Ok, it’s already into the second week of December and if you haven’t grabbed that gift for the lady lawyer on your list, I’m here to offer suggestions with the help of a few of my friends: lady lawyers from across the country.
I’m a self-confessed planner nut, so this category makes the number one slot on my list. Most lawyers use a paper calendaring system and an electronic calendar (aka our phones). It’s just safer. As a wise man once told me: “The only thing you can screw up that I can’t fix is a deadline.”
I’ve used an Erin Condren planner for the past year and I have one waiting for me under the Christmas tree. I’m excited about the changes I’ve seen made (horizontal layout, less text for more flexibility) and I love the goodies and extras that come with every planner. Order a generic planner now and they will send you a gift card for a personalized cover–which means you can still get it under the tree in time!
And, they have changeable covers, which means you can get festive all year long. I’m loving this New Years’ Cover:
My second choice would probably be either the Inkwell or Simplified planners and I’ve heard positive things about the Day Designer from lawyer friends as well.
Inkwell makes journals of all sorts, but the quarterly journal may be particularly appealing to ladies looking to trim the bulk in their bags.
Current special for quarter bundle: $35.00
They are currently sold out, but I’m sure a gift card would be appreciated; plus, they’ve got other great stuff, like a planner stamp! This is fantastic (hint-use chalk ink in a planner to ensure no bleed through):
Yes, lawyers love these. There is no such thing as too many. You’d be surprised how many we can get through in a year. First up is Inkwell Press again, with my two favorite designs: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all,” and the honeycomb print. They have graph paper inside, which comes particularly in handy when you are trying to chart out a fire location or point of shooting. We live charmed lives, don’t we?
Each journal: $17.00
Mousepad and Headphones
She doesn’t have to live in an office that looks like it was decorated by Charles Dickens himself. Help her say, “umm, no,” to that mousepad her client corporation gave her and yes to something beautiful!
Jamie K. in Dallas, a bankruptcy attorney, writes: “I enjoy things that make my office feel more ‘me’ since it’s where I spend a ridiculous amount of time. Examples include this beautiful watercolor mousepad:
Mousepad is $12.00 from courtneyoquist on easy.com
Rachel V., an attorney in Chicago says:
“I definitely agree with Jamie on personalization! Also, when I was still in an office, a good pair of ear buds were my best friend. Also, I always kept a blanket and small pillow hidden away in my desk…just in case.”
If the lawyer on your list has been very, very nice this year, allow me to recommend my headphones:
These are the Bang & Olufsen Play headphones, which are seriously like a slice of heaven on earth, and available through Amazon Prime 2 day shipping for $367.96.
In the same thread, lawyers everywhere are looking to personalize that space they spend so much time in with unique art.
Anne Milligan, a Portland-based labor law attorney, spends her day-dreaming minutes filling up a Pinterest board with art to buy for her office.
So far, she’s been very satisfied with her artwork from various artist, including Society6
$16.00 for this print, which is currently in stock. You can’t go wrong.
Today is the 30th anniversary of the film that defined my generation, a generation too smart to settle for the mediocrity of earlier attempts at capturing specters on film: GHOSTBUSTERS! If you landed on this page and you are thinking something like, “I never saw that movie,” then just leave. We aren’t gonna call you.
In honor of this occasion (and because I’m an enormous fan of Bill Murray) we are celebrating with a roundup of tales real life ghost hunters in appellate decisions and the news, and haunted tales from Arkansas.
Aside: I spent my 30th birthday in NYC and a friend took my husband and I to see the firestation in the movie. Here’s my husband’s picture of it:
Real Life Ghost Hunters:
Ghost Hunting Leads to Death of a Teen
State v. Davis Slip Copy, 2014 WL 117409
On August 22, 2006, five teenage girls decided to go ghost hunting. The girls had heard that a residence located at 141 Sharon Springs Drive in Worthington, Ohio, was a haunted house. Tessa Acker drove her friends to the address and stopped the vehicle on the street in front of the residence. It was around 10:00 p.m. and it was dark.
