Entries Tagged as Legal History
May 01, 2013 · Jason Zarin
Consider borrowing the Library's latest-acquired TV series on DVD: Garrow's Law. This BBC courtroom drama is based on the life of Sir William Garrow (1760--1840) and features trials based on actual Old Bailey trial transcripts. The three-season series is a short twelve episodes, perfect for a study break.
Willliam Garrow was a pioneering criminal defense lawyer during a period in British history in which defendants (and their counsel) had few rights. Evidence rules were scant; defense lawyers were not permitted to address the jury; and defendants could not make their own defense. Cross-examination was the only the only tool available. Through his strenuous and agressive advocacy both in and outside the courtroom, Garrow helped transform the British criminal justice system (and influenced the US's) into one with a more-developed law of evidence, a clearer set of rights for felony criminal defendants, and a presumption of innocence until convicted by a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.
(photo from Amazon.com)
Legal History · News for Faculty · News for Students
March 18, 2013 · Todd Venie
To recognize the fiftieth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, the Georgetown Law Library has created a research guide devoted to the subject of indigent criminal defense.
This new guide combines primary and secondary legal sources, as well as original source material held in the National Equal Justice Library and Special Collections here at the law library. Also included are related materials such as statistics and items from our popular materials, such as the movie Gideon’s Trumpet, starring Henry Fonda.
We have organized the material into three main sections: One dealing with the law before Gideon; one devoted to Gideon itself; and one covering post-Gideon developments. The guide is designed to help students and others who want to quickly immerse themselves in the case law, scholarship, and historical materials concerning this essential element of our criminal justice system.
Criminal Justice · Legal History · National Equal Justice Library · Special Collections
March 18, 2013 · Katharina Hering
Library recognizes 50th Anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright with exhibit, film screening, research guide
Fifty years ago, on Monday, March 18, 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overruled its own 1942 decision in Betts v. Brady. The Court mandated that states must provide lawyers for persons who are facing serious criminal charges, and who cannot afford counsel. Gideon v. Wainwright was a reflection of the broad awareness toward poverty at the time (President Johnson declared the War on Poverty in 1964), paving the way for the establishment -and improvement of -- public defender structures and systems in all U.S. states. The case had broad constitutional implications, and represented a victory for the position that the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights were applicable to the states under the Fourteenth Amendment. One of the leading advocates of that position was Justice Hugo Black, who wrote the option of the Court. "Any person haled into court, who is too poor to hire a lawyer, cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel is provided for him...lawyers in criminal courts are necessities, not luxuries."
In recognition of this significant anniversary, Georgetown Law Library is featuring an exhibition about the case. In addition, we will screen Gideon's Trumpet tonight, kicking off the Equal Justice Film Festival, and will also launch an indigent defense research guide.
The exhibit in the atrium of the E.B. Williams Law Library tells the story of Gideon v. Wainwright based on materials from the National Equal Justice Library's collections, including the Gideon's Trumpet script and stills collection, and other items. The 1980 TV movie Gideon's Trumpet was based on Anthony Lewis' book with the same title, which was initially published in 1964. The movie followed the book closely, but the director also took some artistic freedoms. Photographs in the exhibit, for example, contrast the 1963 Warren Court with the Hollywood Supreme Court. Sam Jaffe, representing Felix Frankfurter, remained on the Hollywood court, while in fact he had already resigned from the Supreme Court. As one of the supporters of Betts v. Brady, he was left on the Hollywood court to represent the opinion skeptical of overturning the 1942 decision.
The movie ends with Gideon's acquittal after a second trial, where he was represented by an attorney (Fred Turner). But what happened after the happy ending? "It's fair to say that all of the hopes that we had have not been fulfilled," said Abe Krash, a Georgetown Law faculty member who worked on Abe Fortas defense team for Clarence Gideon, in an NEJL oral history interview. Later this spring, the library will continue its Gideon anniversary programs, and will be highlighting the General Charles L. Decker/NLADA collection in another exhibit, which will address some of the challenges of implementing and sustaining Gideon's mandate following the 1963 decision.
