Outrageous Oral, Volume 1: Don Maison

Transcript

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this good evening my name is Don Mason I moved to Texas

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able thirtieth nineteen sixty-nine went to law school here became a lawyer

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practiced law for thirteen years before I took my present job

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added services dollars in wanna the

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most important things that I was involved with as a trial lawyer

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were was related to the village station bus

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back in 1979 and Monday evening

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Bruce texted me and said would you pinch-hit for George

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and talk about the village station incident which really

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in many ways transformed I

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a small but cohesive gay community

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that emerge from the dollar's key alliance which I became a member of the

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1977

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I'm and I remembered that

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one of the most poignant things

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I recall about the police station in retrospect was an article that appeared

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in

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D Magazine January of 2010 which was written by Campbell read

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a dear friend a donor VAD services dollars

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but was a board member for the dollar's key alliance

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%um and people like him and donnies man whose name I heard earlier

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I were important and coalescing the gay community to stand up against police

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harassment

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the building right across the street used to be the police station

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by raids were not

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rare they were common but in 1979

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a group I love young active

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gay man stood up the Dallas Police

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my involvement was accidental

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I didn't even know about the bust it was a Sunday evening imbaba rosenberg

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former Court of Appeals justice in presently a lawyer with the city of

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Dallas

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was a classmate of mine she commented on a major help

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my law partner is going to commit

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legal malpractice he's

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representing a friend someone he knows in a criminal case involving public

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lewdness from a bust

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at the police station and he's never step foot

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in a criminal courtroom I need you so I got a quick summary of

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what Sakshi new and I showed up outside au

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County Criminal Court number seven the following morning in

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and I said John have you filled out an application for a patient he said

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it on my clients not guilty I said China now

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but if you don't fill out the application is found guilty

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he doesn't get probation you've got to fill that out now

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so we did all those kinda procedural things are john didn't know about

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and we called

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while we didn't call the prosecution called

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John W pres Juara PRZ why waar

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a I'll never forget that man and he told the most

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bald-faced lies to judge Chuck Miller

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but John wouldn't have known because

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what the officer was saying in terms of where he was standing he couldn't

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possibly have seen what he said he saw

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under oath and I got

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up or II camera was a recess or whatever I got to a pay phone was before iPhone

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soon

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remember those days and then on Nov

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I had Ernie's number or I called a friend and said get a hold of her knee

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and I think his name was Ernie Smith and he was the manager the police station

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I mean I wanted which station all time I didn't know about this rate

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and I I gotta hold the burning and I said ernie

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get the plans get down the crack County Criminal Court number seven

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I need your testimony and was

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ernie's testimony that led the judge to conclude that this witness was a freakin

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liar

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he was a liar any acquitted

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David Austin in was not deceased

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unfortunately allow the folks are

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deceased but Campbell wrote

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an article for D Magazine

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in the thirty five biggest moments in modern Dallas history

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I had no idea this article was being written

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a friend of mine said hey goin D Magazine among

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now I didn't know honoree Julie Campbell said

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kiss campbell's perspective is a little different it maybe he has a better

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memory than I do

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by Tom I think I think his little

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article is very important as 135

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momentous occasion and modern dollars history

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cops raid the police station by Campbell read

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the October 25 1979 police action

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changed ours because for the first time the persecuted fight back

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providing a rallying point for the gay community in Dallas

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homophobia among the Dallas Police Department was common

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and the raid at the old police station on Cedar Springs Road

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was one of the many raids along the street during the nineteen seventies

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but it's it out in a number of arrests in the number of arrests that were made

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and the number a vice squad officers present

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I think the entire vice squad was involved

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they arrested 12 people who were doing a bunny hop

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on the dance floor and charge them with public lewdness

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the police station raid became a turning point not just for the Cedar Springs

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area but for the whole gay community

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because for the 12 men arrested decided to fight the charges

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that was unique that was the first time

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no one had ever stood up to the police before in the past gays were fearful

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that any publicity surrounding an arrest for public lewdness

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could cause them to lose their jobs they usually pleaded guilty

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to avoid publicity no mainstream media reported the police station raid

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as such rates were commonplace but they did cover the trials

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an elaborate that Nana be

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the first two men were tried in judgeship Miller scored

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I went to both trials in the first trial the prosecutor

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prosecuting attorney was Marshall Gandhi I remember him saying to the judge in

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his closing argument

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your honor if you quit this person you'll be saying that the police

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are lying but Miller acquitted them both

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district attorney henry wade and drop the charges

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against to have the others in Chuck Miller scored in refile them

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into courts where he hoped to get convictions

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one was found guilty by Judge bro im Bashir

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we filed the complaint that Wade was formed shopping

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base at sat on it for about 18 months including

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through an election cycle it was basically dismissed

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after the raid we started publishing the names up officers who were arresting

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gays

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and the police were very uncomfortable their publicity

