Tuesday, March 20, 2007 at 4:10 AM
So, here they are, and I hope you find them informative and even a bit entertaining:]
A surprising number of people, including media reps, contacted me this morning with inquiries about the Bahamian judge’s authority to compel Howard K. Stern to provide DNA samples from himself and Dannielynn for a paternity test. But I wholly sympathize with their bewilderment.
Because over the past few days, I have watched with perverse amusement as American reporters and legal pundits expounded – with varying degrees of coherence – on the differences between judicial orders in the U.S. and judicial directives in The Bahamas. Whereas, in fact, to the extent there are legal differences between them, they are utterly without distinction. And here’s why:
Our British colonial heritage has perverted our legal system with many royal pretensions – from judicial vestments that make our judges look 18th Century drama queens, to legal prose that envisions reverence for, and obedience to, the implied authority of Her Majesty’s “Lordships”. Therefore, where an American judge may feel obliged to issue orders to assert his authority, a Bahamian judge feels vested with such authority that he presumes his directives are tantamount to royal decrees – compliance with which he takes for granted.
That said, the consequences for failing to comply with a judicial directive in The Bahamas are essentially the same as those that obtain for failing to comply with a judicial order in the U.S: You will be held in contempt!
Accordingly, if Supreme Court Justice Stephen Isaacs directs Stern to provide DNA samples and he refuses, I have no doubt that his Lordship will “give directions” not only to social services to take custody of Dannielynn until paternity and custody matters are settled, but also to immigration authorities to deport Stern back to the U.S. forthwith. (Assuming, of course, that he’s not already being held in a Bahamian jail cell on suspicion of murder in the death of Anna Nicole’s son Daniel….)
NOTE: Please do not take from this point of clarification the impression that there are no substantive and meritorious differences between Bahamian and American law; because there are many. This, however, is not the forum for that dissertation. Therefore, I urge the American TV reporters covering this case to at least retain a local attorney to provide more informed talking points to better serve their rapt audiences back home.
But I invite you to scroll below and browse my Related Articles to learn all that’s worth knowing about the origins, litigation and resolution of the legal and political mess Anna Nicole left behind….
UPDATE: This weblog, The iPINIONS Journal, now has a more user-friendly address: http://ipjn.com/
Hey Tony, what’s up with the brothers wearing white wigs