The art of caring

Two absolute requirements for a trial lawyer, yes, any lawyer are (1) a conscientious caring for his or her client and (2) the credibility of the lawyer. One cannot exist without the other and absent either, the lawyer is but an actor, usually a poor one, a gross pretender.

I argue that caring is contagious. One cannot ask a jury or a judge to care if the lawyer does not care. We tend to like caring people. That’s because we like to be cared about, and some of us like to be cared for. We tend to trust caring people. I say caring is a disease that can easily be caught. But true caring is sometimes hard to come by. Trial lawyers are asked to care for vicious killers, for people who commit horrible acts of cruelty, persons who do evil things, hurt children and cheat old people out of their life’s savings.

But the accused were once innocent children. As all of us, they began life with a clean, pure unmarked canvas. Much of what is written on the canvas is the cruel psychic graffiti, the ugly splashes, smears and slashes laid on the canvas by those who were parents qualified for that sacred trust only by virtue of their reproductive organs, by those who themselves were never cared for. To that extent, not caring is also a disease – one that is often fatal to a useful and productive life.

I suspect that we could put a wiggly little loving Spaniel puppy in a cage, starve it, poke it with sharp sticks, never pet it, ignore its need for love and sustenance and convert the pup into a vicious attack animal when it was grown. But there still remains in that dog the puppy. 

The metaphor is imperfect and sentimental, but you get the drift. One wonders if we are not placing our condemnation in the wrong place. Ought we not be prosecuting the puppy’s owner?   Extending the argument, are we not often prosecuting the wrong person – the parents, those who were responsible for the child, those who by hate and ignorance molded the child into the killer and the rapist – ought they not be the accused in the case? 

My view is simple:  I see the innocent child first. When I see the monster the child has become I feel sadness at the waste and horror at its consequences, and I feel helpless over my inability to change either the accused or the system that created the accused, a system that now prosecutes him with more of the same – more fear and more hatred. Indeed, hatred and fear are the most contagious diseases of all. But one thing a trial lawyer can do – and must do.  He or she must give the accused, the first victim, a caring and competent defense. 

Sometimes we can do more.

Here is an email I just received from a close friend of mine, Joey Lowe, a fine trial lawyer who is defending a soldier in a court martial proceeding. He is doing more and writes:

Dear Gerry:

Sgt. Nelson was a foster kid from New York inner city. He never knew his father, and his mother died when he was only 8. Family was something that Santa Claus could not provide but the Marine Corps offered and so he enlisted right out of high school. He was in the battle named Operation Iraqi Freedom where he was a combat troop who fought his way from Kuwait all the way up to Baghdad. There he saw some pretty terrible stuff especially at the Battle of Al Nasariyah.

He was then brought back again in 2004 for the worst urban combat fighting that the Marine Corps have participated in since the battle for the City of Hue in Vietnam, and some say Iwo Jima because of the close quarters and hand-to-hand combat necessary to root out the jihadist enemy.

There, he and his unit were taking fire from an entrenched and barricaded enemy. Sgt. Nelson watched helplessly as his best buddy was shot and bled out into the dirt streets because the Marines were pinned down and could not get to him fast enough.

The Marines gained access to the house only to find four military aged males sitting on pillows in this barricaded house pretending to be just innocent residents. Despite the fact that the Marines had dropped leaflets for weeks informing the residents to leave the city and that anyone who stayed behind would be considered enemy combatants, these four males said they were just house sitting even though the house was locked from the outside.

Once the Marines had searched the second story of the concrete house they found all kinds of military assault rifles, AK-47s, RPK which is a Russian Military machine gun, loads of ammunition and spent brass from the bullets they had just shot at the Marines. When the jihadists were confronted with the weapons, the spent brass and the smell of cordite (gun powder) throughout the house they just smiled.

The Platoon commander ordered that the jihadists were to be shot and not captured.

The platoon commander, an officer, was given immunity and never charged, the Sgt.-in-charge was tried and acquitted out in town, the second-in-charge was tried on base and acquitted and now they are trying to convict Sgt. Nelson, mostly because he refused to testify against the first two Marines. The Government put him in federal prison on Memorial day to force him to testify, but he still would not.

We have filed this petition because we believe that the command, through the prosecutor Capt. Gannon, have committed undue influence over the prosecution and according to military courts-martial rules and case law, the case can be dismissed if the judge finds that the acts by the prosecutor would leave the public feeling a loss of confidence in the fairness of the proceedings.

Therefore, we are asking for circulation of this petition for direct proof that the public perceives that these proceedings appear unfair.

All that they have to do is to click on this link http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/sgtnelson/index.html and if they fill out a few fields, it will record their support.

Joey

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36 responses to “The art of caring

  1. Dear Gerry,

    Thank you very much for writing this. I couldn’t agree more that caring is contagious. I just wish that EVERY lawyer were as caring about their clients and as highly competent in representing them as yourself, your associates, and your students.

