A Conversation with Ted Marerro; Remembering Ed Leinster, Remembering Cheney’s Horrible Cross-Examination, and the Path of a Saint

A few years ago, my friend Ed Leinster passed away.  He had worked with me here at the office for many years, and his motions were absolutely brilliant.  He was brilliant.   Before he passed, he told me of how he was going to legally dismantle the entire sex offender registration scheme.  After explaining it to me, I was convinced he could do it–but he passed on before ever getting the chance.  To understand this loss, imagine Einstein passing on before he formalized his theories on relativity.  Imagine Michael Jordan giving up basketball in high school.  I’m not exaggerating, Ed was just that good.

So, I knew Ed was a legal genius, but I also heard he was a truly gifted trial attorney.  And, that’s where my good friend Ted Marerro comes in.  When Ted was prosecuting felony cases, he went up against Ed.  Bottom line:  Ted racked up 70+ jury trials as a prosecutor, and no one came close to the skills of Ed Leinster.

Originally, this interview was going to be about Ed.  But, Ted’s insights into everything else are worth more than what we initially set out to accomplish.  For example, when defending a cold blooded killer, how do you contain your disdain as he delights in telling you of his murderous ways?  How well can opposing counsel beat your ass without ever having met the client before jury selection?   Ted is not religious (understatement), but he lists several examples of how Christians have gained his respect.  There’s stuff in here about Bob Wesley, Bill Garmany, Jeff Ashton, Joe DuRocher, Don West, Chaney Mason, Andrea Black, and numerous local judges.  A conversation with Ted is like that road trip where you’re really looking forward to the destination–but end up having more fun along the way.  I’m going to convince Ted to come back for Part 2 and 3.  Here’s Part 1.     

 

John: Okay we’re here with Ted. Ted, tell me how your know Ed Leinster?
Ted: I only ever know him as a prosecutor. I think by the time I left the State Attorney’s Office, he was on his way down and out. I wasn’t following his career path too closely by then. I only knew him as a defense attorney when I was prosecutor. I’ll be perfectly honest with you, he was a pretty intimidating guy, you know what I mean?
John: Why?
Ted: He was tall. He was very stern looking a lot of the time. He was marching around in those big cowboy boots and he’s just very intense. I knew that the guy had a lot of skill. He was pretty intimidating. He was no joke.
John: What year was that?
Ted: It would’ve been … I don’t remember running into him in county court. It would’ve been around ‘91, ‘90 or ‘91, when I started in felony [at the prosecutor’s office]. From ‘91 till end of ‘95, when I left the State Attorney’s Office in Orange country and went to Osceola. I was there for 6 months of 1996 and then I left the State Attorney’s Office. He already had a reputation for being a partier and getting himself into trouble occasionally. You could tell that alcohol was starting to take it’s toll on him. By the time I got to know him … His reputation proceeded him. By the time I got to know him, you could tell he was having a hard time with it, because he was … Frequently he was real shaky. You could see his hands trebling from presumably from having been out drinking all night, the night before, something like that.
John: I never met him in court. He just worked for me, writing motions for many, many years. I just talked to him over the phone pretty much. Met him a couple of times. What’s great is you saw him in action in court. I never saw him in action.
Ted: I’m sure I didn’t see him at the height of his powers either, because like I said, he was already starting to show the wear, you know, from his alcohol and presumably other drug abuse, by the time I caught up to him. He was still 90%.  He was 100% better than 90% of the guys out there. You could just tell. He was very imposing. I had one trial with him. I don’t remember exactly what the charges were. It was something like an aggravated battery, or an aggravated assault, or something along those lines. I can’t remember exactly what it was. I’m pretty sure it was in front of Jim Houser. Jim might actually … If you ever run into him, Jim might actually have some good stories about him. I remember him coming to pre trials. There was a sign up list and his hand was trembling.
Ted: I remember him telling me there was going to be trial. I had talked to my witnesses and they all seemed very good and straight forward and competent. And, I had a lot of confidence in the case. I remember when I was doing jury selection that he was sitting behind me, close, fairly close, because this was in the old annex… This hideous 60’s, 70’s era government looking blue and aluminum building. It was just ghastly. I don’t know if it was originally designed to be a court house, or what, but we ended up having to use it as a court house. The reason I say that is because, our courtroom, I think most of the courtrooms there, had a column in the middle of the courtroom, that was at least three feet in diameter. Right in the middle of the courtroom. If I sat at the State Attorney’s table, all the way to the right, I would put the column right between me and the judge. So I could just sit there and eat a corn muffin and drink coffee and wait for my stuff to get called up and he couldn’t see me.
John: Nice.
Ted: It was really awkward, this stupid thing. Fortunately the jury was to the right of that, so it didn’t obstruct their vision of anything. But I remember I’m standing up next to the peanut gallery and I’m doing my voir dire and I can hear Ed talking to his client. My recollection of it, which it’s been 20 years, but my recollection of it is that … I remember thinking, he hasn’t talked to his client about this case at all! He is ice cold on this. He doesn’t know shit. He’s asking him all these questions about, how did that happen? How did this happen? That was my recollection at the time. I’m going, “Man this guy is just walking into this fucking thing ice cold.

