David A. Kaplan

Disorder In The Court

AFTER TWO JUDICIAL ROUNDS OF Rodney King, Los Angeles thought it had seen it all. But last week the criminal-justice system was once again unnerved by a trial that seemed in chaos.

Crime Time In The White House

You've just eked out a tax hike. You're about to take on the health-care dragon. What's a politically vulnerable president to do? Short of invading Grenada or solving baseball's labor mess, you do the safe, the tried and tested: you propose to Get Tough on Crime.

The Unkindest Cut

This is the story of a man, a woman, a fillet knife and a penis. In all its horrifying and fascinating detail, it unfolded last week in a Virginia courtroom.

A Whimper And A Bang

In Washington the locals know the Fourth of July is coming when the National Symphony sets up its chairs on the Mall and the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court set off their fireworks and get out of town.For most of l993, the president and Congress dominated the headlines and saturated the airwaves: budgets, barbers, babysitters.

Amazin' Disgrace

You gotta lose 'em sometime. When you do, lose 'em right. --CASEY STENGELWe all know those Mets turned out fine. In 1969, man walked on the moon and the Mets won the World Series and the latter fact was the more Amazin'.

Believe In Magic

Sometimes, the Merlins at Industrial Light & Magic surprise even themselves. With "Jurassic Park," an experiment gave birth to a digital revolution. To make his movie, Steven Spielberg first had to figure out how to bring dinosaurs to life.

A Legacy Of Strife

It's not exactly one of Washington's liveliest haunts. The Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress usually resembles a mausoleum-fitting enough, given all the dead folks of Americana whose voluminous papers wind up there.

The Force Of An Idea Is With Him

For filmmaker George Lucas, it's just another noontime in the undulating hills of his high-tech paradise north of San Francisco. The chef at Skywalker Ranch has prepared a simple tray of sauteed trout with balsamic vinegar reduction, soft polenta with Parmesan and organic greens grown out by the Chardonnay vineyards.

Annals Of The Law Of Libel

Jury duty in the springtime can be a time to nap or catch up on a few novels. But for eight northern Californians in federal court last week, being called for duty was a juror's worst nightmare: homework, 48,500 words of it.

I'd Like To Buy A Dollar

What's the difference between Vanna White and a robot? Not much, according to White, that woman of letters. The longtime gameshow cubist is suing Samsung Electronics America and its ad agency because of a humorous print advertisement that she claims pirated her celebrity.

Roll The Tape Again

The image still burns in the nation's memory. Broadcast over and over, the Rodney King videotape is an electronic metaphor for the violence that seems to consume urban life.

A Clear Path To A Barricade

They may not be the hippest politicians in town-but credit those Supreme Court justices with an occasional sense of timing. Only a cynic would accuse them of issuing an abortion decision last week simply to coincide with the eve of both the presidential Inauguration and the 20th anniversary of Roe v.

The Incorrigibles

They are the ones we truly fear. When the children head out to play, when a wife or sister is overdue from the office, these are the miscreants who make us wonder whether it's safe to go outside anymore.

Where The Innocent Lose

To law-enforcement officials, it is an H-bomb in the war on drugs. To civil libertarians, it's an outrageous abuse of police power. To Gary and Kathy Bergman, who stand to lose a $100,000 home over the indiscretions of a fishing buddy, an obscure provision of federal law known as "civil forfeiture" is just plain government thievery.

Congress Takes A Schott

The last time that baseball took the Washington Senators seriously, Walter Johnson was on the mound. That was in the early part of the century. But now there's a more worrisome group of senators on the Hill-and they can throw more smoke than the Big Train ever did.

No More Hacks Or Cronies

His ghost still haunts the halls of Justice. More than 30 years after being appointed U.S. attorney general, Robert Kennedy is not forgotten at the nation's chief law-enforcement agency.

Greatest Hits of the Diamond

The league playoffs and World Series were swell this year. But for $12.10 (or a little more), you can reserve yourself a seat at history's best: Don Larsen's perfect game in '56, Kirk Gibson's homer in '88, Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard Round the World" in '51.

Anchor To The World

Bob Costas--sportscaster, journalist, late-night conversationalist-hates to talk about himself. So, we'll go with the kid. "Do you know my dad?" Keith Costas, 3 at the time, asked his nursery-school teacher."Well," she replied, "I've seen him on TV, but I've never actually met him.""Trust me," Keith said. "He's a goofball."Sure is.

Is Roe Good Law?

It wasn't even the biggest news story of the day. On Jan. 22, 1973, before a packed gallery, the Supreme Court of the United States declared that a woman has a constitutional right to an abortion.

Hung On A Technicality

Wanda Faye McCoy died with a secret. Roger Keith Coleman wished she could have told it. Now, he may die, too. Eleven years ago, in a small, sooted town of central Appalachia, a young woman was murdered.

A Guillotine For Lawyers?

Lawyers, watch thy necks. The French Revolution, say the alarmists, has come to American legal practice. Last week a prominent Manhattan law firm agreed to pay a galling $41 million to settle a federal suit arising from its defense of Charles Keating and his Lincoln Savings and Loan Association.

Silence Of The Wolves

No matter how the jury decides his macabre case, Jeffrey Dahmer figures to be the guest of the state of Wisconsin for many years. The only question is which suite he'll get-a maximum-security cell in a state prison or a hospital room for the insane.