“Your Honor,” anyone who’s seen me call him that has noted the fact that I: sound like I’m choking, look like I swallowed something gross and I look like I’m about to cry from the torture of referring to him that way. You see when I first started to work with him he was a good attorney, good reputation and a disaster of an office. When I say disaster I mean a “dust-catching, wall-to-wall, helter-skelter mess.” The part that stood out to me the most was the stack of papers piled on an eight foot table against the back wall. I would soon find out that these papers were the criminal cases belonging to said lawyer and that is exactly where this story starts.
I will never forget the first criminal trial we tried together. Him all, Matthew McConaughey (A Time to Kill), sitting there at the counsel table. I on the other hand was pulling off more of a Julia Roberts (from Erin Brockovich). I had literally pulled into the office 3 hours before hand looking like I got hit by a truck after a weekend with my best friend in Tallahassee, Florida. No point driving the 45 minutes home, it was going to be a slap on makeup and get ready for the case kind of day. I can’t even really remember if we won that case or not. I just remember him sliding cup after cup of black coffee sympathetically in front of me as the crime lab witness droned on and on about how to make methamphetamine.
We worked together for 8 years. The first couple of years we ended up trying back to back cases more than once, thanks to that eight foot table piled high. “What, you just finished two days of trial… lets do another one.” There was the time that he had to explain to a client what was going to happen to him next; while I (and my lack of a bar number) sat at the counsel table getting ready to pick a jury. The case where he sat down to write his closing arguments during a break. Then handed me a handful of hand written yellow legal pad paper (chicken scratch) and asked me to type it up so he could read it. Somehow five minutes later he had typed closing argument in hand (I’m pretty sure I just wrote my own closing argument). We drove thousands of miles all over our court district in rain, snow and flood. Had more coffee, diet coke and cigarettes then anyone should be able to survive. I wish I had time to tell all the different stories: me falling down stairs, him forgetting to put the brake on and the truck rolling in front of a tractor trailer (I really think he was trying to kill me) or the 8 days of trial on a case concerning agricultural law (yes I said agricultural law).
All that and we end up right here. With my trying to choke out calling him “Your Honor.” What most people don’t realize is that I really am choking on the words, not the title. He deserves every syllable of that title. The words are just what signifies the end of a great criminal defense team. It was an honor to work with him for eight years, it’s an honor to see where he’s gotten and it’s an honor to call him my friend.