    As you stated, when a lawyer is neither caring nor competent, they often do their clients irreparable harm. This can take the form of a wrongful conviction in criminal cases or a finding for the opponent in civil cases. Whether it is one or the other, the damage to the client is often permanent and can’t be undone.

  2. Alejandro Blanco

    how true your words have become to me.
    and i have also come to understand that unless we have that type of caring for whom we have become, it will not possible to extend that type of caritas to the other, the accused.
    thank you

  3. Thanks Gerry,

    You more than anyone else have taught me to leave judging to judges and juries. I now realize the importance of walking in the shoes of another. “There but for the grace of God go I.” I am using what you have taught me to help and assist others. I try to imagine what you would do and then do it.

  4. Gerry,
    Don’t you want the case of U. S. v Nelson to be tried in the court room, not in press releases ? If Mr Low bas any legal basis why the proceedings against Mr Nelson are legally flawed, then why is he not filing petitions in a court ?
    His petition he has asked citizens to sign is not a petition filed in court ?
    Also, what happened in the Missouri case, did the alleged drug dealer ever have a trial, where Mr Low was his chosen attorney at trial, and what happened, and did you sign the petition that notes Low in your post ?
    We were not witnesses to the matters in Iraq, nether was Low apparently.
    Please clarify, in view of the mean puppy comments of your’s. Low is associated with your trial college, so Pattis has raised questions on some things, as you know, hope you can clear up.

    • Brenda Condiotti

      Fern, i politely ask you to realize Mr. spence position as ownership and accountability. As for clarification, one may share the same courtecy of the court.

  5. Does the Sargent face the death penalty ? Does anyone know ?

  6. To: Joe Low C/O Gerry S

    You all may find of interest, in view of Gerry’s latest postings, and notice on your, email put up here, this:

    http://www.houstonpress.com/2006-06-22/news/rush-to-judgment/

    The above story recounts how some black American soliders were badly framed by the famous Nixon Special Prosecutor in WW-II, and that injustice was something brought to light by a journalist who dug deep into the records, many years (decades) after the fact.
    Leon Jaworski is the founding memeber of the very powerful law firm for the big Oil Industry clubs.
    It is most ironic, how some write(and note) how the USA was in Iraq due to the protection of oil interests(Cheney Energy Closed door PANELS), and here this lowly Sgt, Nelson, who is now a target of the Brass.
    Plus, the irony of Mr Low being an ex marine.
    This matter has many layers of issues.(it is the public who should care more on all the layers popping up)
    How much influence do big Texas law firms, who are part of the big oil Club, have at the high Councils of GOV in D C..?
    Then, the related piece generated by World Press has to do with Viet Nam.(tied into Gerry’s piece)
    This thing is given me flash backs…
    However, there is more on the WEB, at other sites, and how can the prosecutor in the military have control over funding for defense experts ?
    The fog of war is made more foggy when it comes back state side to sort out.
    However, the USA public wants its cheap oil to ride all the CA freeways(as IOU’s are handed out for the BROKE Republic of CALIF), and
    the economic meltdown ,now underway, renders many oblivious as to Command orders to “Shock and Awe” Iraq in the first instanace.
    Really, this latest post of Gerry(Low eamil on caring), has given me some flash backs to so much..

    http://www.philly.com/inquirer/entertainment/books/20090222_Echoes_of_Vietnam_war_crimes.html

    What does Gerry or Mr Low think of Ms Nelson’s book on the “War Behind me”.

    Some things are not easy to just put behind…. they keep reflashing.

  7. According to reports on the other Seargent(N) in charge, there was no killing/ murders at heart of the case( or evidence or witnesses to testify at trial). Sgt Nazario was found innocent, after a trial.

    http://www.expose-the-war-profiteers.org/archive/media/2007-5/20071207.htm

    Of course, I don’t know, I was not there, am not a witness.

    One, however, can not overlook in the military, the stuff rolls down hill, and the chain of command, often yanks those on the lowes part of some chain.
    Gerry uses the “puppy” analogy, however imperfect, grafting on to the Command structure of the U S Military.
    I was in the U S Military(Army) as a civilian.
    The military even tries to yank civilian laws around, why would it care about UCMJ, and fairness(due process) for the lower in rank ?
    War is hell, it is not a holiday picinic, most probably have no clue what Sgt Nelson had to face, and deal with.
    This thing on expert witnesses…
    Why not call Cheney isn’t he an expert on hand to hand combat in the back rooms of D C with Lobbyists, like those for British Petroleum ?

  8. The latest(April 2009) is that the other squad member was found to be acting in self defense;
    http://74.129.158.182/search?q=cache:WmwIOLuNev4J:www.expose-the-war-profiteers.org/archive/media/2009-1/20090409-1.htm+Captain+gannon+Nelson+Iraq&cd=8&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&ie=UTF-8

    Thus, Nelson’s fellow squad member was found innocent by a ILL Jury.
    So, if that arose out of same incident, that is very material(if not determative).

