Boxer sees a man run over his wife
[page 38, line 8]
Barefoot Sanders. There’s an old federal judge over in Fort Worth, now deceased. He was out of Amarillo, but I can’t remember his name. He looked like the wrath of God. And we were over there trying a case. Barefoot was the U.S. Attorney. We had already got — Judge Dooley. That’s right. We had already gotten a hung jury the first time around, mistrial. I tried it in Fort Worth. I liked to go to Fort Worth in those days. It’s hard to get away from those Fort Worth lawyers, and it almost got me a divorce before my wife died. She’d say, “You go over there and try a case for a week, and it takes you another week to get back.” She said, “It’s only 30 miles.” I said, “I have to prepare the motions if there’s an appeal.” Anyway. Whatever.
Just like Tom Howard, a great lawyer we had here for years, very fine lawyer. He fell on misfortune and not filing a tax return and lost his license for a year. And then he got it back and he’s still practiced and did very well. Tom was a stand-up guy. He was one that would really fight for his clients. I’m sure that some of the other lawyers will remember him. I’m sure Judge Vance remembers Tom and would say a few words about him. But I tell you want, helped me with that case he went after the Marine Corps about where the fellow ran his girlfriend down — or his wife, wasn’t it, in the front yard with the car and killed her. And there was 200 witness out there by White Rock. It was up in the yard. And I put this fight manager, former boxer at a gym here, Doug Lord — is he still living?
MALE AUDIENCE MEMBER: He’s still here.
MR. TESSMER: — put him on the witness stand how he observed it all. I said, “Well, now, what do you do for a living?” “I manage fighters.” “Have you fought yourself?” “Yes, sir.” “You’ve been a man of action and a man of courage.” I said, “Well, why didn’t you come to this woman’s assistance when he chased around that car instead of just sit there and look?” Well, that kind of helped. He got five years. Anyway, luck, luck of the draw.
About Sanders and Judge Dooley quickly and I’ll get back to my chair where I belong. That hung jury was a federal case. Judge Dooley, real — oh, boy, you never knew where he was coming from. He was kind of difficult. Barefoot Sanders asked that jury the same thing I did. He says, “You know, we’ve had this case before and that wouldn’t influence you at all, would it?” Well, when it came my turn, I did the same thing, only I told him it was a hung jury. I said it happened before. Boom, I’m in contempt of court. $500 fine. He just laid it on me. I paid it in cash. In those days I had it. Now it’s a different game you know. When you get over the hill, the phone don’t ring as much.
Well, anyway, I said, “Well, Judge, he’s doing the same thing, Barefoot Sanders, and he’s Mr. U.S. Attorney.” He said, “He didn’t do it the way you did it.” I said, “Well, I thought it was pretty similar. There was a mistrial sort of.” Anyway, those were great, great times. I enjoyed every one of them.
I want to thank you all for being here. I think that we’re at a time now when we need good lawyers with courage more than anything in the world. Because we’re about to lose many of our constitutional rights. Our attitudes are different. Police are so fearful of the public, and they want the police to do things that they really should not go beyond certain things to convict a bad guy whether it violates his constitutional rights or not. It doesn’t matter sometimes. So I think we’re in a period where we really need to try to enforce them all if you can before more are taken away by the courts because we’re all so fearful of crime. And everyone, you can get carjacked, anything can happen, that we’re willing to give up our personal rights and subject ourselves to things because it’s — if there’s nothing in that house to hide, come on in here and look everywhere. Okay? Well, looking everywhere means everything pulled out on the floor. They don’t clean it up sometimes. I’ts not a very pleasant thing. So I think that you really need to think about that.
Even though a guilty guy that is guilty as the devil, should you throw out all the law that says you can’t use questions in any degree at all, promises or otherwise, to get a confession and then ignore that law because you don’t respect it? What difference does it make? It’s like a juror that while he’s deliberating with the other jurors — and I’ll leave this with you and sit down and shut up — they’ll say, “You must vote guilty.” “Now, we’ve already been through the evidence; we’re voting he’s not guilty.” “But you know he’s guilty.” And the question is How does he know? How does he know? Not that he believes he’s guilty because he’s heard some evidence. You know he’s guilty. That’s beyond human experience.
So I think if young lawyers would start reminding jurors in voir dire that you really don’t know that the man is guilty, no matter what the evidence is. Look at all these DNA cases, all those people in jail many years and they’re getting out. Why? Misidentified. Some of them five, six witnesses, some three. We’ve had several in this town. So you see, it’s a two-way street.
And although we’re willing to give up many of our rights like go through the screening at the airport, which was — we all hated that to begin with, but it keeps us living. These people are out there with guns and bombs and whatever. It’s a necessary intrusion. But my plea would be just keep it where it’s really necessary to invade your rights. Don’t block streets for hours or — three or four hours and let the roadblock stop everybody coming along there to see if they’re drunk to make a case. That’s not the way to do things I don’t think.
I want to thank all of you. I appreciate the kind words said by my friends here and Judge Vance. I hate to see him when he’s a judge; he’s too fair. He’d rule — he’d give you some charges, if it looked fairly good, and he’d say, “Well, that won’t win it or lose it anyway. Let’s put it in there.” It might… He was even better on the appellate court when he got up there. Well, we helped by donating to his campaign the best we could. All the lawyers helped him. Boy, we lost a good one when we lost him. He’d reverse a case now more often than once upon a blue moon. Thank all of you.