Leapholes

Grippando, James

ISBN 10: 1590316665 / ISBN 13: 9781590316665
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Synopsis: Ryan Coolidge hates middle school and is in the worst kind of trouble-trouble with the law. The one person who can help Ryan is a mysterious old lawyer named Hezekiah. Hezekiah may have magical powers, or he may have the most elaborate computerized law library ever conceived. Either way, together, Ryan and Hezekiah do their legal research by zooming through leapholes, physically entering the law books, and coming face-to-face with actual people from some of our nation's most famous cases-like Rosa Parks and Dred Scott-who will help Ryan defend himself in court. It is time travel with a legal twist, where law books and important legal precedents come to life.

From the Publisher: On April 19, 1841, the American ship William Brown hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic while en route from Liverpool to Philadelphia. It was loaded with Irish emigrants. Roughly half the passengers went down with the ship, and the rest piled into two lifeboats. The boat commanded by the first mate was so badly overloaded that it began to sink. In the face of crashing waves and a driving rainstorm, the first mate in utter desperation ordered his crew to lighten the load. Twelve men and two women were thrown overboard and drowned at sea. When the survivors finally reached land, one of the crewmen who had thrown passengers overboard faced criminal charges. It was undisputed that the lifeboat would have sunk and all would have perished if it had remained in its overloaded state. However, the American judge who decided the prisoner's fate wrote that the passengers should have cast lots to determine who should live and who should die. This opinion sparked sharp debate among jurists and legal scholars. Some believed that casting lots was fair, almost an appeal to God. Others believed that casting lots was effectively "playing God," a practice that dehumanized all of us. The case of The William Brown has fascinated me since law school. It presents the ultimate survival dilemma -- to save ourselves or to save others. That dilemma is a theme that runs throughout Leapholes. Eleven-year-old Ryan Coolidge is forced to confront that issue head on. But he does it in a way he had never imagined he would. Ryan encounters a magical lawyer who puts a new spin on time travel -- a lawyer with the power of legal "leapholes," the power to bring to life the people behind famous legal decisions like The William Brown. All of the cases woven into the Leapholes storyline are actual cases from American legal history. The case of The William Brown is reported at United States v. Holmes (1842). The Supreme Court's decision that slaves are property, not people, appears at Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857). The slave doctrine that "the brood follows the dam" was embraced by the U.S. Supreme Court in Prigg v. Pennsylvania (1842). I've tried to present these and other snippets of legal history in a way that makes for exciting reading. Hopefully, it will provoke thoughtful discussion, not only about the law, but also about the people whose lives were affected by the thousands of reported decisions in our law libraries. It's a fun way to discover that legal precedents are not just words on paper. They are about real people with real problems. And for many, the law was a matter of life and death.

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Title: Leapholes
Binding: Hardcover
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