Highlights of My Life Since High School:
Apart from the hot summer days during middle school, when I was sent by my parents to go berry and bean picking in the fields around Salem, Oregon, my years at Wilson High School were the worst in my life (senior year GPA 1.8). Things improved for me immensely when I enlisted in the US Navy and went on active duty. And things took a turn for the better yet when I graduated from the U of Oregon (with a 3.71 GPA) and later from Lewis & Clark Law School, and after that in earning two advanced degrees in law (one from the London School of Economics and Political Science).
I did not know many of my classmates at Wilson, but I recall some of them and their qualities – Wayne Bowlby, with his admirable humility; George Crawford, a genuine friend; Jeff DiGangi, whose charisma could light up a town; Roger DeLessert, who always had a good word for me (when we were invariably placed next to each other by reason of the alphabet); and Ann Scott, a superstar dancer whose observations in English class were interesting and cut away some of my boredom there – though I was yanked out of class for a week and put in knucklehead English only to be reinstated when it was discovered that I could speak.
And I have been doing some speaking, as a District Court Judge in Alaska, as an Assistant Attorney General in Alaska, and in the scores of trials I have litigated, which is astounding to me considering how petrified I was at Wilson in any arena besides sports and P.E. I was bullied at Wilson, and once got an unexpected (and unprovoked) punch in the face requiring stitches to close the hole in my cheek. While the down side was that my attacker was not punished (I differ from some in my opinion of our principal), the upside for me was that it led to my interest in seeking justice for others.
I practice law with a passion (expanding the scope of Fourth Amendment protections in one appellate case, and having a law review article published) in Friday Harbor, Washington (I see that Don Jensen has a photo taken, my guess, on a ferry somewhere in the Salish Sea); I mentor young adults (one of whom is my wonderful son – who got all the support from me that one could imagine when he was in high school); and when I think back to my years at Wilson I am, in some ways, grateful for the motivation it provided to me to see that our young people are to be treated with kindness and with respect.