Rachel Barezinsky and two of the other girls exited the vehicle and walked toward the home. One of the girls noticed an open first-floor window. As they approached the home a car horn sounded, and one of the girls believed she heard a bat. The girls became frightened and ran back to the car. As they drove away from the home, they heard several popping sounds.
Believing they had heard firecrackers, the girls circled the block and returned to the residence. Some of the girls yelled out in the direction of the home, and then several more pops were heard. The girls again became frightened and drove away. They had traveled only a short distance away from the residence when Rachel slumped over onto the driver. It was at that point that the girls stopped the vehicle and discovered that Rachel had been shot.
Police recovered a .22 caliber rifle from appellant’s home. Appellant admitted that he had fired a number of “warning shots” at a vehicle. According to appellant, two men had harassed him the previous week by pounding their fists on his bedroom window as he slept, and he believed that the same men had returned on the evening in question. Appellant stated that he fired the shots to scare the men away and to protect his family. Appellant did not believe he had done anything wrong.
On August 31, 2006, a Franklin County Grand Jury indicted appellant on five counts of felonious assault, each with a firearm specification. Appellant initially entered a not guilty plea to the charges.
State is Not Responsible for 17 Year Old’s Injuries from Ghost Hunting
Burton v. State 80 A.3d 856
On the evening of November 27, 2005, Burton gathered with four of his friends (ages fifteen to eighteen): T.D., C.A., H.C., and L.V., at T.D.’s home, drank “[m]aybe two” beers, and set off in C.A.’s truck to explore a local haunt—the former Ladd Center in the Town of Exeter. The Ladd property has been closed since 1994; and, in the years since, it has acquired a reputation in certain quarters as a home for ghosts and things that go bump in the night.
There is no perimeter fence around the property, but there are a number of “No Trespassing” signs posted, and the building that was the focus of the group’s exploration was secured by plywood boards over the windows on the first and second floors, chains on the doors, and metal grates welded shut. The plaintiff had visited the property on two prior occasions, and there was testimony that members of the group were aware that they should not “get caught” on the premises. The plaintiff testified that he had not sought permission to enter the Ladd Center property. Undaunted by the numerous obstacles to access, the group shimmied up a pipe to access a third-story window. Once inside, the group began to explore the abandoned hospital building. Although they failed to discover any ghosts, they did encounter the detritus of “medical-like tools, bed frames, broken stuff” left behind when the Center closed.
Eventually, the group made an intriguing discovery—a cache of four clear glass bottles housed in a Styrofoam container inside a locker. The bottles appeared to be gallon-sized and contained a clear liquid; the labels on the bottles were decrepit and illegible. L.V. testified that he poured a small amount of liquid from one of the bottles onto a table, to see what it was. It was apparent to the group that the liquid had a syrup-like consistency and that it was not water. The plaintiff testified that he believed the bottle contained a hazardous material. Despite not knowing what substance was contained in the vessels, the group spirited away three of the bottles. The group later made its way to the first floor of the building and searched for an exit, finally kicking out part of the plywood that covered an exterior door and slipping, one by one, through the opening created between the plywood and the door frame. The plaintiff exited just ahead of H.C., who was carrying two of the gallon bottles. H.C. dropped a bottle which broke, spattering both plaintiff and H.C. with the unknown liquid.
A few seconds later, plaintiff felt a burning sensation on his legs. He rubbed his hand on them and his hand started burning. Realizing the liquid was “some kind of chemical,” plaintiff stripped off his clothes, leaving his wallet and cell phone behind, and ran screaming for C.A.’s truck. The caustic liquid was later determined to be sulfuric acid. On November 9, 2006, plaintiff filed suit in Superior Court against the State of Rhode Island, Phoenix Houses of New England, and several John Does alleging that defendants “negligently failed to inspect, repair and/or maintain its premises free from defect and/or dangerous condition.”On January 18, 2012, a bench trial was conducted, at which time plaintiff testified and presented two additional witnesses: L.V. and former State Buildings and Grounds Coordinator Carl Abbruzzese. At the conclusion of plaintiff’s case, defendant moved for judgment as a matter of law. The court reserved decision on the motion, and the state declined to call any witnesses.
