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Thursday, December 1, 2022

The authorized dilemma of ‘The Wizard of Oz’

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“I’ll get you, my fairly, and your little canine, too!” One among my favourite films is The Wizard of Oz. I rewatched the movie just lately, and this time, I targeted on a scene with nice authorized significance.

That imply neighbor, Miss Almira Gulch, goes to Auntie Em and Uncle Henry’s home to take Dorothy’s canine Toto to the sheriff to have him destroyed. Apparently, Toto bit Gulch on the leg, leading to her going to the sheriff and getting an order to place him to sleep (Toto, not the sheriff).

Dorothy is beside herself, and he or she exclaims, “Uncle Henry, you gained’t let her, will you?”

Uncle Henry replies confidently, “In fact we gained’t.”

Then Gulch all of a sudden whips out the “sheriff’s order,” authorizing her to confiscate Toto.

An argument ensues when, predictably, Dorothy refuses handy over the prisoner. Gulch admonishes the household that that they had higher hand over Toto forthwith, “until you need to go towards the regulation.”

Uncle Henry scans the order for about two seconds, and he nods stoically. He reluctantly fingers Toto to Gulch, who carts him away in a basket fixed to her bicycle.

After this sequence, I did some pondering. Orders made with out discover to the affected social gathering scare me—nearly as a lot as barking canines.

It occurred to me that absolutely there will need to have been some provision within the legal guidelines of Kansas to put aside this order from the sheriff. I assume the film folks didn’t concern themselves with these authorized implications. Nevertheless, had the screenplay been penned by a lawyer, the movie might need had a sequence coping with a particular movement to proper the flawed, as follows:

Ozzie J: It is a movement by Dorothy Gale to put aside the order obtained with out discover, by the respondent Almira Gulch from Tornado County Sheriff Charlie Farley.

The order was obtained pursuant to the provisions of the Canines That Annoy Fantastic People Act.

Miss Gulch, the complainant, alleges that Dorothy’s canine Toto steadily used to enter her backyard and harass her. When she just lately politely requested Dorothy to take away Toto, the canine lunged at her, biting Miss Gulch on the shin.

The discovered sheriff, after listening to the proof of Miss Gulch, orders the accused faraway from the Gale residence and introduced earlier than him an order to be put down.

Dorothy alleges in an affidavit that Toto is a high quality canine, actually. She denies that Toto ever entered the backyard and pleads that the complainant startled each her and Toto as they handed by, all of a sudden leaping in entrance of them together with her broom and cackling.

An affidavit sworn by Emma Gale (aka Auntie Em) alleges Almira Gulch feels that she owns the complete county and that for 23 years she has wished to inform Almira Gulch a couple of issues, however being a Christian girl, she couldn’t say them.

After reviewing all of the proof, I discover that Toto did certainly take a nibble of Almira Gulch’s shin. Not solely did the complainant endure bodily ache, however she was additionally compelled to endure emotional trauma afterward when Dorothy began singing.

The query now, nonetheless, is whether or not this order ought to have been sought with discover to Dorothy. And to Toto, too.

Part 4 of the act offers as follows:

    4. The sheriff could problem the order with out discover if:

    a) The canine or proprietor can’t be readily positioned;

    b) There’s a chance that upon receiving such discover the canine or proprietor may abscond from the jurisdiction;

    c) There’s chance that upon receiving such discover the canine or proprietor may chunk the sheriff.

There is no such thing as a doubt that the unique software fails to satisfy the primary leg, so to talk, of the check. Each Dorothy and Toto may readily be discovered on the Gale residence speaking to the livestock.

There’s some skimpy proof with respect to subsection “b” making use of. Almira Gulch insists that had they obtained discover, each Toto and Dorothy would have been out of right here like a twister. She claims that Dorothy was all the time singing to herself a bizarre music about being off to see the wizard.

Gulch argues that there was moreover good purpose to consider that provision “c” was a probable contingency.

I disagree. The proof of Uncle Henry is that the sheriff usually came visiting to the Gale farm to pitch horseshoes with Uncle Henry. After they had been completed, Toto then used to interact Charlie in a vigorous recreation of checkers over a plate of Auntie Em’s chocolate fudge. I can’t see how Toto would have bitten the sheriff had he attended to serve him papers. Maybe he would have licked his hand. However that’s it.

I discover that the order of the sheriff shouldn’t have issued with out discover, and I set it apart. I award authorized prices of the movement to Dorothy; and to Toto, too.

As attorneys, I’m positive the authorized significance of this order with out truthful discover to Dorothy et. al. didn’t escape us. And as attorneys, we should generally be the wizards to let what’s proper prevail. At the very least justice was achieved, as Toto jumped out of the basket en path to his anticipated demise. I belief subsequent time any of us revisit the film, we’ll view this scene with a special lens and admire the equitable final result.


Marcel Strigberger, after 40-plus years of working towards civil litigation within the Toronto space, closed his regulation workplace and determined to proceed to pursue his humor writing and talking passions. His just-launched guide is Boomers, Zoomers, and Different Oomers: A Boomer-biased Irreverent Perspective on Getting older. For extra info, go to MarcelsHumour.com and comply with him at @MarcelsHumour on Twitter.


This column displays the opinions of the creator and never essentially the views of the ABA Journal—or the American Bar Affiliation.

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