Being Dan Monnat

Being Dan Monnat

A local musician who played with jimi hendrix, to father bob williams, the head of the jesuit order at monnat’s catholic excessive school—however you can say he invented himself. He changed into a excessive faculty drummer, beatles-stimulated, who, with williams’ encouragement, moved to san francisco in the overdue nineteen sixties to observe with the exquisite jazz drummer george marsh, and wound up inside the innovative writing program at san francisco nation university. There, he commenced writing a tale that covered a attorney as a minor individual. But he didn’t know a whole lot approximately attorneys. He didn’t even realize they went to a separate college to grow to be attorneys. But the greater he researched, the greater he favored the concept of becoming a legal professional himself. “i idea, ‘, this seems like a perfect vicinity to convey together all of the things i’m interested by, like the verbal exchange that takes vicinity in writing or gambling tune,’” he says. He in no way did end that tale. He graduated from creighton university college of law in 1976 however the law didn’t crystallize for him till he read an article on gerry spence, the celebrated wyoming trial legal professional, then heard spence talk at a criminal seminar in las vegas inside the late 1970s. After the seminar, monnat thought: “regulation is precisely the epic, crucial experience that my instincts continually advised me it should be.” he have become a disciple of the older lawyer—attending a 3-day psychodrama with spence in jackson hole in 1981, and a 3-week route at spence’s trial legal professionals college outside of dubois, wyo., in 2000. “one of the sporting activities you do whilst you first move [to the trial lawyers college],” monnat says, “makes you recognize the group dynamics of juries, and the way fast jurors come collectively and unite with each other. Maybe it’s a group being picked at the trial attorneys college and also you don’t get picked. Then it’s immediately mentioned how that resonates with the jury revel in: in case you don’t get picked, in case you get kicked out, if a few legal professional says, ‘properly, your honor, i pass to strike that character’—i imply even the language is offensive.” monnat prefers a gentler method. “our process, in choosing a jury, is to deliver out the first-rate within the jurors,” he says. “jurors might also come to court with preconceived notions approximately matters or humans, but it’s our activity to talk to them clearly about those hard subjects.” this holds actual for all jury picks but at that moment monnat was talking about a particularly elaborate jury choice. Dr. George tiller, one of the ultimate medical doctors in the u . S . To carry out overdue-term abortions, had lengthy been a focal point of anti-abortion hatred. He turned into vilified via anti-abortion activists as “tiller the baby killer,” and there have been day by day protests at his health facility, complete with billboards of aborted fetuses. In 1986, his medical institution become firebombed. In 1991, 1,a hundred human beings have been arrested for blocking off his clinic. In 1993, a lady fired 5 pictures at him, wounding him in both palms. And in 2007 he was charged with 19 misdemeanor counts of monetary impropriety through then-legal professional widespread paul morrison, operating on a case started by means of former legal professional preferred phill kline. That’s when tiller employed monnat to symbolize him. Although monnat feels it’s the attorney’s task to bring out the satisfactory in jurors, that is no small challenge whilst the subject of abortion has a tendency to carry out the worst in people. At some stage in the voir dire for the tiller trial, he broached the subject of 1 capacity juror’s catholicism, and, using the language of the baltimore catechism, lightly advised an exam of moral sense: “ask your self, based on your heritage, whether or not you may visit family gatherings where your priest might be, and say, ‘sure, i used to be on the jury that acquitted dr. Tiller.’” the juror in question admitted he couldn’t, and, instead of disregard him—monnat bristles at that word, too—said to him, “could you want me to ask the choose to excuse you?” monnat provides, “ninety-five percentage of the time, the honest juror will say, ‘i would definitely respect that, sir.’” the nineteen misdemeanor costs involved 19 times wherein dr. Ann kristin neuhaus, an impartial physician from lawrence with whom tiller was accused of having an mistaken economic dating, supplied second critiques on late-term abortions that tiller performed. At some point of the route of the trial, however, monnat made it clean that: a) neuhaus disagreed with tiller on numerous other cases—which means she was no rubber-stamp for his evaluations; b) their unsuitable financial dating amounted to the occasional shared use of a xerox gadget; and c) tiller hadn’t selected neuhaus; she had genuinely been recommended to him through the kansas country board of recovery arts, which regulates clinical exercise in the kingdom. “dan’s representation of dr. Tiller turned into in reality pretty masterful,” says william tinker, a retired lawyer and lifetime pal of tiller, who attended each day of the trial and who cites, particularly, monnat’s thorough training and his knowledge of the records and the regulation. Those 3 matters, tinker provides, “are without a doubt [monnat’s] hallmark.” the research into tiller lasted years, the trial lasted two weeks but, in the long run, the jury—including one catholic lady who surpassed the parish-priest-at-the-family-amassing test—turned into out only 25 minutes before acquitting him on all 19 counts. Monnat says: “it’s truly the final praise for a tribulation lawyer to be reassured by way of jurors that our system works.” months later, in can also 2009, tiller became shot and killed even as serving as an usher at his wichita church. “it turned into just the closing horror,” monnat says. “a certain power is going out of the world when vital, epic, heroic humans like dr. Tiller aren’t here anymore. It’s a tragedy for absolutely everyone.” monnat grew up in nineteen fifties-wichita, in which his father