I remember we start the trial and I put on my witnesses. I remember there was a woman and I think it was her son and her son was in his 20’s and the woman must have been in her 40’s, or 50’s.

Ed gets up and he … The only way I can describe it, is he stalked these people. He just started pacing in front of them back and forth, back and forth, asking them questions and getting deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper and just … It was almost like dressing out a cow with a razor blade. You don’t see the wounds and then of all sudden just everything just falls apart. I was just watching him going … I’m thinking holy shit my case is coming apart!

None of that stuff had ever occurred to me. They were terrified of him, you could tell. They were just starting to tremble and getting emotional and scared. When the witness start doing that looking around at the attorney and trying to look at me, for some emotional support, like I’m going to help them. There’s no help coming. He won the case, I couldn’t believe it. He just took the apart, literally took it apart. That almost never happened to me.

John: Really?
Ted: That almost never happened to me. Only two times in my entire career can I remember being really taken apart. One of them was Don West, which was the first trial that I ever did, or one of the very first trials that I ever did. I watch Don do closing. I remember sitting there thinking he’s right you know!
John: Don is good.
Ted: Don is good. I’ve told Don that story 100 times, every time I see him, I always tell him about, what a lesson that was for me. He was like, “Ted I’m just telling you, you don’t want to try this case.” Well I beg to differ. Then I change my mind completely.

But Ed, I just totally didn’t see it coming. I totally did not see it coming. I’ve never seen anything like it, in terms of cross examination. It was the most sharp and aggressive and effective cross that I can remember ever seeing in any … I probably did 70 jury trials as a prosecutor and I never got took apart like that. Never. I’ve had cases blow up. I did a case with Huddleston that blew up on me. I think that was an inside job.

The manager of this restaurant that got robbed, who was supposed to testify to something very simple. Got up there and said something completely different. Afterwards I thought why would he do that? Why would he make this up? Then I realized, because he helped out. He must have been on the inside. Scott was just the luck recipient, you know, and just watched the whole thing come apart right in front of me. But Ed took it apart. 10 other lawyers probably it wouldn’t have happened.