In addition to the oral history with Abe Krash, the NEJL collections include oral history interviews with Bruce Jacob, who argued against Gideon on behalf of the State of Florida as a young Assistant Attorney General, and with Anthony Lewis, the author of Gideon's Trumpet (1964), who followed the case as a reporter. Full videos and transcripts of the interviews can be accessed at: http://www.law.georgetown.edu/library/collections/nejl/gideon/index.cfm.
Please join us for the screening of Gideon's Trumpet tonight: http://www.law.georgetown.edu/library/about/125/filmfestival.cfm
125th Anniversary · Legal History · Library Exhibits · National Equal Justice Library
February 25, 2013 · Erin Kidwell
Scholars researching the history of the law consider law books and related works from the period covered vital sources of information.The value of these sources increases when they contain contemporaneous annotations that can provide vital clues to the mental world of lawyers of the day. If those annotations were made by a significant historical figure, such clues are priceless. Georgetown Law Library’s Special Collections holds several annotated imprints, including:
Sir Edward Coke's (1552-1634) copy of the 1569 imprint of De Legibus et Consuetudinibus Angliae [On the Laws and Customs of England] (ca. 1230-50) by Henri de Bracton (1210-1268), the first treatise of English law now commonly known simply as Bracton; and,
Sir Matthew Hale's (1609-1676) copy of the 1640 imprint of one of the most significant medieval chronicle histories of England, Monachi Albanensis Angli Historia Major by Matthew Paris (1200-1259), the 13th century scholar, polymath, and member of the court of Henry III.
Annotated Imprints features selected facsimile images from these two unique books. The exhibit is currently on view in the Special Collections exhibit case outside Rm. 210 in the Williams Library.
To view these and other rare books and historical materials, contact Erin Kidwell - email@example.com or Special Collections - firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit us in Williams 210 M-F from 9am to 5pm.
Legal History · Library Exhibits · News for Alumni · News for Faculty · News for Students · Special Collections
February 03, 2013 · Jason Zarin
Today, February 3, marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 16th Amendment, which gave Congress the power to create an income tax. Shortly thereafter, Congress enacted the Income Tax Law of 1913, 38 Stat. 114 (Oct. 3, 1913) -- the first of many! (The income tax provisions start on page 166)
The 1913 Form 1040 return was the picture of simplicity and was only 4 pages, including instructions. An annual exemption of $3,000 (the equivalent of $70,000 today!) enabled most Americans to escape the 1%--6% tax.
The legislative history of the Income Tax Law of 1913 is available in Seidman's legislative history of federal income tax laws, 1938-1861, which the Library has in its print collection. An extensive collection of pre-compiled legislative histories of federal tax laws is available on Hein Online in the "Taxation & Economic Reform in America Parts I & II, 1781--2012" library.
Photo: IRS 1040 Tax Form Being Filled Out by kenteegardin CC by SA 2.0
Database News · Legal History · Tax Law
December 10, 2012 · Andrew J. Christensen
Forget soda cans, noisy snacks, and aromatic carryout in the library – how about a late-night study buddy lighting up a stogie in the carrel behind you?
In 2012, it would be pretty much unthinkable (not to mention illegal*) to allow smoking anywhere inside the Georgetown Law Library. However, a new exhibit in the Williams Library highlights a time when cigarettes, pipes, and other types of tobacco were actually welcome within the library and Law Center, as elsewhere throughout society.
Stop by the Williams atrium display cases for some photos and facts that just might “blow” your mind. And remember, the only smoking allowed (and encouraged!) around here nowadays is of your exams – best of luck!
*D.C. Code § 7-1703(4) (2001).
125th Anniversary · Georgetown News · Legal History · Library Exhibits · Library News · Library Policies · News for Alumni · News for Faculty · News for Students · Special Collections
November 16, 2012 · Erin Kidwell
1481 imprint of Jodocus of Erfurt’s Vocabularius
Georgetown Law Library recently acquired a 1481 imprint of the Vocabularius Utriusque Iuris [Vocabulary of Both Laws (i.e. – canon and civil law)] commonly attributed to the 15th century jurist Jodocus of Erfurt. Considered the first printed law dictionary by legal historians, the Vocabularius was first published circa 1474 in Basel. Highly esteemed as an authoritative source by early modern jurists, the Vocabularius went through nearly 80 editions over the course of the next two centuries.
