Delaware Law Office
of Larry D. Sullivan, Esquire

A Weblog?
The column to the right, is a news/editorial/comment column. It is a weblog, also know as a blog.

The weblog thing comes from, which offers us a convenient way to manage the posting, administratively. You don't really need to know all of that, but we have included this explanation so that you won't be confused by the term "blog".

Another important topic here is that since the column includes editorials and comments, you can be sure that we are just exercising our free speech rights as guaranteed by the Constitution and as not yet abridged by a reactionary opportunistic vocal minority.

opinions, everybody's got one...
If you would like your opinion published here, forward it for consideration and editorial review to:
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We encourage the exchange of responsible ideas.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Thomas J. Scarf's History of Delaware, 1609-1888. The Bench and Bar

One of the most reknown histories of the State of Delaware is online.

I saw a copy of the two volumes of this history in an antique shop last fall, and was severly tempted to buy it and transcribe in onto the web. There were only two things holding me back. The price was one. The sheer volume of words in the thick and heavy tomes was the other.

I'm glad to see that the first volume is online. When I came across it yesterday, the first section on turned to was the chapter on the Delaware Bench and Bar.

It's interesting to read about some of the very early days of the Delaware Courts.

I also turned to the section on the "hundred" where I'm located, and read about some of the history of Newark, where I live. I knew that Washington came down the Main Street here in town. I didn't know that the British marched down Main Street after him.

It's kind of fun to see the names of some of the people that streets and places are named after, too.

Forgiving Jack Johnson

Documentary creator Ken Burns is spearheading an effort to have the President Pardon Boxer Jack Johnson. It sounds like an effort worth pursuing.

Seems like Jack Johnson was also an inventor.

via metafilter

Thursday, July 22, 2004

What Sort of System Will be Whipped Up?

It will be interesting to see the blend of justice and punishment that may result from the influence of the american justice system, by sending Judge Gebelein to Afghanistan, and the former Afghan judicial system that sometimes resulted in whipping, as a form of public punishment.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Delaware Judge to Help Build Afghanistan Court

Delaware's Superior Court will be without the services of Judge Richard S. Gebelein for the next year or so.

Instead of adjudicating in Delaware's courtrooms, Judge Gebelein will be serving in his role as a colonel in the Delaware Army National Guard, presumably to help build a court system in Afghanistan.

We'd like to offer Judge Gebelein the best of all wishes in his efforts, and safety in his endeavors. We're proud of the Courts of Delaware, and know that with Judge Gebelein's presence, the court system in Afghanistan is in very good hands.

Estate Planning 101

Here are some basic estate planning concepts and terminology that people should know. I find many people who get these concepts confused. These are of course only for Delaware estate planning and should be untilized and discussed with your Delaware Estate Planning Attorney.

Myths: There are many myths associated with estate law. One of the most common myths is that if a person dies without a will (intestate) then all of his property goes to the state. The law provides that if a person dies intestate, his property goes to his next of kin in certain shares. A person's property would only go to the state if we could find no blood relative whatsoever, after an exhaustive search.

Simple Will: A will makes directions as to how a person's property is to be handled and disbursed upon his or her death. It can be as simple or complex as the individual wishes.

An attorney can help you come up with the appropriate plan for you and your family. In making your goals, you should consider, among other things, the following:

* Your control of your assets during your life.

* A business exit strategy if you have an ownership interest in a business.

* Providing instructions for your care and the management of your assets for you and your family if you become incompetent.

* Protecting the assets that you leave to your spouse and children from creditors and unscrupulous persons.

* A plan of distribution that will leave your assets to whom you want, when you want, and with whatever controls you want.

* Avoiding probate

* Saving the greatest amount of taxes and post death administrative costs possible--not only in your own estate, but also in the estates of your spouse and your descendants.

Some things to think about before your meeting with a Delaware lawyer for a will are:

* Who would you like to be in charge of processing your estate? (an executor)

* Who should take that person's place, if necessary? (an alternate executor)?

* By whom do you want your property to be inherited? (a beneficiary)

* What different arrangements would you like made if your beneficiary dies before or at the same time that you die? (an alternative beneficiary)

* If you have minor children, whom would you choose to be their guardian?

Instead of taking a transaction oriented perspective, you should view estate planning as an ongoing process that evolves as your needs, your goals, and your family changes, as the laws change, and as new estate planning tools and techniques are developed. It is a process of continually evolving strategies. Proper planning requires professional thoroughness, which respects you and your family's overall goals.

Advanced estate planning uses estate planning tools that are beyond the basic will, durable power of attorney, and living will. The following are examples of some of these tools.

A complex will is a will that includes a trust within it or otherwise uses very complicated terms. (Complicated from an attorney's perspective.)

A testamentary trust is a trust that is created by a will and takes effect when the maker dies. The text of a testamentary trust is embedded within the complex will.

A living will is not a will at all. It is an "Advance Healthcare Directive". It is a legal document explaining one's wishes about medical treatment if one becomes terminally ill or in a coma.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Copyright, Copy Wrong

Should someone be able to copyright stickmen?

A copyright case against Nike makes the claim for ownership of stickmen in commercial activities.

If anyone wants some proof that stickmen aren't exactly unique, I might be able to find some of my crayon renderings of stickmen that graced our refrigerator when I was little.

Monday, July 19, 2004

It's Alright Now, Anyway You Choose

Elvis is coming out of copyright in Europe, and I think it's great.

I can't wait as some of the staples of old time rock come into the public domain. I'm looking forward to bands taking some of those songs, and making them their own.

The Washington Post makes it sound as if it's a calamity in an article entitled European Copyright Clock Ticking on Elvis Hits. I think that copyright law does need to change. We need to shorten the copyrights here in the US to match the length of the European times covered. Otherwise, there will be a whole lot of shakin' going on, across the Atlantic only.

Recording Stars Checking the Books

One that seems like a positive outcome when it comes to the entertainment field. A new California law makes it easier for musical artists to audit record labels.

Wild Wild Horses

The federal government has more horses than they can handle.

It has nothing to do with having a self-styled cowboy in the oval office. Rather, it's a result of efforts to protect and feed wild horses and burros under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. It seems that the federal government has been more successful than they ever imagined.
TITLE 16 > CHAPTER 30 > Sec. 1331. - Congressional findings and declaration of policy

Congress finds and declares that wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people; and that these horses and burros are fast disappearing from the American scene. It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands
It will be interesting to see what we do as Protected wild horses and burros overwhelm federal government.

The Buckeye State Says No E-Votes

Two forces are coming into possible collision in the 2004 elections.

One is the desire to use technology, and roll out a means of using technology to make it easier for people to vote.

The other is to provide a trustworthy method of voting, especially in light of irregularities in the 2000 vote.

The Secretary of State of Ohio has blocked the use of Diebold voting machines for the 2004 elections unless certain deficiencies are addressed. Will we see similar actions in other states?

Delaware has had electronic voting for longer than most other states, and the Delaware Commissioner of Elections has pointed out that Delaware is the only state with a uniform voting system. The benefit of that is:
Delaware is one of a handful of states with a statewide registration system. It is the only state with a uniform voting system. While electronic voting systems vary, they prevent voters from voting more than once and provide mechanisms to allow voters to correct unintentional undervoting. Electronic systems feature other physical and logical security at least as good and generally better than older voting equipment.
. While that statement from the commissioner should make us feel a little more comfortable, a new tidbit of information could erase that ease. According to a Scripps Howard Report from a couple of days ago, there was a significant undervote when it came to talleys of votes for a choice of president in New Castle County's 2000 elections.

Pencil and paper have their charms, too.

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