John: I know when Ed was going down, he was in the papers and he was getting arrested. I think it was Judge McKinnon. One of the judges, circuit judges was interviewed. They don’t even answer the phone for reporters, but they answered the phone on this particular article. It floated around where she said … Forgive me if it’s not McKinnon, but it was a female circuit judge.
Ted: It probably was McKinnon.
John: They were like, “This conviction is being overturned because Ed was drunk. He was drunk when he was doing this capital case, what have you. What do you have to say? She’s like, a drunk Ed Leinster is better than 90% of the lawyers out there.
Ted: …She’s absolutely right. Just like Judge Mike Cycmanick, may he rest in peace. Mike was a better judge than half the judges out there. I don’t think he was ever intoxicated when he was on the bench. He might have partied a lot when he was off the bench, but he was always sober on the bench and he did a wonderful job on the bench. He was a great judge.
John: I had some trials with him, never had any problems.
Ted: No, you wouldn’t have any problems with him.
John: He gave a drug dealer client of mine, sale and delivery. The guy was convicted of sale and delivery a withhold and probation. And, he had priors and the offer was much worse. I had never encountered the guy. Again, I think Judge Conrad, or Judge Mihok was just sending me over and he was just going to do double duty.
Ted: Howser used to do that to me all the time and I would just be so thankful. It’s like, “Mr. Marrero, I’m going to send you over to Judge Cycmanick…”  Thank God. You could feel the pressure drop tremendously. You go into Judge Cycmanick’s room and you’re like, “Hey what are we going to do? We got this trial.” All right. I’ll go have a cigarette. We’ll come back, pick the jury.
John: He liked to take breaks.
Ted: Yeah. That was back in the day when judges smoked. You could count on a break every 30, 40 minutes.
John: He took some breaks he shouldn’t have taken. The jury wanted a read back on some stuff. It was going to be lengthy, he bolted.
Ted: Did he really?
John: I think there’s some rule where the judge has to be there for the read back.
Ted: Got to come back tomorrow.
John: No, no because the verdict was okay, I didn’t mind, but otherwise I’m thinking he’s supposed to be here for all this.
Ted: Yeah he’s supposed to be there.
John: He was not there for any of it. When it works out, what are you going to do? Who’s going to complain? Not me.
Ted: If he ever had a drink while he was working, I never noticed.
John: Oh no, I don’t think that at all. I just thought he was on top of it and reasonable at sentencing. I had sentencings with him.
Ted: [getting back to Ed Leinster] Yeah, I’ve never heard anyone saying different about Ed, in terms of the quality of his performance. Everyone says the same thing. It’s remarkable. Prosecutors and defense counsel alike, all say the same thing. Easily one of the most talented that’s ever practiced in this town. One of the most just … Cross examination is a real art form as far as I’m concerned and most people don’t do it worth a shit. Honestly, most of them you just … I’ve sat in trials and just go, “God would you just please shut up. You’re getting your ass handed to you.” You know what I mean?  Not with Ed man. He’s stared people down like a bird of prey.
John: It’s interesting you should say that, because I’m thinking I should pull that transcript. But really, I talked to him every other day before he passed on, a couple of years ago. He had a voice. He could coach football.
Ted: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s certainly part of it.  He had resonant, deep resonant voice.
John: I can’t just pull a transcript of his cross. There’s something physically about the way he conducts a cross …
Ted: I’m just telling you my recollections of it. He was stalking these people.  That’s just rare to have that kind of physical presence that is imposing your will on people. I’m utterly incapable of that. I’ve tried it one time. I think I do good cross, but mine is a very reserved, sort of almost like English type of way of doing it, like, “Thank you very much.” I sit down. I have all the ammunition hopefully that I’m going to be able to get, I have it. Ed is not like that. His is more like … He’s swinging an ax, or a baseball bat in his hand. You remember Al Capone in the movie and he’s walking around talking about baseball. That’s what he’s like. He’s not actually doing it, but he might as well be.
john: Man, I wish I could have seen that.
Ted: I don’t know anyone else that exuded that level … Except maybe in his day believe it or not, Bob Wesley. Bob was a pretty imposing character too, back in his day. I tried a couple of cases with him when I was a prosecutor.
John: He was a conflict lawyer in Mihok when I was a PD. He liked to try cases and I thought that was Bob’s talent. I don’t know how runs his show now [at the Public Defender’s Office], but he certain knew how to try a case.
Ted: Oh yeah. He was a … Jeff [Ashton] hated him.  They went at it. That’s how I knew him, because I tried cases. Back in those days if you were in a division and there was a homicide case, they would pick a lawyer to be second chair to Jeff. There just him and Dorothy and that was it in homicide. I did a couple of homicide cases with Jeff. It would get I mean … Jeff would be foaming at the mouth. You know what I mean? The judge just barely trying to keep control of the court room, with these two enormous personalities just wanting to kill each other and accusing each other of God only knows what. You know what I mean?
John: Bob Wesley had a wit to him in a court. He had a wit to him
Ted: Yeah, yeah, very snide.
John: Bob is a funny guy. He could entertain.
Ted: He hasn’t been very good about making friends for himself over there as a PD though, I don’t think.
John: No.
Ted: … And, it’s hard to follow somebody like Joe DeRocher.  People always thought of Joe being a saint, a wonderful person.
John: He might have been. Joe might have been a saint, I don’t know.
Ted: You know who I think was a saint and it didn’t occur to me, until one day when I was talking to this woman who was Bill Garmany’s girlfriend.
John: Bill Garmany had a girlfriend?
Ted: Bill Garmany had, or has a girlfriend. I don’t remember how it happened, but it was in the new court house. We were standing in the Rotunda area there. I don’t remember how it was that I met her. She was asking me … It was just a chance thing and she was like, “Yeah my boyfriend he works with the Public Defender Officer, or something.” “Who’s your boyfriend?” It’s like, “Bill Garmany.” I said, “Really?” I started talking to her about him and how long I’ve known him and all this stuff. And, it occurred to me. I was like, “I have never seen …” I can’t think of a single vice that he has, or a flaw in his personality that I can think of.  He never curses, not that I give a fuck about that, but it’s still … You know what I mean?
John: Is that a vice?  Cursing’s a vice?
Ted: Is that a vice? Then I’m just rotten. I’m rotten to the core. He never curses. I’ve never seen the man take a drink. I never heard him voice an opinion about religion, or anything else, anything offensive to anyone. I never seen the man lose his temper, not even for a mille second. I’ve never seen anyone abuse him, or I’ve never seen him attempt to abuse any human living being. It occurred to me while I was sitting there talking to her I’m like, “Holy shit, Bill Garmany he’s a saint.” He really is. He’s ministering to all these people without saying a word about God, or religion. On top of it, he’s completely shattered physically.