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we we had to be secretive

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and how we got the names at that time the police department released only the

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names of the arresting officers to attorneys

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so attorney Don Mason who is now president and CEO they'd services da

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listed on the sly for us

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as far as I know the police department never figured out how we were giving the

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names

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we put them in a gay Lance newsletter the dialogue

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and also in a statewide publication called this week in Texas

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by nineteen eighty we had a file about 60 complaints against police officers

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from people who said they had done nothing related to public lewdness

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and yet had been arrested around this time we also started appearing at the

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Dollar City Council meetings

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I went to the Dallas City Council and said it was time for the harassment to

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stop

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we thought police were officers are being overzealous in arresting gates

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clientele in the bars the notion of Gay Pride

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began to emerge the raid and its aftermath

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sparked a dialogue between the police department the gay community that hadn't

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existed before

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it later led the police department to assign a lean

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liaison officer the gay community they still have one today

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Campbell read is a retired SMU statistics professor

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and a pass more board member the dollar's key alliance now the day

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Dallas game has been alliance well really what can happen after all that

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the publicity was surrounding the form shopping

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henry wade wanted to file those cases in

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Judge Ben alice is Connie criminal district court number one

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he was from Lancaster Texas and probably the most homophobic judge

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on the court at that time and we

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we put our foot down and said no and their Texas

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Association a criminal defense attorneys the ACLU came in at FOB reeves

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the morning news got all the bit arm there was a lot of publicity

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about the district attorney and his dirty tactics

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and that's where the publicity came through arm

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I was hired by at a guy that had another lawyer who wanted to plead guilty

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but he wasn't guilty and I told them I couldn't talk to him

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while he had another lawyer is I could lose my license for doing that

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so you get rid of his lawyer Gaylor who wanted to plead guilty

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and we tried his case but his case had an interesting

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twist to it because the complaint said that

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the defendant did there and then knowingly and intentionally allow the

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said

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other person to touch his genitals

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to Rossa sexual desire any person or whatever

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which really if you a diagram that sentence meant that II

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can be arrested if you use it there in touch your genitals

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so we filed a motion to quash the complaint

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that's the closest I ever got to being thrown in jail for contempt because I

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modern under my breath with the judge denied the motion

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and i sat down and said pearls before swine

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any heard me and I really

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almost got thrown in jail but anyway so we had Aaron the record we tried our

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lawsuit

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and we brought people to dance in the courtroom

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and I remembered song we said that was playing at the police station when the

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police made the bus was

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a called

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enough is enough I forget his who sang the song but that's the song we played

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in the courtroom

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the other interesting thing that happened on

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the Christian s the crazy christian people

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I'll found out about these trials

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and stuffed my courtroom with all these right-wing evangelical

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homophobic people

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in it's hard to say people

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and I went out and called on Eastman

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now I'm a secular humanist but I frequently rely on my

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Christian Brothers think like carol here thank you so much for coming to talk to

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my residence that was so sweet

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I called an easement and I told him what was going on

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and within an hour I must've had 50 gay people

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in my courtroom supporting my client

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and my client was found guilty by the trial court not judge later tommy

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dont you know I couldn't find homosexual not guilty

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and I just looked at him it but I think your head

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error in the record my client's case went up to the Court of Appeals

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here and this is really strange

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Judge Joe fish a Republican appointee

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wrote the opinion reversing and rendering

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the guilty finding and declaring my client not guilty

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and then I found an expansion

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to erase the record my client

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but his name was all over the Dallas Morning News in a

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below the fold front page story

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Marshall man with no was Winfield Scott

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the chief misdemeanor prosecutor that time and I'm sure it is senator the

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Confederate General

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Winfield Scott called my witnesses

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parade a perverse and that was the headline

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in the morning news that was the headline in the morning news

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my client was a flight attendant for braniff airlines

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and the immediately brought him up and tried to take his job

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but with a little help from my friends I learned the Railway Labor Act and I

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learned how to

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represent him there he was able to keep his job

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and then later got his record expunged richard is still alive and in Minnesota

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and he's my friend on Facebook and we still talk

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but the other interesting things that came outta this whole experience was a

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Mike Anglin his undercover work with their

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goals for Dallas ok we got every gay lawyer in town to get involved in goals

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for dollars we sat on these committees dealing with the cops

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and talking with them and beginning a dialogue

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and getting to know each other basically

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and we ended up with sergeant Newsome as our first liaison officer and I think

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she so live in he's retired and East Dallas

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but he became very close with

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mall all of us really but particularly Terry a bill territory TV don't bill

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Nelson

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on and very involved in the community

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and dig great service in

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terms have educating the Dallas Police Department getting to

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the resource in are involved in education programs there

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but to you know we're comfortable here tonight in this bar but

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in 1979 you never knew was gonna happen

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so anyway that's my story

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and I'm proud to be a pinch hitter