Thursday, December 10, 2009
Ben Kuehne thanks his supporters
It was a packed event tonight as judges, former prosecutors, defense lawyers, and many others in the community came to celebrate with Ben. To the left is a picture of Ben from the party. And here are his remarks:
“Let there be Justice, and then no one will ask for anything unjust.” So proclaimed the revered patriot, lawyer, and scholar Jose Marti.
I am here today as proof to all that Justice lives in America. That we live in a time in a Nation that honors the message of philosopher Alan-Rene Lesage: “Justice is such a fine thing that we cannot pay too dearly for it.”
We are all fortunate to say we have a Justice Department whose goal is to try to do the right thing. I am humbled that the Department of Justice made the honorable decision to do the right thing.
As Dr. Martin Luther King enunciated, “the time is always right to do the right thing.” The Department’s timing was impeccable.
And I do not mean the right decision just for me. Instead, the inevitable resolution of my own legal drama is a reaffirmation by the highest powers of our Government that lawyers, including criminal defense lawyers, serve an essential – a vital -- purpose in our society. Our professional endeavor of testing the government, checking the exercise of public power, and challenging our institutions in an ethical but adversarial manner – what we do every day – is an honorable cause.
One of the great trial lawyers of our time, Edward Bennett Williams, observed that “Law is but a means; justice is the end.” We lawyers serve that cause of justice, and this outpouring of community support is a welcome approval of that cause.
Seekers of justice see our system as one that actively embraces achieving the right result, with our independent judiciary willing to reach correct conclusions defined by the law and the facts.
I readily applaud the several brilliant jurists who were so willing to apply the law as it is, as it should be, without fear of criticism. I am the beneficiary of the attention and “eminently correct” rulings by several of the very finest federal judges to serve the public interest.
Although it is understandable in the crystal clear light of hindsight that my legal case is what we refer to as a “No Brainer”, that it became so is the direct result of my dedicated team of outstanding lawyers: led by John Nields, Jason Raofield, and Laura Shores from Howrey in Washington, D.C., and my good friend, Jane Moscowitz, from Miami. I publicly thank them for their skill, dedication, and commitment to me and the precedent-setting value of my case.
But the reason for this Appreciation Reception is because of you, your support and attention to my case and the underlying message of enabling lawyers to be lawyers, without fear of retribution or prosecution. This day would not have been possible without all of you serving as the constant, pervasive, and effective foundation for my demonstration of innocence.
A message repeated by our independent Fourth Estate, our media. I am gratefully indebted to the Miami Herald and its court’s reporter Jay Weaver, and the Daily Business Review, especially John Pacenti, as well as the other journalists both locally and nationally, who consistently reported the truth of my case. The message was heard loud and clear, and helped to bring about a fitting end to my case.
I work daily with a stellar group of lawyers and legal professionals who never abandoned me, content with the knowledge that I would prevail in this classic battle. Allow me the privilege of thanking Susan Dmitrovsky, Bob Ader, Beth Hitt, Robert Hertzberg, and Amanda Maxwell, as well as Mirta Rodriguez, Sandy Hart, Leeza Bodes, Serena Young, Luly Moreno, and especially Barney Brown, who after being exonerated after serving 38 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, works with me as my legal intern.
President Kennedy once observed that “Our nation is founded on the principle that observance of the law is the eternal safeguard of liberty, while defiance of the law is the surest road to tyranny.” As lawyers and community leaders, we must lead the way to ensure that observance of the law is ingrained in our society, so that no one, not even the government, can claim a right to ignore or countermand the rule of law.
Let us sharpen our pencils and write a clear message to those in our community who may not understand and appreciate the abiding passion for justice in our nation: Our diligence every day, as directed by our Constitution, to provide effective counsel to our clients, is the keystone to our democratic way of life.
Throughout this legal drama, my greatest strength has been the unsinkable spirit and love of my wife, Lynn, and our entire family. I want to thank them for knowing who I am, and of my sincere dedication to the law.
Allow me to close with a story about Rudyard Kipling, one of the great writers. In the prime of his career, it was said he was making the previously unheard of sum of one shilling per word. Learning of this, a group of Oxford students, on a lark, decided to wire the Great One a single shilling and ask, in return, for one - just one – of his very best words. Soon enough, Kipling wired back just one word: “THANKS.”
I thank you – all of you who work so diligently to bring justice to our community, our courts, our nation – most appreciatively for giving me the opportunity to work with so many great people in making our America and our community a better place.
Here's our prior coverage of Ben's case.