You may already know Peg and I bought a log cabin in Osage County, Oklahoma. Our home in Posey County, Indiana is a converted barn with 4,000 square feet of finished space and our barn/home also has a barn. Our cabin in Oklahoma is 2,000 square feet and we had to add a barn. Four thousand square feet of stuff does not smoothly fit in 2,000 square feet of space. However, my suggestion to Peg that we simply leave everything but our toothbrushes was not kindly received. Ergo, we are in the process of triage. I have learned the hard way to not suggest which items are disposable. My role is to take down and re-hang not to judge what should be preserved. Benjamin Franklin and his wife, Deborah, … [Read More...] about Hang Together Or Separately
In the first grade Doug Givens and I fought every day after school. Doug lived one block south of 12th Street and I lived one block north. Each afternoon at 3:15 p.m. Doug and I would meet at the intersection where he would turn right and I would turn left. We would flail away as we grabbed one another and held on until our white tee shirts tore away. We engaged in this behavior for about two weeks. Our war ended without a formal armistice when our mothers figured out why they were meeting at the J.C. Penny Store tee shirt counter two Saturdays in a row. I have no clue why we started fighting, but our mothers had both of our fathers make sure we knew peace was the preferred new normal. Back … [Read More...] about Could Things Get Worse?
After last week’s scintillating column on Constitutional Law I know you are eagerly awaiting promised round two on politics and the United States Supreme Court. Of course, America’s judiciary eschews any notion that court outcomes are sometimes a product of the political views of the judge or judges who decide the cases. At the National Judicial College where I have served as a part-time faculty member since 1995 one of the guiding principles is the effort to have completely impartial judging of all cases. That is a proper goal. However, is that goal always achieved? Let’s take a look behind the black robes of history starting with America’s most famous case, Marbury v. Madison, decided in … [Read More...] about Legal Slight of Hand
Harvard law professor Michael Klarman was the keynote speaker at the June 2019 Indiana Graduate Judges Conference. As an attendee I received a signed copy of Klarman’s book, The Framers’Coup, The Making of the United States Constitution. Gentle Reader, to give you some perspective on the exhilarating experience of a law professor’s book, the tome’s Note and Index sections run from page 633 to 865. Of course, the substance of the book contains 632 pages of which several pages thank the law students who did the grunt work. Regardless, I do recommend the book to you as an interesting and often surprising exposition of how our Constitution survived the throes of birth. As Klarman says of our … [Read More...] about Of Founders and Russians
America is a wonderful country from the amazing amalgam of cultures in cities such as Miami, New York City, San Francisco and Portland to the majesty of Yellowstone and the Mississippi River. We are truly fortunate to have the privilege to live here. As for Peg and me, we are most familiar with two counties in two states, Posey County, Indiana and Osage County, Oklahoma. Of course, the basic element of all inhabited areas is the same, the inhabitants, and those inhabitants are more alike than unalike wherever we live. I have found this to be true from Russia and Ukraine to Palestine and Bahrain as I have taught judges from several foreign countries and from every state in … [Read More...] about A Tale of Two Counties
In December 1991 my family and I ate at Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas. There was no trace of the bodies, blood and shattered glass from the October 16, 1991 mass shooting. We still felt their presence. Although I remembered the city riots of the 1960’s and 70’s and had closely followed the violence of 1968, the utter randomness of the Luby’s murders stoked more personal concerns. To slaughter people one did not even know struck me as much more horrendous than the misguided criminal actions of zealots. While America’s 20th century experience with deadly violence from 1900 up to the 1960’s was extensive and tragic, as Jasmine Henrique reported in her article Mass Shootings in America: A … [Read More...] about Mayberry We Miss You
If you read last week’s column you probably noted the current general topic is judicial education. Specifically, the focus of last week’s session was the definition of what is a judge and how did the concept of judging arise? We went back about 130,000 years to the hypothetical, and questionable, theory that Homo sapiens may have existed in North America before it had a name. The reason we are delving into these arcane mysteries is because the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada has tasked some of its faculty, including me, with teaching an annual on-line course to judges from across North America. By design the course concentrates on general and basic aspects of what judges do and how … [Read More...] about The Circumspect Caveman
Mr. A.H. Holloman owned and operated a gravel pit near the small town of Frederick, Tillman County in southwest Oklahoma. The pit is about one half mile wide and 7 miles long. Holloman discovered numerous artifacts of ancient human occupation in the pit in 1920. The supposed age of the items suggested modern civilized Homo sapiens created them 130,000 years ago. However since this conflicted with the generally accepted theory that Homo sapiens arose in the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, Africa 60,000 to 80,000 years ago, the scientific community discarded the archeological evidence at the Holloman dig for many years. Then Professor David Deming of Oklahoma University published an article … [Read More...] about In The Beginning …
*** Update from Peg: After reading this article please see pictures below along with explanation! *** The Garden of Eden set a standard no other garden can match. All Adam and Eve had to do was wander around fig leaf-less and enjoy earth’s bounty. Well, there was that small inconvenience of avoiding the fruit of one tree, but even with that tree there was no pruning, no Japanese beetles and no cultivation. Not even the concept of weeding and tilling were mentioned. In sum, neither a hoe nor Roundup were issues. There was no need for Adam to devise strategies to avoid his wife’s complaints that Mother Nature was winning the battle over whether fruits and vegetables or crabgrass would … [Read More...] about Eden Revisited
I understand the irresistible control nicotine can have. The desire to smoke even though the smoker knows tobacco is responsible for thousands of deaths every year may be incomprehensible to those who have never been cursed with it. But I was not shocked by that smoker in Berhman’s Tavern in St. Louis, Missouri who on Wednesday, August 28, 2019 chose to light up a cigarette as a would-be armed robber threatened to kill him if he did not lie down on the tavern floor. Even immediate death from a pistol was not as frightening as dying without a last cigarette. Perhaps the bar patron was envisioning all those old black and white movies where the condemned prisoner is afforded a final smoke … [Read More...] about If You Got ‘Em, Smoke ‘Em
Before October 4, 1957 when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 American boys knew who they admired and what they wanted to be, cowboys. From the days of Hoot Gibson and Tom Mix to Hopalong Cassidy and the Durango Kid until Gene Autry and Roy Rogers boys of all backgrounds dreamed the same dream. Then America watched as our global boogeyman leapfrogged over us and put us in fear of destruction from above. Cowboys’ six guns became obsolete and American boys, girls too, dreamed of being astronauts. John Glenn orbited the earth aboard a new fire-breathing steed and from 1957 until Clint Eastwood’s movie The Good, The Bad and The Ugly that came out in 1966 during the throes of the Viet Nam War … [Read More...] about Cowboy Up!
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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.