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125 Years Ago February 1878: “After various delays interposed by the defence,” the trial of Calvin Stewart of Dover, for the murder of Ira Cole the previous June, went forward in Morris County. “Messrs. Alfred Miles and F.D. Smith conducted the defence without remuneration, and did it to the entire satisfaction of the friends of Stewart,” the Law Journal reported. The jury, whose foreman was the brother of a murder victim in an unrelated case, returned a prompt guilty verdict. The Camden County grand jury handed up 72 indictments during its December term, while the Cape May grand jury “had not a single case, nor any business of any kind before it.” 100 Years Ago February 1903: The Board of Pardons resolved not to consider any application for parole or pardon once rejected, unless endorsed by the judge before whom the case was tried. The Law Journal editors approved, saying the board’s proceedings had “become a farce, for every year, rejected cases are reheard without new evidence, but simply because of additional sympathy for the criminal.” 75 Years Ago February 1928: The Court of Errors and Appeals held that a contractor hired by the Erie Railroad Company to keep the tracks clear, who was injured while shoveling after a heavy snow, was a “casual employee” and so could not recover under the Workmen’s Compensation Act. Dissenting Justice Samuel Kalisch, 77, once a renowned litigator of injury cases against railroads, wrote, “I am unwilling to indorse a theory which practically holds that a law of nature, as manifested by the elements that so happily and regularly distinguish the diverse seasons of the year, operates by chance.” 50 Years Ago February 19, 1953: The Essex County Bar Association was faced with a 20-fold increase in rent for its law library in the National Newark Building at 744 Broad Street, from $600 to $12,000 a year. The bar’s Committee on Housing set to finding new space by April 30, weighing informal offers from both Rutgers and Seton Hall law schools for at least temporary refuge. Five years later, the bar would take title to 92 Washington Street, a two-story building housing the library as well as rooms for depositions, meetings and study. 25 Years Ago February 23, 1978: The midyear meeting of the American Bar Association was marked by a near confrontation between the bar and Chief Justice Warren Burger, who had told an audience of lawyers in England that between 25 and 75 percent of American trial lawyers were incompetent. The Illinois Bar Association proposed a resolution calling on the chief justice to repudiate his statement or to back it up with facts. Speaking to the ABA, Burger said he welcomed debate on the resolution, and then reiterated his criticism. The next day, the resolution was roundly defeated.

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