That’s My Story …”
Is there a better time than Christmas? I think not. For those of us fortunate enough to remember Christmas as a feeling of warmth and joy produced by a loving family it simply does not get any better. The strength and confidence those feelings engender when times get rough often provide the difference between success or failure or even survival. When we are tossed by the waves of ignorance or malice we can reach back to those times when love was not only requited but unconditional. Hot chocolate and Christmas carols shared with family and friends over the years provide an unshakable foundation when the world treats us cruelly or worse, indifferently. As one who has often observed a … [Read More...] about Wishful Thinking
Americans rushed to California in 1849 seeking gold. Most found what the little boy shot at. But now there is gold to be found by college football teams heading to California, and Florida, Texas, etc., etc., to play in one of the college bowl games. It is estimated that in excess of half a billion dollars will change hands between the first bowl game on December 16, 2017 (The Celebration Bowl played between Grambling and North Carolina A & T in Atlanta, Georgia) and the National Championship Bowl to be held January 08, 2018 in the same place. My alma mater, Indiana University, will not be among the 80 colleges participating. We will, however, share in a portion of the bowl revenues that … [Read More...] about Forty Bowl Games And Counting
President Trump has decided to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Administration’s two main stated reasons for doing so are: (1) it simply acknowledges the reality, i.e., the Jews of Israel already say it’s their capital; and, (2) America’s decision will promote peace among the Jews, Christians and Muslims who live there. Of course, many of the residents of Jerusalem are sectarian and do not ascribe to any religion. However, none of them can escape their own or their neighbor’s cultural heritage. According to the Old Testament people were already living in the areas we now call Palestine and Israel when the Hebrews migrated there. And according to the Torah, the Bible and the … [Read More...] about A Capital Idea
Gentle Reader do not despair. We have reached the final week of our discussion of the Internet course for Rural Court Judges. You will no doubt recall our previous sessions on the scintillating topics of Rural Court Case and Court Management. Well, the best is yet to come. I only wish we could hear from the student judges from Alaska to Maryland who attended the seven week National Judicial College course that I helped teach. Surely they were filled with the same excitement I felt as an Indiana University freshman law student during Contracts classes, perhaps much as you have been while reading Gavel Gamut the past few weeks. But, all good things must come to an end so let us summarize what … [Read More...] about The Harder Right
You may know that for about twenty years I have been serving on the faculty of the National Judicial College where judges teach other judges to be judges. The NJC has a fairly high-tech approach due to needing to reach judges from all across America and in many foreign countries. About six years ago the College asked me and five other faculty judges to conduct a seven-week Internet class. Each faculty member is assigned areas of concentration. Mine are Court and Case Management and Judicial Ethics. If you have followed Gavel Gamut recently you may recall the other faculty and I just completed this year’s course. Now, this week you and I could address the vicissitudes of Hoosier football or … [Read More...] about Why A Blindfolded Justice?
Matthew may have had a bad experience in either the Roman courts or the Jewish courts in Jerusalem. He does not refer to any such case but his emphasis on “measure for measure” suggests to me he had run into a bad judge. See Matthew, Chapter 7, verses 1-5. He apparently thought his judge was tainted: “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam in your own eye then (perhaps) you can see to cast out the mote in the eye of the one (Matthew?) you are judging.” Of course, I do not know if Matthew had a run-in with a corrupt or ignorant or lazy judge; the Bible is silent on that point. However, after having numerous experiences with judges myself, I sense an undertow of bad judging in Matthew’s … [Read More...] about Judge Not
Gentle Reader, you may recall last week’s column that set out the general philosophy of the Posey Circuit Court: “Talking is better than fighting”. Or, more generally, resolving conflicts instead of exacerbating them is what courts should do and the earlier the better. Over twenty years ago my staff and I were searching for ways to ease the pain of Posey County families involved in divorce cases. At that time, my court reporter Synda Waters had the main responsibility for domestic relations matters in the Posey Circuit Court. With Synda’s help and the input of the rest of the court staff we initiated the procedure we still use today to attempt to assuage the fear, anger and frustration of … [Read More...] about Talk Is Cheap (& Better)
February 3 @ 9:00 am - February 4 @ 4:00 pm
March 17 @ 9:00 am - March 18 @ 4:00 pm
Unanimous for Murder
Unanimous for Murder picks up where JUDGE LYNCH! left off. A gripping story of small town murder and judicial shenanigans on the western frontier when the western frontier was east of the Mississippi.
Echoes of Our Ancestors: The Secret Game
Jim’s new novel tells the exciting story of a long hidden but important football game that occurred between representatives of Haskell Indian Institute (now the Haskell Indian Nations University) and professionals from the then Kansas City Cowboys in 1924 at a secret location on the Osage Indian Nation near Pawhuska, Oklahoma - where Jim was born.
“Judge Lynch Holds Court!” That was the banner headline in a Posey County, Indiana newspaper after seven African American men were murdered by a white mob during October, 1878.
Gavel Gamut Greetings from JPeg Ranch
“Gavel Gamut Greetings" is an anthology of topical and historical selections mainly about regional events and personalities that have appeared in my weekly newspaper column, Gavel Gamut.