September-October 2017

A round-up of notable quotables

“The idea behind it is only about how many people are still breathing each day when we’re finished.”

—Jeffrey Smith, director of the nation’s first opioid crisis intervention court in Buffalo, New York.

“It was on my mind all the time. I thought the drugs would stop it, but I don’t think it did.”

—Melvin Knox, as he testified on his own behalf in a Tarrant County courtroom. Last year, Knox, now 59, pled guilty for the 1973 murder of his best friend; both boys were teens at the time. Knox told Judge Wayne Salvant that he never spoke of the murder and had turned to drugs and alcohol hoping to forget what he’d done. Judge Salvant sentenced Knox to 40 years in prison.

“In law schools, we don’t just teach our students to know the weaknesses in their own arguments. We demand that they imaginatively and sympathetically reconstruct the best argument on the other side.”

—Heather Gerken, dean of Yale Law School, in an essay published in Time magazine, explaining why law schools haven’t seen the ugly and violent protests that other college campuses have.

“Yes, there are other stressful professions. Being a surgeon is stressful, for instance—but not in the same way. It would be like having another surgeon across the table from you trying to undo your operation. In law, you are financially rewarded for being hostile.”

—Wil Miller, who practices family law in the offices of Molly B. Kenny in Bellevue, Washington, in a New York Times article on how common drug addiction is among lawyers. Miller spent 10 years as a sex crimes prosecutor, the last six months of which he was addicted to methamphetamines.

“Apparently, I must be a little bit of one, yes.”

—Defendant Kevin Coffey, former chief of the Maypearl Police Department, during his trial for sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child by contact. He was answering Ellis County prosecutor Ricky Sipes’ question, “Are you a pervert?” (Submitted by Ellis County and District Attorney Patrick Wilson)

“I guess I got spun up a little bit.”

—Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin, about the Department of Public Safety’s decision in July to start charging law enforcement for forensic evidence testing. In a response on Facebook, Akin threatened to start charging DPS $50 per night for each state prisoner in the county jail, as well as for prisoners’ medical costs, court transport, extra blankets, toiletries, and other costs. Other response statewide was so swift and the outcry so indignant that DPS reversed itself within a week.