Ramsey Clark burg of Floresville, ruled only one point of error could be considered. This point read: “During the course of his trial, petitioner was so heavily sedated by physicians employed by the State that he could not adequately comprehend the proceeding or intelligently participate in his own defense, in violation of petitioner’s right to due process of law and his right to the assistance of counsel, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.” At the hearing, Judge Eschenburg and district attorney Alger Kendall wore conservative-looking suits with vests, elegant enough for a Philadelphia lawyer. The former attorney general of the United States, as is his custom at court, speaking engagements, or whatever, ambled in wearing a pair of pants one cut above blue denims, a corduroy coat, and Hush Puppy shoes. He looked like an underpaid instructor of English literature at Sul Ross College too happy over escaping a hard childhood on a West Texas goat ranch to complain about his salary. Not unkempt, mind you, but nevertheless Ramsey was not a person we would have sung that song about in my Marine Corps days, “the gentleman dapper walked out of the crapper.” Without question it was established that Freeman, at his request, had been given dosages of mind-altering drugs. A physician for the state testified that they were not capable of affecting Freeman’s thought processes, while a medical doctor provided by Clark, a man with an intensive background in drug clinics, testified they could have. Both lawyers who represented Freeman at the original trial took the stand and swore they did not know their client had been under sedation. At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Eschenburg denied the application for habeas corpus, saying he found the drugs given Freeman not of sufficient dosage to affect his ability to cooperate with counsel. But then the judge, in a spirit of judicial decency, statedand here his words are paraphrasedfor the record that the idea of the state’s giving drugs in any amount to a defendant on trial for his life, without advising counsel, posed a serious constitutional question for the Court of Criminal Appeals. So Clark won at least half a loaf. I knew that Ramsey Clark could deliver an address of high purpose to stir the hearts of the Harvard faculty, but I did not know he could get in the pit of a country courtroom and perform so well. He is precise, polite, relentless in his questioning, and a damn good trial lawyer. After Clark left the attorney general’s office, he went with a corporate law firm in New York making around $150,000 a year, only to quit and form a law partnership with Alan H. Levine and Wulf in Greenwich Village. The firm of Clark, Wulf & Levine sent out a letter announcing, “We will extend our practice to any area of the law we find interesting, any cause which is just, any principle we see imperiled, any worthy enterprise needing our skills. We will not appear on behalf of any cause which we believe is wrong.” One third of their practice goes to charity, and they have set an income limit of $50,000 per year per partner. When I mentioned to Ramsey that top law students going to the famous law firms of Houston make more money than old-time activist lawyers, he replied, “Yes, and in a couple of years they come to hate themselves. Materialism and the love of money are the single most destructive things about our country.” Twice a week, by the way, Ramsey goes to the Lone Star Cafe in Manhattan and eats 3-Alarm chili. Levine gets 1-Alarm, and Mel ‘Wulf, no-alarm, a kind of pabulum ordinarily fed geriatric patients and New York debutantes. Clark couldn’t look me in the eye while discussing Wulf and chili. Just before driving Ramsey to the airport I took him by my home where he saw a handwritten inscription to my father from Carl Sandburg. It reads: “For Maury Maverick: fighter, freeman, fool, politician, poet, dreamer, zealot of freedom.” It must have impressed him because he wrote the words down, remarking, “I’d be proud to have had Sandburg say that about me.” At the airport we shook hands and he was gone. Driving back to my place I thought about Ramsey Clark. In a Texas that would elect a Bill. Clements, in a New York that might elect a Henry Kissinger to the Senate, where is there room for Ramsey Clark as an elected official? Has he become, for now anyway, a kind of politically stateless person? If the answer is in the a ffirmative, and if he understands that about himself and can be at peace with it, he may be a more important person to the cause of mankind as an outsider. As it stands, there is no pressure on the man to do anything but tell the truth, and that is what he is doing: going about the world and our country telling the truth. Telling it, that is, like a fighte, freeman, fool, politician, poet, dreamer, zealot of freedom. –Maury Maverick Jr. of San Antonio is a damn good trial lawyer in his own right. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 19
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