    Since this whole thing came to light during a S.S. job interview, it is rather strange that now it has come to light that the S.S. officials were manipulating Weemer.
    Why did the S.S. manipulate Weemer, as essentailly found by a ILL Jury.
    The fog of war seems to often turn into a war on those in the front lines.
    Why is Captain Gannon waging a war on Sgt Nelson….?
    And, using his high position to do so, on taxpayers funds ?
    The NCIS(branch of Military Investigative Services) should use its resources to find out why the Naval Peteroleum Reserve in Wyo was riped off by crooks, and why an ex Marine was framed who brought the fraud to the attention of high Federal officials..(who turned a blind eye–like coverup city)
    But, no it would rather squander its resources going after a dedicated, and decorated marine.
    After, the findings on Weemer(Jury in ILL), the waste of funds going after Nelson seems to be vile, it makes many wonder, what in the hell is wrong with the TOP BRASS..!
    The top Brass are going to get more egg all over their face sitting in their CUSHY Pentagon chairs, if they don’t stop harassing Sgt Nelson, ASAP.
    Sign the Petition, write Congress, and write the Commander in Chief…

  9. Capitan Gannon indicted Weemer, too as both Weemer and Nelson were mere corporals, at the time(battles in Iraq, etc):
    The news in April 2009, recorded, from Camp Pendleton, CA:
    Marine acquitted on all counts
    Thursday, April 09, 2009 12:16:27 PM · by Sergeant Tim · 37 replies · 1,950+ views
    North County Times | April 9, 2009 | Mark Walker
    CAMP PENDLETON — A military jury this morning acquitted Marine Sgt. Ryan Weemer in the killing of an unarmed Iraqi insurgent during the battle for the city of Fallujah in 2004. The 26-year-old Illinois native hugged his attorney, who broke into tears on hearing the not-guilty verdict. Weemer’s wife, sister and high school English teacher, who attended each day of the trial that started March 30, also cried as the decision was read. Weemer was charged last year with unpremeditated murder and dereliction of duty. Prosecutors(wrongfully) alleged that as a corporal, he killed one of four captive insurgents the government…

    http://73.195.185.332/search?q=cache:51BP6LSzOBgJ:www.freerepublic.com/tag/defendourmarines/index+nelson+iraq+injustice+murder+weemer&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&ie=UTF-8

  10. Fog of war:

    http://cbs2.com/local/Marines.acquitted.murder.2.980899.html

    Seems to me that Mr Low has been busy filing matters to address a possibly unjust prosecution of Sgt Nelson.
    Additionally, there has been a lot in the press on the matters.
    It seems that the Secret Service sprung stuff on the Naval Criminal Investigative Services(NCIS) to lite some fuse for the false indictments.
    The S S detail arrested a fellow in Colorado, when he told Cheney his policies in Iraq were disgusting, and now Cheney may have to be deposed since the S S can’t keep their stories straight on the incident.

    http://squarestate.net/diary/5404/

  11. What is the worst crime you ever committed ?
    Question in a job interview with the Secret Service:

    The taped(as transcripted as so put in the NEWS) response of Mr W:
    http://94.525.955.732/search?q=cache:Oo0TDiNLk7cJ:www.expose-the-war-profiteers.org/archive/media/2009-1/20090401-1.htm+Fog+War+Weemer+Iraq+Secret+Service&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&ie=UTF-8

    Iraq really had a deep impact on young American men, caught up in blood, violence, and confusions, as to those who served there in the front lines.
    Apparently, Mr Weemer never got the Secret Service Job—instead he got indicted, and then Mr(Sgt) Nelson got indicted.

    Now, Gerry has released the email of Mr Low..

    Mr Nelson(Sgt Nelson) never left any tape with the S. S…
    So why is Cpt Gannon seeking to nail Mr Nelson at this point ?

    What is the worst crime you committed…..?
    Question of the S S in its job interviews…Can that transcript be accurate…?
    Seems strange, the way this whole thing has come about.

    Was Mr Weemer just feeling guility for even being in Iraq…..? So, he was manipulated by the S S…Guess, S S job interviews are not confidential.
    I kinda feel the S S is not going to come looking to offer me any jobs….or for that matter any other high political positions in the ADMIN….

  12. When they come home—-then what :

    While Sgt Nelson’s unit member was found not guilty,
    Here is the sad story of how Sgt Nelson was put in the cross hairs due to a member of his unit seeking to get a federal job:

    From Military Times, 6/30/08:
    OCEANSIDE, Calif. — With a combat tour in Iraq behind him and his four-year, active-duty Marine Corps obligation over, then-Cpl. Ryan Weemer nursed his war wounds and stepped out to begin another chapter in his life.

    In his transition to being a civilian, he signed up for college courses and scouted federal agencies for a new career. But a comment he made during a federal polygraph examination for the U.S. Secret Service in 2006 prompted a federal investigation into the alleged killing of unidentified men during the 2004 Battle of Fallujah in Iraq.

    The inquest has landed the 25-year-old Weemer and a former squad mate, Sgt. Jermaine Nelson, in federal custody, and it has put them and former squad leader, Jose L. Nazario, in the crosshairs of military and government prosecutors.

