Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Hey Man! This is Our Turf...It's Rumble Time in East Harlem 30's-60's

By Miriam Medina (excerpts from my Essay "The Ebb and Flow of East Harlem's Ethnic Changes"

The 30s, through the 60s was an age of teen-age rebellion, drugs and alcohol and outright disrespect for parental and school authority. When the Puerto Rican population began saturating the East Harlem area during the 1930s through the fifties, many Italians continued to remain in the neighborhood. With the increase in population of this new ethnic group's arrival , both Italians and Puerto Ricans found themselves in constant conflict competing for housing, educational and employment resources.

The atmosphere became explosive, with rumbles between the black Dragons, Italian Dukes, Puerto Rican Viceroys and the Italian Redwings. Puerto Ricans and the Italian teen-agers clashed with one another to establish and maintain their turf and honor. These rumbles were easily set off by the side that was looking for a fight, whether it was over the boundaries of their turf, establishing claims over streets and parks, testing their machismo and as usual petty things over their ladies. The girls had the protection of the gang and if any of them would be insulted, which in many cases were fabricated stories just to provoke a war, they would defend her honor, even if they all knew she was a whore. The gang members, anywhere from fourteen to nineteen years old would strut with their chest pushed out, carrying with them zip guns ready to fire just in case, baseball bats and switchblades which were common weapons back then. Yeah man, it made them feel real macho, cool and tough, they were prepared, anytime, for a good rumble, knowing that no matter how afraid they were, they would not admit it. Racial slurs tossed back and forth provoked frequent confrontations which would many times result in death or being hospitalized with crushed heads and serious crippling injuries from switchblade knifings, beaten by tire chains or shot by bullets. Some members of the gang in preparation for a rumble would store on the roof tops piles of gravel-filled milk bottles, bricks, iron scrap and whatever else they could find to use as ammunition.

"In East Harlem the dark-skinned Puerto Ricans organized a gang called "the Viceroys," while the light-skinned rivals formed the "Dragons." These gangs would fight among themselves as well as with the Italian gangs to the east of which one of them was called "The Red Wings." They even fought against the African-American gangs to the west. " (5)

The block I lived on was called "The Red Wing." The Italian Red Wings, who were East Harlem's largest and most powerful Italian street gang, defended Thomas Jefferson Park which was located between First Avenue and the east river, from 111th to 114th Street.

This is an excerpt from which will give you an insight into the gangs of that time from my old neighborhood. "Italian Harlem consisted of Italians mostly of the poorer southern provinces of Calabria and Sicily, who settled in the area east of 3rd Avenue, between 110th-125th Streets, known as "Dago Harlem." During the 40s, 50s and early 60s, a street gang known as the Harlem Redwings controlled this turf. Their main rivals in East Harlem were the black Dragons and the Enchanters, a few Irish gangs from Irish Harlem, along with the Puerto Rican Viceroys - who controlled 86th Street.” “The RED WINGS and the DARLING DEBS were known to hang around 120th and Pleasant Avenue in the area of the Wagner Projects. Red Wing hangouts included: Shep's Candy Store on the corner of 115th and Pleasant Ave. right across the street from Franklin, Artistries on 118th St. and Pleasant Ave, the Night Hawks on 119th St and Pleasant Ave and Osies Candy Store on 116th St. between 1st and Pleasant Ave. "

Source: (5)Vampires, Dragons, and Egyptian Kings: Youth Gangs in Postwar New York By Eric C. Schneider; Princeton University Press, 1999.

To read the complete 5 page essay " The Ebb and Flow of East Harlem's Ethnic Changes."
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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

In Law: pleading (6)

In early times other pleadings might follow the answer as at common law, but ultimately the answer came to be the last substantial pleading, and was followed only by a formal plea always of the same tenor and used only to indicate that the parties were at issue.

In case it became necessary for the plaintiff to meet any of the allegations in the answer, this was accomplished by amendment. Upon the testimony taken before a master in chancery, and upon the answer, which was deemed to be not only a pleading, but in effect evidence introduced by the plaintiff, the decision and final decree of the Court of Chancery were based.

Equity pleading borrowed from the common law the use of the demurrer and the plea, with practically the same effect.

In the courts of equity of the United States, which, in accordance with the Constitution and statutes of the United States, are distinct from the courts of common law, the same system of pleading is used as in the English Court of Chancery as it has here been outlined. The pleading in the United States courts is, however, subject to modification by rules of court. The same system of equity pleading also obtains in those States in which the distinction between courts of equity and of law has been maintained, notably New Jersey.