Here’s this guy who suffers constantly. Right?  You see how his gait … He’s never had a normal gait as long as I’ve known him. His fingers are all crooked from this horrible arthritis. I have no idea how old he is. I’ve never been able to tell how old he is. He’s been old since the first day I’ve met him.

John: He looks the same. He’s not really aging.
Ted: He’s not aging …
John: He hit a barrier 20 years ago.
Ted: He might have been 60 when I first met him. You know what I’m saying? I have no way of knowing.
John: I think I saw him a couple of years ago. I think he still looks 60.
Ted: He still looks the same. He’s like this Christ like figure. He’s the sacrificial … He does hundreds of trials. He does trials all through … He doesn’t give a shit. He’s like, “Yeah if that’s what you want to do.” He never raises his voice. I’m like, “I don’t know anyone like him. I’ve never met anyone like him.” He’s almost perfect … It’s weird to say that, but I just sat there and tried to describe him to someone and I’m like, “How much more of a saint can you be?”
John: If you watch somebody live their life, like, I worked with Bill at the PD’s office. He was a guy wo could take shit. Apparently he wouldn’t give it back to the clients. As a PD, you have assholes for clients a lot of times.
Ted: A lot of times.
John: They treat you [crosstalk 00:18:49] …
Ted: Really awfully. It’s really the worst part of the job.
John: Oh yeah absolutely. Here he is so patient with his people.
Ted: That’s what I mean.
John: Putting in all this time, but what’s remarkable, what you’re saying is true. You look at a way a guy lives, like Bill Garmany. You don’t look at me and say, “Oh my God what’s going on in John’s mind?” But, you look at Bill … It makes me wonder what’s going on with that guy? What makes that guy tick? The way he lives is …
Ted: Exemplary.
John: Exemplary. I got to ask him how he ticks, because I got to know.
Ted: I don’t think he’ll tell you.
John: No I don’t think he will either …
Ted: He’s like a bodhisattva, you know what I mean. He’s like an enlighten being. To me the most important thing … He never says a word about it. That’s what I love more. That’s what convinces me more than anything else that the man is a saint. He’s not one of these holier than thou people. He never ever tells anyone else how to live their lives, or what to do, or what to say, or what to think, or anything. He just lives this exemplary life. It’s amazing to me. Like I said, it never even occurred to me, until I was sitting there describing it to her and she was almost in tears, when I was telling her this. I’m like, “Your boyfriend is a saint.” That never occurred to me until just this moment.
John: How long ago was that you think?
Ted: A couple of years.
John: Just a couple of years ago?
Ted: Yeah, I don’t think it was more than that?
John: What is he doing now?
Ted: I’ll be damned if I know.
John: I see him every couple years. He always says to me, the only thing he’ll say to me is, “How is Jeannette doing?” I guess Jeannette used to work with Bill at the PD’s office. I’m like, “She’s doing great.” “That’s good, she so sweet.”
Ted: He says something like that, that he says to me, but I can’t remember. As soon as you said that I was like, “Yeah that’s right.” He used to always ask me something like maybe it was how’s Kim? Something along those lines.
John: Something caring. You remember that?
Ted: Exactly. I ran into him one time at a Gator football fan. He was a big Gator football fan, with his dad.  Looked like Methuselah. I mean as frail … He looked like he was just floating [crosstalk 00:21:14] like a ghost over the floor. The two of them, I’m like, “There’s someone older than Bill Garmany? Like his father.” His father must be 1000 years old. I don’t remember him saying anything. Now retrospect looking through those glasses, I think about him and I go, “He must have been like the Dali Lama.” Do you know what I mean?
John: He passed it on to Bill?
Ted: Yeah just totally passed it on and just maybe only said a half dozen words in a year or something. You know what I mean. Somehow they would go to a football game. I can imagine him sitting at a football game and just going, walking away going, “Wow that was a good game.” Not jumping up, or applauding, or yelling go Gators, anything along … Just quietly [crosstalk 00:22:02] …
John: Nothing like Jewett? …
Ted: Yeah of course. Yeah that would be the two ends of the spectrum. Just contemplatively watching the grace of … Someone who’s been alive for 500 years and is going to be alive for another 500 and utterly enjoying himself and at the same time detached and untroubled.
John: That’s true. I know Ed was a big Gator fan.
Ted: Was he?
John: A huge Gator fan.
Ted: I didn’t know that.
John: When he was living in Colorado, and Tim Tebow had his chance, and he started quarter backing for the Broncos. Oh my God, Ed was in heaven. I mean absolute heaven. Yeah, he really did think Tebow was sent from another plain, and he was so upset when they let go of him, oh my God.
Ted: You know me. I’m not religious or anything, but I love Tim Tebow. I really do.
John: Ed is the same way. Ed was not religious. To me he wasn’t … I don’t know.
Ted: I doubt it very seriously.
John: Tim Tebow gave him spiritual feelings.
