Tom Howard and 105 lb. rapist
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JUDGE VANCE: Charles Caperton.
MR. CAPERTON: Okay, folks, I want some answers to these questions. We got a — we got a list, the speakers did, and one of them says, “What’s your best advice to young prosecutors?” And I wrote back. I sent mine in typed. I don’t know what they did with these, but I put: “To young prosecutors, I would say seize the day; dismiss a case without asking anybody.”
And then it says, best advice to young police officers and sheriff’s deputies: “Have a good lawyer as a friend; you may be a defendant some day. And especially today.”
And best advice to young probation officers is to: “Ease up a little bit, some coke in the urine doesn’t mean he’s ready for a cell.”
And if I could do it all over again, I would take more time off, have more kids, and try some I plead and plead some I tried.
And I was just thinking when they were talking about Tom Howard, this — John and I were chief prosecutors together, John Vance. And I can’t believe I’m as old as these guys. They all look a lot older to me.
But anyway Tom Howard had a client one time — I’ll tell this one story and I’ll get off the podium. This little guy weighed about 105 pounds charged with rape, and the victim was about 6’2″ and weighed about 270. She was the biggest woman I ever saw in my life. The rape was alleged to have occurred in the West Dallas housing projects, and she told about how — you know, I took her through the steps and how she had just laid there and she was fanning herself on a hot summer afternoon and had the fan going and she had disrobed and she was wetting herself with a rag and letting the fan blow over her just to keep cool. And this guy comes by, looks through the window, pulls his pocket knife out, crawls through the window and gets on her and violates and this terrible rape took place.
Well, when she got to telling it, she said, “He stood me up against the door to my apartment and raped me.” Well, I mean you could see — I mean, if they were toes to toes, his nose would have been in it, you know. And then if they’re nose to nose, his toes would have been in it. So there’s no way on earth that that man could have — you know, up against the wall.
Well, of course — naturally you couldn’t let it go in total, you know. I had to get back in. I said, “Well, I want you to explain to the jury how terrible this attack was and what was going on there.” Well, he had me up against the wall, and he violated me. And I said, “Standing up?” You know, and she said, “Yes, yes, standing up.” I said, “Well, exactly how did it work?” She said, “Well, I honkered down a little bit.” And you know that jury went out and convicted him anyway. Good old Dallas juries.