Code Pleading

The supposed difficulty in satisfactorily modifying or reforming the common-law system by mere statutory revision or amendment led in many of the United States to legislation abolishing the common-law system of pleading and creating or attempting to create a purely statutory form of pleading to be used in both law and equity actions. This step was first taken by the Legislature of New York, which adopted in 1848 the New York Code of Civil Procedure, which as served as a model for similar legislation in most of the other States adopting code procedure. A substantially statutory form of pleading and practice was also adopted in England by the Judicature Acts of 1873 and 1875. Under the codes discovery in equity actions is abolished. The pleader is allowed to plead the facts upon which he relies without formality. The pleadings are limited to two unless the defendant pleads a counter-claim, i.e. an independent action against the plaintiff, in which case the plaintiff may reply to it. The plaintiff's pleading is called a complaint, or in some States a petition, and in England a statement of claim. The defendant's pleading is called an answer or in England a statement of defense. The defendant may demur to the plaintiff's complaint or to his reply to defendant's counterclaim, and the plaintiff may demur to defendant's answer or counterclaim, and if the demurrer is overruled, the litigant is generally allowed to plead to the merits. Formal defects can only be taken advantage of by motion before trial, and great freedom of amendment is allowed. Despite its apparent simplicity, the code system has given rise to many difficulties not unlike those existing under the common-law system, and the question of further reform is still being agitated.

Consult: Gould, Treatise on the Principles of Pleading in Civil Actions (6th ed; Albany, 1898); Perry, Common Law Pleading, Its History and Principles (Boston, 1897); Story, Commentaries on Equity Pleadings (10th ed., Boston, 1892); Phillips, Principles of Pleadings in Action under the Codes of Civil Procedure (1897) Beale, The Law of Criminal Pleading (Boston, 1899).

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In Law: pleading (5)

The system of pleading adopted in equity by the English Court of Chancery was derived partly from the common-law system and partly from the civil-law system as administered by the English ecclesiastical courts.

The important features of the civil-law system which characterize equity pleading were: (a) the absence of the denial or traverse, the rule being that all the allegations in a pleading were deemed to be denied unless expressly admitted by a subsequent pleading, which was exactly the converse of the common-law rule by which all the allegations in a pleading were deemed to be admitted unless expressly denied; and (b) the practice by which a party to the litigation could compel his opponent to testify, or give discovery, as it was called, in advance of argument or trial as to the matters alleged in the first party's pleading.

The plaintiff's pleading in an equity action is called the bill. In effect it is a petition addressed to the court asking that subpoena issue compelling the defendant to answer the bill. Formerly bills in equity were prepared with great formality and were usually composed of nine distinct parts. Of these, however, only four are important in modern practice, and two of these may be dispensed with. The essential parts are the statement of facts and the prayer for relief.

For the purpose of obtaining discovery the plaintiff might state in his bill at great length the evidence upon which he relied in support of his claim. This was known as the charging part of the bill. He might also ask specific questions founded upon the stating and charging parts of the bill, which he required the defendant to answer. This was known as the interrogatory part of the bill. After the appearance of the defendant, failing which a decree would be taken against him by default, he was required to answer the bill. The answer, which was required to be under oath, might set out at length any matters of defense, however numerous, relied upon by the defendant, but he was required to make discovery or give testimony by answering fully and specifically the charging and interrogatory parts of the bill.

To be continued: In Law: Pleading (6)

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In Law: Pleading (4)

Following are the more essential changes:

Matters of form are required to be taken advantage of by motion before trial, otherwise they are deemed to have been waived. Singleness of issue is not required, the defendant being allowed to use the general denial and to plead several matters by way of confession and avoidance. In many jurisdictions the number of successive pleadings is limited. Decisions upon demurrers are not necessarily final, the defendant being usually allowed to plead to the merits in case his demurrer is over-ruled.

Great freedom of amendment is allowed, a party being allowed to correct a defective pleading by amendment on application to the court, even at the trial of the action, if the rights of his opponent will not be prejudiced by the amendment. There are also many minor changes, the general object being to make the system more simple and just in its application, and to avoid the determination of rights upon purely formal grounds.

Pleading at Criminal Law

At common law pleading in criminal actions was in its essentials substantially like pleading in civil actions, although much less elaborate.

