]]]]]]         JURY RULES KILLING SELF NOT SUICIDE        [[[[[[[[[[[
                                                          (1/30/1989)
       (From THE KANSAS INTELLIGENCER, Dec 1988; published
        by AtE Subscriber Prof. Bob Clack, R.W. Clack,
        5524 Anderson Ave, KS 66502, $12/year.)     

     That is a headline from a November 23 news item in the WICHITA 
EAGLE.  The accompanying article regarding a court case is fairly 
detailed but in no way alters the thrust of the headline.
     To make sense of the article, ask yourself:  Who benefits from
such a legal finding?  Who pays for such a legal finding?
     At issue was a $0.75 million life insurance policy with -- you
guessed it -- a "no suicide" clause.
     It was a jury trial in a U. S. District Court.  I didn't hear
the testimony.  I wasn't on the jury.  But the guy who killed himself
was in financial straits, had three months to go until the "no
suicide" feature of his insurance policy expired, first shot and
killed an associate, then shot himself three times with two different
guns.  He died as a result of the self-inflicted gunshot wounds.
Those details are uncontested.
     But the jury "...ruled that he did not commit suicide."
     What does it mean?  It means that for less than $l million,  you
can hire any "expert" testimony you want. It means  that language,
logic, justice and contract law can be turned on its head.  It means
that courtroom law is a more a matter  of theater and lottery than
logic and language.   We like to suppose that the web of law protects
us but, in fact, we are at the mercy of mountebanks and charlatans.
     Do I, herein, excoriate all lawyers and judges?  Certainly not.
The reality is that we can expect about the same level of morality
and common sense in the legal profession as is to be found among shoe
salesmen, junk dealers, members of the clergy and politicians.

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