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What Would People Think?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Robinson Everett

One of my favorite people in the world, my criminal procedure professor, Judge Robinson Everett passed away Friday morning. And one of my few remaining reasons for visiting my old law school on a whim goes with him.

Why is Judge Everett one of my favorite people in the world? It has nothing to do with his politics or his view of the law. I get the impression that he was much more conservative than me, but that never really came up in the time I knew him.

It's because of the kind of person he was. Judge Everett cheerfully and patiently mentored 5 decades' worth of Duke Law students. (He was both the youngest and oldest professor in Duke Law's history.)

Above all, Judge Everett was to me a model of grace. I mean that in the Biblical sense of undeserved favor. I'm aware of one of his friends and students who made some pretty terrible decisions, including embezzlement. Judge Everett stuck by him, defended him in his criminal case, and helped rehabilitate him after he served his sentence. I observed how he insisted on honest and upright behavior, and yet refused to abandon those who fell short. He didn't excuse wrong or criminal behavior, but he looked past it to see the fallen and hurting human beings.

I remember thinking "I want to be like Judge Everett when I grow up." I hope and pray that someday I can be half the man he was.


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