    “This is ridiculously hard, ridiculously painful,” said Weemer’s wife, Amanda, who has been juggling a full-time job as a chiropractor in Kentucky with helping with his defense and keeping his spirits up, even as he sits in a federal detention facility in California.

    “We don’t have any control over what is going on here,” she said, speaking by phone from their home. A short time later, she got her much-awaited telephone call from her husband, who is remanded to the federal lockup in San Bernardino, 90 minutes from his duty station at Camp Pendleton.

    “Keeping him positive is my number-one job,” she said, her voice trailing off. “He’s everything to me.”

    Life’s quick turns
    The Weemers were still newlyweds — Ryan and Amanda married July 2, 2006, during a ceremony scheduled between their college courses — when their life quickly took a turn toward uncertainty.

    His answers during the polygraph that summer led a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent on a yearlong inquiry into whether Weemer and others with his 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, platoon wrongfully killed detainees in the early throes of the Fallujah operations. Details of the polygraph have not yet been disclosed.

    That operation began Nov. 7, 2004, and lasted more than a month. Military officials have said more than 1,000 insurgents were killed, hundreds more were detained and scores of Marines and other service members died.

    The intense, close-quarters fighting, often described as the fiercest urban warfare since Vietnam, has been noteworthy in that the battle led to scores of combat awards bestowed on Marines and others for heroism, including the Navy Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor for combat bravery. Weemer himself received a Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat “V” for valor, and he was wounded and received the Purple Heart medal.

    By summer 2007, however, allegations of murder interrupted the lives of several combat veterans.

    Ryan Weemer was continuing with his college coursework when NCIS Special Agent Mark Fox took the investigation to a federal magistrate and brought it to the attention of the Corps. On Aug. 16, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Riverside, Calif., charged Nazario, who since had completed his military obligation, under U.S. federal law with manslaughter for his alleged actions in a Fallujah house Nov. 9, 2004. A federal grand jury issued an indictment Sept. 4.

    Six months later, on March 5, the Corps ordered Ryan Weemer back on active duty.

    So Weemer, who had three years left on his four-year Reserve commitment, left his wife in Kentucky for a job at Camp Pendleton. Two weeks later, the Corps charged him under the Uniform Code of Military Justice with one count of murder and six counts of dereliction of duty for his alleged actions and handling of alleged unarmed detainees in that Fallujah house.

    Weemer’s attorneys say his recall to active duty was done solely to prosecute him. They hadn’t expected, though, he would be confined, until federal prosecutors began pressing for more testimony for the grand jury in Nazario’s prosecution.

    “We anticipated that he would be taken into custody,” said Christopher D. Johnson, a federal defender and former federal prosecutor from Woodland Hills, Calif. “In situations where you have allegations of contempt of court, there are not a whole lot of actions available.”

    Defense attorneys are doubtful of immunity protections federal prosecutors would provide Nelson and Weemer in their own military trials, and they suspect federal prosecutors want additional testimony for a superseding murder indictment against Nazario.

    Nazario pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter charge and will be tried beginning Aug. 19 in Riverside.

    Johnson said Weemer maintains his innocence and is fighting the charges.

    “He was put in a very difficult position, making very difficult decisions in a combat situation,” the attorney said.

    Detained, but hearing pending
    As far as the Corps knows, Ryan Weemer is supposed to appear in a military courtroom July 10 for an Article 32 investigation hearing.

    But on June 12, a federal judge ruled Weemer was in contempt of court for his refusal to talk with the federal grand jury in the Nazario case. So Judge Stephen Larson ordered the Marine held indefinitely in a federal detention center in San Bernardino.

    He wasn’t alone for long.

    Larson on June 24 ordered Nelson held, also for refusing to talk with the grand jury. It was Nelson’s second go-around with a federal judge. In May, he spent eight days in the Los Angeles detention center after U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson found him in contempt.

    Back in Kentucky, Amanda Weemer sends her husband books and writes him letters almost every day, jotting down the seemingly mundane but comforting details of life. She has been handling the couple’s bills, getting money into his jail commissary account and trying to raise money to offset the growing legal bills and expenses. She’s helping plan a fish-fry fundraising event in his Illinois hometown and a charity motorcycle ride, and maintains a Web site, http://www.defendingahero.org.

    The couple gave up their rental house to save money, and Amanda Weemer moved in with her parents temporarily, at least until the legal proceedings are resolved.

    Amanda Weemer tries to contain her anger about the situation and their disrupted lives.

    “It was a big blow to us,” she said. “Prior to that, we were able to talk whenever we wanted and after work and text all the time, which is a big comfort for both of us, because it was like being together.”

    She’s worried for her husband and what lies ahead.

    “He fought. He was injured. He could have died, very easily could have died,” she said, noting gunshot wounds that shattered his right leg. “It’s not just him. It’s so many other men who have gone and fought for their country and fought for their lives … and then they come back, and this is what happens.”