The library’s copy is bound together with a 1488 imprint of the Postilla Super Epistolas et Evangelia, a 1437 collection of scripture excerpts appropriate to use in church services. This pairing would seem to indicate ownership by a canon lawyer or church official.
The binding itself is a beautiful contemporary calf with intricate blind stamping, raised bands, intact and functional brass clasps, and decorative brass corner and center pieces. The Vocabularius also has contemporary hand-lettered rubrications in red throughout (as shown in the image above), as well as a few contemporary or near-contemporary annotations.
1567 imprint of Duprat’s Lexicon Juris Civilis
Another recent acquisition is a first edition of Pardoux Duprat’s Lexicon Juris Civilis et canonici. Duprat was a 16th century French humanist and official annotator of the laws of Charles IX of France. The most influential of Duprat’s works, the Lexicon would be printed six more times in just 15 years. In addition to defining and discussing words and terms from contemporary civil and canon law, Duprat also covered some aspects of ancient Greek law. The breadth of Duprat’s scholarship is revealed by his use of not only works of earlier jurists and legal lexicographers, but of noted medical and literary works as well. His definitions go well beyond merely legal issues to discuss relevant lexicographical and philological matters. Georgetown Law Library’s copy is in a contemporary vellum binding fashioned from a scraped manuscript leaf, the partly erased text of which is still visible.
To view these and other recent rare and historical acquisitions, contact Erin Kidwell email@example.com or Special Collections firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit us in Williams 210 M-F from 9am to 5pm.
Legal History · News for Alumni · News for Faculty · News for Students · Special Collections
July 01, 2012 · Erin Kidwell
Matthew Hale’s annotated 1640 imprint of Matthew Paris’ Monachi Albanensis Angli Historia Major
Georgetown Law Library recently acquired Sir Matthew Hale’s annotated copy of the 1640 imprint of one of the most significant medieval chronicle histories of England, Monachi Albanensis Angli Historia Major by the 13th century scholar, polymath, and member of the court of Henry III – Matthew Paris. Hale’s copy is copiously annotated throughout the sections covering the reign of Henry III with marginal references to significant Year Book cases and Parliamentary Acts.
Hale is one of the great jurists in the history of English law, serving as Chief Baron of the Exchequer from 1660 to 1671, and then as Chief Justice of King’s Bench from 1671 until his death in 1676. He had earlier served as a justice of the Common Bench from 1653 to 1659 under the Cromwellian Commonwealth
In all likelihood, Hale used his copy of the Historia Major as a reference work in preparing his major works on English legal history - the Historia placitorum coronae [History of the Pleas of the Crown] and the History and Analysis of the Common Laws of England – two of the most respected works on the practice of English criminal law and on the history of English law well into the 19th century.
To view these and other recent rare and historical acquisitions, contact Erin Kidwell email@example.com in Special Collections firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit us in Williams 210 M-F from 9am to 5pm.
Legal History · News for Alumni · News for Faculty · News for Students · Special Collections
February 16, 2012 · Erin Kidwell
Special Collections’ recent acquisitions include a unique 18th century annotated compilation of European treaties, an 1760 collection of Portuguese and Papal laws for the colony of Brazil, a first edition of the first official Tennessee law reports, and an early 19th century American legal apprentice’s notebook.
The eight volumes of the Corps Universel Diplomatique du Droit des Gens; ou Recueil des Traitez d’Alliance, de Paix, de Treve, etc. faits en Europe, depuis Charlemagne, jusqu’a Present; avec les Capitulations, Imperiales et Royales, et autres Actes Publics and the five volumes of the Supplement au Corps Universel Diplomatique du Droit des Gens were bound into twenty-four multi-part volumes. Begun by Jean Dumont, Baron de Carlscoon (1667-1727), this compilation of European treaties in their original languages from 315 to 1730 CE was then completed by Jean Rousset de Missy (1686-1762) and Jean Barbeyrac (1674-1744), and published from 1726 to 1739. In addition to being worthy of inclusion and notice a century later in the 1847 American Marvin’s Legal Bibliography as “still hold[ing] the first rank among all collections of this description,” (quoting James Reddie, Inquiries in International Law (Edinburgh 1842)), this particular set is a fine example of 18th century speckled calf binding with gilt-stamped spines and speckled text-block edges.
