Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 3/4/13: An Eye For An Eye

An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is a theory of retributive justice, focusing on retaliation rather than compensating the victim. This principle first appeared in the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi (hundreds of years earlier than similar … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 2/18/13: The Meaning of ‘Rap’

The word rap – referring originally to a mild form of rebuke (such as to rap one’s knuckles) – by the late 18th century referred to punishment or blame for serious offences. By the early 19th century, it entered American … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 2/11/13: The Third Amendment

The 3rd Amendment states that “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”  The British practice … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 2/4/13: The Equal Rights Amendment

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which sought to guarantee equal rights for women, was originally introduced in Congress in 1923 but not submitted for ratification until 1972. It was ultimately ratified by 35 states (although some of these later rescinded … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 1/28/13: the 27th Amendment

The 27th Amendment, which restricts Congressional power to set the salary of its members, took 203 years to ratify. Proposed as one of the original amendments to the Bills of Rights, it was not ratified until May of 1992. This was … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 1/21/13: Citizen’s Arrest

A citizen’s arrest — an arrest by a non-law enforcement officer — is statutorily provided for in 49 states (North Carolina is the exception) where a citizen observes a felony being committed, or when a citizen is asked by a … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 12/10/12: Circuit Courts

Circuit courts were first established under the reign of King Henry II of England in the mid-12th century, meant to supplement the royal courts in London by having judges travel the countryside (“riding circuit”) to hear cases. In the U.S., … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 11/26/12: Adultery

Eight states still have laws against adultery on the books, ranging from a $10 fine in Maryland to life in prison in Michigan. Massachusetts is one of those states; under MGL c. 272  s.14, adultery is punishable by imprisonment in … Continue reading