Scotland is known for its passionate football (American soccer) fans, and it is recognized as the birthplace of golf and home to the most famous golf courses in the world. Did you know that both sports were once illegal throughout the land? Continue reading
On February 7, 2017, Vice President Mike Pence became the first Vice President to cast the tie-breaking vote in the US Senate for the confirmation of a cabinet member. Under the terms of the Constitution, the Vice President presides over the Senate, but does not have a vote except for the purpose of breaking a tie. With the Senate evenly divided on the nomination of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, Vice President Pence cast his vote in favor of confirming the President’s nomination, thus earning himself one more place in the history books.
One of his predecessors had the opportunity to have that place in history. Continue reading
Aitabdel Salem spent five months in jail, waiting for someone to come up with the money to post bond. Little did he know that he could have walked for less than the cost of a large cup of coffee.
Salem was jailed in April 2014 on charges of attacking a police officer who arrested him for shoplifting. His bond was originally set at $25,000 on the assault charge and $1 for each of two accompanying minor charges. Salem was unable to come up with the $25,002, so he sat in his New York City jail cell, awaiting trial.
When prosecutors were unable to get an indictment for the assault charge, it went away, together with the $25,000 bail requirement. That left just the remaining two charges — and $2 bail — keeping Mr. Salem in custody.
So there he sat — for nearly five months. Salem claims his attorney failed to tell him about the change in his bail requirements. When he finally posted bail — in April 2015 — he was ordered to return to court the next month for a hearing. He failed to show up as scheduled and was arrested and put in custody — this time on $30,000 bail.
Legal documents tend to be a bit dry and uninteresting, but that doesn’t always have to be the case. The following is a deed recorded in the County Recorder’s Office in Beardstown, Illinois:
J. Henry Shaw To Charles E. Wyman Deed, filed for Record August 9th, 1881 at One O’clock P.M. Ferris E. Downing Recorder.
I, J. Henry Shaw, the Grantor herein,
Who lives at Beardstown, Cass County within.
For seven hundred dollars to me paid today,
To Charles E Wyman do sell and convey.
Lot two (2) in Block forty (40), said county and town,
Where Illinois River flows placidly down.
And warrant the title forever and aye,
Waiving homestead and mansion, to both a good bye.
And pledging this deed is valid in Law,
I add here my signature, J. Henry Shaw (seal)
This was further attested to by the justice of the peace:
I, Sylvester Emmons, who lives at Beardstown,
A Justice of Peace of fame and renown.
Of the County of Cass and Illinois State,
Do certify here that on this same date,
One J. Henry Shaw to me did make known,
That the deed above and name are his own.
And he stated he sealed and delivered the same
Voluntarily, freely, and never would claim
His homestead therein; but left all alone,
Turned his face to the street
and his back to his home.
August 1 st. AD 1881 S Emmons J.P. (seal)
In Utah it is illegal to swear in front of a dead person.
Armchair lawyers often throw around caution about the color of ink that is needed when signing a legal document, and they certainly do not approve of using a pencil. If there was ever any doubt about the legality of pencil-written missives, consider the outcome of one such document.
On July 31, 1945 President Harry S. Truman was in Potsdam, Germany for his meeting with the leaders of the Allies. He received an urgent top-secret cable from the War Department, advising him that preparations for use of the atomic bomb were complete, and the President’s final approval was needed for its scheduled use.
President Truman considered the communique. Making his decision, he flipped the pink paper over, and on its back he wrote these words — in pencil:
Reply to your 41011 suggestions approved. Release when ready but not sooner than
No one has challenged the legality of this use of the Presidential pencil.
The first case of high treason in modern times came before the Swedish courts in 2001, and four traitors were identified. They were four boys, all aged 16 or 17. Their offense? They threw a strawberry tart at King Carl Gustaf, hitting him on the face.
The boys said they were protesting the monarchy and yelled “For King and Fatherland” as the king passed by. Although the king was surprised, he was unharmed. Queen Silvia, who was walking next to her husband, assisted in wrestling one of the boys to the ground.
The boys were fines between 80 days’ and 100 days’ income each (approximately $370).
So much for the days when treason against the crown cost the offender his head!