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J.Q.’s forgotten gift For the past year, a rare early copy of the Declaration of Independence has hung unassumingly in a side hallway at the U.S. Supreme Court. But how did it get there, and where was it before it went on public display? Therein lies a tale. Court officials confirmed that the 1824 vellum copy had spent seven forgotten years hidden behind a filing cabinet at the court clerk’s office, until it was discovered in 2003, fixed up, and displayed for public viewing in 2006. The copy, one of only 200 made from the 1776 original, would likely fetch $500,000 or more if sold on the open market, according to an expert dealer in historic documents. The story begins in 1820, when then-Secretary of State John Quincy Adams ordered copies made of the Declaration, out of concern about the condition of the 1776 original. The future president hired an engraver named William Stone to execute a small number of copies to be sent to the states, to members of Congress and to the Supreme Court. The court’s copy had hung in the clerk’s office since the building opened in 1935. When the office underwent renovations in 1996, an employee put the document behind an automated filing cabinet for safekeeping. There, it was forgotten until 2003. “It is as close to the original Declaration as you can possibly get,” says Elwin Fraley, a collector and dealer of rare documents. “They give you goose bumps when you see them. � Legal Times Only screaming bloody murder A Tennessee judge resigned after making a recording of fantasies so lurid that when the tape fell into the hands of the police and FBI, they thought they were listening to a torture session and believed it might be linked to a murder case. Ultimately, investigators brought no charges against Circuit Judge John B. Hagler, and police said he is not a suspect in any investigation. The sensational case has led to allegations of professional retaliation, political intrigue and strategic news leaks. A secretary who had recently been fired by Hagler turned it over in 2005, saying she found the recording of the judge’s voice on a tape that also contained legal dictation. “It sounded like someone being tortured,” Chattanooga police Sergeant Alan Franks testified recently, offering the first details of what is on the tape. “The content was so shocking. I have been a police officer for 24 years,” Franks said before his testimony was cut off by an objection. Investigators ultimately concluded the recording consisted only of fantasies. Hagler strongly suggested the leak was committed by someone with a grudge against him, perhaps someone he had ruled against. “The description of it as containing ‘graphic fantasies’ . . . is an accurate and sufficient description and all any decent person would want to hear of it,” the judge said in a statement. District Attorney Steve Bebb said that what he heard led him to persuade Hagler, a longtime friend, to resign. “This would disturb any human being who heard it,” Bebb said. � Associated Press Shark therapy It started out as a joke � a lawyer putting a shark tank in his office. “I said, ‘What would it take to put a shark in a lawyer’s office?’ ” said family law attorney Christopher Gillette of Bozeman, Mont. Recently a crane hoisted a 1,000-gallon aquarium up to a second-story window in Gillette’s new office. He plans to fill it with at least two sharks. “I wanted to create an atmosphere where people would feel relaxed and be comfortable discussing very personal issues,” he said. “People seem to be comfortable with fish.” � Associated Press

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