Bob Wade

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JUDGE VANCE: Let me ask Charles Tessmer to come up. They’ve been talking about you, Charlie. While he’s coming up, I tried several cases against him. I tried a murder case where a deputy constable’s son killed his wife, and I had found a witness to that that knew the defendant in Marine Corps boot camp out in California. So I flew out there. I left here at 10 o’clock one morning, flew out there, had a conversation with him and came back that night, got home at 10 o’clock. In his jury argument he said, “Mr. Vance took that pleasure trip to California.” Come on up sir.

MR. TESSMER: At the County’s expense. Thank you very much, Judge.

Ladies and gentlemen of the audience, I’m very happy to be here. I’m very happy to be anywhere. And I practiced law a good long time, but when I heard how long Dalford Todd has practiced, there’s still hope for me. Maybe many more tomorrows. Anyway, it’s been a great journey along the way, and I enjoy every instant I’ve ever had with lawyers.

Before I start on funny business I want to say something about advertising. You know, all of us have a feeling against for that or for it, one way or the other. And I can see how many lawyers criticize it. It’s a start for young lawyers; it helps the get started, make money. But listen, you young fellows who you think you advertise and it’s helpful to you, we can’t criminalize you in any way because it was unofficial in my day. People would get in the jail and someone would go see him, a fellow with no money, but they would be friendly, leave him a little spending money back downstairs. And he would call them, tell everybody in jail up there what a good lawyer you were. I’m not talking about myself of course. Any your name would be all over the jail.

That’s sort of advertising without paying nothing for it. Well, maybe $5 in the coffee fund. That’s the way it worked in those days.

Then there was a way young lawyers got business then sort of was to tie up with a bail bondsman before they had enough money to make their own bonds. An old man named Harris hung around the jail for years out in front of the county jail. Judge Ellis knew him well, Judge Vance and all of them, Mr. Caperton, Charlie. Old man Harris was a mainstay for some of us. But he could sell us — he would go up to those people and say, “I’ve got this lawyer for you.” He said, “I’m Mr. Harris. You’ve got a boy in jail? Well, let me take you over here.” He’d take them across the street to Joe Foster’s office. If they had some real money, he would take them a little further down the street. He knew where to stop along the way. He could judge the client’s ability to pay. So talk about advertising, that was going on long before you could put it in the newspaper and many other places.

Anyway, back to the thing at hand here. I want to say one thing about my history. I saw a quote by Sir John Feelgood, which made me think a lot about my exciting past. He’s talking to Richard Burton. He says, “Now, Richard, if you’d straighten up a little, when you’re a great actor, you cannot only be a world’s great actor, but you could get a knighthood.” He says, “Would you rather your social life be great or would you straight it up a little bit?” Well, he didn’t get knight. So I’m thinking that sometimes when you let your social life get beyond due bounds, then it’s not good for you or to anyone. And this isn’t a lecture. I’m just saying I would slow it down a little. Not at all — turn it all off at all. But when people brag on me and remember me, I’m wondering, “What do they remember me really for?” I’d like Randy Taylor to say something about that, about my social side.

But at any rate, a few stories here, things that really happened. I want to brag on our judge over here very much, Ben Ellis. I remember when I was trying Bob Wade — no relation to Henry Wade — who was the chief of police of Garland, Texas. He made that into a big city police department over a few years because he got the council out there to create much more police and much more jobs. And he created apartments out there before they ever had them anywhere else. But he started invading Dallas on drug cases. Dallas Police Department didn’t appreciate that or the Sheriff’s office. He wasn’t invited over here. He had more narcotics people fooling around in Dallas making cases than the Dallas vice squad. It was embarrassing.

So when I tried Judge Wade — Chief Wade, he was accused of drunk driving, and that’s when I lost. They caught him pouring the whiskey down after they arrested him at the Garland Hospital where now the Garland police wouldn’t let them take him to Dallas, put him right there in protection. And he got a chance to go to the restroom. Said, “May I?” “Oh, yes, Cheif, you can go on in there.” Well the Dallas police were right there too; they wouldn’t leave. He went in there, and someone said, “He’s been there too long.” Well, they opened the door, and he was pouring the whiskey down the commode that had been seized from the car after the wreck. That changed the case a little bit, slightly. It was one of those things. But he didn’t go to jail. Anyway.


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