The trial justice issued a written decision in favor of defendant, finding that plaintiff was a trespasser and that defendant did not owe him a duty of care. Further, the trial justice held that the attractive-nuisance doctrine did not apply to the facts of this case. Final judgment entered on February 27, 2012, and plaintiff filed a timely notice of appeal. Further facts will be provided as may be necessary to discuss the issues raised on appeal. For the reasons stated herein, we affirm the judgment of the Superior Court.
Local Police Captain Believes Family’s Tale of Haunting
A police captain in Gary, Indiana, says he believes a family’s claims of supernatural terror in a rental house they’ve since fled. Levitating children, swarms of flies in wintertime, mysterious footprints, invisible friends, another child “walking backward up a wall in the presence of a family case manager and hospital nurse”—this movie-ready tale even features screaming Catholic priests performing exorcisms.
The photograph shown here was distributed by the police department, according to theIndianapolis Star, which notes that “officials say the home was unoccupied at the time the photo was taken.”Why is that noted? Because there’s a “figure” visible inside the enclosed porch. And there are 800 pages of official, local government reports on the strange happenings here. The alleged hauntings came to an end once the family of four moved to another home.
Local psychics showed up with their own very specific diagnosis: The small house on Carolina Street was crowded with more than 200 demons. And with that, the newly counted demons went to work possessing the three children, according to mom Latoya Ammons and their live-in grandmother, Rosa Campbell.”The family said demons possessed Ammons and her children, then ages 7, 9 and 12,” the paper reports. “The kids’ eyes bulged, evil smiles crossed their faces, and their voices deepened every time it happened.”
While most children behave this way most of the time, Ammons was convinced the Devil was involved.
Family services caseworkers, priests and a police captain are among those who say they believe the little house was filled with supernatural evil. And the Indianapolis Star dedicated more than 6,000 words to the ghost story. Even the local patrol officers can’t seem to get enough of it, leading the house’s owner to ask the cops to please stop driving by the house at all hours and spooking his new tenants.But when the family’s doctor visited the house during the alleged haunting, he noted their behavior was “delusional.” An unnamed witness told caseworkers the kids were “performing” for Ammons, and that she likewise encouraged the weird behavior. The house was kept clean and there was plenty of food for the kids, but investigators noted Ammons had constructed religious shrines everywhere.
The children were taken away by child services, but things have since settled down and the family is together again, apparently free of demons and ghosts.
[Photo via Hammond Police Department/Indianapolis Star.]
All from Encyclopedia of Arkansas
The Allen House
A famous Arkansas haunted house is the Allen House in Monticello (Drew County). It was built in 1905 by Joe Lee Allen, who lived there with his wife, Caddye, and his children, Ladelle, Lonnie Lee, and Louis. Pictures of them still hang in the front hall. Joe Lee Allen died in 1917. Sometime later, Ladelle committed suicide in the South bedroom by drinking potassium cyanide. Caddye Allen had the room sealed off until 1986, when new owners opened it up and found the bottle of cyanide still sitting on a shelf in a closet. The house is said to be haunted by Ladelle and her son, Allen Bonner. Since the 1950s, tenants of the Allen House have heard footsteps and moans and have reported other supernatural incidents. One couple, seeing a closet door ajar, tried to close it but felt someone pushing back on the other side. When they opened the door, they saw that nobody was there.
Several places in the natural world are the sites of their own ghost legends, usually connected to murders. Lorance Creek inSaline County is said to be haunted by a girl, her name unknown, who was apparently murdered by being pushed into the creek; she was buried at Cockman Cemetery near the creek a few days later on December 24, 1863. By the 1920s, her wooden grave marker was entirely weathered away. The first reported sightings of her ghost were in 1920, when workers started drilling for oil near the creek and graveyard. Some workers said they heard a woman’s scream, and one worker reported seeing her on Halloween. She was crying and was heard cry out, “Why?” She then walked to the creek and disappeared. She was seen several times later that year, reportedly appearing in the white dress she was buried in. After the workers left, her ghost was seldom seen.
