Thursday, September 27, 2007



In the year 1215, one of the greatest legal documents ever written came to be known as the Magna Carta. The Magna Carta, (Latin for "Great Charter", literally "Great Paper"), also called Magna Carta Libertatum ("Great Charter of Freedoms"), is an English charter originally issued in 1215. Magna Carta was the most significant early influence on the extensive historical process that led to the rule of constitutional law today. Magna Carta influenced many common law and other documents, such as the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and it is considered one of the most important legal documents in the history of democracy.

Magna Carta was originally written because of disagreements between Pope Innocent III, King John and the English barons about the rights of the King. Magna Carta required the king to renounce certain rights, respect certain legal procedures and accept that his will could be bound by the law.

Any of the attorneys who read this blog and remember appearing for a jury trial before the Honorable Richard Yale Feder remember the time he spent with the venire going through the history lessons of the 13th century. I remember appearing in his chambers with opposing counsel and being told that I would be wearing the traditional garb of the barrister when presenting my case to the jury. I donned the robe, (he did not require us to wear the horsehair wigs) and we walked into the courtroom together and listened intently as Judge Feder explained the origins of the jury process as they related to the Magna Carta.

"No free man shall be captured, and or imprisoned, or disseised of his freehold, and or of his liberties, or of his free customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or in any way destroyed, nor will we proceed against him by force or proceed against him by arms, but by the lawful judgment of his peers, and or by the law of the land."

The other most enduring legacy of the Magna Carta is considered the right of Habeas Corpus. This right arises from what we now call Clauses 36, 38, 39, and 40 of the 1215 Magna Carta.

Why should we be discussing the document today in the year 2007?

This week, Sotheby's, the auction house, announced that it plans to auction off the 1297 copy owned by the Ross Perot Foundation. It plans to auction it in New York in mid-December and estimates that the document will sell for $20 million to $30 million. It is the only copy in the United States and the only copy in private hands. Sotheby's says 16 others are owned by the British or Australian governments or by ecclesiastical or educational institutions in England.

Until last week, this copy was on display in the National Archives in Washington, steps from the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. But it was only on loan from the foundation. Ross Perot bought it in 1984 for $1.5 million.

Why should we be discussing the Magna Carta? Because of Salih Uyar and Mosa Zi Zemmori. Uyar of Turkey and Zemmori of Belgium, are two of the more than 550 enemy combatants housed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They are there, in part, because they were captured wearing a Casio F91W digital watch. (This model of watch is notable because United States intelligence officials have identified it as the watch that terrorists use when constructing time bombs). These detainees have no rights. They have no attorneys, they have been granted no right to a public trial and many don't even know what their charges or and why they are there. They have no habeas corpus rights.

Why should we be discussing the Magna Carta? On Monday, the "First Monday of October", the United States Supreme Court will again come to order. The "Roberts" court is complete and we all know where it stands. In an era of red states and blue states, an era of disputed elections in 2000 (Florida) and 2004 (Ohio), and in an era of too many 5-4 decisions, the court will again meet to decide the most important legal issues of our time.

This past term, the court's first full one with Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., the percentage of 5-to-4 decisions in which the four liberals (John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and David H. Souter) were together in dissent rose to 80 percent, up from 55 percent in the 2004 term.

No less than 12 of the previous 14 appointments to the court come from Republican presidents. Burger, Blackmun, Powell, Rehnquist, and O'Connor (all retired) and Stevens, Scalia, Kennedy, Souter, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito were all appointed by Republicans. (Only Ginsburg and Breyer were appointed by a Democrat; Bill Clinton).

Next year, in 2008, we will again elect a new president. And, from this lawyer's perspective, that decision may be one of the most important ones we ever make. Stevens is 87 years old, Ginsburg 74, Breyer 69 and Souter a mere 68 years young. In the next eight years, it is possible that all four could be gone. A new Republican president surely means the further evisceration of the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments. Will the court still even recognize Habeas Corpus or the right to a Trial by Jury? There are many other important issues of our time that will come before the new Roberts' court.

Maybe it is time, this First Monday of October, to remember back to 1297 and the purpose behind the Magna Carta. We must stand strong and continue to demand that our leaders respect the rights of its citizens, that they respect certain legal procedures and they understand that their decisions are still bound by the law.

I am proud to be a lawyer and one of Liberty's Last Champions. I hope you all remember why you became a lawyer!!!

