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
It may not be the “Constant variety of sports” or the “Human drama of athletic competition” as promised by ABC’s Wide World of Sports, but Jim and Stephanie Spann’s New Harmony Soap Company provides a fun learning experience and great smells. Peg and I now know how to make soap and we have the aromatic masterpieces to prove it. When Peg told me she had signed us up for a three hour soap-making class for this past Saturday my first thought, which I prudently kept to myself was, “Well, there goes my day off”. It was held at the New Harmony Soap Company on Main Street and was taught by the Doctor of Saponification, Jim Spann. Saponification is not a misspelling of the great … [Read More...] about Spann(ing) The Globe
The National Judicial College teaches thousands of judges. As a faculty member for 22 years I have learned a great deal more than I have taught. The student judges’ collective experience and wisdom have often been what I have looked to when I was not sure where else to turn with a difficult situation. For instance, when I feel myself getting angry at someone in front of me, say a recalcitrant spouse in a divorce, an unfeeling defendant in a child molesting case or an attorney whose style is of the button-pushing genre, I remind myself of what Socrates said: “A judge’s duty is to do justice, not make a present of it.” In other words, the power I can wield is not Jim Redwine’s power; … [Read More...] about Judicial Lodestones & Amulets
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
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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.