The 1760 second imprint of the Colleccao dos Breves Pontificios, e Leys Regias, que Forao Expedidos, e Publicadas desde o Anno de 1741, sobre a Liberdade das Pessoas, Bens, e Commercio dos Indios do Brasil is bound together with the 1760 Supplemento a Colleccao dos Breves Pontificios, Leys Regias, e Officios que Sepassaram Entre as Cortes de Roma e Lisboa. These are collections of laws affecting the rights of persons, property and commercial activities in Brazil, many of which were promulgated to limit the activities of the Jesuit Order within the colony. The last set of laws in the Supplemento are concerned with the expulsion of the Jesuits from Brazil, which was part of a more extensive effort to expel the Jesuits from Portugal and all its colonies. Our newly acquired copy is a beautiful example of 18th century "cats-paw" decorated sheep binding with a gilt-stamped spine.
Tennessee Reports, Cases Ruled and Adjudged in the Superior Courts of Law and Equity, and Federal Courts for the State of Tennessee, edited by John Overton, and Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Court of Errors and Appeals of the State of Tennessee, from the year 1816 to 1817, edited by John Haywood, report territorial, state, and federal decisions from 1791 to 1817. Overton and Haywood were early Tennessee judges during the period covered by their reports. They were also both natives of North Carolina, where Judge Overton had served as a delegate to the 1789 convention that ratified the U.S. Constitution and Judge Haywood had compiled two volumes of North Carolina’s first court reports. After settling in Tennessee, Judge Overton became a friend and business colleague of Andrew Jackson and leading supporter and organizer of Jackson’s presidential campaigns in the 1820s. Judge Haywood subsequently authored two of the leading early works of Tennessee history – The Natural and Aboriginal History of Tennessee and The Civil and Political History of Tennessee. Our copies of these five volumes have been recently rebound in period-style calf.
The manuscript notebook of Robert Frame (1800-1847) contains outlines of legal subjects written while Frame read the law as an apprentice in the law office of a John M. Clayton (1796-1856), who would subsequently become a U.S. Senator, Chief Justice of Delaware, and later a U.S Secretary of State in the 1830s, 40s and 50s. Frame himself would later be appointed Attorney General of Delaware when he was 30 years old, and went on to serve in the General Assembly. His apprentice’s notebook was compiled at some point between 1820 and 1823 (his index is dated 1823), with some entries likely being added after that period. He was admitted to the Delaware Bar in 1824. Frame’s Notebook is an example of how many early American lawyers taught themselves the law by ‘reading the law’ in an established attorney’s office. The blank notebook was purchased for $3 by Robert Frame circa 1820, and is in its original faux tree-calf sheep binding .
Special Collections is located in Williams 210, and may be contacted at email@example.com.
Legal History · News for Alumni · News for Faculty · News for Students · Special Collections
January 06, 2012 · Erin Kidwell
In 21st century America, we all know that New Year's Day is January 1st. But, did you know that this wasn't alway so?
From 1582 until 1751, England refused to adopt the 'new' Gregorian Calendar on the grounds that it was steeped in Roman Catholic 'superstitions' and not at all proper for a Protestant country. This resulted in almost two centuries of dual and/or contradictory dating of legal documents, governmental proclamations, newspapers, and other printed materials. Sometimes the document would follow the practice of every other European nation, including Protestant Scotland, and use January 1st as the start of each new year. Sometimes the document would follow the English practice of starting each official new year on March 25th. Sometimes the document would list both years for any date between January 1st and March 25th, as in 'January 1, 1700/01'. You can easily imagine the potential for confusion and complications this ongoing situation led to in England and its dominions and colonies.
The latest exhibit in the Williams Library Atrium illustrates this cultural anomaly of Early Modern English governance with facsimiles from books held by Georgetown Law Library's Special Collections.
Legal History · News for Students · Special Collections