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Posts Tagged ‘Delaware’

Delaware passes law governing digital assets

August 20th, 2014 No comments

Delaware recently passed HB 345, the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets and Digital Accounts Act. Here is the bill itself and here is the legislative history. The new law is based on the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act drafted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.

There’s been a lot of coverage of the new law on technology news sites, many of which don’t seem to understand it. Some of the better articles can be found on:

Categories: Delaware Tags: ,

Researching Delaware criminal sentencing

April 3rd, 2014 No comments

Here’s a quick list of sources for researching Delaware criminal sentences.

Title 11, chapter 5 of the Delaware Code defines crimes in Delaware and gives the classification of each crime.

Title 11 chapter 42 of the Delaware Code contains the possible sentences for each category of offense.

Delaware Sentencing Guidelines are in the Delaware Sentencing Accountability Commission Benchbook. The Benchbook is updated every year and the current Benchbook can always be found on the Commission’s webpage.

Open States provides access to state legislation

February 21st, 2013 No comments

open states logoThe Sunlight Foundation has created Open States, a website that tracks legislative information for all 50 states. This information has been available from state websites but it isn’t always easy to use. Open States gathers all the information with one easy to use interface. You can track bills, check your legislator’s voting record, even click on a map to find out who your state legislators are. Having just tried to do the same thing on the state of Delaware’s voting district maps, Open States definitely has an easier map interface.

The Delaware coverage includes bills and even includes the synopsis note for those of you doing legislative history. Unfortunately right now the coverage only goes back 2 years. Open States also has a handy iPhone/iPad app that lets you access your state legislature on the go.

Delaware weird laws are local

January 8th, 2013 No comments

Rehoboth Beach boardwalk 1931. Someone might be disrobing behind a beach chair.

This is going to be my last post on weird laws of Delaware. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed researching them. Today I’m going to look at a number of weird laws on disparate subjects that all have one thing in common. See if you can figure out what it is.

In Rehoboth Beach, Delaware:

No person shall change clothes in his or her vehicle.

status: mostly true [It’s only illegal if your car is in a public place. Feel free to change in your garage.]

§ 198-14. Disrobing in public. No person shall disrobe under the boardwalk, on the beach or in any vehicle while such vehicle is parked upon any public street or way or other public place in plain view of the public.

One may not whisper in church.

status: mostly true [It’s only illegal if you are disrupting or disturbing the congregation. If the congregation wants to have an all whispered service they can go ahead.]

§ 198-23. Disturbing religious worship and lawful assemblies. A. No person shall disrupt or disturb any congregation or assembly met for religious worship by noise, talking or whispering, or by rude or indecent behavior, or by profane language within their place of worship, or within 300 feet of the place of worship.

No person shall pretend to sleep on a bench on the boardwalk.

status: true [This is a perfectly normal law for a beach town, except for the “pretending” to sleep clause. I guess the local judges got tired of people using the “I wasn’t really asleep” defense.]

§ 198-30. Sleeping on boardwalk. No person shall sleep, lie or occupy as a sleeping quarter, or under the guise of pretending to sleep on the boardwalk, any bench located on the boardwalk in any pavilion located at the end of any street or on any bench located on any street.

Changing into or out of a bathing suit in a public restroom is prohibited.

status: true

§ 198-15. Changing clothes in comfort station prohibited. No person shall change his clothing from bathing suit to street clothes or otherwise within the comfort stations maintained by the City.

Six-year-old girls may not run around without being fully clothed.

status: true [But this is a deliberately obtuse reading of the law. Obviously 60 year old women are equally prohibited from topless bathing.]

§ 198-13. Topless bathing suits prohibited. No female over the age of five years shall wear a topless bathing suit or otherwise fail to cover her breasts with less than a full opaque covering of any portion thereof below the upper portion of the nipple.

Alcohol may not be served in nightclubs if dancing is occurring on the premises at the same time.

status: true [Actually nightclubs that allow dancing may not serve alcohol at all, no matter when the dancing is occurring.]