The first pleading was called the indictment. To this the accused might interpose a demurrer, as in civil actions, and with like effect, except that if the demurrer were over-ruled he was allowed to plead to the indictment. All matters tending to show that the accused was not guilty of the offense charged might be shown under the oral plea not guilty or the plea nolo contendere, which was equivalent to guilty, except that it was not an admission by the defendant which could be used against him in evidence in a civil suit for the same act. After the plea no further pleading was necessary. The Plea of abatement or previous conviction or acquittal of the same offense were required to be specifically pleaded as a plea by way of confession and avoidance; and to these the prosecution might demur with the same effect as a demurrer to a plea in abatement in a civil action.

Pleading at criminal law has been subjected to fewer statutory changes than pleading in civil actions. In some States less formality is required than at common law, and final judgment cannot be entered upon purely formal grounds. Formal defects may be cured by amendment, but there can be no amendment to matter of substance in an indictment, otherwise an amended indictment would not satisfy the requirement that the indictment must be found by the grand jury.

To be continued: In Law: Pleading(5)

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In Law: Pleading (3)

The successive pleadings in an action, beginning with the plaintiff's pleading, were named the declaration, plea, replication, rejoinder, sur-rejoinder, rebutter, and sur-rebutter. Although theoretically possible, it was not usual for the proceedings to continue beyond the rebutter or sur-rebutter.

Upon the trial of an issue of fact, as the character of the issue was determined by the pleadings, it necessarily followed that the relevancy of all evidence offered at the trail was also primarily determined by the pleadings. Upon the entry of judgment all the pleadings in the case, together with the judgment constituting the judgment roll, were filed with the clerk of the court, thus constituting a complete permanent record of the case.

Owing to the highly technical and formal nature of the common-law system, the practice grew up of deciding the rights of litigants upon purely formal grounds, and judgment was frequently taken against a party upon demurrer because he had failed to state a perfectly valid claim or defense in the proper form. This was corrected to some extent by the statute of 27 Eliz., e. 5, sec. 1, which provided that no advantage should be taken of defects of form, except by a special demurrer which should state specifically the formal defect objected to. The statute 4 Anne, c. 16, sec. 1, was enacted for more effectively accomplishing this result, and 15 and 16 Vict., c. 76, sec. 50-52, abolished the special demurrer and required all defects of form to be taken advantage of by motion before trial. This is generally the modern practice. The statute of Anne referred to allowed the defendant to plead several pleas to the same declaration, thus breaking down to some extent the principle of singleness of issue. Through laxity of practice also the defendant was allowed in his plea to make use of a general denial, known as the general issue, the effect of which in most actions was ultimately not only to deny all the essential allegations of the declaration, but to allow the defendant at the trial to prove many matters of affirmative defense. An attempt was made by statute, 4 Wm. IV., C. 42, to avoid the confusion and the frequently illogical results of this complicated system by authorizing the judges of the common-law courts to adopt certain rules modifying the common law of pleading as it then existed. These rules, known as the Hilary rules, were promulgated in 1834 and had for their principal object the narrowing of the general issue so as to make it conform more closely to a logical denial of the allegations in the complaint. These rules, however, did not succeed in accomplishing the desired result, and seem only to have added to the confusion into which the subject had fallen. The law was substantially revised by 15 and 16 Vict., c. 76, and modern legislation has been enacted in all of the United States in which the common-law system has been retained.

To be continued: In Law: Pleading (4)

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In Law: Pleading (2)

The first step toward accomplishing the object of pleading after service of summons or mandate of the court upon the defendant was the filing of the declaration (known in modern practice as the complaint) in court. In the declaration the facts were required to be stated according to their legal effect only, and it was not permissible to set out the evidence on which the plaintiff relied. Owing to the tendency of the early lawyers to adopt fixed forms of statement and to their adherence to precedent, the declaration was required to conform to one of a limited number of rigid forms, and if a plaintiff could not adapt the state of facts upon which he based his right to recover to one of these forms, he was without remedy.

After the plaintiff had filed his declaration it was then incumbent upon the defendant to make some statement of his defense; otherwise, after a certain period, judgment would be taken against him by default. If the defendant conceived that the declaration, if taken as true, did not show sufficient grounds to justify the plaintiff's recovery (or, as it was said, did not state a cause of action), he could submit the question of its sufficiency to the court as a matter of law by filing a demurrer to the declaration.

If however, the defendant wished to deny any of the allegations contained in the declaration, he might do so by filing a formal denial, his pleading in that case being known as a plea by way of traverse. An issue of fact was thus raised for decision by the jury.

