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LAWmazing #6

Home = Castle

Macefield houseFeisty Edith Macefield showed us all just how important that lovely and powerful Latin maxim cuius est solum ejus est usque ad caelum can be.

And that a woman's home is her castle.

She owned a 1,000 square foot little piece of real property in Ballard, Washington.

Developers bought up all the land around her but she would not sell her home.

They even offered her $1-million for her property valued at $100,000.

So the new commercial development at Northwest 46th Street had to be built around her little bungalow.

Macefield died in June of 2008 without any heirs so she willed the house to the construction superintendent!

The Earl Of Lawlessness

Earl HenryHenry Earl, born on October 24, 1949, has been arrested more than 1,330 times (as of April 2009), mostly for vagrancy offences such as public intoxication and trespassing.

The Lexington, Kentucky man has spent the equivalent of 11 years in jail since 1992.

This is not just an amazing law fact. In the United States of America, someone will celebrate lawlessness. He has become an Internet celebrity with a website that tracks his whereabouts and latest offences and which solicits money for his "cause" (

Cheating, Lying Slag of a Wife On eBay

Osborn eBay adIn May 2008, Paul Osborn of Bletchey, England, tried to reinvent family law in reacting to his wife's suspected affair by offering her to the highest bidder on eBay (ad, pictured).

On the posting, he names his wife and set the starting bid at £0.01.

The lesson in law cost him a criminal harassment investigation by Thames Valley Police as his wife, Sharon Osborn, complained. But Mr. Osborn's actions while outrageous, and likely to cost him his marriage, are not likely criminal.

The eBay ad was later taken down.

Young Offender Whisperer

New York City social worker Julio Diaz was just getting off the subway station #6 when he was mugged by a knife-wielding young man. Diaz handed over his wallet.

That's where a normal robbery turned bizarre.

Rather than dial 9-1-1 on his cellphone, Diaz called to the retreating teenager and offered his coat. The offender stopped and looked back cautiously but accepted.

Diaz continued to talk to him, eventually inviting him to have something to eat.

When the bill came, Diaz suggested he use his wallet to pay. He promptly returned the wallet back to Diaz.

Diaz pressed on, and asked the teen for his knife. Again, the young offender turned it over and left the restaurant

Caution to readers: don't try this at home.

Blackbrooke's Black History

Blackbrooke is an estate in England once owned in the 16th Century by Welshman and Judge Richard Morgan. Morgan was called to the bar in 1528.  He became chief justice in 1553 and took part in the trial of Lady Jane Grey. She was condemned her to death and beheaded. Morgan was overcome by the stress of the trial, went insane and died in 1556.

Two hundred years later, the estate Blackbrooke was owned by a wealthy preacher, Henry Lewis. Moments after Lewis' death, his son-in-law John Briggs guided his dead hand to sign a false will. Briggs then placed a fly in the dead man's mouth thus coaxing two witnesses to swear that the will was signed "while there was life in the testator".

Really smart but even stupider. The ruse was discovered.

In 1795, Briggs was sentenced to death for his part in the fraud but he escaped prison before the sentence was carried out. He was never heard from again.

Bearded Lawyers Not Wanted

bearded_barristerBrierley (first name unknown) was just minding his own business on day in Old Bailey's Criminal Court, clothed like all his brothers in law but for his face. Upon his chin grew a long beard (image is a facsimile only of Esquire Brierley).

Since Queen Elizabeth's decree that banned barrister beards of more than two weeks growth, no barrister had dared show up in court unshaven. Though this was now the 1860s, Brierley did not go unnoticed. A secret meeting of all available Queen's Counsels was convened to discuss the deadly serious issue.

Brierley was summoned to explain his beard and claimed he had a that infection and medical advice not to shave. He was still censured and he then kept his appearance in court to a bare minimum, but with his beard. Still, there is a law report dated August 7, 1869 (Law Times) which refers to an agitated barrister named "Brierley" who was abusive to the court and then held in contempt. While he was led away by the sheriffs, according to the law report:

"The poor old gentleman's wig fell off and it was trampled underfoot. Everybody in court, except the judge, rose and tried to get a glimpse at the long grey beard of the prisoner as he was being carried by his heads and heels through the crowded crowd.... [I]t was rumoured that Mr. Brierley was to be sent to Colney Hatch asylum."