§ 134-13. Alcoholic beverages prohibited. No person shall sell, give, dispense, provide or keep or cause to be sold, given, dispensed, provided or kept any alcoholic beverage on the premises of any dance hall establishment.

In Lewes, Delaware:

It is illegal to wear pants that are “firm fitting” around the waist

status: not true [This is one of the most commonly cited weird Delaware laws on the internet. It is definitely not in the current Lewes code of ordinances. It is possible it used to be a law but I can't check because we don’t have older city ordinance for Lewes in our library.]

Did you figure out what they all have in common? They are all local laws, municipal ordinances that have been passed by a town or city in Delaware. Many of the laws cited on weird laws websites are often local laws. Laws passed to deal with local problems do often seem strange when taken out of their local context. For instance, many of the laws from Rehoboth Beach were probably passed to deal with the problems of a beach town, by trying to discourage nightclubs, stop day trippers from changing out of their bathing suits on residential streets, and keep drunk college students from sleeping on the boardwalk. Many beach towns have similar laws.

Legal research classes don’t spend much, if any time teaching how to research local laws, but these laws can greatly affect your clients’ everyday lives, so it’s worthwhile taking the time to learn how to find them. The internet has made researching local laws easier than it used to be. Many cities and towns have their municipal codes available on their website. There are also two companies that specialize in creating municipal codes, Municipal Code Company and General Code and many local codes can be found free on their websites. For more information on researching local laws, I’d recommend reading this excellent article by Mary Whisner of the University of Washington.

Photo credit: Delaware Public Archives. Board of Agriculture Glass Negative Collection.
http://cdm15323.contentdm.oclc.org/u?/p15323coll6,6621

For more information on local laws see: Mary Whisner. Enact Locally. 102 Law Library Journal 497 (2010)

Pileggi blog posts guide to Delaware practice for non-Delaware lawyers

August 9th, 2012 No comments

The Delaware Corporate & Commercial Litigation Blog has posted a guide to Delaware practice for non-Delaware lawyers. The guide was written by Eckert Seamans attorneys Francis G.X. Pileggi, Kevin F. Brady, and Jill Agro.

Categories: Delaware, Research Delaware Tags:

Delaware Legal History on Pinterest

June 14th, 2012 No comments

I love looking at historic photos. If you’d like to look at a collection of historic photos of Delaware attorneys and other legal subjects gathered from all over the internet, I’ve started a Pinterest page on Delaware legal history. These are mostly photos from the Delaware Public Archives which has a great online photo collection. There are also some from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Potter Anderson adds iPhone/iPad version to eDelaware

April 17th, 2012 No comments

Wilmington law firm Potter Anderson & Corroon has offered eDelaware, featuring full text of Delaware corporation, business entities and Uniform Commercial Code laws and case law summaries for some time now. But I’ve never had the chance to try it out because it was only available for Blackberry.

Now they’ve rolled out an iPhone/iPad version so I installed it out on my iPad to give it a try. The app includes full text of the Delaware General Corporation Law, the Statutory Trust Act, LLC Act, Revised Uniform Partnership Act, Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act and Articles 8 and 9 of the Delaware Uniform Commercial Code. All of these are downloaded onto your iPad so you can easily access them even when you don’t have internet access.

Also included are summaries of recent Delaware cases written by Potter Anderson attorneys. The most recent case summary when I checked today was for a case decided on April 10, 2012 so they are keeping it up to date.

This will be a handy app for anyone interested in Delaware corporation law. And best of all it’s free. You can install it through the iTunes app store.

Morris James presents guide to Delaware business courts

February 22nd, 2012 No comments

Delaware law firm Morris James has created Delaware Courts Online, a guide to Delaware’s business courts, including the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, the Delaware Court of Chancery, and the Delaware Superior Court’s Complex Commercial Litigation Division. The website is intended for the firm’s clients and attorneys but will be very useful for anyone who needs more information on the Delaware Courts. It includes court forms and rules, practice tips, descriptions of available court technology, pictures of the courtrooms, and even advice on getting to the courthouse.

