Tag Archives: Hawaii

As Hawaii Considers Legalizing Slots, Connecticut Judge Rules Elderly Sisters Need Not Share Lottery Winnings

All but 2 states in the U.S. have some form of legalized gamblingHawaii is one of them.  However, as the Aloha State faces billion-dollar deficits, its lawmakers are considering gambling as a means to financial recovery.  You can read an article about the Hawaii situation here as well as link to the Hawaii Coalition Against Gambling here.

In the legal arena, gambling is always a “dicey” subject, if you will pardon the pun.  Whenever gambling is brought up, it is typically opposed by many of the same foes that oppose legalizing prostitution, gay marriage, marijuana use, and the like.  Where do you stand?  Do you think that gambling is an appropriate way for a state to balance its budget?  Have you noticed any particular good or ill that legalized gambling has caused in your own state?

I found myself thinking on this rather unlikely subject today as I read about the legal plight of two Connecticut sisters, Theresa Sokaitis (84) and Rose Bakaysa (87).  Sokaitis sued Bakaysa over $500,000 in lottery winnings in 2005, claiming the sisters had a written contract to share all gambling and lottery prizes.  Bakaysa countered that the agreement was canceled by mutual, verbal consent in 2004 when they suffered a dispute over a $250 loan.  Significantly, since the legal dispute arose, court documents say, the sisters ended once-routine casino trips together and “did not speak or have any contact.”

“What came between these sisters was money,” New Britain, Conn., Superior Court Judge Cynthia Swienton wrote in a decision released Wednesday.  What a shocker?!?  As an attorney, it has never ceased to amaze me how often this proves to be the case.

Perhaps, Hawaii ought to consider the Sokaitis-Bakaysa case as well.  What do you think?  You can read more about the case in an interesting USA Today article here.  In additio, here is a link to an article from the Mayo Clinic on compulsive gambling.

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Hawaii Senate Passes Civil Union Law; D.C. Judge Bars Same Sex Marriage Referendum

This past week saw two significant victories for the gay and lesbian community.  First, on Friday, the Hawaii State Senate passed a bill allowing civil unions in that state.  The vote in the Hawaii Senate was 18-7.  The matter must still be considered by the Hawaii State House of Representatives, which is widely expected to pass the measure.

If passed by the Hawaii House, the measure will then go to Governor Linda Lingle‘s desk.  Lingle is a Republican known for her support of former President George W. Bush.  It is possible that Lingle may veto the civil unions bill.  However, the Democratic super-majority in Hawaii may have enough votes to override a gubernatorial veto.

The second victory comes from the District of Columbia.  There, D.C. Superior Court Judge Judith N. Macaluso affirmed a D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics decision which disallowed a ballot proposal to outlaw same sex marriage in the District of Columbia.  In the District of Columbia, ballot measures that discriminate against minority groups, including gays and lesbians, is forbidden by the D.C. Human Rights Act.

The ballot proposal to outlaw same sex marriages in D.C. is backed by a local church group.  The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics has twice refused the ballot measure because it discriminates against gays and lesbians.

In her 23-page decision, Macaluso stated the board “properly rejected the proposed initiative” because of the Human Rights Act.

For further discussion of the developments in D.C., you can link to an excellent article from The Washington Post here.

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