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)
Each fall for the past several years I have helped teach an Internet course on continuing education to judges. The National Judicial College located in Reno, Nevada organizes the six-week curriculum and selects members of the NJC faculty to teach judges from across America and even some foreign countries. Each weekly segment is led by one faculty member who is assisted by five others. My assigned area is Court Management. The course is supervised by two full-time staff members of the college who operate the complexities of the technology required by the participation of judges by computer and telephone from numerous far-flung locations. Joseph Sawyer and Danielle Harris of the NJC are in … [Read More...] about All God’s Judges Got Robes
No matter what kind of job we have we had to learn how to do it. My first job, at age ten, was mowing our neighbor’s yard. I learned it from my older brother who taught me by putting me behind a mechanical push mower in the heat of an Oklahoma summer. At first the yard looked about as rough as I was treated. However, by sweat and repetition I was eventually able to make our neighbor’s yard look passable and collect my share of the one dollar we made. On the job training is a time-honored method of teaching one to do a job. It is probably not the best system for learning such jobs as judging. You would not want to seek justice from a judge whose only prior training to be a judge was mowing … [Read More...] about A School For Judges
Father George Rapp of Pennsylvania and Robert Owen of New Lanark, Scotland each hoped their visions for Mankind would manifest in New Harmony, Indiana. Rapp’s vision involving Christ’s Second Coming and Owen’s involving a world without any traditional religions look different but have similar dreams at their base. A world without private property ownership was one of the major goals for both. I will leave an analysis of Rapp’s grand plans to the theologians. As to Owen’s, I defer to the philosophers but will refer to Robert Owen, A View of Society and Other Writings edited by Gregory Glaeys who is a Professor of History at Royal University of London and a recognized authority on Robert … [Read More...] about Connections
Those of you who have had the pleasure of visiting New Harmony, Indiana and those of us privileged to live there know its Anglo-Saxon origins include a huge debt to Robert Owen of New Lanark, Scotland. Owen made his fortune milling textiles and yarn in New Lanark and used a great deal of his money to buy New Harmony from the German Lutheran community led by Father George Rapp. Owen based his dream for mankind on the non-religious philosophies of the Enlightenment. The influences of both the Rappites and Owenites have been deeply woven into the two unique experiments that resulted in today’s New Harmony. Peg and I were somewhat aware of Robert Owen and his progressive policies on fair … [Read More...] about You Can Go Home Again
The Constitutional Convention was held in Philadelphia in 1787. The delegates kept the proceedings secret to avoid, “licentious publications of their proceedings.” James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, stated that no Constitution would have ever been adopted if the debates had been public. Remarkably, for four months the secrecy was maintained. Can you imagine the motives CNN, FOX and MSNBC would have projected upon George Washington, et. al.? No delegate would have escaped the allegations of lying or even treason to the Revolution. But inside the Convention the fifty-five delegates, half of whom were lawyers, debated the most volatile issues of the day. Slavery, whether we would … [Read More...] about The Constitutional Convention and Cable News
After writing this column for twenty-seven years I can easily delude myself into believing that the reason no one writes in with complaints is because people agree with my opinions. Of course, I am fully aware a more likely reason is because no one reads them. Be that as it may, should you have read “Gavel Gamut” recently you know the general topic has been the state of discourse and discussion in America. More to the point, why do so many people seem so angry with people whose only sin is to voice an opinion with which others disagree? While even every day conversations among friends now sometimes turn into shouting matches and hurt feelings, the worst practitioners of “My way or the … [Read More...] about My Way Or The Highway
Once upon a time one could read a newspaper or listen to the radio or watch television and get information on current events. One might hear a report about our nation’s involvement in a war for example. I was born in 1943 so my first war memory is from Korea. Perhaps Korea might provide war tocsin again. Anyway, I recall news reports about General MacArthur and President Truman. I do not recall anybody calling anybody else a liar for expressing their views or positions. Issues as raw and visceral as Commander-In-Chief versus commander in the field were discussed and analyzed without resort to epithets. About the worst MacArthur ever said about Truman was he was only a captain in WWII and … [Read More...] about It’s Not Opinion; It’s Fact
As lifetime members of the Indiana University Alumni Association Peg and I receive IU’s magazine which usually is devoid of substance and replete with solicitations for even more money. I normally toss it in the trash with a casual glance. However, this Fall 2017 edition contained an essay by C.J. Lotz titled “Fighting Words” which took up the issues surrounding the questions being asked by every Talking Head. Of course, no one really wants to know what anyone else thinks so right after the questions are raised the Talking Heads answer them for us as they wish. The main question is, “Are we becoming an ever more polarized society?” The question the Talking Heads deign to answer for us is, … [Read More...] about Fighting Words
December 2 @ 8:00 am - December 3 @ 5:00 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.