Categotry Archives: Law

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Norman Roettger

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Categories: Law

Norman Charles Roettger Jr., a senior U.S. District Court judge who sent dozens of mobsters to prison, died on July 26 from a heart attack. He was 72.
Roettger graduated from Ohio State University in 1952, then enlisted for a three-year stint in the Navy. While he was stationed in Key West, he developed an appreciation for the eccentric people who lived in South Florida. After he received his law degree from Washington & Lee University in 1958, Roettger moved to Fort Lauderdale and joined the law firm of Fleming, O’Brien & Fleming.
Roettger also made connections with local Republicans. The networking paid off in 1969 when he was tapped to serve as the deputy counsel for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington D.C. Three years later, President Richard Nixon nominated Roettger to the federal bench.
Roettger returned to South Florida to establish a full-time federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale and to tackle tough drug and organized crime cases. He presided over the murder conspiracy trial of religious cult leader Yahweh Ben Yahweh, and received death threats for his sentencing of Mafiosos.
Roettger served as chief judge from 1991 to 1997. Despite the fact that he had technically retired, Roettger continued to travel the district and work as a senior judge. Last year, Roettger made news when he overturned the murder conviction of William H. Kelley, a man who had been on Death Row since 1984 for killing Florida millionaire Charles Von Maxcy.

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Phil Halpin

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Categories: Law

Paul Philip Halpin, a veteran Los Angeles County prosecutor who won two famous murder trials, died on July 25 from cancer. He was 65.
Halpin graduated from the UCLA law school in 1964. He was only 29 years old when he was given the tough retrial of the Onion Field case. Jimmy Lee Smith and Gregory Powell were convicted of kidnapping two Los Angeles police officers, and murdering one of them in a California onion field. Their sentences were overturned in 1967 based on the Supreme Court’s Miranda ruling.
Halpin won a second murder conviction against Smith in 1968. The case later spawned a best-selling true crime book by Joseph Wambaugh, and a feature film starring James Woods and Ted Danson.
In 1989, Halpin again tackled a tough murder case in his vigorous prosecution of Richard “Night Stalker” Ramirez, a self-proclaimed Satanist and serial killer who murdered more than a dozen people in Los Angeles from 1984-1985. After nine months of testimony, 537 pieces of evidence and 139 witnesses, Ramirez was found guilty of 13 counts of murder and 30 other charges including attempted murder, burglary, robbery, rape and sodomy. Ramirez was sentenced to death.

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Adrian Burk

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Categories: Law, Sports

Adrian Burk, one of only five players to throw seven touchdowns in a single game, died on July 28. Cause of death was not released. He was 75.
Burk was an All-American in 1949 and threw for over 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns at Baylor University.
From 1951 to 1956, he played quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. During the 1954 season, Burk tied the record for the most touchdown passes in a single game. The only other players to match this feat were: Sid Luckman, Chicago, 1943; George Blanda, Houston, 1961; Y.A. Tittle, New York, 1962; and Joe Kapp, Minnesota, 1969.
After his pro career ended, Burk joined the Houston law firm of Vinson & Elkins, and spent his weekends working as a football official. Burk refereed the longest playoff game ever between Kansas City and Miami in 1971, and the Immaculate Reception game between Pittsburgh and Oakland in 1972.
He also served as the general counsel to the Houston Oilers, where he was credited with signing Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon, the Houston Oilers’ first player.

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Harold Featherstone

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Categories: Law, Politicians

Harold G. Featherstone, a former circuit court judge and Florida legislator, died on July 19 of Parkinson’s disease. He was 80.
After serving in the U.S. Army’s Air Force during World War II and the Korean War, Featherstone graduated from the University of Miami and started practicing civil law.
In 1966, Featherstone was elected to the Florida House of Representatives where he was credited with getting three major bills passed. One mandated that all Florida gas stations accept major credit cards. Another led to the installation of emergency call boxes along the Florida Turnpike. Featherstone also got chiropractic care included in the state’s medical insurance coverage.
When his six-year term ended, Featherstone joined 11th Judicial Circuit Court in Dade County. He spent 20 years on the bench, presiding over both criminal and civil cases.

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Lord Shawcross

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Categories: Law, Politicians

hshawcross.jpgLord Hartley William Shawcross of Friston, a chief prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials, died July 6. He was 101.
Shawcross generated a reputation for meticulous prosecution when he tried William Joyce for high treason and John George Haigh for the murder of Olive Durand-Deacon. As the chief prosecutor for the United Kingdom at the Nuremberg war crimes trial in 1945, Shawcross helped to convict a dozen Nazis, who received prison and death sentences. These convictions were achieved despite Shawcross’s objections to capital punishment.
After Nuremberg, Shawcross was knighted. He worked as attorney general until 1951, spent four years as the principle British delegate to the United Nations and served several years in Parliament. Shawcross later became the Chancellor of Sussex University, and earned honorary degrees from nine universities in U.S. and the U.K. His autobiography, “Life Sentence,” was published in 1995.

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