Are You Excited about the NCAA Championship Basketball Game?

 

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I have loved the NCAA tournament so far and am excited about the Championship game tonight. This is the best basketball I have seen in a long time. It so outshines the NBA in interest for me because they aren't purist impudent millionaires, but young athletes struggling to perfect their near flawless moves, some indeed awesome.

   

The grotesque injury to Louisville's Ware was a point of interest. Those players cried real tears for their fallen hero. One minute a muscle in high gear dodging twisting and smashing in for a layup, or fake and pass. Almost like a superhero with a body few on the planet can emulate. A commando in shorts thinking only of winning a team sport. The next minute they are the boy that has lost a friend and feel for his excruciating pain.

 

While the pros clearly make the game like a scoring machine, these kids fail, and succeed in a real drama far from the world the pros inhabit. Stats show many of the pros can't manage their huge payroll, quickly become bankrupt, have affairs in away games with prostitutes, do heavy drugs, and are surrounded by shady characters.

   

Of course there are wonderful exceptions, and I love each of them too.The loss of innocence, and lack of education is a telling failure in letting the 19 year-olds leave in a "one and done" college career that could have developed a man, instead of a childish star with a selfish hero-complex as far too many seem to be. Everyone can agree or disagree-it's open season on basketball, especially when so many games have been decided by a faulty official's call in the last minute of the game. Dan

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Post Card Size Flyers and Business Cards for All the Difference

Here are some promotional items that carry all cover and back images, synopsis, Bio, and Subtitle, for my memoir, All the Difference, and where it can be found on line. Soon my second paperback proof will arrive and after any changes it should be ready for purchase on Amazon.com and createspace.com Please click on each image to zoom the contents of each promotional item to be able to read them easily.

   

POST CARD SIZE FLYER GLOSSY FRONT

 

POST CARD SIZE FLYER BACK

 

BUSINESS CARD GLOSSY FRONT

 

BUSINESS CARD BACK

 

Why Civil Rights Lawyers Are Here

( Cesar Chavez with civil rights attorney Jerry Cohen and others; click on all photos to expand; then hit the arrow on the upper left hand corner of the dashboard to return to post)

Hugh Manes showed me how an expert advocate can quell an authority figure’s abuse of power.  An extraordinary civil rights attorney, Hugh occasionally used his knowledge to help inexperienced attorneys fight against the oppression that often occurs in our halls of “justice’’ and spoke out on the atrocities in Vietnam.

Resembling Winston Churchill, he filled the courtroom with his deep baritone voice wooing the jury to understand and appreciate civil rights in a trial and award millions of dollars to victims of police misconduct.  A Jewish man, born in Chicago in 1924, he attended St. John's Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin—an Episcopalian high school. After graduating, he joined the Army, served in Europe during World War II as a second lieutenant, and was awarded a Silver Star and a Purple Heart for being injured in combat.

(Martin Luther King, Jr. civil rights champion linked in arms with others)

My first experience with him occurred at the ACLU in Los Angeles where I had my first criminal trial. I represented six UFW (AFL-CIO) farm workers arrested for trespassing on a public sidewalk while picketing and feared the experienced mean-spirited power of the prosecutor who refused to drop spurious charges. He threatened, “I’ll put your thug protesters in jail to send a message to Cesar Chavez, the ACLU, and anyone who waves red flags with black eagles on them and shouts “Huelga” in Huntington Park.” Such a travesty of justice appeared possible where judges and prosecutors become friendly, and defendants often stand alone.

(Rosa Parks civil rights activist on a bus)

When I asked a few attorneys at the ACLU who I might turn to for trial advice, “Call Hugh Manes” was a first response. “He’ll help any civil rights attorney in need and is one of the best advocates in our city.”

Hugh verbally walked me through the necessary steps of strong criminal defense strategy in a few hour long phone calls that bolstered my confidence. “Treat this as a sobering responsibility and opportunity to uncover the evidence that points to each client’s innocence. The best defense requires you to know all the facts through a careful investigation. Make a plan that not only clears your client’s record, but also shows the jury how the prosecution has exploited the power of their office, and make them want to serve the cause of justice.

(Jerry Cohen Civil Rights Attorney for the UFW)

Such a strategy gave me the courage to boldly strike at abuse of power as an advocacy tactic. I credit Huge with the unanimous victory my clients enjoyed after a week of trial in which he briefed me daily on how to attack the prosecution’s case, while making the defendants’ predicament clear to the jury and the law that made them free from criminal conduct.

(Joan, Dan, and Jerry and Peter Cohen at the Gallo Boycott March)

A few years later, Hugh came to my aid in a wholly different context: how to quell a judge’s contemptuous abuse of power. As a private attorney representing a black female in a racial discrimination case in Federal court, I received the honor of having that judge issue my only contempt citation because I had appeared a few minutes late for a hearing.  The same judge had shown his disdain for my civil rights cases and my style of aggressive advocacy on a few previous court appearances. By the time I had returned to my home in San Fernando that afternoon, a Marshall had arrived to serve me a criminal contempt citation to appear in his court for trial the next week.