Ted: Tim laid his life on the line for his brother. That scene of him at FSU coming up out of the end zone with fucking FSU crimson on his face and just howling with pure football passion to his teammates. When he broke the … Was it season running touchdown record that had formally been owned by what’s his name from Georgia Hershel Walker?  He broke Hershel Walker’s running touchdown record at Georgia. At the Florida Georgia game. I was like, “This is the second coming of Christ.”
John: I believe now.
Ted: I believe now. When I was at Florida it was so horrible. Hershel Walker was a demon. He was a man playing with boys. He made us look like children. Every year the Florida Georgia game would come up I’m like, “Oh my God.” I’d get nauseous. Like, I couldn’t eat that day, because I knew what was happening. It was like being in school. The bully told you I’m going to kick your ass as soon as class is over.
John: You felt bad all day.
Ted: All fucking day you just sit there … That’s how I used to feel before wrestling practice, when I was wrestling. I was like, “Oh God. Oh the pain. I’m going to suffer.”
John: That’s funny.
Ted: Tim washed all of that away. He washed all of our sins away. He really did. He just made the…
John: That’s hilarious.
Ted: It was just one glorious moment after another with him. This child-like faith of his and all of his work in the Philippine and stuff.  I’m like, “You’re making it very hard for me to hate you.” You make Christians look good.
John: Right, yeah.
Ted: I wouldn’t even try to talk him out of it. If I had the opportunity, if I had him over for dinner, I wouldn’t say a word. I wouldn’t even …
John: The one guy you’re not going to shut up.
Ted: I’m just like, “Dude just carry on.” You know what I mean? Whatever it is you’re doing, it’s working for me.
John: That’s right. I like the Bill Garmany theory better.
Ted: Yeah, oh yeah. That is the highest level of spirituality that there is. That level and like I said, almost the most important part of all of it, is Bill’s physical affliction. He bears a cross with such grace. That’s another thing. I never heard that man complain. Not once did I ever hear him complain about how he felt. Not once. When his thumb … Remember his thumbs. His thumbs bent out at a 45 degree angle, like some old … Like quilting grandmother who’s sewed 100,000 stitches, remember?
John: Were you [crosstalk 00:26:29] …
Ted: Those big knots in his fucking fingers.
John: You got a call from me when my back hurt. Just a little back pain. Can you go cover Martinez? And you covered Martinez. I still owe you guys dinner. But, I was complaining for days.
Ted: We all complain.
John: That man never complains  …
Ted: Not once. You see him walk?
John: Yeah.
Ted: That man couldn’t run if he was on fire. Never heard him say a word. I think I remember saying that to his girlfriend that one day too. Just putting all those thing together. I’m like, “Wait a second. I never have heard that man complain. Not once.” I mean if anyone … I can’t think of anyone is even close to him, in terms of physical affliction, except maybe Brad Conway.
John: Right, right.
Ted: You know what I’m saying?
John: You’re right.
Ted: Brad, this guy, run of the mill of paralysis, you know what I’m saying?
John: Right.
Ted: I don’t know what the hell Bill had.
John: No. I don’t know either.
Ted: He looked like he had been run through a meat grinder and then just hastily glued together by some half mad Frankenstein. Do you know what I mean?
John: Yeah.
Ted: Even his feet weren’t straight. He used to always walk on his toes. I don’t know if you ever noticed that about him.
John: No I didn’t.
Ted: He walked on his toes most of the time, because his feet … Even his feet, his ankles, his knees, his hips, do you know what I mean? All of them, he was afflicted. He could have been such a bitter person. He could have been so angry all the time. It makes me feel ashamed to ever complain.
John: Right.
Ted: It really does. That’s saintliness. That’s real saintliness. When they, by their example, make you feel that way. My grandmother was like that. My grandmother was a saint. Kim’s grandmother was like that. My grandmother and Kim’s grandmother–same person. Two country girls brought up in two different parts of the world–same people.
John: Wow.
Ted: Same people.
John: You know, just having your life as an example like Bill, is so rare now, because everybody wants to tell everybody else what’s going on with themselves. Everybody else, you want to advertise. Now you’ve even got social type things on the internet.
Ted: No, it’s nonstop.
John: Yeah it’s nonstop. I don’t do Facebook at all, or any of that stuff. Now people have added something to their web page. I think it’s called a Now page. It’s what you’re doing now. My now, I don’t know we’d be doing this. This is your now. I don’t know what’s going on with Bill Garmany.
Ted: He damn sure ain’t telling anybody.
John: No, but he lives it and that is so rare.
Ted: It’s worth thinking about isn’t it?
John: It is.
Ted: The more you think about it, the more evidence you can come up with to prove that you’re right.
John: That he might be a saint.
Ted: That he might be a saint.
John: It also, I think part of it is, when you … You don’t recognize it right away and there’s so many egos in the PD’s office when I worked with them.