Outside of Crossett (Ashley County), where the old railroad tracks once lay, an unexplained light has become a local legend. It has reportedly been seen consistently since the early 1900s by multitudes of people. The light is typically seen floating two to three feet above the ground but also is said to move into the treetops and sometimes side to side. The light reportedly disappears as one walks toward it and then reappears the same distance away, so that one can never get a close look at it. The Crossett Light’s color reportedly ranges from yellow or orange to blue or green.
The Crossett Light is one of many similar phenomena commonly known as “spooklights” in the South. There are other notable “spooklights”—around Joplin, Missouri; Senath, Missouri; and Gurdon (Clark County), to name a few. Like other such “spooklights,” including the Gurdon Light, the Crossett Light is, according to legend, the ghostly lantern of a railroad worker who lost his head in an accident in the early 1900s and who walks the tracks to find it. There seem to be many similar stories explaining this phenomenon, but this seems to be the most common. There are also stories, not widely credited, that the light is related to extraterrestrials.
A commonly expressed scientific theory holds that the Crossett Light could be swamp gas, a natural phenomenon. Some authorities also posit that the light could be an illusion caused by car lights and an incline in the land. This theory is more widely accepted than the swamp gas theory; however, the major drawback for the car light theory lies in the fact that the light was first reported in the early 1900s, before cars were common in the area. The first reports of the light started as the railroads were put in, which may have started the famous railroad worker story. No one knows for sure what the Crossett Light is, but it has entertained many residents and visitors throughout the years who drive down that old road to watch for it.
An Ozark Story: Things that go bump in Eureka Springs
EUREKA SPRINGS — Known as a quaint, quirky weekend getaway spot and wedding destination, Eureka Springs is now known as a destination for something a little spookier.
Two hotel owners with shady business dealings and a bank robber shot as he fled the heist are the genesis for the most well-known spook stories told around the Ozarks town.
The Crescent Hotel
The infamous Dr. Norman Baker bought the Crescent Hotel in 1937 for $50,000 and turned it into a cancer hospital. The high school dropout from Muscatine, Iowa, had tried his hand at a number of jobs, including machinist, magician, radio station owner and inventor.nHe also bought a radio station and began a campaign to discredit medical doctors while simultaneously promoting his own “natural” cure he bought from a snake oil salesman. The “cure” consisted of corn silk, watermelon seeds, alcohol and carbolic acid. Authorities soon shut down his radio station and Baker shut down his hospital, took his 144 patients — and his cure — and moved to Eureka Springs.
In addition to treating patients, Baker sold his cure through the mail. Most patients left the hospital only after dying and being autopsied in the basement of the building. Baker eventually was arrested and tried for mail fraud, spent four years in Leavenworth prison and was fined $4,000. Authorities estimated Baker made $4 million from “treating” cancer patients.Rumors of evil things Baker was doing in the basement morgue include organ and limb transplants and cutting live patients. To this day, rumors still make the rounds, particularly on the Internet.
Keith Scales, ghost tour manager for the hotel, says rumors were born from the contents of mason jars housed in the morgue.”People believed the mason jars contained organs,” Scales said. “It’s more likely they contained tumors Baker cut from patients after their deaths.”Baker sold the hotel a few years after getting out of prison, moved to Florida where he retired and later died.
» Michael, Room 218
The history of Crescent Hotel ghosts actually begins with its construction. According to legend, one craftsman was an Irish stonemason named Michael.”Michael was a handsome 17-year-old, and well known as a ladies’ man,” said ghost tour guide Kathy Gilmore as she briefed two dozen people prior to a tour. “He always had a smile for the good-looking ladies.”
