When I set out to trap whatever varmints were stealing our cat’s food I felt confident. After all, I was pretty sure my adversaries were not members of any “… well-regulated militia” nor graduates of any accredited educational institutions nor associated with any liberal or right-wing political groups. I, on the other hand, have had experience surviving struggles with all of these. As to a well-regulated militia, the United States Air Force should qualify no matter what our U.S. Army soldier son thinks and Indiana University is respected if football is not considered. When it comes to the mish-mash of current political “thought”, I have managed to avoid or ignore the clanging vapidness of … [Read More...] about A Trap For Fools
At their regular meeting held 03 April 2018 the Posey County Board of Commissioners listened attentively and courteously to my plans for an auxiliary courtroom. President Jim Alsop and Commissioners Jay Price and Carl Schmitz asked relevant questions and made helpful suggestions. A small but highly useful courtroom can be in operation on the first floor of the courthouse within a short time and for relatively little expense, certainly less than $50,000 for the physical plant and about $40,000 per year salary for a full-time court reporter. The judicial officer could be a senior judge or magistrate who would serve as needed. Senior judges are paid by the State of Indiana so there would be no … [Read More...] about Hello From Reno
Tuesday, April 03, 2018 Chief Probation Officer and court factotum Rodney Fetcher and I met with the Posey County Board of Commissioners to discuss the auxiliary courtroom on the first floor of the courthouse. You may recall we have been working toward creating a small but fully functioning courtroom that can greatly enhance public access to court services while aiding the Posey Superior and Circuit Courts to concentrate on other important matters of concern. The elements of an American courtroom have changed little since the 1600’s: a judge’s bench and judge, places for the opposing parties (usually two), a court reporter with means to keep a record, a witness area and some public … [Read More...] about The Physical Plant
Posey County’s new jail and historic courthouse can now be connected to provide better and cheaper service to citizens. Sheriff Oeth may already have funds in the new jail budget to provide video conferencing between the jail and the courts. Sheriff Oeth and both Posey County judges have long been in favor of video conferencing. Perhaps this important public service can soon be in operation. The benefits are many and the cost is low. Savings of transportation costs and deputy time along with greatly enhanced security for the public are within reach. And since most of the persons lodged in our jail are awaiting … [Read More...] about The Planets Align
Last week we gave some attention to a problem we all know exists but that we wish we could make go away with pixie dust. It is not that you and I or our fellow citizens are uncaring about children and families caught in the maelstrom of child and spousal physical abuse or child sexual abuse or child neglect or alcohol and drug addiction. It is we instinctively know the cure will be painfully expensive and emotionally exhausting, to say nothing of how the resources we dedicate to these problems must be diverted from others. On the other hand, we know if we do not address our Children in Need of Services crisis now society will certainly pay a much greater price later. And that need for … [Read More...] about Medicine Time
Some medical conditions, say the flu, can be diagnosed and easily cured. Of course, if the flu is actually pneumonia the patient may not fare so well. Some medical conditions even if correctly identified may not be easily treated, certain cancers for example. And some cancers even if properly addressed may metamorphosize into others that are fatal. In our Body Politic a serious condition we must either deal with or be permanently affected by is our Child In Need of Services problem. And even if we do not ignore it, a potentially fatal mistake, the cures we apply will be unavoidably complicated and expensive. Of course, to ignore a cancer is to court our own demise. In this frenetic … [Read More...] about A Tough Illness That Requires Tough Medicine
Perhaps we need to channel Alexander the Great (356 - 323 B.C.) to help us address our Gordian Knot type problem of child welfare. You will recall Alexander eschewed the niceties of trying to unravel the problem step by laborious step and simply slashed through the morass of hemp with his sword. A tempting approach to any complicated puzzle but probably of little lasting benefit. As we know from experience, every complicated situation can be papered over with a simple, wrong answer. We naturally yearn for quick and cheap solutions but these never cure the “disease” and often result in fatalities. That is what the former Indiana State Department of Children’s Services Director Mary Beth … [Read More...] about A Gordian Knot
Sometimes we see damage after it has been done by kids to public property, such as library grounds and city parks. Usually we do not see the damage as it is being done to children by their neglectful or abusive caretakers. The financial and aesthetic loss to public property upsets us. The financial and psychic loss resulting from child neglect and abuse dwarfs the related juvenile vandalism. Napoleon’s soldiers used the Sphinx for target practice and the Taliban destroyed priceless religious icons. Vandalism is neither new nor novel. Neither is child abuse and neglect. They have both been with us since Eve stole that apple and Cain was not sufficiently supervised. However, since America … [Read More...] about The Seen And The Unseen
Gentle Reader, I ask you, “Is this fair?” Last week I barely escaped a medical catastrophe when I slipped on the ice while attempting to relocate a mouse from our house to a fiery fate. You may recall this whole thing was started by Peg who went ballistic when she found the mouse stuck in a trap. Apparently there is some universal law that mouse disposal is a husband’s job. After I fell and received zero sympathy from Peg I sought input from my legions of supporters who read Gavel Gamut. Well, forget that! I have heard from nearly everyone who read last week’s column and they divide into three categories: (1) One person who accused me of cruelty to a mouse - even though it escaped as I … [Read More...] about The Mouse That Roars
I can’t relate in a family newspaper my very first thought as I slipped on that icy stoop at JPeg Ranch and crashed precipitously into the large stone behind it. As I felt my left kidney complain about the cruel blow, my mind was in the pure reaction mode. Contemplation of the irony involved arose only after I realized I was not dead. Peg later said I must have actually landed on my head as there appeared to be no lasting damage. But as the Good Book says, “In the beginning ...” Last Friday morning’s near rendezvous with mortality began about 5:00 a.m. when I was shaving and heard Peg shriek, “Jim, get down here!” As I had experienced that tone for years I went ahead shaving thinking she … [Read More...] about A Wee Mousie’s Revenge
There are two general categories of American law: Civil Law (statutes and other written rules), and Common Law (case decisions or judge-made law). Civil law normally comes from a legislative body such as Congress and is published in the form of statues. Common Law is derived from precedent, that is, deciding a current legal controversy by referring to how similar controversies have been resolved by judges in the past. Another way of looking at Common Law is thinking about how we all learn things from our parents, in other words, benefitting from their good and bad experiences which they share with us. If you should be among that select few who regularly read this column you may recall a … [Read More...] about Common Law Is Common Sense
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.