“ARYAN”—can you put that on a license plate? Not in Maryland, where “ARYAN” is one of 4,900 terms banned from vanity plates (also out in Maryland: “OLD FART” and “BEDWETR”… which could be synonyms for the Hitler Youth praiser).
Duffy, who has worked on key civil rights cases involving American Indian voting issues, said action by the state means that any personalized plate must be recalled because of a single complaint, no matter what the message.
“What this means is that every atheist can now wipe out anything that seems to refer to God,” Duffy said. “Will vanity plates for members of the armed forces suddenly be declared offensive if they offend a single pacifist? It’s absolutely preposterous.”
Even obscenity must be judged by the mores and standards of a community, not just one offended individual, Duffy said.
“Here, all we need is one lone citizen who is apparently invested with the complete authority to determine what is good taste and decency for all the rest of us,” he said. “It seems a little tyrannical to me” [Kevin Woster, “State Looks to Pull Anti-Bush License Plate,” Rapid City Journal online, May 3, 2007].
So, for your evening civics discussion, should the state allow apparent declarations of racist sentiment on its license plates?
Butler waited until a month after Richard Benda died to issue that statement to the press. Duffy was not afraid to argue his client’s case in the media, but Butler so far has not lobbed any public verbal grenades on O’Connell’s behalf.
The first time I played the video, KOTA followed its somber obit with a shouting and unpausable promotion for a local production of Nana’s Naughty Knickers. If any quantum fluctuations from Patrick Duffy’s brain waves still flicker through the material cosmos, I hope they quiver with laughter at this unfunereal juxtaposition.
Sanford is the greatest philanthropist in South Dakota history and one of the most generous the nation has ever seen, if one measures the staggering size of his contributions against his total net worth. He gives. A lot. And his gifts are unquestionably meaningful in their positive impact upon our community.
I have no stake in this fight other than my perception of what is good for South Dakota. Mr. Sanford wouldn’t know me if he tripped over me. He’s not a client and may not share my opinion on every political issue I could describe. But I can see that his contributions to South Dakota, and particularly to Sioux Falls, are staggering, in that same way I have repeatedly saluted Steve Hickey, whom I like and respect but from whom I might part company on some political issues. To denounce what Mr. Sanford’s done as some sort of “corporate takeover of America” seems ludicrous to me, almost jealous in its intensity, as though we’d all be better off if he bought a big yacht and a small island and lived out his lift like a Millennial Billionaire.
When I was growing up one of the worst things my father might suggest about you was that you were “the dog in the manger.” That one made us wince because the dog in the manger was the one who couldn’t eat the hay but wouldn’t let the horse eat it, either.
Let’s heed the Aristotelian maxim and not let the perfect become the enemy of the good [Patrick Duffy, comment, Dakota Free Press, 2015.05.08].
Last November, is response to Stace Bare’s stirring TEDx talk about the importance of venturing outdoors, Duffy commented that the courtroom does for him what the outdoors do for Bare. I asked Duffy to elaborate.
I am saying that to be in the center of the raging maelstrom that is a jury trial elevates all of us real trial lawyers to a form of “super citizenship,” to a place where the hoary bromide to “speak truth to power” comes absolutely alive for those willing to cross that threshold and meet real power on its own terms.
Mine has been a rich life. I was trained as, and became a fluent translator of Russian for the Navy’s intelligence input into the larger intelligence umbrella. I debated in college, played college basketball, won a college boxing title, worked as a stockbroker for a national firm, worked for a New York investment bank, had a short stint on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, all before I went to law school. From the thrill of knocking a man down in a boxing ring to winning a debate round to making a long jump shot, none really compare to the rapture of being a trial lawyer.
Best of all, I’ve got seven sons and nine grandchildren and a wife whom I venerate as the center of my life.
But I fear that I am never perhaps as fully alive as I am in the courtroom. I’ve done seven figures of pro bono work in environmental litigation, ballot access cases, tried back-to-back the two longest Voting Rights cases in U.S. history, murder, rape, death penalty, securities, anti-trust, medical malpractice, commercial litigation, shareholder disputes, all of it, and have seen and felt the entire gamut of pain, nuanced emotional complexity, triumph and despair that I hoped to see firsthand when I graduated law school almost thirty years ago.
Mine is a catbird seat to history.
The drug that courses through your body when you stand up to cross-examine, when you’ve memorized all you need to know to take and maintain total control and dominance over another human being in the courtroom, is the finest drug one can imagine. It rips through one like pain, makes your hair stand up on end, and at times makes you want to cry out for sheer joy.
It is an existentially risky way to live one’s life.
Power loathes truth, and often cannot bear those who speak it, and one cannot blame them for that. As Thomas Jefferson once said, every time a jury speaks it’s like a little revolution.
Trying lawsuits nearly kills me and yet rejuvenates me at the same time [Patrick Duffy, comment, Madville Times, 2014.11.19].
Earn power’s loathing. Speak the truth. Live like Patrick Duffy.
Now if Indians are mad and Philippians are racists, this rally could have been ugly. But press accounts indicate there were no fisticuffs, just stern talk, cookies, and a lot of cops. Swan said his people came to “count coup,” a reference to the traditional warrior practice of striking but not killing an enemy to demonstrate courage and gain prestige, but emphasized that they were coming “in a good way! Seeking only justice!” Mayor Mike Vetter spoke, saying O’Connell isn’t “indicative of the mindset” (Ann-erika White Bird’s words) of the whole town but declining to offer any apology for actions not yet adjudicated.
[Fourth Circuit Magistrate Judge Eric] Strawn advised Duffy and Rapid City Attorney Joel Landeen that he has refrained from reading or watching any media coverage of the incident since the case was assigned to him.
Given the notoriety of the case, Strawn offered to preside at a court trial, if the attorneys are willing to waive a jury trial.
“We would probably have to empanel all of Rapid City to find someone who hasn’t heard about the case,” Strawn said.
Landeen, however, said the judge would have to empanel jurors. Turning to Duffy, Landeen said he is not taking the possibility of jail time “off the table.”
Speaking after court, Duffy said he would settle for a court trial if Landeen were not intent on demanding jail time.
Andrea Cook reports 30 protesters rallied outside the courthouse during O’Connell’s hearing yesterday. Expect more such demonstrations in Rapid City, Philip, and elsewhere in the run up to O’Connell’s June trial.