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Less than a year in office as chief justice, John G. Roberts Jr. is the subject of a biography, complete with behind-the-scenes details and family photos. Never mind that the book, John G. Roberts, Jr.: Chief Justice, is only 44 pages long and is targeted at middle-school-aged kids. It’s a must-buy for anyone of any age seeking insights into the new chief justice. For example, author Lisa McElroy’s book answers a burning question that lingers from Roberts’ first day on the bench. He wore a black robe with unadorned sleeves, breaking from the practice of his predecessor and mentor, William H. Rehnquist, who added gold stripes to his robe. Why did Roberts choose plain black? “You have to earn your stripes, and I thought it was a little early to be doing that,” Roberts explained to McElroy. “It seemed to me that simple black was more appropriate. On the other hand, no one ever looks to me for fashion advice.”- Legal Times Dying for a smoke We know that smoking can kill, but can it send someone to death row? That’s the gist of an appeal by lawyers for a man on Ohio’s death row. They argue that jurors became antsy when the judge wouldn’t let them take smoking breaks during deliberations. The lawyers said that made them overly eager to finish the case. After six hours of deliberations they convicted Phillip Elmore of murder and other charges in his ex-girlfriend’s death. A week later, the jury took three hours to recommend the death penalty. Prosecutors doubted the “novel” approach by the defense would succeed.- Associated Press

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