As Rumpole likes to say, "see you in court". I'll be the one carrying the 800 year old parchment and, unlike Perot's copy, mine won't be "For Sale".

CAPTAIN OUT .............................


Anonymous said...

Maybe we can have the legislature use some 'extra' money - after SB 1088 is ruled unconstitutional -- and buy the Magna Carta.

Anonymous said...

ewwwwwww... just a tad bit long? Maybe one or six too many paragraphs ya think! Gee wiz.

Anonymous said...

Captain, nice job. It's about tim we got back to discussing serious issues and dumped the crap about shumie and the q.

Oh, yeah, and I'm glad I wear a Rolex

fake john roberts said...

My court is not for sale Captain! Now, can I please get a map so someone can show me where Gwantanamo Bay is?

Anonymous said...

Bravo Captain, although you've probably alienated 90% of this blog's readers

CAPTAIN said...


Breaking News: Father Fit

In a not too surprising ruling today, Judge Jeri Beth Cohen
ruled that state child-welfare lawyers failed to prove that a 5 year old girl's father is an unfit parent.

In a 47-page ruling, read aloud in a crowded downtown Miami courtroom, Judge Cohen said lawyers for the state Deparment of Children & Families failed in proving their case against Rafael Izquierdo, a Cuban farmer who wants to return to the island with the girl.

Cohen also ruled that state child-welfare workers failed to prove that the father had ''abandoned'' his daughter under Florida law.

Her ruling does not immediately resolve the fate of the girl at the center of the dispute: A second chapter of the legal fight -- to determine whether the girl should stay in the Coral Gables home of Joe and Maria Cubas, where she has been living for the past 19 months -- is expected to begin next month.

CAPTAIN OUT ..............

Sam I Am said...

I heard Dick Cheney plans to buy the Magna Carta then donate back to the National Archives marked with an asterix.

Anonymous said...

Hey Captain I think the rest of your shit is usually wack but that was pretty dope!!

Anonymous said...


One of the first blog readers said...

Rumpola- no trial master. And now two names to be added to He who must not be named. (PS- the original blog He who must not be named was Brian Tannebaum. I am a long time and careful blog reader and your original feud, which you started to get notice was with the loveable BT.) Now you've added the Q and A Shuminer (I didn't write Shu**e) to the list. This will make for a boring week.

Anonymous said...

3:32: It wasn't Judge Emas who was reversed. Judge Michael Salmon presided over the trial. And it obviously isn't a no brainer if the 3 DCA disagreed with you and the Supreme Court wrote a 25 page opinion.

Barnaby Min

The Palindromist In action said...

The thing about Emas, and once I write this you will never be able to look at him the SAME way, is that EMAS is SAME backwards.

Madam Im Adam

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we can use this mini Q and Shumie vacation to talk about the hottest criminal defense attorney in action. The Big E

ION-E said...

I agree
Screw the Q

Fake Gary Rosenberg said...

I want some law and order on this blog and I want it now!

Anonymous said...

oooo a hottie huh... any "E" pictures

from an out o towner !

Fake Peckins said...

Hear hear. Yeah..ummm....you guys need to cut it our and calm down or I'll impose points and traffic school.

Anonymous said...

oh the memories;

"Rumpole said...
Well, we feel pretty confident denying we are Tannebaum. He has his own blog anyway. But in theory, you are correct, and we have never denied the various rumors floating around: Grey, Reizenstein, Reiff, Chief Judge Roberts, etc. So offically, only Tannebaum's name can be crossed off the list. We made a promise to keep the specifics of them private, but if you saw the vitriol oozing from those early emails we received from Tannebaum, when we were harassing him to post our address on the FACDL list serve, you would be quite sure we are two separate people.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006 6:02:00 PM"

Thanks from Fake McGillis said...

Rumpole said...
Rumpole wants to make sure everyone who reads this blog gets it. 1) Don't take yourselves or this blog too seriously. 2) If we mention your name, its usually because we like/respect you (as in the case of Mr Hersch) and if we tease you just a little, well, please take it in the spirit it was intended. To make sure no one has any mistaken ideas about this post, Mr. Hersch has not complained to us. He has held up under our wit and sarcasm very well. But a friend of his thinks we are too hard on him. For the record: Richard Hersch, Mike Catalano and Maggie Arias all are owed a debt of thanks from the defense bar in Dade County for their tireless efforts, for which they are working for free. Go get em guys!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006 9:30:00 PM"

Thanks Rumpole I like you too thats why I threaten to sue you every day. PEACE!

