May 18, 2005

Salute to veteran public defenders

Tributes here to some fine old lions who have fought the good fight and finished their course:

Bill Laswell, Fort Lauderdale, FL, "patron saint of hopeless legal cases."

Public defender investigator Wayne Dickens, Asheville, NC.

And from nearer to my homeland, I should have mentioned this remarkable lawyer from Zion much sooner: John Christiansen, Beaver, UT.

Finally, Pete Partee, Greenville, SC:

"You don't get flowers and candy when you're the public defender," Partee says of a job that often put him at odds with the general public. "The public defender's job is a real ministry."

"You get a letter one day telling you they want to kill your client," Partee says, referring in general to the cases where the prosecution seeks the death penalty. "Someone once asked me if every case I took was important. I knew that to my clients, it was usually the most important case they ever had."

Thank you all, gentlemen. Thanks to Public Defender Investigator and Indefensible for the links.

Bonus link goes to sheet music for Si Kahn's "People Like You":

Old fighter, you sure took it on the chin
Where'd you ever get the strength to stand?
Never giving up or giving in
You know I just want to shake your hand
Because people like you help people like me go on