Ted: In our business period. We’re all a bunch of egos.
John: Yeah, it’s not just the PDs, it’s the attorney field out there. This is a guy that had no ego in a sea of people that had egos.
Ted: None.
John: Yeah that’s a very good point. I saw a thing … You could go on YouTube. I didn’t see the whole YouTube. But they took this master violinist. I think his name is Joshua Bell, but I could be wrong about … I’m not into that super duper violin. The guy does Carnegie Hall and it’s a zillion dollars a seat. I think it was 20/20, but one of these guys pulled … A producer pulled them aside and said, “Hey would you go in the subway? And put a baseball cap in and open up your thing and play.” He made $32. He stayed there all day. He made $32, thousands of people passed him by. Maybe 7 people … There’s a count, you can watch it. Maybe 7 people for that hour and a half stopped. But sometimes you watch that greatness, you’re right next to that greatness–and you just don’t recognize it.
Ted: Bill was in my division [with Judge Houser] … I think we were in division 15 in front of Judge Howser for years. Him and Bill [Kinane] … if you ever want to do a little spin off of this interview and call it the Saintliness of Bill Garmany, then Bill Kinane is one of the people you absolutely have to talk to.
john: Yeah he knows Garmany doesn’t he?
Ted: Judge Howser would flip his shit about all kinds of stuff … Garmany was impervious. Absolutely impervious, unaffected. As near as anyone could tell. Absolute unaffected by anyone else’s mood swings, or their temperament, if you said no to him. He was like, “Okay.” If you said yes, he said okay. He’s just imperturbable.
John: That is very eastern right?  There is some story about … I don’t even know if it’s Buddhist, or what it is. As the story goes, this guy reaches whatever nirvana is, whatever that high point is called, then, some angry parents come to his door with their 15 year old daughter and a baby in their hand. They’re like, “You’re sleeping with my daughter. This is your baby, you raise him. He said, “Okay.” He takes the baby. Then they come back later, a couple of years later, and they’re like, “She just confessed you didn’t do it. You’ve never even touched her. We want the baby back.” He’s like, “Okay.” That’s kind of his mentality, is everything is cool.  I don’t know that I want to be that even keeled. You want to get a little more excited.
Ted: Yeah a little bit.
John: My goal is not to reach a point where I’m not excited about anything.
Ted: Right.  You couldn’t keep being you anyway if you did.
John: No, no and I think Bill that’s the same way. I remember he was even keel about everything.
Ted: Yeah. The most remarkable thing about it is the mill you in which it was occurring, which was a God damn pressure cooker [the PD’s office]. Judge Houser’s courtroom was the one of the worst pressure cookers I’ve ever been in. Houser was constantly on edge. He was always pushing and frenetic and howling up there about this, or that. Willie Mae was my division chief. Willie used to say about Houser, he’d say, “The harder I go, the behinder I get.” He’s like, “Why don’t you just calm the fuck down. Let us call the shots and you’ll be fine.” We used to tell him. We’re like, “We’re the state, we’re the plaintiff in here. Let us make the trial list and then just go down our list.”
John: They’re your law suits.
Ted: Yeah they’re are our law suits. Let us make the list of the cases in order of age and importance and readiness and guarantee in the top five you’ll get something. But he would never listen. He was so bull headed. He would call me up. I’d be in my office, he’d call me up, he’d call me. He’d go, “Ted I want you over here, pick a jury on 1:30.” I’m like, “On what?” He’s like, “On Rodriguez.” I’m like, “I told you we’re not ready on Rodriguez. Can’t we do Marshal, or something.” He’s like, “No, I’ll see you over here at 1:30.”  We get in there, waste all this stupid time. I’m not ready. You can’t make me be ready. You can yell me all you want, but it’s not going to happen. We just waste an hour in there and then go back to the office. He just wouldn’t listen.
John: That’s wrong …
Ted: He didn’t give a shit about hearsay, about the rules of evidence. Every single trial I had with that man [crosstalk 00:37:00] …
John: Really? I never had a trial with him.
Ted: Hearsay is an out of court statement being offered to prove the truth of the matter Sir. We went over this time after time after time. I go, “Let’s open our book to 801 D3” whatever. I remember one time I did a trial with him. The defendant was on the stand. His attorney asked him to testify about what he heard some witness in another trial, a condemnation hearing, testify to. I’m like, “Objection hearsay.” The defense attorney his response was, “Judge he heard him say it.” That was his response. This guy …
John: He’s just acknowledged what you objected to …
Ted: Yeah I look at it and Houser looks at me and he goes, “Well?” I’m like, “well what?” I’m like, “That’s not a response to a hearsay objection.” I’m like, “That proves I’m right.”
John: Right, he just admitted it.
