President Abraham Lincoln was not the first President to celebrate Thanksgiving; but he was the one that made it official

Season of Blessings  President Abraham Lincoln was not the first President to celebrate Thanksgiving; but he was the one that made it official. By Gerald A. Williams If, like me, your weekends this time of year revolve around college football, Thanksgiving weekend does offer up some good games. Although sadly, Nebraska vs. Oklahoma and Texas vs. Texas A&M, are now distant memories. This year’s Oklahoma ...

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Don’t make criminal conduct a part of Halloween, says Judge Gerald A. Williams

Trick or Treat? Don’t make criminal conduct a part of Halloween, says Judge Gerald A. Williams.   Halloween is hard to explain. Why do we think it is normal to carve a face into a fruit, put a candle inside, and then to give candy to masked children? Where did this holiday come from? In the early 20th century, Halloween in the United States was marred by significant vandalism, property damage, and even ...

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Judge Gerald A. Williams questions if we should celebrate America’s birthday in September

Happy Birthday, America?  Judge Gerald A. Williams questions if we should celebrate America’s birthday in September.   The Fourth of July remains one of my favorite holidays; but is our nation’s birthday actually in September? Let’s look at some key historical dates, all of which happened in September. September 9, 1776: Congress names our new nation the United States of America September 18, 1776: Geo ...

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Judge Gerald A. Williams on what you need to know about your canine and the law

Dog Law  Judge Gerald A. Williams on what you need to know about your canine and the law. Believe it or not, dogs create such a significant number of legal issues that some attorneys actually specialize in dog law. But unfortunately, most court cases involving dogs involve dog bites. Many states have maintained a common law concept known as scienter. It states that the owner of nearly any domesticated anima ...

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Flag etiquette: Local Judge Gerald A. Williams talks about respect and care for the symbol of our nation

Flag Etiquette  Local Judge Gerald A. Williams talks about respect and care for the symbol of our nation. What is special about the month of June? Are there any good holidays? Well, June 2 is National Doughnut Day, which certainly sounds like a good idea. Pentecost, Father’s Day, and of course, Juneteenth also occur in June. D-Day occurred on June 6, 1944; but there is one other often-overlooked day. Flag D ...

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Local judge Gerald A. Williams discusses the Arizona Supreme Court changes to how evidence can be collected in DUI cases

Search & Seizure  Local judge Gerald A. Williams discusses the Arizona Supreme Court changes to how evidence can be collected in DUI cases.   For nearly five decades, Arizona law has allowed the police to obtain a blood sample from a DUI suspect who is unconscious. On March 9, 2017, the Arizona Supreme Court changed the law in this area. Some background is required. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. ...

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Can you enforce a verbal modification or some type of verbal side agreement to a written contract?

Verbal/Written Can you enforce a verbal modification or some type of verbal side agreement to a written contract? Local judge Gerald A. Williams discusses.   Can you enforce a verbal modification or some type of verbal side agreement to a written contract? Probably not. A judge most likely will not even allow you to offer evidence concerning any verbal changes to a written contract. The purpose of havi ...

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Judge Gerald A. Williams on what you need to know about wage garnishments

Garnishments  Judge Gerald A. Williams on what you need to know about wage garnishments. I have yet to meet anyone who was happy that their wages were being garnished. A garnishment is a court order that allows a percentage of your salary to go directly to someone who a court has previously concluded you need to pay. Although some garnishments are for child support, most garnishments are filed to collect on ...

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Judge Gerald A. Williams explains what to do if you’re served with a lawsuit

You’ve Been Served Judge Gerald A. Williams explains what to do if you’re served with a lawsuit.   If you get served with a lawsuit, suppress any initial panic and determine how to respond. Being sued is not a spectator’s sport. You can lose by default if you simply ignore the court documents and hope the case will go away. Civil lawsuits in justice courts, unless they are small claims cases or are evi ...

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Judge Gerald A. Williams offers a behind-the-scenes look at what military lawyers do

Military Justice Judge Gerald A. Williams offers a behind-the-scenes look at what military lawyers do.   Most who know me know that I served in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, or as a JAG, first on active duty, and then with the Air Force Reserve. However, many people have no idea what military lawyers do. One of the most visible activities of military attorneys concerns the administration of disci ...

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