David Bernthal

David Bernthal

Off the Bench | Restoring civility in our society

Despite growing up in an era in which one read a newspaper that was delivered to the residence, I am still a little surprised when someone outside the delivery area sends me a comment on a column.

Off the Bench | Reinforcing a culture of civility

In a recent conversation, a friend commented on the deterioration of civility in our society. He was referring to civilized conduct in which people are polite and show courtesy to others. I had to agree. While our technological and scientific advancements have proceeded with astonishing pace, our behavior toward one another has become more hostile and rude.

Off the Bench | Pro se litigants face several challenges

Recently, I saw a commercial in which a man was depicted performing surgery on himself. While that may have been an attention-getter, we all know that we cannot go to the hospital for such a procedure. On the other hand, we can go to the courthouse and pursue our own case. If so, we are said to be proceeding pro se.

Off the Bench | Expect more 'difficult questions' to be raised

This month, I decided to take on a challenge in terms of controversy and complexity. The topic is a case recently decided by the United States Supreme Court. The case highlights changes in our society and the conflicts that can arise from those changes. At the center of the legal controversy is a wedding cake.

David Bernthal/Off the Bench | Understanding the significance of Law Day

We are frequently reminded that time does fly. I experienced one such reminder when I sat down to write my May column. Since May 1 is Law Day, I had an obvious subject. But I hesitated, thinking I had written about Law Day just a few months ago. Well, a few turned out to be 12. It is no wonder there are so many candles on my birthday cake.

David Bernthal/Off the Bench | Importance of free press, independent judiciary

Recently, I had occasion to read a News-Gazette editorial and a letter in response written by my friend and colleague John Thies, past president of the Illinois State Bar Association. What I read prompted some thought about two aspects of our democracy — freedom of the press and an independent judiciary.

David Bernthal/Off the Bench | Deliberate process in appointing a judge

The subject of selection of judges has been described in previous columns. Recent events have provided an excellent illustration in real life rather than in the abstract. We can learn by taking a closer look at the aftermath of the retirement announcement from Champaign County Judge Michael Jones.

David Bernthal/Off the Bench: Societal conflict: We can work it out

When I was a junior high school student, the Beatles came to America. Their arrival created quite an uproar. Teachers and administrators freaked when boys showed up at school with Beatle wigs. Little did I know that all these years later I would be referencing one of their songs in a column dealing with societal conflict.

David Bernthal/Off the Bench: Beneath the robes are real people

As we bid 2017 farewell and welcome 2018 with anticipation, many people reflect on the past and visualize what they hope to see or accomplish in the year ahead. I would like to do a little reminiscing in today's column in both a lighthearted and serious way.

David Bernthal/Off the Bench: Government action and the First Amendment

Recent events have triggered more discussion of a fundamental American right that we commonly refer to as freedom of speech. As a result, I thought it would be a good time to write about the subject.