Ted: He just admitted it. It was that kind of juvenile shit, when it came to evidence would happen every trial. Everybody’s like, “Oh.” The civil guys, “I heard he’s real smart.” Because he wrote the book on … He published two books pretty regularly. One on landlord tenant law and one on attorney’s fees, especially in federal court attorney’s fees. So everybody is like, “Wow he’s real smart.” I’m like, “I don’t know what to tell you.”
John: Right.
Ted: If he’s so smart, why do I have to explain hearsay to him every damn time?  My hearsay is fucking …
John: It’s not complicated.
Ted: We can debate … There’s going to be some situations where we’re going to have to debate this stuff.  But I mean for Christ sake you’re an ump. Don’t you know what a strike looks like?
John: That’s the basic stuff of being an ump.
Ted: That’s basic stuff.
John: Here’s the strike zone. It’s a ball..
Ted: Here’s the plate. You don’t know how to do that?
John: That’s scary, but I do think authoring books is a good way … It’s still one of the best ways to look like an expert and to look smart.
Ted: Oh for sure.
John: It’s really the best way to do it.
Ted: He’s made a living from doing that. he’s not on the bench anymore, Houser, because he got thrown off of there, because of some shenanigans he was doing with some female student that he was teaching over here at FAMU, or some shit.
John: Right I don’t know.
Ted: He teaches attorney fee seminars and stuff.
John: You can have a PhD, and people still look at you and they’ll go, “Well a PhD, they give those away at some schools. But, you wrote a book on something? You’re an author? Oh wow. You’re definitely an expert now.”
Ted: People are so full of shit.
John: It’s a good way. They assume you’re an expert on everything.
Ted: I tell you what, I wish that Ed had been around and had gotten a case like Casey Anthony. I think that was one of the big things about that whole case, is that, what’s his name, the attorney who has …
John: Cheney [Mason]?
Ted: No, the other one
John: Baez?
Ted: Yeah. Everybody was like, “How is this schmuck who has no experience?…” I heard that it was his third jury trial ever, how does he get this fucking case, this career making case?  All these people made their bones all these years and now this schmuck walks into this God damn thing, you know what I mean? Doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing half the time.
John: Right.
Ted: He doesn’t even know when he’s being made fun of. Did you watch the cross examination of Doctor G that he did? Actually it was Cheney who did it.
John: No.
Ted: It was an abomination.
John: Cheney did a bad cross?
Ted: It was worthless. It was worse than worthless. It was so bad John, I felt like the scales had fallen off my eyes.
John: I may have to edit this part out.
Ted: I was just like, “All these years, I thought you knew what the hell you were doing.” I’m like, “You don’t know shit from Shinola.” This guy … Her testimony was filled with the most objectionable stuff. Irrelevant, conclusory.  Stuff way beyond what any medical examiner should ever be allowed to testify about. He just let her get away with it. I was like, “Here’s the only witness that you got to handle in the biggest case of your life, arguably, certainly the biggest criminal case in the history of the United States really in terms of … There’s never been anything more watched and more reported on and more published, then that trial.
John: That one and OJ.
Ted: Yeah, but this was bigger than that, because we had the internet. Millions of people were watching it in their offices instead of working. I’m like, “You’ve had 3 years to get ready for this. 3 fucking years, you should absolutely destroy this witness.” She walked off of there like she had just won an Emmy award for her performance. I was nauseous. I mean literally nauseous. I have a list of 20 lawyers that I could put up there ice cold. I’m like “I take Andrea Black, pull her out of bed, put a robe on her. Throw her in there right now and Andrea will have that woman in tears in 25 minutes.”
John: She was another talent. She was unbelievable.
Ted: She was a ferocious … I mean so smart and so tenacious.
John: She stopped doing criminal.
Ted: Yeah.
John: She started doing family. She was a conflict lawyer I think, when I was in Judge Conrad’s division in the old building.
Ted: she could throw that weight around.
John: She could and she did.
Ted: She did. I loved her man.
John: She didn’t take Conrad’s shit.
Ted: She didn’t take shit from no one.
John: Yeah and it was funny. It was great to watch her.
Ted: It was great to watch … No, I loved her. I told her that. I loved her man. I had a case one time, a death penalty case with her.  I was … Co-counsel. We go to see this guy.  This guy committed a really horrific … It was genuinely horrific murder of a completely innocent person. You just don’t see that many of them. Really completely innocent person. Her investigator … Do you remember Sandy Love? Did you ever meet Sandy? She’s still around … A very good investigator. Andrea was like, “Okay since I just gotten in the case.” She’s like, “I want you to go with Sandy. Sandy is going to interview this guy. I just want you to meet him, so he gets to know who you are. You don’t have to do anything, just listen.” I’m like, “Okay fine.” We go. Sandy starts asking the guy questions and I’m just listening.

