Ahoy! Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. While you should probably abstain from observing this holiday in court or in emails to opposing counsel, you can still celebrate with these three cases about pirates.
Captain William Kidd
William Kidd, born in Scotland in 1645, was tried and executed for piracy and murder. While we normally think of pirates as outlaws, Kidd’s case is interesting because he was hired by England’s Whig government to seize French ships (a practice known as privateering). After a hard first year and a mutinous crew, Kidd began attacking ships whose status may have been beyond the original scope of his contract. He surrendered in New York under the promise of a pardon, but was instead sent to London for trial, where he was found guilty and hanged in 1701. Listen to a Podcast about Kidd, from Stuff You Missed in History Class. Read the William Kidd trial transcript. Read more
My second unforgettable sailing adventure occurred in 1995, a couple of years after the Hawaii to San Francisco trip. By this time, I had found a maritime law job representing injured seamen before the U.S. Federal District Court for the Western District of Washington, in Seattle. (Almost all of the fishermen’s contracts stipulated to Washington law and a Seattle venue.)