It might happen, however, that the defendant, while admitting the truth of all the allegations in the declaration, and admitting that it was legally sufficient, relied upon the existence of new or other facts sufficient to excuse him from the liability charged in the declaration, in which case his plea took the form of a confession and avoidance. The plaintiff might then plead, setting up either a demurrer to the plea or a denial with the effect already described; or he in turn might plead by way of confession and avoidance and thus cast upon the defendant the burden of pleading again. In every case the pleadings were thus continued until a single issue of law or fact was raised, and the determination of that issue determined the rights of the parties to the litigation. Any plea of a defendant, such as has been described, setting up some matter of defense to the plaintiff's claim was known as a plea in bar or as a plea to the merits. It might happen, however, that the defendant wished to insist upon some matter which, though not a complete defense to the plaintiff's claim, was sufficient to show that the action was brought in an improper manner, as that the plaintiff was a married woman and had not joined her husband as plaintiff, or that the court had no jurisdiction, or that the defendant was not properly named. Such a plea was known as a plea in abeyance. The effect of a plea in abeyance, if successful, was to cause a dismissal of the plaintiff's action without prejudice to a second action if properly brought. If unsuccessful the defendant was allowed to plead again to the merits.


To be continued: In Law: Pleading (3)

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In Law: Pleading (1)

As a generic term, the written allegation of facts upon which a party to any legal proceeding founds his claim or demand or his answer or defense thereto. Used in a broader sense, the term signifies the system of legal rules and principles applicable to the written pleadings in a legal proceeding.

Pleading is only one of the successive steps in a proceeding at law by which one party asserts or enforces his rights against another, all together being comprehended by the term procedure. Originally the pleadings in an action at common law were oral, as is evidenced by many peculiarities of the common-law procedure of a later date; but as early as the reign of Edward III. we find that the pleadings were in writing and usually in Latin.

Pleading at law, however, ultimately developed into a system of highly technical and formal rules requiring the greatest precision in their application, and often by their very formality and rigidity defeating rather than aiding justice. Although remedial statutes were passed as early as the reign of Elizabeth, no attempt at a general reformation of the system was made until 4 William IV., c. 42, in 1834. At a later date in the United States various forms of statutory or code pleadings were adopted.

The principles upon which any system of pleading are necessarily based will, perhaps, be best understood by referring briefly to the more essential elements of the common-law system. The primary object of the pleadings in an action at common law was to raise a single issue or dispute upon either a point of law or of fact. In the former case a question was raised for decision by the court, usually after argument upon the question of law involved and submission of briefs by opposing counsel. In the latter, a question was raised for decision by the jury after hearing evidence tending on the one side to prove and on the other to disprove the fact in dispute. And upon the decision of the court or a verdict of the jury final judgment was entered determining the rights of the parties to the controversy.

To be continued: In Law: Pleading (2)

Source: The History

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Brusciano, Italy News/Events (13)

This article contributed by Dr. Antonio Castaldo will only be in Italian.
"A Brusciano col nuovo anno scolastico √® arrivata una nuova preside all’ICS “De Filippo”.

L’Istituto Comprensivo Statale “Eduardo De Filippo” con il nuovo anno scolastico ha visto l’avvicendamento tra l’uscente dirigente, prof. Aniello Alfano, e la nuova preside, professoressa Stella Notaro.

L’Amministrazione comunale di Brusciano guidata dal Sindaco dott. Angelo Antonio Romano e per le specifiche attivit√† dall’Assessore alla Pubblica Istruzione, prof. Francesco D’Amore, ha espresso l’augurio di buon lavoro ed il cordiale benvenuto alla nuova preside, dott.ssa Notaro, ed al contempo ha rivolto il pensiero di gratitudine al professore Alfano, dirigente scolastico uscente, per l’impegno reso in questi anni a favore dei ragazzi della scuola “De Filippo”.

L’Assessore alla Pubblica Istruzione prof. D’Amore, lui stesso docente della “De Filippo”, ha dichiarato che “le poche risorse finanziarie disponibili ci faranno da stimolo creativo per avere la massima resa in termini di servizi e di iniziative di sostegno ai giovanissimi studenti. In special modo verranno garantiti anche interventi di assistenza materiale, nelle varie casistiche esistenti, per la parte bisognevole della platea scolastica”.

Nella ricchezza delle proposte educative ordinarie e straordinarie l’Istituto Comprensivo Statale “Eduardo De Filippo”, a chiusura dello scorso anno scolastico aveva a presentato il compimento del “Progetto Raccolta Differenziata” con l’Assessore alla Pubblica Istruzione, Prof. Francesco D’Amore ed il dirigente scolastico, prof. Aniello Alfano. (To Continue)

You can also visit directly the Brusciano, Italy News/Events Information Page at Italian Harlem. .
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