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Those pesky “Year in Review” issues of highfalutin news magazines, book and record reviews, and other similar periodicals are coming across my desk in alarming numbers, reminding me that it is once again time to make one last myopic glance backward to recall the most important events of the year that’s about to end. These issues serve a valuable purpose, because in trying to recall what happened early in 2004, you quickly get an idea of how hard you’ll need to party on New Year’s Eve to make sure you forget it all. So with the hope of helping you decide whether you need that fourth mojito on Dec. 31, let’s take a quick quiz as we look back at the biggest legal events of 2004. Remember to make your marks heavy and black, and don’t cheat by looking for the right answers, which are cleverly hidden at the end. On your mark. Get set. Go! Question No. 1: The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals created controversy this year when it (a) declared “The Oprah Winfrey Show” unconstitutional; (b) declared the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unconstitutional; (c) objected to being split into a number of smaller circuits; or (d) cheered for the Angels rather than the Red Sox during the playoffs. Question No. 2. The Scott Peterson case claimed national headlines throughout the year. What was the result? (a) The grandchildren of the original 12 jurors still are debating whether to give Peterson life in the big house or the big injection; (b) the state and the Peterson defense team agreed to continue the case so they could watch the Robert Blake trial on Court TV; (c) Donald Trump hired the jury to be the cast on the next round of “The Apprentice “; or (d) Red Sox 4, Peterson 0. Question No. 3: The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the 9th Circuit’s decision in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, holding that inclusion of “under God” in the pledge of allegiance violated the Establishment Clause because: (a) a majority of the justices could not remember the pledge because it had been too long since they had been in school; (b) the wrong commune had custody of the plaintiff when the suit was filed; (c) it turned out the plaintiff was dyslexic and had been trying to say “underdog” all along; or (d) oral argument was pre-empted by a playoff game. Question No. 4: New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer grabbed headlines this year when he accused (a) Hank Greenberg, embattled president of the financial giant AIG, and his sons of having watched one too many episodes of “Dallas “; (b) pretty much everybody who had made money in any segment of the financial services industry of just about everything short of war crimes; (c) HBO of having denied him a guest spot on “The Sopranos “; or (d) accused David Ortiz from the Boston Red Sox of having lied about his age when he played Little League baseball. UNEXPECTED MIRACLE Question No. 5: Criminal proceedings continued against various executives of failed energy giant Enron Corp. What progress was made? (a) charges were dismissed against all defendants when it turned out Spitzer had not made any allegations against any of them; (b) charges were dropped when it was discovered that the embattled Houston Police Department crime lab had not tested any of the defendants’ DNA; (c) the defendants moved to change venue to any district in California in the hope of finally attracting some real publicity; or (d) new charges were added when it was discovered that various of the defendants had tried to influence the market in Boston Red Sox baseball card trading. Question No. 6: The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts continues to endure a firestorm of controversy after: (a) (think back to the Gilda Radner days of “Saturday Night Live” to get this one) Chief Justice — which is a big step from crotchety news commentator — Emily Litella’s comment, “Gay marriage? We thought you said, “Play marriage.’ Never mind “; (b) denying North Carolina Democratic U.S. Sen. John Edwards’ application to appear pro hac vice on the Massachusetts ballot; (c) refusing to cancel oral arguments for a playoff game; or (d) trying to sell scalped playoff tickets to flesh out their salaries. Put your pencils down, because it’s time for the answers. You’ve probably guessed it by now, but the correct answer to each question is choice d. That’s right — d. That’s because in a year that gave us a jury whose members got fired, teams of lawyers waiting for a rerun of the 2000 presidential election (which never occurred) and the possibility of a Playboy featuring “The Girls of Abu Ghraib,” it is more than a little consolation to have watched such an unexpected miracle blossom around us — and even better to have such grand reminders that miracles continue to happen, even in times of trouble. It was nice for a few days to be counting runs rather than votes, RBIs rather than IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), and soft sliders rather than soft money. Wouldn’t it be even nicer to think we could hold that spirit in our hearts? Believe. Tom Alleman, a shareholder in the insurance and environmental practice groups at Winstead Sechrest & Minick in Dallas, still is a bit sleep-deprived from the American League Championship Series, so you ought not be surprised that the opinions in “Cert Denied” aren’t necessarily those of the firm, its clients or the St. Louis Cardinals. “Cert Denied” appears monthly in Texas Lawyer.

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