Local sub shop sues Vegas franchise over racy advertising

January 20th, 2012 No comments

bobbie sandwichThe News Journal reports that local sub chain Capriotti’s has sued it’s Las Vegas franchise, accusing it of breaching the franchise agreement by offering Bobbie sandwich happy hour specials at the Crazy Horse III gentlemen’s club. (Here I considered linking to the club’s website. But that would end badly and I’d wind up on Above the Law. So google it yourself and instead I’ll give you this description of the special at Las Vegas Weekly.)

Read the complaint, which was filed in the Delaware Court of Chancery on January 17th for all the legal arguments. Because I’m too hungry to go on. To tell the truth I’m more of a Casapulla’s fan. Or you should really check out Gaudiello’s on the back side of Trolley Square. They have great Italian hoagies.

Photo by: nealdstewart/flickr

Local legal historic sites — grave of Richard Bassett

January 4th, 2012 No comments

Richard_bassettI’ve reached the end of my short series of local legal historic sites associated with Delaware’s signers of the Constitution. Previously we’ve covered Gunning Bedford Jr., Jacob Broom, George Read, and John Dickinson. Our final Delaware signer is Richard Bassett. One of the biggest difficulties in writing this profile is coming up with a physical historic site related to Bassett. Bassett was once one of the richest men in Delaware, owning estates in Maryland and Delaware and a house in Wilmington. None of these houses remain. The only remaining site is his burial place, in the Bayard-Bassett vault in the Wilmington and Brandywine Cemetery.

Richard Bassett was born in Bohemia Ferry in Cecil County Maryland. His parents ran the Bohemia Ferry Tavern. Bassett’s father left his family. Luckily for Bassett his mother was an heir to Bohemia Manor, a huge estate in Cecil County. Bassett was adopted by Peter Lawson, a lawyer, who was also an heir to Bohemia Manor, which Bassett eventually inherited. Lawson trained his adopted son as a lawyer. Bassett became a member of the Delaware Bar in 1770 and began his practice in Dover, Delaware.

During and after the Revolution, Bassett served at the Delaware State constitutional convention and was a member of the state Legislative Council and House of Assembly and the captain of a troop of cavalry. In 1787 he was chosen as a member of Delaware’s delegation to the Constitutional Convention. He never spoke at the convention but voted in favor of the new Constitution.

He was elected to the United States Senate in 1788 where he supported a strong judiciary. He was governor of Delaware in 1798, resigning in 1801 when he was named a judge of the Third Circuit by John Adams. He was one of the “midnight judges” whose position was eliminated in 1802 by the repeal of the Judiciary Act of 1801 by the new administration of Thomas Jefferson. Bassett published a pamphlet arguing against the elimination of the judges and in favor of judicial independence.

Besides his political and legal activities Bassett was also a strong supporter of the Methodist Church. He converted to Methodism in the 1780s and supported  Francis Asbury and other Methodist ministers. He invited Methodist preachers to Bohemia Manor and held camp meetings there. His religious scruples led him to oppose slavery, freeing his own slaves and trying to convince Delaware to abolish slavery.

Bassett was married twice. He had no sons, but one of his daughters, Ann, married James A. Bayard, who became a U.S. Senator for Delaware and founded a dynasty of Delaware Senators including Richard H. Bayard, James A. Bayard, Jr., Thomas F. Bayard, Sr. and Thomas F. Bayard, Jr. Bassett died in 1815 at Bohemia Manor.

Photo credit: Engraving, by Charles B. J. Fevret de Saint-Memin (1802). From Wikimedia

For more information on Richard Bassett  see:

Robert E. Pattison. “The Life and Character of Richard Bassett.” Papers of the Historical Society of Delaware (1900)

Gaspare J. Saladino. Bassett, Richard. American National Biography. Oxford University Press, 1999, v. 2