Michael was high up on a beam one day when he saw a pretty woman far down below, Gilmore claims. On his second attempt to get the woman’s attention, Michael allegedly fell to his death. Death has not deterred his interest in women, and he continues to flirt with pretty women to this day, she says. “Michael does like to flirt with the ladies,” Gilmore said. “He’ll touch them, turn lights and water on and off. He doesn’t like men. He’ll try to shove them out of bed.” Those wishing to interact with Michael should book room number 218, Michael’s favorite haunt, as it were, according to hotel legend.
» Theadora, Room 419
Guests who like help with their bags would do well to stay in room 419 where, according to Gilmore, they might receive help from Theadora, a cancer patient with a penchant for neatness. “Theadora is a particularly active ghost — people see her, hear her, she moves things,” said Gilmore to her tour group. “She is solid-looking, small, in old-fashioned clothes, and can often be seen standing in front of the door to 419 looking for her keys in her purse.” If Theadora thinks a guest is too sloppy, they may find Theadora has packed up their belongings and placed their suitcases by the door, in an apparent other-worldly invitation to take their slovenly habits and vacate the premises, according to Gilmore.
» Nurses and corpses, Third Floor
The third floor of the hotel was home to what Baker calls the asylum during the hotel’s time as a hospital. It was on this floor the patients in the most pain were housed. “He may have called it an asylum to paint the people as insane to explain the screaming,” Gilmore said. Nurses were constantly wheeling patients around the floor in wheelchairs, and less often on gurneys after patients died, according to Gilmore. “They still do it today,” Gilmore told her tour group. “People report seeing nurses pushing wheelchairs, pushing dead bodies on gurneys. People say they hear the squeaking of the wheels.”
» A sad, dead little boy, Room 228
Down the hall and around a corner from Michael’s room on the second floor is room 228, where a little boy named Breckie died of peritonitis, Gilmore says. Breckie was weak and was not allowed outside to play like other children. For entertainment, he bounced a ball in the hallway. Guests report he can still be heard bouncing his ball. And, he can be heard to proclaim his fate as unjust. “Guests say they’ve heard him say ‘It’s not fair,’ because he didn’t get to go out to play,” Gilmore said.
» We have a jumper
At one point in its history, the Crescent served as a girl’s college during the off-season. It was during this time, the seed of another ghost story was planted. While the college was strict, girls were known to sneak away from chaperones while in town and meet boys, and boys were rumored to be sneaked in, Gilmore says. Legend says one of the girls jumped — or was pushed — to her death from a balcony high above the hotel grounds. To this day, people, including a Eureka Springs police officer, report seeing a woman fall from a hotel balcony. When hotel personnel check, they find no one, Gilmore says.
» The Basement
Access to the spa is through a door in the basement of the hotel. To the left, lies another door, one much more interesting for ghost hunters. It is through this unremarkable wooden door one must step to reach the hotel’s maintenance workshop. During Baker’s time, the space was used as an autopsy room and a morgue.It was in a room stuffed with spare parts where employees of a televised ghost-huntingshow say they spotted the image of a person while using a thermal-imaging camera. The airing of that and subsequent television shows featuring the hotel and its ghostly goings-on catapulted the Crescent into the national consciousness.
On a recent October night during Gilmore’s tour, no one reported hearing or seeing anything unusual. What they chose to keep to themselves, only they know.
In honor of the Feast of St. Valentine, I’ve rounded up some Arkansas cases and news stories involving Valentine’s.
To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day, All in the morning betime, And I a maid at your window, To be your Valentine. Then up he rose, and donn’d his clothes, And dupp’d the chamber-door; Let in the maid, that out a maid Never departed more.
—William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5
Considering that Valentine’s Day is named after at least two and possibly three people who were slain, it perhaps shouldn’t come as a surprise that Valentine’s Day isn’t all wine and roses.
I’ve always thought that cards are a waste of money. I think these will people agree.
