Kevin and Vermont Special Olympics

So, I go down to the beach or the waterfront or Church Street with my camera and a lighting kit. Need to keep up my skills, looking, seeing, shooting. Oh, how I cannot deal with people telling me they have cameras or relatives with cameras or cell phones. They don’t understand portraits, posing or the importance of having a photograph, taken in ernest.

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These two people walk by where I sit with my friend Jim and we start to talk. Kevin wants to take a walk. They will talk about whether to accept my offer to shoot his photo.

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Kevin returns. Agrees to the shoot. And we talk. Seems he is a world class Bocce player who will be competing in the Special Olympics in Vermont this weekend. So, I sign up, volunteering to photograph whatever they need shot, knowing they have lots of shooters ahead of me, including the press.

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Now, I have to sort through 1,500 images, shots one more beautiful than the next. What a wonderful experience Kevin shared with me and I don’t even know his last name, where he lives or much about him.

John Evers, Attorney at Law

Of Counsel to O’Neill, Kelner and Green in Burlington VT, Jon Evers thrives as a traditional barrister. He loves the drama of the old time courtroom and the challenge of using modern computer interfaces to make facts easier to present and arguments more persuasive. He has looks, smarts, and ingenuity. Were he a baseball player, you’d say he has all the tools.

Rodney King Dead

Rodney King died before he turned 50. His beating, painful as it was, followed by the acquittal and subsequent riots, promoted awareness of racial inequities in our country. Too bad we need chaos to promote learning, not only about ourselves, but the national ethos we support.

Would have liked to see him beat the demons and survive. The great experiment in which America has been engaged suffered a setback when Mr. King became ten-minutes-famous, but it advanced as people who never thought about the problems realized how deep and pervasive they were and are.

 

Michael Bloomburgn and Jamie Dimon Brood

Hard to tell if he the Mayor doesn’t like Judge Shira Shindlin looking at his stop and frisk policies or  if he is outraged about the number of minorities who have been harassed and humiliated. Were there an impartial judiciary and prosecutors interested in doing justice, civil rights and liberties would be far more prevalent than they are now. He and PC Kelly have legislated a police state and their enormous power and wealth prevents anyone from speaking out against it. Who’s at fault? The Judges who he appoints (and who Rudy appointed for the last how many year?) and the DAs who seem to be elected for life (they know the secrets, eh?).

But, as a student of photography, no longer a lawyer, and a disgraced judge, I can only comment on the shot. Strong composition by Mr. Barritt. Good color. And a narrative with a question which we don’t want to answer!

As for Mr. Dimon (I have to admit being a shareholder), he and the EXXON chair really control America, if not the world. So, what is he thinking. I am saying I am sorry for not being in control or what can I say that will convince them I really give a shit? Another mystery shot.

In case you hadn’t noticed, Bloomberg News produced the second shot. Do we really have a chance? Bloomberg has 10 billion and Dimon earns $20 million a year. But the photos are exquisite. Just think of how they would have made Napoleon look!

Mike Wallace, Dead at 93

So, when the word went out that I was the Judge who set the bail that released the accused who went to the accusers lob site and shot and killed her, Mike Wallace called to find out if I wanted to be interviewed on 60 minutes. “What would you say that I couldn’t,” my lawyer said. “I will go after the DA and the Governor and the Mayor, ripping them…. Besides, you have not been grilled on national TV by someone like him….”

I chose to remain silent, taking the high road that Judges are supposed to take, never getting out my story, or the real story of the bail decision or the real reasons behind some of my comments and behaviour, reasons that allowed people of color or weak roots to be frisked/harassed/demeaned at will (especially if they didn’t turn snitch), forced accuseds to accept pleas because they couldn’t afford bail (acts which also took away their rights to sue), and prevented defendants due process because by asserting their rights they might be sentenced more severely because their overworked and underpaid public defenders couldn’t afford to tell the whole story, jury trial time being the most expensive the system has to endure.

But it wasn’t because I was afraid of Mike Wallace; I was more afraid of my lawyer and the system. And, for those of you who have seen Hunger Games, I had good reason to be. I got crushed. It couldn’t have been worse.

He might have liked me. After all, he said he wanted to be fair, which is what I always wanted to be.

 

Judge Robert Carter, Dead at 94.

Judge Robert Carter died. He sat on the bench with quiet dignity, after a distinguished career as an attorney working with Justice Marshall and the NAACP legal defense team on Brown v The School Board. One cannot live forever, but his sense of justice can.

I tried a case before him -United States v. Chang AN-LO, a/k/a “White Wolf”, et al, 851 F2d 547 (1988) My client was Peter Yang. The case involved a conspiracy which included the murder of a journalist from Nationalist China, a heroin conspiracy and I don’t remember what else. A multi-defendant case, I sat for six weeks without asking a question on my clients behalf, allowing my co-counsel to do the work for me. Yang was at best a marginal character, the driver, at times, for the purported head of the United States arm of the conspiratorial group, United Bamboo, a person whom I argued hung around because employment opportunities in Houston forced him to find work elsewhere, a mere presence which allowed him to hear and see things without actually being involved in any of the criminal activity. The jury disagreed, convicting him. Everyone went to prison except Peter Yang. Judge Carter set him free.

When the case got to the 2nd Circuit, Bill Kunstler had substituted as counsel for my friend, Jay Gregory Horlick, who died in 1996. Horlick was a lot like Kunstler, practical and honest; he didn’t believe in anything, though, except that you didn’t want to know how corrupt the entire system was from top to bottom, because it would make you sick. Rest in peace, my last good friend. Anyway, we all wrote some fanciful dribble to satisfy our obligations as counsel, an obligation that ran from arraignment through appeal, and we ventured to the 17th floor to argue before the court, as if that would make a difference anywhere but some law school class on due process. Bill, having the lead defendant, got to go first. He rose to the lecturn, it rose to meet his height and addressed the court. “Good morning, Judge somebody. I represent appellant Chang AN_LO. Mr. Duckman will do the facts.” We had never spoken about my doing anything other than what I had to do. No matter. The conviction was affirmed.

Lots of people serve the law. Some get to the bench and forget their beginnings. Few have the insight, courage or deliberative skills which Judge Carter possessed. He helped to make the United States of America a fairer place to live.

Nor’easter 2011 UBC Event Judges

 

No complicated rules. To solve the problem successessfully, climb to the top. Judges keep track of the ascent, recording each step. They don’t have fancy chairs or sit on ornate benches. Some know the climbers; they could even be related to or a close friend of one. Very fair and honorable crew, they are.