796 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 76 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2018
increase is caused by the change in how the U.S. treats drug offences; the
enactment of harsh mandatory minimum sentences; and the “three strikes
and you’re out” laws, which means three convictions and you go to prison
for life. Almost half of federal prisoners are incarcerated for drug offences.
Clearly having reached its breaking point, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
Federal Circuit noted the following in affirming a judgment and finding the
appeal to be frivolous: “This is another bizarre appeal in which this court is
asked to undo the tangles, twists, and turns created by appellant’s counsel
in the proceedings before the trial court. When a witch’s brew has been
stirred in the crucible of litigation, it is not the role of this court to strain the
concoction for chestnuts left to burn through vincible ignorance of the law.
Nor is it our role to conduct a review de novo of rulings on motions or to
order entry of judgments on issues never presented to the jury or to the trial
court”: Devices for Medicine, Inc. v. John Boehl, Cardiovascular Instruments,
Inc., 822 F.2d 1062 (Fed. Cir. 1987).
Erralyn M.P. Thomas was reappointed to the board of Vancouver Island
University for a term ending July 31, 2020.
David Duncan Chesman, Q.C., Stephanie Ann Drake and Brett M.
Matthews were appointed as vice-chairs of the Labour Relations Board for
terms ending July 30, 2021.
The Grammarian: advice to a confused profession from one who knows
about these things.
The “Oxford comma”, also known as the serial comma.
This is the comma that precedes the conjunction before the final item in a
list of three or more items: “George invited Ethel, Harry, and Allen over to
lunch”. It is not used when only two items are connected by a conjunction:
“Faith and Charity”.
The Oxford comma is so called because it is traditionally used by editors
and printers at the Oxford University Press. It is a controversial little creature.
Most American style guides favour its use, but British and Australian
guides do not, unless omitting it would cause confusion—for instance, if the
last item is really two items that constitute a single thought: “He ordered
coffee, orange juice, and ham and eggs for breakfast” or “He was brave, resolute,
and generous to a fault”. Omit the Oxford comma and “to a fault” will
govern “brave” and “resolute”, as well as “generous”, which you did not
intend, did you?