    Article: http://www.militarytimes.com/news/20…eemer_063008w/

  13. I was curious if Gerry signed the petition. by Gosh, he did– as shown, No 941.
    So, I did some more research. Kept a goolge investigation going as deep into the WWW as I could.
    I urge all of you to sign the petition, too.
    The right to petition our Government for redress of grievances is a fundamental right.
    I feel, it is a total insult to our Democracy to target Sgt Nelson, given:
    2) 2 non guilty verdicts of members of his same unit.
    2) The circumstances surrounding a fishy Secret Service frame, and manipulation
    3) The outrageous undue influence on the Military Command
    4) And, the large number of service men, crippled, and killed in the particular hell hole that made U S servcie men mere sitting ducks to cripple or kill.

    Mission accomplished–the Bush landing on the aircraft carrier was not accomplished.
    Sgt Nelson’s continued prosecution is an insult to every American.
    I am outraged this man is being put through this hell hole in America, by so called lawyers for the Gov. I signed the petition, Gerry did, I urge you to take an extra step, and be part of this petition.

  14. The U S Marines do not exactly make soft little “puppies”.
    The Marines were ordered into Iraq. They had a Command structure.
    They( lower ranks in front lines) were in the cross fire, and sitting ducks, in some RUMMY Mission.
    We have no name of who was allegedly wrongfully killed, and
    the threat level factors. etc.(Iraq village SITE X)
    All we have is some Marine(ex, from active duty) looking for a job state side, who took some lie detector test, then, his unit member, Sgt Nelson ends up under indictment, long after the alleged incidents.
    If other members of the unit were allowed to act as marines, and engaged in self defense, then is it most bizzare that Sgt Nelson is now singled out to make an exception as to him.
    War is hell.
    It is hell on those in the front lines.
    So few go to the front lines.
    Is this a replay deja vu modes of Senator Kerry(now some others) branding any who were in Viet Nam(substitute Iraq) as baby killers, or the likes, and murderers ?
    Is it any wonder, the swift boats long followed Kerry in his failed 2004 run for Commander and Chief.
    It is no accident that swift boats torpedoed Senator Kerry for his show boat stunts, after he came back State- side Post Nam.
    If the USA doesn’t want to see the fall out from troop deployments , its Commanders—on high– should never issue any orders to go into harms way in foreign lands.
    These things are not operation little puppy, and pet the cuddley little
    pups…
    IED’s met the troops, not roses.
    Mr Spence and Mr Low surely know that many U S troops in Iraq were sitting ducks, some of whom will be crippled for life, when they return state-side.
    Most have no clue of the hell hole the troops were placed into, in awful conditions.
    What next, Joe Biden orders bombs away, Iran, for his pals in Israel ?
    The Secret Service must be scared–real scared–
    of those who returned, how else do you explain what they did to Nelson, Ryan Weemer, and the unit Command Sarg.
    And, if Nelson is nailed to a cross, what will be the FALL OUT….?
    Some have never factored in how explosive the issues are, apparently.
    Secretary of War(Defense) McNamara died the other day at age 93, he wrote in his bio the whole Viet Nam thing was a tragic blunder.
    a tragic blunder by the so called “Best and Brighest”.
    Some of those so called “Best and brighest” make me want to puke.
    They are the ones who rig the “system”, and so is Sgt Nelson some trophy they have in mind…?
    Joe Low—- God Bless you Sir !

  15. A great post as always Mr. Spence. I’m studying for the bar exam at this moment, so please forgive me if my post turns out to be a bit jumbled. I’ve read several of your books and currently I’m reading “With Justice For None”. You have done a lot of good for the cause of justice and influencing future lawyers who “care”. I would like to consider myself one of those lawyers.

    Let me speak about “fear” for a minute. How many criminal defense attorneys know what it’s like to be in the victims’ shoes? I’m sure many have, however I’m sure many more have no idea what it’s like. I’m in my 20’s and have been robbed twice already. One time I had a gun stuck in my face and the other time(last week) I came home after lunch with my wife to find my house burglarized. In neither instance did the police find my stolen items or the suspects. I could really care less about the expensive items they stole, what bothers me is the fear that goes along with it. Do I want the robbers to be sent off to prison for several years? No. In fact, I’ve worked in a public defender’s office for close to a year. But do I understand the fear of many who experienced the same events as I have? Hell yes. And as a defense lawyer we should never overlook it and appear unsympathetic. Which I’m sure most successful defense lawyers are not.

    I mention all of this for the possibility of a discussion about crime and criminals. In one of your books Mr. Spence, I recall your statement that we will always have crime. Yes we will. But what can we do as Criminal Defense lawyers to curb it? I know that’s not our job, but it occupies my thoughts daily. How about ending Drug Prohibition and increasing welfare? Both times I was robbed I’m almost positive it was for drugs. I could touch more on both of these topics, but in the interest of time I’ll stop at this point.

    • Scott Hancock

      Paul,

      I share your feelings on people who commit crimes. Jail serves no real purpose but to punish, when help and treatment are really what’s needed. Good luck on the bar.

