Law and its many connections -- law and literature, love, lollipops, & fun, law and everything else under the sun
Notes: 1) LawAndEverythingElse.Com & BurtLaw.Com don't solicit business for any law firm or give legal advice, other than that lawyers may be hazardous to your health. There are many more bad ones than good ones. Who can find a virtuous lawyer? Her price is far above rubies. It is easier for a camel to pass through a needle's eye than for a lawyer to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. So saith the Lord. 2) In linking to another site or source, we don't mean to say we necessarily agree with views or ideas expressed there or to attest to the accuracy of facts set forth there. We link to other sites in order to alert you to sites, ideas, books, articles and stories that have interested us and to guide you in your pleasure-seeking, mind-expanding, heart-opening, soul-satisfying outer and inner travels.
'Rumpole' dies. Leo McKern, who gained fame in the U.S. playing the barrister, "Rumpole," in the PBS-TV dramatization of John Mortimer's "Rumpole of the Bailey" stories, has died at age 82. Links: a) BBC's obituary; b) Mortimer's & others' tributes; c) Law4U's excellent intro to TV's Rumpole; d) an unofficial Rumpole home page; e) Rumpole episode guide. (07.23.2002)
The British way. We love reading British newspapers. The UK Telegraph of late has had some interesting law-related stories. You have to register (for free) to read the stories, but you'll find it worth the while. Today (07.23) it has several stories, all worth reading, about a British tycoon who faces life in prison after being convicted of murdering a rival: a) Van Hoogstraten faces life for killing rival ("Hoogstraten, who became one of Britain's wealthiest men with a mixture of commercial flair and ruthlessness, yesterday faced life in jail after being found guilty of killing a business rival"). b) £500m tycoon who dealt in ruthlessness & revenge ("'If there is one word I don't like you will get a phone call,' he told a reporter in a conversation that entered newspaper folklore on the Sussex coast. 'If there are two, you will be in the Royal Sussex County Hospital, three and they will find you in Shoreham harbour'"). c) Slippery character's guide to arson ("Nicholas van Hoogstraten's denial of any involvement in the 1992 Hove fire, which killed five people, was notable for its originality: 'That is an outrageous suggestion,' he said. 'If you are going to do it, you do it properly'"). d) Property developer who wanted to be pharaoh ("He demanded luxury not only in his lifetime but in perpetuity. When he decided to embark on Hamilton Palace, the largest private house built in Britain in the 20th century, his plans included a mausoleum in the east wing"). e) The van Hoogstraten hate list...in his own words - greatest quotes ("'The reason I have been collecting all these years is to save things from the riff- raff.' Describing his art collection to The Sunday Telegraph, March 1994"). (07.23.2002) Earlier law-related reading: a) "The tensions at the heart of Britain's highest court were thrown into sharp relief the other day when Lord Bingham, the senior law lord, revealed that House of Lords officials had attempted to evict the law lords from their rooms in the Palace of Westminster and 'shuffle' them off to an undistinguished annexe by the car park across the road...." b) From Keeping order in the highest court, UK Telegraph (07.11.2002). "It has long been suspected, say critics of the system, that criminals in cities such as Liverpool can act with impunity because of the ease with which they can intimidate witnesses and jurors. Statistics indicate that 79 per cent of defendants who plead not guilty in Liverpool Crown Court are acquitted - the highest rate in the country...." From No justice for the man with the broken jaw, UK Telegraph (07.14.2002).
