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Tag Archives: Literature

Thoughts on In a Grove and Tabish v. State: Should the Dead be able to testify from the grave?

In the murder case of Ted Binion, Sandra Murphy and Rick Tabish were accused of first degree premeditated, in cold blood style murder of casino mogul Ted Binion.  Murphy was Binion’s girl friend, and the two were accused of suffocating Binion and removing silver bullion from Binion’s underground vault in Pahrump, Nevada.  Yes, Nevada is still the wild west, my friends. 

At trial, Tom Standish, one of Binion’s lawyers and an upstanding Vegas lawyer, testified at trial that he was present when Binion told Tabish that if Binion died, Tabish should retrieve the silver from the vault so that greedy Binion family members would not try to keep the silver from Binion’s daughter, Bonnie.

Binion’s estate lawyer, James Brown, testified at trial that Binion had called Brown’s office the day before his death and had asked Brown to change the terms of his will.   Brown testified that Binion had said to him, “Take Sandy [Murphy] out of the will if she doesn’t kill me tonight.   If I’m dead, you’ll know what happened.”
On appeal, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled the statements were inadmissible hearsay, “akin to testimony from Binion after his death.”
In In the Grover, the Murder victim also speaks from the grave. 
What do you think?  Are these statements reliable evidence?  Did the Nevada Supreme Court get it right in Murphy?


The full opinion can be accessed here:


In a Grove

In a Grove

will change your life forever
in 14 pages.
Download here:

My New Year’s Reading List

New Years is my favorite Holiday hands down.   After the excesses of the holidays – turkey, hams, cookies, pies, and all the decorations – it feels so good to whittle down to my minimalist tendencies.   While others hit the after-holiday sales, for me it’s open season on the home front. Left over cookies, out!   Santa decorations, down!   I leave up winter decorations, because I love winter so much.  That New Years pretty much opens ski & winter sports season just makes it even better, because despite being a desert dweller I do love snow.  One of my favorite things is the smell of snow descending from our snow-capped mountains.  Nevada after all means “snowy.”

And I’m also a list person.  I love love love lists.  So while everyone else is driving to Vegas – where I fortunately already live and work – I’m making list & New Years plans.  Update the five year plan.    Move some things from the front burner to the back burner, and vice versa.  Mark the new calendar with upcoming fun stuff (basketball season, McKenna’s high school graduation).  A bit like the sorcerer’s apprentice, I direct my household to complete the “List of Unfinished Projects.”  Sadly, some of those are reading projects and I only have a few days to finish.  But here is my list of upcoming reads and re-reads as New Years Resolution for this year:

1. Typee – Heman Melville is the man, Hemmingway without the ridiculous ego, a man born at least fifty years before his true time.  This is the one I need to read this year: the mostly true tale of sailing Polynesia, abandoning ship, meeting cannibals, etc.    At the time it was written, it was considered too fantastic to be real. Not so.  But  His novels take me forever, because I have to sink into the language and swim there for awhile. But having had Moby Dick grace my nightstand, how could I miss this tale of sailing Polynesia?

2. Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak.  I resolve to re-read Dr. Zhivago, and try to “get” it this time around.  I resolve to not wonder why the movie is longer than the book, but to try to understand it.  I resolve not to judge Pasternak for writing Lara as a tragic heroine.  I resolve to read this with someone who gets it.  I don’t know who that is yet.

3. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold – John Le Carre’s first spy novel is also his most famous.  You can rightly blame this on Homeland, but it popped up on some reading suggestion lists and apparently represents the moral failures of the people doing the jobs.  So I think I can get somewhere with this one – having a CIA father, I’m usually not so impressed as other people.  I’m excited.

4. Wuthering Heights – I resolve to force some unsuspecting English Lit person to read Wuthering Heights so I have someone to about it with.  This leads to something else: I resolve to force some regular literature reading on some friends. 

This is my important list.  What it’s important to me to read, take the time to understand, and take myself some place new as a person.  What’s on your reading list this year?

Yale University Divinity School Library

Yale University Divinity School Library

The Frank and Bertha Ohlinger Papers from China and Korea

My great-great grandparents: Parents of Gus