      Scott Hancock

  16. Mr Spence , I see my friend Alejandro is here. He and I just successfully won a 5 week jury trial.
    I agree with him your words are so true.
    I know you have another new group starting at the Trial Lawyers College. That is where I met both Joey and Alehandro although we are all from different years. They have both enriched my life as you have with their skills and the way they care about everything not just clients.
    As I heard from a great man :
    “Caring is contagious”

    Well great man how do you do it? You give so much, you do so much and still always teaching. Taking the layers of “don’t get attached to your clients” they put on us in law school and help us realize the client just like us is human with all our warts and life experiences. All the best to the new group they are going to have some life changing experiences that will send them home better lawyers , parents, spouses and neighbors.
    Thank you Mr Spence for making the world a better place.
    I hope folks will go back and click on Joey’s link in your story because it will help show how much we do care about our fellow human beings in need. And this man is in need.

  17. A lawyer has a professional duty of care, set forth in the ethical codes on professional conduct.
    It is not like, he/ she can willy-nilly decide he / she does not care, but keeps a client hostage if the subject attorney feels that way, if engaged in representing a person.
    If one can not meet the required standard of care, it is a matter a lawyer should not engage to represent a person.
    Otherwise, malpractice is something one may court.
    All be the lawyer’s Clubs (back-scratching bar)seems to frown on
    a person having rights of redress in that area, as can be seen, a matter which is a whole other can of worms.
    Since an enlisted man is part of a military command structure, that presents a whole other set of issuses.
    I am glad Mr Spence raised the issues via Mr Low, and his email, posted up ^.
    Just how far will GOV institutions go in limting rights, under the banner of Command cohesion/ Order, to reduce persons to non-persons ?
    Unfortunately, in the civil service, Congress has stripped persons of many rights, but Congress feels that is necessary for the efficiency of the service… CODE word for political control for Party Politics.
    As to the platoon leader granted immunity, soverign immunity is the
    control lever, employed from on high, and intra-service immunity was rendered the AOK for agent orange(chemical company productions) to kill, and snuff out the life of 10’s of 1,000’s of U S Service personel during Viet Nam.
    Mr Nelson is not a puppy, he is a human being, he is a person, he is a U S citizen.
    How far the Command structure will go to render him a non-person remains to be seen.

  18. Alejandro you have gone latin on us:
    “Caritas”, the word used by the Pope in his newest economic manifesto, “Caritas in Veritate”.
    Common good , in the likes of quod erat demonstrandum
    pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur.
    “Carnival Veritate”
    Or, how can any care about the relator if the KING does not ?
    Strange, the Pope getting into his economic principles, as the economic fabric of the world unravels.
    In the midst of that how many will even genuinely care what happens to one lowly Sarg, who had the misfortune to be in Iraq, and its caludron of hate.
    At least, one man truly cares, about the life struggle, now of Nelson, that being Joseph H Low, IV, who shows his caring by actions.

  19. To Paul Thomas: Thanks for raising the issue of trying to reduce crime as much as humanly possible, which I don’t often see. I know many will disagree, but I think the world could be a much better place if we could find more ways to prevent crimes from happening rather than punishing perpetrators with draconian penalties. I haven’t seen any evidence that harsher penalties have deterred crime in a significant way, so the argument that “harsher is better” doesn’t work for me.

    In my view, it would be far more productive to find ways to reduce poverty as much as we can, which might keep more people from turning to crime just to survive. Maybe we could have a separate discussion topic to explore such ideas, as this probably isn’t the appropriate one. With Gerry’s permission and participation, of course. 🙂

  20. I wonder, in flash backs long after Iraq, do some marines have feelings– feelings of guilt as just humans ?
    Does that explain Ryan Weemer, and the Seceret Service interview ?
    That is linked– the indictment of Sgt. Nelson.
    It would be instructive to examine the actual tape/ transcriptive of the Secret Service interview of Ryan Weever, and the transcript of the 2009 Trial of Ryan Weemer, where he was found not guility.
    Surely, Joe Low is examining all that.
    i hope Mr Low and Gerry keep us updated on the future course of events on
    Sgt Nelson.
    we wish him well, and he seems like he has a standup attorney with Joe Low, and this is a very interesting matter that Gerry has brought up.