The Smoking Card
Bob Devor was married to 70-year old Polly. Polly had a daughter, Dee, from a prior marriage. Dee and a friend killed Polly at the Devor family ranch and burned her body. Dee eventually pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. The prosecution contended that Bob, far from outraged, provided Dee with a vehicle and cash to flee the state days after Polly’s murder. Additionally, they alleged that he altered the crime scene and lied to law enforcement in an effort to protect Polly. Additionally, the 911 tape revealed that Bob calmly called in a burglary and “laughed when he said that he could not find his wife.” Throughout the investigation, Bob provided the police with one false lead after another, but no one could come up with a motive for why Bob would cover for Dee. After Dee was finally arrested, her jail cell was searched. Police found a valentine from Bob to Dee, “Valentine, if loving you is a crime, then throw my happy ass in jail.” And they did.
Devor v. State, 2012 Ark. App. 82, — S.W.3d —-, 2012 WL 206434.
The Card Shows His Hand
A 1944 case involved Allie and Joe Goodlet. Allie wanted a divorce from Joe. Allie alleged, inter alia, that Joe conducted himself in ways not consistent with conjugal relations. The court stated the rule that “a decree of divorce will not be granted on testimony of plaintiff alone, even though the alleged ground therefor is admitted by defendant, but the testimony must be corroborated by other evidence to establish truth of the charge.” Allie’s corroborating evidence? A Valentine’s day card found in Joe’s suitcase that said, “To my Joe” and signed “All my love, your wife, Nell.” Woops!
Goodlett v. Goodlett, 206 Ark. 1048, 178 S.W.2d 666
In the news…
Want to Find Your Soulmate? You May Need a Free Divorce First
The LA Times reported on February 13, 2013 that a Michigan lawyer has decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day by giving away a free divorce.
Walter H. Bentley III says he got the idea after a student at a night-school class he teaches invited him to a party to celebrate her divorce. He told ABC News that this led to a revelation: “Why not do something special for Valentine’s Day? You can’t find a new love before you close the chapter on the old.”
According to Bentley’s website, the winner of the free divorce has to come up with “the most compelling and convincing story” attesting to why he or she deserves a free ride to relationship freedom.
There are a few catches: The split has to be uncontested and have minimal child custody issues. You also need to be a Michigan resident. Bentley says nearly 500 people have already applied.
Most marriages end in the office of a divorce lawyer, but this Valentine’s Day, Rob Hagy is ready to celebrate the union of marriage. He is planning and paying for your wedding.
Rob Hagy, a Charlottesville Divorce Lawyer, said, “We do see the heartache. We’d like to do something constructive instead of destructive, with regards to a marriage.”
Most girls dream of walking down an aisle in a big church on their wedding day. Come Thursday, Hagy will show us his different idea of what a wedding could look like.
The ceremonies will be held at Hagy’s Charlottesville office. There will be an officiant ready to tie the knot from 9:30 am to 7:00 pm.
“We will have the office decorated, as I call it appropriately, in a Valentine’s slash wedding theme,” said Hagy. “We will be giving out roses to the ladies who come and also sharing some chocolates with them as well.”
New York City divorce lawyer Nancy Chemtob tells the New York Times City Room blog that November and December are slow months because no one wants to get divorced during the holidays. January is busy. And then there is the day after Valentine’s Day.
“The phone’s ringing off the hook,” Chemtob told the publication.
“The girlfriends, the mistresses, the wives—they all get found out on Valentine’s Day,” Chemtob said. “The girlfriend gets ticked off that he’s out with the spouse, or the spouse goes out with a girlfriend/boyfriend, leaving the spouse at home, so it’s like game over.”
Chemtob was among the lawyers who passed along tales of Valentine’s Day woe to City Room. Vikki Ziegler, an adjunct law professor at Fordham and a New Jersey divorce lawyer, had several stories about the darker side of Valentine’s Day. She has heard of dead roses and bad language written on a car in strawberries and chocolate.
She also passed along several examples of spouses who were eager to let the other know that life had gone on. One gave her spouse a bill for Victoria’s Secret purchases he would never see. Another texted pictures with a new lover, and yet another sent along a sex tape.