YAM Notes: March/April 2013

By Rich Banbury

We are all of the past, the present, and the future. There is much to recall and celebrate simply by directing the long-term memory apparatus to conjure up unforgettable events and emotions. Not so easy with the short-term memory, which at our age gets relegated to the cheap seats in the vast realm of our brain. The present is of itself, a unique moment in the continuum of time.

As for the future, we can thank certain classmates for creating opportunities, both intellectual and existential, by way of upcoming adventures to stimulate the minds (and bodies) of our special class. A symposium on the criminal justice system in America will take place on May 5th to 9th at the Water’s Edge in Westbrook, Connecticut. The full working title for this provocative program is Justice for All? Perspectives, Problems, and Predictions Concerning Criminal Justice In America. The proceedings will begin at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 5th, with a keynote presentation by Judge Jed Rakoff, a Harvard Law graduate. Having presided over several prominent white collar trials in the Southern District of New York, and rendered an Opinion that the death penalty is unconstitutional, Judge Rakoff will share his observations and perspectives from the Federal Trial Bench. From Monday morning to Thursday afternoon, various speakers and panels will discuss a wide range of issues fermenting in the criminal justice stew. There are a surprising number of classmates whose professional careers have included battlefield positions as advocates or adjudicators in the criminal courts. Rusty Wing, with eleven years at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, and having practiced more recently as defense counsel, will on Tuesday morning discuss the growing power of prosecutors. Chauncey Parker, from the United States District Attorney’s Office in New York, will speak on Wednesday morning concerning better ways to manage the ubiquitous problem of addictive drugs. Barry Schaller, George Levine, and Ed Leavitt, all past or present Connecticut Judges, will also participate during the symposium. Barry has recently published Veterans on Trial: The Coming Court Battles Over PTSD. We also expect to have Jamie Kunz telling his story, prominently featured on the CBS 60 Minutes program, involving how client confidentiality can tilt justice in an unintended manner. The closing program on Thursday afternoon will feature author Stevie Doherty, who spent 25 years in prison for bank robbery, relating the story of his incarceration and eventual exoneration, with assistance from defense attorney Alan Caplan. That panel will also include Alan and John Bing, a Professor of Criminal Justice at Heidelberg University in Ohio. Additional aspects of the symposium have been distributed through regular mail. This undertaking promises to be a comprehensive approach to look behind the curtains at the perplexing problems arising out of the criminal justice system in our country. The committee of classmates organizing this event includes Peter Knudsen, whose vision and leadership is at the center of the endeavor, as well as Alan Caplan, Steve Lasewicz, Bob Mirto, Arvin Murch, Barry Schaller, and Natalia Emanuel ‘13, who worked with the New York Probation Office as a Heinz Fellow. As a former prosecutor and criminal defense lawyer, I also wound up on the committee. If you have not yet signed up for this symposium, contact Peter Knudsen (pkundsen@ecoair.com or arvinmurch@spcglobal.net). The Water’s Edge facility is true to its name, fronting the sandy beaches of Long Island Sound. High-end rooms and suites are on site.

The unseen future referenced at the beginning of this column also applies to our mini-reunion in the wonderful city of Toronto, from September 30th to October 4th this Fall, so make sure your passport has not expired and get ready for a terrific experience. More about Toronto in the next issue. If you have not yet seen the written information, it may have been misplaced by your short-term memory. In that case contact Jim Taylor at jctslf@comcast.net.

Bill Levit can’t get enough of Siberia. Not many classmates hang out in Irkutsk, but Bill testifies that the bleak image of Siberia as a cold place from which many Russians never return, is unfair and outdated. During their latest excursion last Fall, Missy taught English to underclassmen at Baikal National University, while Bill tutored upperclassmen on International Arbitration.

There are many friendship circles originating from common experiences during our days on the Old Campus. One such cadre includes Tony Hawthorne, Herb Hodos, Dirk Soutendijk, Dave Cross, and the late Roy Schwarz, who was forever lost to the group last summer. These mates and their families are a wonderful example of how sons of Mother Yale can become brothers for life.

Two Authors. A fast moving thriller, Efraim’s Eye, is the third novel from Bill Peace, now living in London. The story involves a freelance terrorist with an obsessive hatred for everything British. Several other international characters, including a beautiful multi-lingual Israeli operative, clash in this adventure set in Europe, the Middle East, and north Africa. A fourth novel, the The Iranian Scorpion will quickly follow the third. Bill advises that Amazon or Barnes and Noble will be pleased to take your order. The Arrogant Leader: Dealing With The Excess of Power, by Fritz Steele and Stephen Jenks, was published last September and is available through Amazon or arrogantleader.com. This is a nonfiction work exploring and explaining why certain business leaders fail to recognize the costs of their arrogant behavior and lack of humility. Self-described as disorganized, Fritz has a doctorate from M.I.T. in Organization Studies.