  21. Susan:
    How do you know that the Pards, and associates at Spence L L C, Jackson, are so much more caring than say some firm(lawyer) in say Ohio, who did the pro bono(at some considerable costs) on defending Sgt(then Corporal) Ryan Weemer, a resident of Illonois ?
    What kind of calculus do you employ on that, if any may dare ask ???
    This is not to take issue that Mr Low is a standup guy, I just have not seen any news piece that any Spence pard flew out near Camp Pendelton to be standup, of record for the likes of a Weemer, Nelson etc…
    You would make a great publicity agent/ marketing Teton-ville.
    However, didn’t some of the Spence Pards march against Iraq invasions –Teton pines, Abode of the VICE, R C. ?
    This is not to say that
    one can be for one like Weemer, and against the policies of a botched excution, as displayed by Sec of Defense Rumsfeld, perhaps the worst Sec of Defense in the history of the USA.
    I believe, by the way, that is the opinion of some U S Generals, RET, and current, and others in the U S military and linked.
    I looked at Mr Low’s background, he spent it seems near 10 years in the U S Marines.
    I appluad his service to America in more ways—than one, and was excited to see that Gerry posted his email.
    It made my day… It made me feel proud that there are lawyers like Mr Low, and if he is a product of the TLC…. simply: WONDERFUL.
    Having said that, there are many lawyers around America who never went to the TLC, that does not make them somehow less caring–does it ?
    TLC is not like some Grade A beef stamp, on ones back- hide as some ESQ, I surely hope.
    Law school has nothing to do with caring, it is place where people sit through case studies, that many have trouble staying awake.
    I listen to the radio interview of Joe Low, he is his own man, and he has opened up many issues on the BRASS, the way the guy at the bottom of some CHAIN is treated, and none of us can loose sight of the fact, Sgt Nelson is a human being, he is not a puppie, not a clone, not an auto-mate.
    What ever caused Joe Low to take this case—that is where caring started…

  22. This from Ben Bradlee(a site on), the ex Managing Editor of the Washington Post
    “In case the Vietnam years have blurred in your minds, or even disappeared from your screens, may I remind you that this so-called Battle of Tonkin Gulf was the sole basis of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which was the entire justification for the United States’ war against Vietnam. This non-event happened on August 4, 1964. President Johnson went on television that very night to ask the country to support a Congressional resolution. The resolution went to Congress the next day. Two days later it was approved unanimously by the House and 88-2 by the Senate.”
    Then, the draft induction physical went out, and people were herded off like sheep to the slaughter. Stockdale is noted by Bradlee.
    http://74.155.158.432/search?q=cache:UAeD1zWZa5cJ:www.the7thfire.com/Politics%2520and%2520History/Gulf-of-Tonkin.htm+gulf+of+tonkin+a+lie&cd=5&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&ie=UTF-8.

    So, why does it even matter at this point.. 2009, way down the road from 1964 > >?
    Because people in high places lied to the American public, lied to the familes of service people, lied to any they could dupe.
    Then, some poor guy came home, and was spit upon in the streets from some yippe dippy, skippy, who was going to the renowed Univ..

    People need to keep up on OFFICIAL LIES, as part of civics.
    Is the Government lying to frame Sgt Nelson ?

    Must the Secret Service—if it used manipulation to cause Weemer to be indicted, now get a pass in the Nelson matter ?

    Something has a foul stench form on high in the Nelson matter—it is very troubling, to see, in the latest fog of uncaring from ON HIGH.

  23. Paw Paw,

    Joey is doing God’s Work and doing it well I might add!!! It is so unjust that he is being judged for carrying out what he is trained to do for at least five years if he is a Sgt.

    How can our government be so cruel to expect Warriors who have been exposed to combat against a foe who has fought more wars than we have even been a Nation?!?

    A Warrior should only be judged by other warriors who have really been Baptized by fire…

    To judge our Warriors for their vicious defense of our country, is to surrender the Freedoms we enjoy even now…

    Semper Fi Sgt. Nelson

    Consummate Professionals

  24. Conversly is the non- caring about a client contagious, also, but in an adverse sense to impact any tribunal ?
    Sgt Nelson is forutnate that he has a lawyer that cares about him, and the situation he is in .
    Not all lawyers consider their client to be the ” ideal” client.

  25. After viewing the numbers coming onto the petition now, looks like you’re doing it again even from TLC. Reminds me of
    Margaret Meads quote:

    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

  26. The place from which events unraveled; after action reports note:

    “These Marines said they encountered two kinds of enemy, both of whom were committed to killing as many Marines as possible. The first were classic guerillas, engaging at a time and place of their choosing, and then evading out of sight of the Marines using pre-planned evasion routes,..”

    The 2004 battle of Fallujah was not a park picnic in Beverly Hills.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Battle_of_Fallujah

    4 Blackwaer guards(contractor personnel) had been mutilated by insurgents, before the major battle.

    On February 12, 2004, insurgents attacked a convoy carrying General John Abizaid, commander of US Forces in the Middle East, and the 82nd Airborne’s Major General Charles Swannack, firing on the vehicles from nearby rooftops with RPGs, after seemingly infiltrating the Iraqi security forces.[16]

    In March 2004, Swannack transferred authority of the Al-Anbar province to the I Marine Expeditionary Force commanded by Lt. General Conway.