The trial. If you didn't follow the recently-concluded trial in the Old Bailey of Lord Archer (best-selling novelist Jeffrey Archer), which resulted in his being sentenced to prison for four years for "perverting the course of justice," you missed out on something quite fascinating. What was it all about? Really it was all about "What if?" What if Bill Clinton had not only denied having had sexual relations with "that woman" but, after his term was up, had lied even more aggressively, as by suing a news organization for libel and, with strong supporting testimony by his wife, Hillary, winning a judgment of, say, "millions"? And then what if, several years from now, about the time he's ready to run for Mayor of Chappaqua, some folks who'd worked with him were to come forward with evidence that he had solicited perjury in connection with the libel lawsuit? And what if, based on that evidence, a prosecutor were to charge ol' Bill with perjury? And what if Hillary were once again to stand by him and support him in court? That's sort of what the trial of Lord Archer was all about. If you like "Rumpole" stories, you'll probably find it worth your while to go back and read some of the news reports. Each of the main UK newspapers, as well as the BBC, covered the trial. Here's a link to the site containing all of The Guardian's reports, which are still being filed. One of the best of the reports in the archive is this one. With that as background, I refer you to this utterly reliable diary, reprinted in The Independent, that "London barrister John Fuller-Carp" has been keeping relating to the trial and its aftermath. Excerpts: "If clients consulted their barrister earlier in the criminal process, advice could be given during the planning stage and this kind of unfortunate occurrence could be avoided. It is a very sad reflection of our justice system that criminals are not encouraged to do this." "Telephoned the Bar Council today to put on record my views concerning the wearing of wigs and traditional court dress. I cannot understand why solicitors want barristers to abandon their wigs? How can it sensibly be suggested that a tightly knotted piece of horsehair worn on the head does anything other then lend a grandeur, dignity and solemnity to the head of the wearer? In these days of computers and mobile phones, the barrister's wig must surely be seen as more relevant than ever." (07.31.2001)
News anchor loses bikini battle in high court. Anna Ford is a British Lesley Stahl, a woman my age who has been reading news for the BBC for many years. Last summer she took a vacation in Majorca with her then partner, David Scott, and her kids. A member of the paparazzi, using a telephoto lens on his camera, took pics of her wearing a bikini on a somewhat secluded section of a public beach. In the pics, later published in a British daily tabloid and a magazine, Scott and Ford were shown applying sun-screen to each other. The UK has a different notion of press freedom than we do, and the British press in turn has a different idea of what's newsworthy and what's not. Ford herself, in 1998, wrote a critique of the British press' (and public's) fixation on sex, which she titled "Sex Objection." It's worth a read; here's the only link to it I could find. In any event, after the pics were published, Ford filed a complaint with an independent self-regulatory body called the Press Complaints Commission, self-described in laudatory terms here, criticized here. Ford's complaint claimed the publication of the bikini pics violated the PCC's Code, which provides in part: a) "Everyone is entitled to respect for his or her private and family life, home, health and correspondence"; b) "A publication will be expected to justify intrusions into any individual's private life without consent"; c) "The use of long lens photography to take pictures of people in private places without their consent is unacceptable"; and d) "Private places are public or private property where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy." When the PCC denied Ford's complaint, Ford tried what no one else has tried -- she tried to appeal to the High Court, claiming the PCC arbitrarily had failed to uphold its own code. The Court now has denied permission to appeal [more], and Ford has responded by denouncing the PCC as a "pussy cat" organization over which editors who work with the commission hold far too much sway on matters of privacy [more]. The PCC has responded to the Court's decision and Ford's denunciation by praising the Court and itself [more]. For opinion evidence from others agreeing with Ford that the PCC is ineffective, click here. Re the Minnesota News Council, click here. The site for the Australian Press Council has links to the sites of the relatively few other press councils around the world. My own opinion of the Minnesota News Council is that it primarily serves the interests of the news providers. It's possible the bland local newspapers and TV and radio news shows in Minneapolis-St. Paul might be worse than they are without the council, but that's not saying much. (07.31.2001) Update: It seems a member of the paparazzi has been trying to sell to the press similar pics of "President Jacques Chirac on his summer hols, looking bronzed, a trifle plump -- and completely naked." And, according to The Guardian, it seems thus far (as of 08.30.2001) no paper or magazine has been willing to publish the pics. A double standard? Another update, this on press councils: Here's a link to another story suggesting increasing dissatisfaction with the work of the UK's Press Complaints Commission. Lawyers for celebrities whose privacy has been invaded by the press recently have adopted a strategy of relying on the European Human Rights Act in going directly to courts, thereby bypassing the commission. For my previous comments on this development, click here. (10.30.2001)
Announcement. We've finally gotten around to launching our new webzine/blawg: BurtLaw's The Daily Judge:
It is not an online newspaper and is not affiliated with or intended to be mistaken for any existing or previously-existing newspaper or journal. Rather, it is a so-called "blawg," a law-related personal "web log" or "blog," one with a subjective, idiosyncratic, and eccentric sociological and social-psychological slant that focuses not on the latest judicial decisions of supposed great importance but on a) the institution of judge in the United States and in other countries throughout the world, b) the judicial office and role, c) judicial personalities, d) the great common law tradition of judging as practiced here and throughout the world, e) judges as judges, f) judges as ordinary people with the usual mix of virtues and flaws, etc. We link to newspapers and other sources in order to alert the reader to ideas, articles, stories, speeches, law books, literary works and other things about "judges" that have interested us and that may interest the reader.
We don't promote our blawgs, but readers of this blog and of our affiliated political opinion blog, BurtonHanson.Com, may be interested in it. We don't think there is another blawg quite like it.