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Frank Dudley Berry, Jr.
Novelist, playwright (writing under names that are variants of the surname 'Wurtenbaugh'), retired criminal law practitioner.
Recent Activity
I recently became aware of the extraordinary novel 'Life and Fate', by an extraordinary writer, Vasily Grossman. Grossman was a Soviet/Russian Jewish writer and closet dissident who was born in 1905 and died in 1964. For most of his career,... Continue reading
I'm likely a minority of one here, but in my not-so-humble-opinion, the FBI investigation is going to blow up in the face of the NCAA and the college basketball establishment. The reason? There is no social harm here, none at... Continue reading
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A Prophet Without Honor It has become a cliche of modern history that the best chance the West had to resist the onslaught of Nazi aggression was in March 1936, when Hitler ordered the reoccupation and remilitarization of the Rhineland... Continue reading
I dealt with race and racism pretty much constantly between 1972 and 2007, with greater or lesser wisdom. At any rate, here are some stories. Make of them what you will. 1. The Twofer. Sometime in the mid 70's, when... Continue reading
Is there a justification for jury nullification? Indeed there is, though on a far more limited and abstract basis than naive 'informed juror types' would suggest. I discussed the applicable rationale in a lecture I have years ago to a... Continue reading
Shakespeare's play 'Othello' is fascinating. For a long time, I had problems with the play. In the Chamber Scene at the end, when Othello smothers Desdemona, he cat-and-mouses her, bullies her, for a while. It's not pleasant. Also, Othello's gullibility... Continue reading
I call my politics Populist. Forty years of working with juries, the American public at its best, will do that to you. I trust popular will, popular judgments, popular values. That makes me unpopular, because populism itself isn’t very popular.... Continue reading
You Gotta Have Class (To the tune of 'You Gotta Have Heart', from Damn Yankees) You gotta . . . have . . . . cl-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-ssssss, Or you fall flat on your a-a-a-a-a-a-a-sssss, When they’re saying, ‘you are a fool’,... Continue reading
(1) So we have been living with information distribution services for some time now - in fact, the measure of advancing civilization seems to me to be directly correlated to the increasing quantum and ewfficiency of information distribution, The postal... Continue reading
But before we let the case sink gently under the surface, let's have a little fun with it. The actual case involved a suspect and an attempt to verify his proximity to the scene of the crimes. Let's turn it around. Consider a hypothetical in which we have a number of crime scenes and no identified suspect. Continue reading
A college would not penalize an actor who was fortunate enough to gain an Equity card. He can still try out for the school play. A student trumpeter good enough to join the Musician's Union can still play in the... Continue reading
Whenever I argue against the absurdity of NCAA amateurism, someone suggests that separating boosters from legitimate third party sponsors would be an impossible task. They might as well be talking about buggy whips and whalebone corsets. Here's why. You have... Continue reading
(I'm going to post a whole series of articles on the the NCAA and amaterurism, which I hope some of you guys repost. They'll also be in my blog. I'm pretty much convinced that I see the future in this,... Continue reading
I have been grateful for all the reviews of, and kind words about, the short story 'Warm Moonlight'. But please note, the narrator is the GREAT-grandmother of the girl to whom she tells the tale. She's in her mid 80's... Continue reading
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I'd like to tell you a story', an old woman says to her beloved great-granddaughter - and thereby hangs a tale . . . . and what a tale . . . It's a story of adventure and rescue, redemption... Continue reading
These days, Stanford or whoever will require you to escrow whatever you make outside for 60 days while they audit to make sure no booster has snuck through the back door – you know, some one defined as a booster showed up and paid a ridiculous amount for your jersey. The NCAA does insist that all schools offer the same cookie-cutter scholarship, including their affiliates, so that every one is equal. I'm with them on that. So that escrow makes some sense. But there's enough legitimate income out there, including us, that the boosters aren't all that motivated to cheat any more. Continue reading
Some thoughts I've had for some time, re pensions and overcompensation of civil servants in general. I think I've been open about my own participation in CalPers. But the concern here is for cops, schoolteachers, court clerks, and the like. Which concern can be expressed in two questions. Who's going... Continue reading
Some thoughts I've had for some time, re pensions and overcompensation of civil servants in general. I think I've been open about my own participation in CalPers. But the concern here is for cops, schoolteachers, court clerks, and the like. Which concern can be expressed in two questions. Who's going... Continue reading
[A friend of mine wondered why the foreclosure crisis couldn't be resolved at least in part by the government requiring that the creditor bank being forced to absorb the excess debt. I wrote the following in response, including my own... Continue reading
Ever notice that all of these exculpations are two or three decades old? And that they never occur in a case where there's an active, determined victim group. The Troy Davis case is what happens when the victim is active. There, the defendant argued aggressively for more than ten years... Continue reading
I dealt with race and racism pretty much constantly between 1972 and 2007, with greater or lesser wisdom. At any rate, here are some stories. Make of them what you will. 1. The Twofer. Sometime in the mid 70's, when I was public defendering and doing motions, one of our... Continue reading
The Supreme Court has just ordered that the state of Texas to grant the request of Henry ("Hank") Skinner, a condemned inmate, for additional DNA testing. To me, the only issue is why there was any resistance at all from the State. I can understand the immediate visceral reaction by... Continue reading
[The file linked here is the first chapter of the autobiographical reflections I intend to publish on the criminal justice system. At the time I met him, Harley Valentine had been in San Quentin for 28 years, the third longest tenure at that time in the California prison system. The... Continue reading