Wednesday, June 17, 2009


     Here are three insightful quotes from the great H.L. Mencken.  Like all memorable quotes, they summarize profound human truths in just a few words.  I love these:

     All men are frauds.  The only difference between them is that some admit it.  I myself deny it.

     Conscience is the inner voice that warns us that somebody may be looking.  


     It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place.  


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Thursday, June 11, 2009


     Later this evening, I will be headed to the University of Evansville for my son Collin's new student orientation and registration.  It takes place over the next couple of days at the university.  I can't believe that it's time for my fourth child to go to college.  It truly just doesn't seem possible. 

     Any road, this will be my first experience with UE, as they call it.  My other children have either graduated from, or are currently attending, the University of Indianapolis (Tristan), Bellarmine University (Caitlin), or the U.S. Naval Academy (Brendan).  I'm looking forward to learning more about the University of Evansville.  I do know that the sports teams at UE are known as the "Purple Aces."  

     I was curious as to the origin of the nickname "Purple Aces."  According to the school's web site, the University of Louisville actually played a major role in establishing the nickname.  The teams at UE were originally known as the "Pioneers."  During a game in the 1924-25 basketball season, the UE Pioneers beat the University of Louisville by a score of 59-39.  After the game, Louisville's coach reportedly told the Evansville coach, "You didn't have four aces out there, you had five!"  After the story appeared in the Evansville Courier, school representatives decided that they liked the sound of "Aces" better than "Pioneers," and decided to change the official nickname.  UE athletic teams have been called the Evansville Purple Aces ever since.  

     I like this story.  And I'm glad to know that my law school alma mater helped to give Collin's new school its sports nickname.  And now I must learn a new cheer:  Go Aces!


Tuesday, June 09, 2009


     One of my favorite legal terms is known as "the rule of incredible dubiosity."  This unique sounding phrase describes a rule that is applicable in criminal cases only.  It is a means of testing the sufficiency of evidence to support a conviction.  It seems to be a rule that is unique to Indiana.

     As applied in the Hoosier state, the rule is:  "If a sole witness presents inherently improbable testimony and there is a complete lack of circumstantial evidence, a defendant's conviction may be reversed....Application of this rule is rare and the standard to be applied is whether the testimony is so incredibly dubious or inherently improbable that no reasonable person could believe it."  Fajardo v. State, 859 N.E.2d 1201 (Ind. 2007).  

     As a civil litigation attorney, I have very little opportunity to use the rule of incredible dubiosity in my legal practice.  I think that it is a great concept, though, and I like to apply it to everyday life.  In fact, I suspect that everyone probably has applied his or her own incredible dubiosity test on many occasions.  

     Did the dog really eat the homework?  Did the wife really stay out all night because she was having fun with her girlfriends?  Did the major league baseball player really not know that he was being injected with steroids?  Did the CIA really lie to Nancy Pelosi?  I think that we each formulate our own answers to these and many other questions based upon the application of our own rule of incredible dubiosity.  We decide whether the story seems too absurd to be believed, and formulate our opinions based upon that decision.  

     In the civil litigation arena, I like to informally apply my own rule when I am dealing with questionable testimony from witnesses.  Sometimes people tell stories that seem so unlikely that I feel certain that the jury will ultimately discount and/or ignore them.  Each juror, I am convinced, informally applies his or her own rule of incredible dubiosity in deciding whether to believe proffered testimony.  I think that's human nature, and that's probably a good thing.  

     So the next time you suspect that someone may be telling you a whopper, you may want to consciously ask yourself if their tale seems to be inherently improbable.  If so, you just might want to let it be known that the speaker has failed the incredible dubiosity test.  


Thursday, June 04, 2009


     The NBA Finals begin tonight, and almost everyone is picking Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers to win the best of seven series in six games or less.  I'm going against the grain, and predicting the Orlando Magic to win the matchup in seven games.  

     My reason?  I think that the Magic are being underestimated, and that they have too many weapons to lose this series.  They have shown throughout the playoffs that they can cause nightmares for opponents from many angles.  Whereas the Lakers will unquestionably have the best overall player on the floor in Bryant, the Magic present a well-rounded, relentless attack.  You never know where their death blow is going to come from. 

     At age 23, Dwight Howard is on the verge of becoming a truly dominating center.  Hedo Turkoglu has an unflappable court presence, and can strike at any time.  And what about Mickael Pietrus, Rashard Lewis and Courtney Lee?  Dagger, dagger and dagger again. 

     I think that it will be an interesting and competitive series. I also think that the experts are wrong.  Like I said, I'll take the Magic to win it all in seven games.  

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