From the sublime to the ridiculous

Hmm, maybe that should be just from the ridiculous to the ridiculous…

First ridiculous legal snippet:

An American millionaire has left US$14.8M on trust for her white Maltese terrier, Trouble. But two of her grandchildren get nothing. The other two get $5M each (still less than the dog…) as long as they tend their father’s grave.

This was a great example for class yesterday. We were able to conclude that non-charitable purpose trusts for dogs and tombs are exceptions to the general rule against such trusts, and therefore these trusts are probably valid.

Second ridiculous legal snippet:

A Kenyan religious group, Friends of Jesus, has lodged an application before the Kenyan High Court to declare Jesus’ conviction and crucifixion null and void.¬† As the article notes, there are a number of different legal questions on this one. First, does the Kenyan High Court have jurisdiction on this question, given that the conviction and sentence did not occur in Kenya? Secondly, is the action time-barred, given that it has been brought some 2000 years after the original conviction?

I would think that the Kenyan High Court would not have jurisdiction over this question. None of the persons involved were in Kenyan nationals or in Kenya at the time, and in fact, Kenya was not then a nation at that time. The question is then what court would? According to the accounts in the Bible, the Sanhedrin convicted Jesus of blasphemy, and the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, famously passed the death sentence on Jesus because the mob demanded it. The Friends of Jesus allege that the relevant sentence in Jewish law at the time should have been stoning to death, but that He was crucified instead, in violation of Jewish law. Unfortunately, the mention of the Sanhedrin led to anti-Semitism by Christians. In fact, it seems to me that there’s a taint of this in the comments of the representative of the Friends of Jesus.

Obviously, there is no Roman empire any more, and there is no modern equivalent of the Sanhedrin. The suggestion by a Kenyan constitutional lawyer in the newspaper article is that perhaps the International Criminal Court has the jurisdiction to hear the case, but Article 11 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court 1997 states that the ICC only has jurisdiction over crimes which occurred after the date of the Statute (being 1 July 2002). Therefore the ICC would not have jurisdiction over this matter either.

In any case, such a legal action would surely be beyond any reasonable limitations period.

I am really not sure what such a legal action would achieve. Surely one of the tenets of Christianity is that Jesus had to die to save our souls, and accordingly, the Sanhedrin and Pilate were only doing what God intended to happen? The Friends of Jesus say that it is necessary to clarify that Jesus was not a criminal, and that He advocated the rule of law. Hmm. Sounds to me like they’d be better off putting their money and their energy into better causes.



Filed under blasphemy, christianity, courts, crazy stuff, judaism, law, religion

5 responses to “From the sublime to the ridiculous

  1. pete m

    I’ll look after the dog!

    An interesting question – why should there ever be a limitation period on over-turning an unfair conviction? Who could possibly be prejudiced by a wrong being righted and justice being done?

    I do not know of any time limit to new evidence being put before a Court to review a criminal conviction. The time limit that does apply to criminal matters relates to the matters put before the Court in securing the conviction.

  2. LDU

    lolllll…That was funny. Maybe they want to go extraterritorial?

  3. The other question is whether or not Roman administrative records can verify the whether in fact the conviction or the defendant existed. Otherwise it’s a bit like ordering a retrial of Santa because of flawed procedures in the film “Miracle on 42nd Street”.

    As far as I am aware, no such records exist (we might know the gories of Pro Roscio or Against Verres, but provincial records about just another accused terrorist tend to be lost).

    However, other statements about the day in question (darkness covering the earth) would have been recorded in signficant detail just like any other major natural phenomena (comets, earthquakes, tidal waves) and available to us today. The lack of any supporting evidence for world-wide (or even Judaea-wide) darkness makes the rest of the details of the story open to question.

    As LE is well aware, the Romans were pretty thorough when it came to keeping track of natural phenomena because of the impact on their own auguries.

    If there is no reliable evidence of the alleged trial or accused, it’s pretty hard to make a case … unless the “Friends of Jesus” were to figure out a beyond-reasonable-doubt proof of the trial and conviction they alleged happen before they can justify a “retrial”, even if a modern court considered they had jurisdiction. Now THAT would be interesting.

    I wonder how long before something like this happens in Tennessee?

  4. Eeek! Heaps of typos. LE: feel free to clean them up.

  5. Pingback: It’s a dog’s life « The Legal Soapbox

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