The whole time, all I did was listen. The guy goes into graphic detail about every horrifying aspect of this homicide case. The next day his parents call Andrea and ask that I be removed from the case.

John: What? Why?
Ted: As near as I can tell, my thoughts must have been projected on my forehead. I didn’t say a word. But, what I was thinking was, I will kill you with my bare hands, you worthless piece of shit.
John: Right.
Ted: That’s exactly what … I was like, “You are the most despicable human being I have ever had to share oxygen with.” I was like, “You are beneath contempt.” Just beneath contempt. He’s just vile.
John: Were you off the case then? Did you stay on it?
Ted: [Yes] Like that. I was like, “Thank God.” I don’t want to be anywhere near that guy. He had followed home this woman who was driving a car that they wanted, him and his buddy. When she got out of the car, this is at night. She pulls into her driveway. She gets out of the car, they attack her. Beat her to within an inch of her life, take the car. As they’re driving around, drinking and shit, they decide she might have caught a look at us and if she comes out of it, she might testify against us. They went back. Found her broken body, but she’s still alive unconscious in some shrubs where they had thrown her.

This is in her own front yard. No one has noticed this poor woman fighting for her life out there. They grab her, they take her back. Throw her back in the truck. Roll her up in a carpet in the back of the truck. Take her out to the woods. Throw her on the ground. Run over her with the car several times and then set the thing on fire.

John: Wow.
Ted: For her car.
John: Wow.
Ted: You know what I mean? He described it just like that. Just like I just told you. I was just like, “I’ll kill you myself. I will. I would not hesitate to put a bullet in your fucking head, your worthless piece of shit.” That will solve all of our problems with this simple expedient … You know what I mean?. I’m like, “You don’t deserve to live period. You don’t fucking deserve to live on this planet. Not in a jail cell. Not on an island, not anywhere. You need to be gone.” I swear to God I never said that John.
John: I know.
Ted: I never said it, but somehow he read it on my face.
John: That’s interesting that he could sense that. Especially without you saying anything.
Ted: Not a word. What can you say? When someone is sitting there saying these things. You know what I mean?   That doesn’t happen in our reality. You don’t sit there and listen to how someone said “yeah we ran over her several times to make sure she was dead and then we lit her on fire”.
John: Am I hearing this?
Ted: You’re like hallucinating. What are you Steven King? Are you proposing a novel? What the fuck? What kind of human being says shit like that?
John: I just had lunch with a friend of mine. He just got done shutting off his neighbor’s water, because he saw that crap was flooding … It’s up in Lake Forrest, up in Seminole County. He knew after he shut off the water, the pool was running and he had to go back and shut off some pool stuff too, because without the water running it was going to be in trouble. He said that his neighbor … A lot of neighbors when the hurricane came et cetera et cetera. They went around Lake Forrest and got their little saws. They’re doing all this shit for each other. He’s like, “Had he not caught that …” He doesn’t even now the neighbor’s name. When the neighbor got back from out of town, the neighbor came and said, “I don’t know you, but thank you. I heard you shut off my stuff. I appreciate it. You kept my house from flooding.”

It’s amazing that that girl … You got to have a community. you got to have some people around you that know you, because if somebody could have seen her in that bush.

Ted: It might have saved her life. Somehow it didn’t happen. I don’t know how. It was just the most horrific …
John: It could have been just late at night too.
Ted: Just the most horrific coincidence. Her family was in the house is my recollection. She was married and had kids and shit.
John: Oh my gosh.
Ted: Somehow they didn’t notice that her car drove up in the driveway. I don’t remember all of the details. I just remember just being just shocked to the core by this story. I’ve had other clients on homicides and stuff and heard people say terrible things. I’m like, “The guy had it coming.”
John: Right. You could grasp some piece of it.
Ted: It’s me, or him, it’s eventually me, or him, or whatever attenuated excuse they come up with. But, this was not even a pretense of an excuse. It was simply
“we wanted her car”, that was it.
What do you want to do with this recording?
John: I’m going to transcribe it. Have you ever heard of Rev.com. R-E-V, it’s great. I plug this thing into my computer. I’ll stop it.