Wednesday, March 04, 2009

February 24, 2009

Dear Sis~
Just finished reading a book titled Black's Law by the eminent Miami attorney Roy Black. The book profiles four of his bigger trials (one was a capital appeal, not a trial) and provides excellent insight into the workings of the judicial system. Along with a lot of other books I can think of, this one should be mandatory reading for all law students as well as those majoring in criminal justice. You may know that Roy Black is one of the nation's finest criminal defense attorneys. In 1971 I had my own encounter with Roy. I was 17 and had just been arrested for a robbery in South Miami, my first adult arrest. Initially Roy Black, then a new, young Public Defender, was appointed to represent me, along with his fellow new Public Defender, Jack Denaro (Jack also later went on to become a highly regarded criminal defense lawyer, once ranked in the top ten in America by High Times Magazine). I vividly recall both Roy and Jack meeting with me in an interview room at the Dade County Jail. Of course, I had no way of knowing that I was being represented by two guys who would go on to become famous and supremely successful attorneys, two of the best you could ever hope for. But Jeff convinced Dad to hire his old attorney, Lou Vernell (who later went to prison) who, unknown to us, was already falling from grace, descending from successful attorney to a drunken bum. So, Dad kicked out a lot of money to Lou Vernell, I lost Roy and Jack, and Vernell turned my case over to his incompetent assistant, Dennis Holober (later disbarred) and I ended up with a life sentence. I'm certain my life would have turned out differently had Roy Black defended me, but fate dictated otherwise.
We can always look back on the course of our lives and identify those "what if" moments, when things would have gone differently, had another road been taken. But, my worldview is that we must meet our karma, and so I must conclude that it was meant to be just as it was played out. Roy Black becomes just a minor footnote in my personal history, barely worth mentioning. Having said that, his book is good (and educational) and I recommend it to anyone interested in the criminal justice system.
Light & Love,