Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 9/30/13: The Castle Doctrine and ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws

The George Zimmerman case shone a spotlight on Florida’s ‘stand your ground’ law, an extension of the “castle doctrine” which is an ancient common law concept that a homeowner has no duty to retreat when threatened within his or her home by a third party. The … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 9/16/13: The Crime of Arson

Under the common law, originally there were only two felonies related to injuries to a home. The first was the criminal invasion of a home, or burglary (originally known as “house breach”), while the more serious of the two involved … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 9/9/13: The ‘Public Benefit’ Corporation

In addition to the standard for-profit and limited-liability model of the traditional corporation, other variants exist. A public-benefit corporation is state-chartered and designed  to perform some public benefit, such as the MBTA and Massachusetts Turnpike Authority. A B Corporation is a corporation … Continue reading

Organ Donor Trusts and Durable Powers of Attorney for Organ Donation: New Twists on the Living Trust and Living Will

My first legal publication, written as a student note for the Probate Law Journal in 1995, this article discussed two theoretical vehicles for promoting organ donation: the creation of a inter vivos organ trust, modeled after a pour-over trust or … Continue reading

The “Radium Girls”, Deodands, and the Rise of Worker’s Compensation in the U.S.

Last week I had the pleasure of being invited to participate in a ‘talk back’ session following a performance of Radium Girls with cast members and several trial lawyers who handle worker’s compensation cases. Put on at the Regent Theatre in Arlington … Continue reading

‘So Foul A Deed’: Infanticide in Montreal, 1825-1850

From the introduction to the issue: “Our final article, by Ian Pilarczyk, examines the phenomemon of infanticide and the legal responses to [it] in Montreal from 1825 to 1850, a period marked by significant economic, social, political, and legal flux. … Continue reading

‘Twelve Angry Men’, or The Origins of the Jury System

An earlier blog post talked about ‘straw men’ and compurgation; and to continue in that vein I wanted to say a few words about the origins of the modern jury. The timing for me is quite fortuitous, as I just hosted … Continue reading

What is constitutional autochthony?

I was recently asked a very interesting question, somewhat related to legal history: namely, what is constitutional autochthony? ‘Autochthony’ is a word that rarely surfaces in everyday English, but it is a synonym for ‘native’ or ‘indigenous’. It is most … Continue reading