Fake Bob Woodward said...

Rumpole, having a degree in journalism, and a curiosity to get to the bottom of this "Christy's Incident" I did a little checking today.
1) All phone calls to Christy's were met with a polite "no comment" when I tried to get someone to speak to be on the phone.
2) I went for lunch at Christy's today and did some discrete asking around. Eventually a waiter named "Jorge" came over and said on the night in question he was a bus boy and was the one who had to clean up the mashed potatoes. He proudly said we was a witness in the case. As we talked I noticed the head waiter and a man in a suit in conversation pointing at us. The head waiter came over, informed "Jorge" he had other duties, and then with an icy smile, told me that while I was welcome to finish my lunch, I was not welcome to speak to their employees about a private matter. After a very enjoyable lunch, I left my card with a note informing Christy's that the incident was being discussed all over Miami's most popular legal blog.

3) A few hours later a man who identified himself as a senior partner with Cadwaller, Wickersham, and Taft- who your readers will recognize as the oldest law firm in the Country, and a powerhouse old money New York Law firm, called me to discuss the incident. He said that the restaurant had retained his firm to deal with my inquiry, that he had reviewed the file, and that by court order no individual could discuss the matter further until November 13, 2009. He also politely told me that he had authority to file whatever court proceedings were necessary to keep me from harassing their employees about this private matter. He ended the conversation with a stout "good day sir!" and hung up the phone.

Rumpy, I don't know about you, but I smell a massive cover-up here. I'm on the case.

Anonymous said...

The Dems will win in 08 and we will finally get some new judges on the court to continue the balance. Othwerwise, the Captain is right, there will be no more 4th amendment if Alito & Scalia and company have anything to say about it

Anonymous said...

Rumpole, the more scholarly of your readers will recognize that the Christy's Incident, or as the French call it "L'incident du Christy" (In German it's Das Ereignis des Christys) was written about in several law review or legal articles. I can recall two:

"When a night out leads to a Day In Court" American Academy of Trial Lawyers, Fall, 1990 and "Waiter there's a depo in my soup" which was published around the same time in the now defunct Miami Civil Law Review.

The incident was also cited several times recently in connection with the unlawful sealing of civil cases in Broward.

Hope this helps.

A Civil lawyer who was not involved in the case.

Linguist said...

L'avvenimento del Christy (Italian)
O Incident do Christy (Portuguese)
Кристи инцидент
El incidente del Christyفإن حادثة

Anonymous said...

OK now I am just confused 8:39PM says a court file is sealed? Is this crap or for real? I thought Chief Justice Lewis did away with sealing court files a few months back?

Captain whats the deal with all the mashed potatoe's stories is this true. If true what are the real facts and why of why is this guy obsessed with this event?

Captain short this out for me.

Anonymous said...

See, I for one do not think that these terrorists in Gitmo deserve any legal help. As far as I am concerned they are the enemy in a war.

And no one on this blog can dispute that

Anonymous said...

Fake Bob Woodward:

Ask the senior partenr for a copy of the order he's referring to, or just the case number if he's too busy at the moment. Sounds like another file sealing scandal in the works.

batman said...

9:15:00 PM:

I am truly sorry that I did not get chance to read the articles (re: the Christy's Incident), such reading material was not made available when I was in kindergarten. Nonetheless, thank you for enlightening me, it's so scholarly of you.

I was only 5 years old in 1989, which is the reason I asked what the incident was all about. All I wanted to know was who threw the mashed potatoes at whom and what could possibly compel them to do it. I suppose we'll follow-up in 2009.

Anonymous said...

Re, the historical circumstances under which the Magna Carta was drafted: King John (think Bush) was engaged in an expensive war (think Iraq) and he went to the Barons (think Congress) for appropriate funding. Sensing an opportunity, the Barons conditioned their war funding on the King divesting some of his power (think fund the Iraq war only if Bush agrees to a withdrawal schedule). Notwithstanding that King John repeatedly violated the terms of the Magna Carter (think Bush rejecting the popular mandate to get out of the Iraq war), the Magna Carta served as a beginning toward a broad based democratic delegation of power to the people.

Anonymous said...

11:27PM: Have you forgotten about the presumption of innocence? Do you realize how many people are being held captive, whether in Gitmo or in other CIA prisons around the world? I suppose that you simply feel that we should throw the Constitution out the window?