Stand Your Ground And Self-Defense In Florida

Anger over deaths caused by guns is boiling in Florida this summer. And controversy over the “stand your ground” legal principle in the state’s self-defense law is reaching a frenzy.

Please, let’s all take a deep breath, step back, and think about this slowly and carefully. It’s important for us to get the issues and facts straight. Fortunately, the Tampa Bay Times has published on each of the past two days excellent front-page news reports regarding the shooting death at a convenience store in Clearwater and the resulting controversy.

I recommend that everyone read the following two stories from start to finish. Not just the front page but the jump to an inside page. The stories are available on the Times website. Continue reading

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Sun Is Shining On Baltimore Today; Trouble May Continue In Coming Days, Or Not

BALTIMORE SUN PHOTO

BALTIMORE SUN PHOTO

Baltimore Orioles-Chicago White Sox game is being played to an empty stadium in Camden Yards Wednesday afternoon. Game closed to public after trouble in the streets on Monday and Tuesday. For more breaking news, see BaltimoreSun.com

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Baltimore Police-Community Relations, Necessary Background

Anyone who isn’t familiar with Baltimore will need some background and perspective to even begin to understand the troubled story unfolding there. The protests and unrest in the city stem from the arrest and death in custody of Freddie Gray, who was buried Monday. But the underlying grievances have a long history.  Continue reading

Baltimore Protests And Looting

Regarding Monday’s unrest in Baltimore, most of us should take time to think before we speak. I live in Maryland, but not in Baltimore. Let’s listen first to the voices of the residents and elected leaders of Baltimore.  Continue reading

Lawyer Fiction: John Grisham And Michael Connelly, Part 1

So many weighty questions remain unresolved as this miserable old year runs out the clock.

Who’s the best at writing lawyer fiction: John Grisham or Michael Connelly? That’s the question keeping me awake on the last night of 2013.

John Grisham

JOHN GRISHAM (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve read more of Grisham than Connelly. In fact I think I’ve read all of Grisham’s stuff, except his recent dabbling in the juvenile market. I just finished his latest, “Sycamore Row.” It’s classic Grisham with a deep-South setting, Clanton, Miss., a town caught in a racial time warp. Clanton is modern enough to have an elected black sheriff, but the rural backwater keeps producing court cases highlighting its history of racism.

A Grisham trademark is fast-paced suspense — maybe a chase scene — after a long buildup. Many of Grisham’s novels delve deeply into a particular legal quagmire, such as the death penalty, product liability, environmental pollution, or class-action suits. You feel like you’ve been through a law school seminar, except it was fun.

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