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125 Years Ago March 1879: At the Newark federal court trial of Brooklyn politician Patrick Breslin for running an illegal New Brunswick distillery, the main defense witness self-destructed. Michael Burns, a Brooklyn distributor, insisted that Breslin had shipped him only cider. He testified: “Breslin would come in the store and say, there will be two barrels of whiskey — oh! I mean cider — coming today. Excuse me, gentlemen. I meant cider. Don’t count this against me. I am so used to talking of whiskey that I made a mistake.” 100 Years Ago March 1904: The Law Journal editors noted a Chicago bar poll of Illinois judges and lawyers, results of which showed a “tremendous preponderance of sentiment” that women be granted suffrage. “Such a result as this could not possibly be obtained in New Jersey,” they wrote, “and whether it argues that this state is more sensible and more practical, or more unsensible and less practical, than the great state of Illinois, we leave it for our readers to decide.” 75 Years Ago March 1929: Newly appointed Justice Clarence Case handled his first case at his Somerville home, arraigning one James Gerorto for murder. Case would sit for 23 years, serving as the last chief justice of the old Supreme Court and sitting for three and a half years on the new Supreme Court that came into being on Sept. 15, 1948. 50 Years Ago March 18, 1954: The FBI’s Newark office was seeking a lawyer for the post of special agent, which paid $5,500 a year. Applicants had to be graduates of resident law schools, between 25 and 30 years old, at least 5’7″ tall and able to pass a rigorous physical exam. With the Legislature having failed to pass a bill imposing civil penalties for unauthorized practice of law, the State Bar Association was studying feasibility of a plan to hire a fulltime investigator to track down complaints and to bring legal action against violators. 25 Years Ago March 15, 1979: Administrative Director of the Courts Arthur Simpson Jr. advised that the Supreme Court had determined it improper for retired judges to appear in court as expert witnesses on legal malpractice or on an attorney’s standard of conduct in general. The Essex County Legal Aid Association urged lawyers to sign up for case referrals. Volunteers, besides providing services without charge, would be hit up for a $15 fee and for cash donations.

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