January 20: Civil Disobedience (Law and Lawyers)

January 20
Civil Disobedience



Dare to do things worthy of imprisonment if you mean to be of consequence.

~Juvenal. Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis, known in English as Juvenal, was a Roman poet active in the late 1st and early 2nd century a.d., who wrote the Satires.


  1. Laws control the lesser man. Right conduct controls the greater one.

~Chinese Proverb



Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.

~Albert Einstein



But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.”

~Acts 5:29 (NLT)


An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.

~Martin Luther King Jr.


January 19: Executed Criminals’ Last Words (from Law and Lawyers)

January 19
Executed Criminals’ Last Words



I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country . . . I am so satisfied with the cause in which I have engaged that my only regret is that I have not more lives than one to offer in its service . . . It is the duty of every good officer to obey any orders given him by his commander-in-chief.

~Nathan Hale, American hero, d. 1776 (shot by the British as a spy)



I love my family. Potato, potato, potato.

~Robert Charles Towery, executed by lethal injection for murder in 2012. Towery and another man robbed and strangled philanthropist Mark Jones in his home. The word “potato” was apparently a reference to the sound that a Harley Davidson motorcycle makes, and was meant as a cryptic message to his nephew.



I am innocent, innocent, innocent. Make no mistake about this. I owe society nothing. I am an innocent man and something very wrong is taking place tonight.

~Lionel Herrera, d. May 12, 1993 (executed by injection in Texas)


January 18: First Amendment (Law and Lawyers)

January 18
First Amendment 



Together with the other First Amendment guarantees–of free speech, a free press, and the rights to assemble and petition–the Religion Clauses were designed to safeguard the freedom of conscience and belief that those immigrants had sought. They embody an idea that was once considered radical: Free people are entitled to free and diverse thoughts, which government ought neither to constrain nor to direct.

~Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, concurring in McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky, 545 U.S. 844 (2005)


The greater the importance of safeguarding the community from incitements to the overthrow of our institutions by force and violence, the more imperative is the need to preserve inviolate the constitutional rights of free speech, free press and free assembly in order to maintain the opportunity for free political discussion, to the end that government may be responsive to the will of the people and that changes, if desired, may be obtained by peaceful means. Therein lies the security of the Republic, the very foundation of constitutional government.

~Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, De Jonge v. Oregon, 299 U.S. 353 (1937)



It must never be forgotten, however, that the Bill of Rights was the child of the Enlightenment. Back of the guarantee of free speech lay faith in the power of an appeal to reason by all the peaceful means for gaining access to the mind. It was in order to avert force and explosions due to restrictions upon rational modes of communication that the guarantee of free speech was given a generous scope. But utterance in a context of violence can lose its significance as an appeal to reason and become part of an instrument of force. Such utterance was not meant to be sheltered by the Constitution.

~Justice Felix Frankfurter, Milk Wagon Drivers Union of Chicago, Local 753  v. Meadowmoor Dairies, Inc., 312 U.S. 287, 293 (1941)

January 16: Legal Maxims

January 16
Legal Maxims



Duo non possunt in solido unam rem possidere.

Two cannot possess one thing each in entirety.



That which is not just, is not Law; and that which is not Law, ought not to be obeyed.

~Algernon Sydney



              Necessitas non habet legem.

Necessity has no law.

~Anonymous Latin proverb which arose in the middle ages, leading to many variant expressions and extensions in many cultures.




              Quia enim necessitas non habet legem, set ipsa sibi facit legume.

Necessity knows no law but makes law.

~Gratian, in Decretum Gratiani


Necessity knows no laws.

~Spanish proverb, as quoted in The International Thesaurus of Quotations (1970), edited by Rhoda Thomas Tripp, p. 429


January 12: From Books, Plays and Movies

January 12
From Books, Plays and Movies



Although the legal and ethical definitions of right are the antithesis of each other, most writers use them as synonyms. They confuse power with goodness, and mistake law for justice.

~Charles T. Sprading, Freedom and its Fundamentals




“There is no right to punish. There is only the power to punish,” she wrote. “A man is punished for his crime because the State is stronger than he; the great crime of War is not punished because beyond the individual there is mankind, and beyond mankind there is nothing at all.”

~Benjamin Moser, Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector

Clarice Lispector (1920–1977) was a Brazilian writer who has been described as possibly the most important Jewish writer since Franz Kafka.



I stood behind the man’s chair, my blade at his throat.

“Why do you do it?” I asked, knowing he wouldn’t answer. “Kill people, and blow up buildings, and sell drugs?”

It was what they all did. Committed crimes. That was why I killed them.

“You’re a criminal, a terrorist, a danger. And I have been asked to take you out,” I told him.

I was legend now, yet he asked the same question all the others did.

“What is your name?”

My sensitive ears tuned out the slit as my sword cut his neck.

I walked around the chair to see his face. I watched as his eyes–slowly at first–changed from blue to milky white. His skin went pale. And as I heard him take his last breath, I ducked in so my lips hovered at his ear, and whispered, “My name is Sharden.”

~Alysha Speer, Sharden




January 9: Crimes and Criminals

January 9
Crimes and Criminals

“When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.”

~C.P. Snow

Organized crime in America takes in over forty billion dollars a year and spends very little on office supplies.

~Woody Allen (1935−    ), comedian, actor, filmmaker


January 8: Humor

January 8



Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.

~Jonathan Swift, Essay on the Faculties of the Mind


The law will never make a man free; it is men who have got to make the law free.

~Henry David Thoreau


Henry David Thoreau



Only Lawyers and mental defectives are automatically exempt from jury duty.

~George Bernard Shaw


January 7: Justice (Law and Lawyers)

January 7



You condemn on hearsay evidence alone, your sins increase.

~Anonymous African proverb, quoted in Apropos of Africa : Sentiments of Negro American Leaders on Africa from the 1800s to the 1950s (1969), edited by Adelaide Cromwell Hill and Martin Kilson


He wastes his tears who weeps before the judge.

~Italian proverb


The law will never make a man free; it is men who have got to make the law free.

~Henry David Thoreau



Only Lawyers and mental defectives are automatically exempt from jury duty.

~George Bernard Shaw