    The Marines were called in not because it was a high fashion puppy show, at the Greenwich Faire, but because all hell had broken loose, under a situation of poor planning in the occuptaion, by the Pentagon/ Sec of Defense Rumsfeld, and the White House.
    In the wake of that, events are being recast in the trial of Sgt Nelson.
    Welcome back to America.
    Jose Nazario was fired from the Riverside(CA) police Dept. Ryan Weemer, was rejected for any job by the Secret Service. Gerry, why don’t you get Dick Cheney to sign the petition,(at his summer fish/ dip a line in the Snake vacations(Teton), and maybe his pal, Rumsfeld, and W… Bush. Or, are they now too busy post Mission accomplished, to care one hoot for the guy on the low end of the totem pole, on such matters.(A front line Marine, who took fire, and was a sitting duck target in Falljuah/ 2004

  27. The torture of Marine familes in Calif:

    Instructive of matters:
    “The jury took six hours to find the former marine, Jose Luis Nazario Jr., 28, not guilty of charges that he had killed or caused others to kill four unarmed detainees on Nov. 9, 2004, in Falluja, Iraq, during some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

    The verdict left the defendant in tears. He cried so loudly that the judge smacked his gavel to call for order.

    The trial was the first in which a civilian jury had determined whether a former military service member had violated the law of war in combat.

    After the verdict was read, a juror, Ingrid Wicken, hugged Mr. Nazario’s sobbing mother, Sandra Montanez, without speaking. “I watched her all week,” Ms. Wicken said later. “She was being tortured every day.”

    Above from:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/29/world/middleeast/29marine.html

  28. About Fallujah:

    http://english.aljazeera.net//focus/2009/04/200948132212418175.html

    So, a view from Al Jazeera, a discordant note.
    What is to be believed.
    It is never a pretty thing when an armed occupation force goes into a place that is a hostile area, where there are not exactly people –locals–handing out roses on every corner.
    Some wanted General Patton’s head, to have him fired when he was in the occupation forces in Germany, after WW-II was declared offically over.
    Some were screaming he was too nice to the German civilians.

  29. There is one overiding time tested truism:
    The first causality of war is the truth.

    This is not to issue any verdict on one lowly Corporal in the hell hole of the pits of the center of chaos. He was following the Command orders that started at the top of the U S Government.

    However, is the attached propaganda, from another slant, a slice of reality, or what;

    You decide:

    http://www.chris-floyd.com/fallujah/

  30. There are web sites, that contend:

    “Unfortunately, millions of Americans are unable to accept the fact their government is engaged in massive war crimes in Iraq.
    It does not matter
    what evidence is presented?”

    Such as:

    http://www.thewe.cc/weplanet/news/americas/us/war_crimes_fallujah.html

    How do we sort out myth, from truth, from propaganda, in the larger issues of funding –with tax dollars, pursuits in far off lands ? We know so little about teh cultrue the languages, the people, we are so often in the dark, glued to the latest Breaking news on Michael Jackson’s latest drug cocktail revelations.

    This is not to draw any conclusions on one enlisted man, facing charges in Southern Ca.

    If one goes through the web site, one can see Defense Sec Rumsfeld in 2004, with enlisted men, jocking to have their photos taken with him.

    Who is a Shia, who is a Bathist, who is a Kurd, who is a Sunni, who is an Al Qaeda…
    So many U S Congressmen seemed unable to discern what the differences were in any material ways.

    Caring, do any care on the larger issues from which this troubling situation lingers, as it will for some time, and which you fund—as a U S taxpayer.

    Or, is it just easier to be totally oblivious on the billions/ month used by the U S Government where no questions looked at or asked, or contemplated.
    Change the channel, more breaking news on Thriller Record Sales, revived.

  31. T.P. (Tom) Erikson

    Having read all of your books and growing up in an environment similar to a one in which you grew up in, I wanted to contact you. I do not require your counsel. (Perhaps just talking to you now and then , as we we both espouse the same views on the Bush regime!) I grew up on a farm that raised both beef cattle and registered Appaloosas and Quarter horses, consequently I learned at an early age to ride. However, my fondess memories that are with me to this day are that of my grandfather and I checking his trap line. We would cross crountry ski to check the traps; I learned to trap, shoot, respect the elements of which we have no control. I won’t go on, other than to only say it would be a pleasure to talk to you some day. When I went to university I was like a fish out of water; somehow I survived. Your comments concerning Nancy Grace are right on target; she has never met a defendant that wasn’t guilty. Take care.

  32. You want us to care about Sgt Nelson !
    And about the fathers of the Iraq famlies, and there all caring is lost.
    General Powell said to Cheney: you break it you own it.
    Caring must be in the eyes of the beholders.
    Iraq is so far away, with a different language, a different culture, it must be easy to pick sides on which person the blessings of caring is bestowed, if known from some TLC connections.

  33. if Cheney breaks Iraq, and owns it in the sense noted by General Powell, what did that mean for Halliburton,..?
    Surely Gerry and some of you, who have commented here have a clue on that.
    Halliburton raked off billions from the spoils of
    misery in Iraq.
    Sgt Nelson is a mere pawn of the Cheney ” break it” operations.

  34. Morningstar41

    Fallujah? We as a nation are still treating our fighting men and women as though that battle was something that could be described as rational, prosecuted with due accord to the international laws governing such conflict, and hold individuals accountable for the result? Lunacy.

    The only discourse left on that account is to argue how best to apologize, forgive and defend those involved against a code designed to prevent it from ever happening.

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