Hugh appeared as my pro bono counsel, knew the judge could do my reputation harm, and that I struggled as a solo practitioner to make ends meet with two small children in the San Fernando Valley. He investigated the matter and counseled me on how to proceed without further inflaming the judge. The strategy he employed allowed the court personnel to set up my defense showing I had not intentionally disrupted his courtroom and that he had seriously overreacted.

Hugh’s military background helped him understand how to use my “no excuse” response when the judge first questioned me as to my lateness. That phrase has a meaning in military circles the judge hadn’t learned, or pretended not to know. Hugh demonstrated the truth of the matter by a rigorous line of direct questioning:

“Mr. Lavery,  please explain your understanding of the term “No excuse sir,” as you were taught at Annapolis?”

“We were not allowed to have excuses. It doesn’t matter if something is not your fault. You were always required to accept responsibility for whatever error occurred if you were in charge with no explanation unless asked for one. The difference between an excuse and a reason is that the reason explains what happened. An excuse is what makes the reason acceptable.”

“What did the judge ask you at the beginning of his questioning during the hearing in question on what excuse, if any, you had?”

“What is your excuse for being late for the 10:00 A.M. hearing that morning?” he asked me.

“What was your response?”

“No excuse, sir.”

“Why did you make such a response?”

(Little Rock Arkansas with National Guard to allow children to attend all white school)

“The authorities at Annapolis taught me that the response for what my excuse was for being late must always be, “no excuse, sir,” even though I had an explanation if the senior officer asked me for one. My automatic response indicated I accepted the responsibility for whatever error I had made.”

“If the question had been ‘What were the reasons, if any, you were detained from arriving at the 10:00 A.M.,’ how would you have answered that question?”

“I left home an hour early that should have been plenty of time. However, the traffic before the hearing was the worst I’ve seen in years. An accident had all the lanes closed on Highway 5. I found an alternative route and arrived at the hearing about five minutes late and joined in line behind at least thirty attorneys on a major fraud case. The clerk was in the process of checking in one law firm after another, so I was there with many other attorneys who had not yet checked in. Under those circumstances it occurred to me that I should signal to the clerk I would return after appearing on another very short matter scheduled on the second floor at 10:30 A.M. Walking to the head of the line, I caught the clerk’s eye, and while pointing up with my right hand, said loudly, ‘I am going upstairs to conclude a short matter. I’ll be back before this hearing is over in twenty minutes.’ In fact I returned at 10:25 A.M.”

(Cross burnings by the KKK)

“Did you have an exchange with his honor after that?”

“Yes. I started to explain after I had said “No excuse,” but he began talking at the same time. He yelled something loudly as his face turned bright red.”

“What did he yell?”

“Don’t interrupt me! No one interrupts anyone in my courtroom. Do you understand?”

“How did you respond?”

“Yes, your honor, I understand but ...” Then he interrupted me and said, “Take a seat, Mr. Lavery now.”

“What did you say next?”

“Your honor, with all respect, you just interrupted me,”I said. “You had said there was no interrupting allowed in your courtroom. May I finish my explanation?”

(Sit in protests in 1958 at segregated restaurants in interstate commerce)

“What happened after that?”

“He screamed for me to sit down, for the clerk to mark the record, make a copy for a citation of criminal contempt, and that I could expect to appear before him in a week for a criminal trial.”

With this record, Hugh expertly argued that inconveniences happen all too often, but until the record shows an accused deliberately caused the disruption, or lateness, the elements of the crime did not exist. After a two day tedious and contentious trial, the judge reluctantly dismissed the charges against me. While this may seem trivial compared to many of Hugh’s and my civil rights battles, preventing the abuse of power in the court system ranks high in keeping aggressive civil rights activists on the front lines pressing for justice.

(civil rights attorney with Black clients)

At Hugh’s funeral service many civil rights attorneys attested to his flair for the dramatic despite his modest and self-effacing personality.  He combined these traits with his convictions. Hugh won his first seven-figure verdict in a police misconduct case years later. After more than six months of trial, in his final argument, Hugh brought a copy of the Constitution with him, showed it to the jury, tore it up, threw it on the ground, stomped on it, “That is what they did out there, ladies and gentleman,”he said.

Earlier after returning from a visit to Vietnam, he spoke at a Pomona rally and pulled what was nicknamed a “pineapple bomb,” from his bulky trousers. He explained such a bomb “would explode with shrapnel, designed to tear skin when it hit the ground.” A few minutes into his talk, he had the audience transfixed. He had transported them into the jungles of Vietnam, fire and brimstone, moral outrage, with glistening eyes, crescendos of words, hand pounding hard on the table, a voice that pled for understanding, and a passion for the importance of peace. When Hugh stopped speaking that day, the crowd was too stunned to ask questions. He was a life force and had a knack of assuming those he spoke to would be just as outraged as he was. His intensity and dedication insured that it happened.

A close attorney friend offered a benediction at his funeral at Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles that went something like this: “The world is quieter without Hugh. He had a way to deal with stress by playing jazz on the piano that worked for him and helped relieve the tension inherent in civil rights advocacy.  When I heard he had died, for a few minutes while I absorbed it, I felt as if everything had stopped and had become silent. When I want to, I can hear his voice ringing in my ears. I know Hugh would want me to tell you to not lose sight of why we are here, who we have to protect, and who needs us.”

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