changed into the overall supervisor of a buick dealership, and his mother, before turning into a homemaker, turned into a excessive school english teacher who surpassed on her love of analyzing and writing to her son. They have been loving parents, monnat says, who “cared extra about doing the proper element than they cared about wealth or popularity.” he also had tremendous aunts and uncles, and he got to play the lone ranger to his coronary heart’s content material. He acted out other heroes of 1950s-tv, too—superman, zorro—however the lone ranger turned into his favorite. He had the cowboy hat, boots and mask. He had a wagon called silver. He corralled community friends or sisters to play tonto. However he by no means performed tonto. “i used to be continually the lone ranger,” he says. You may say he’s spent an entire life unlearning the lesson of his youth idol. Within the overdue nineteen seventies, at the same time as at shultz, fry and fisher, a wichita crook protection firm, monnat had an epiphany about the manner a firm ought to be run. “all of the studies that we have been trained to do in regulation school turned into no longer being applied due to the fact [the lawyers] were too busy going to court docket every day,” he says. But he knew a way to make it work. “for each lawyer that is going to court, you want person who remains on the office doing research and writing, so we will better win at the trial level,” he says. “and if we don’t win the on the trial level, we can have made the proper objections in an effort to prevail on appeal.” in 1985, monnat and adolescence friend stan spurrier, who graduated 2d in his 1983 washburn university school of regulation magnificence, set up that regulation firm: monnat & spurrier, chartered. “stan is a genius—at everything,” monnat says. “but, as is often the case with top notch minds, he is shy and introverted. He prefers to work within the office in solitude.” so spurrier targeted on the studies and writing whilst monnat became the firm’s public face inside the court and earlier than the click. Country of kansas v. Trammell, from 1993, is indicative of the way well this partnership worked. “our patron changed into essentially accused of converting a 1/2-million greenbacks well worth of annuity bills of senior residents to his very own use,” monnat remembers. “but stan’s careful studies found out that the prosecutor had charged our customer with against the law that required proof of the robbery of coverage charges. Now beneath the regulation, annuity bills, which have been what the customer transformed, aren't insurance premiums.” monnat waited till the prosecutor promised, in his establishing argument, to show annuity payments were stolen, then he moved for immediate acquittal. “the decide granted it—without hearing evidence at all,” monnat says. “the trial of that white-collar case lasted 15 minutes.” some of their different massive instances include united states of america v. Lambert, from 1995, wherein a federal appellate court absolutely reversed a defendant’s conviction and 10-year sentence for possession with motive to distribute due to the fact affordable suspicion had now not been mounted for the defendant’s detention; united states v. Lacey, from 1990, in which the female friend of alleged drug kingpin rick lacey was acquitted after a six-week federal trial in what turned into then the largest cocaine seizure and conspiracy case in kansas history; and nation v. Epperson, from 1985, the kansas very best court’s expansive discussion of seek and seizure jurisprudence. Monnat & spurrier currently has 5 full-time legal professionals, at the side of an unbiased contractor, paige nichols, who does more of the studies and writing now that spurrier has moved onto technological issues. Their instances include privacy rights, white-collar crime, drug offenses, intercourse offenses, violent crime and dui. However spurrier become merely the primary of monnat’s predominant companions. Another got here through way of shanghai. In 1985, a friend of monnat’s brother, with whom he had waited tables at a country membership in high college, wished criminal help with a traffic ticket problem. Monnat obliged but later on the man couldn’t pay. He became a martial arts instructor at wang’s wushu college, though, and presented monnat unfastened tai chi instructions. As monnat recalls the communication: monnat: i saw an article inside the paper about tai chi, and i noticed a photograph of grace wu. Is she nevertheless coaching there? Patron: sure. Monnat: i’ll be right over. Grace x. Wu-monnat is the granddaughter of wang ziping, a wushu martial arts grandmaster famous sufficient, says monnat, to be on a postage stamp in china. Three years after she graduated from excessive school, she became banished to an agricultural work camp throughout the height of the cultural revolution. Finally the anti-intellectual bent of the revolution subsided, and wu tested out of the work camp and received a university degree in chinese language martial arts. A relative dwelling in san francisco backed her emigration to the u. S. This relative also had plane contacts in wichita, and they knew about the intensive english language middle at wichita kingdom college, so, in 1985, that’s where she headed. Monnat took her elegance for a year and a half before paintings ate up even this amusement interest. Whilst he next noticed her she become talking english, and he requested her to dinner. “i went away from that [dinner] saying, ‘the happiest i have ever been has been whilst sitting and listening to grace speak,’” monnat says. “that’s nevertheless real. I talked to her this morning and had that equal precise feeling.” they had been married on may additionally 15, 1992. Wu is monnat’s companion now not best individually but professionally. “maybe the primary trial grace went to,” monnat recalls, “she stated to me in the course of a smash, ‘what are you doing? There’s all of this darkish energy to your facet of the court docket.’ and i stated, ‘what do you imply?’ and she or he stated, ‘you’re not absolutely being yourself. You’re generally a pretty wonderful, humorous character, but you’re no longer speaking in any respect to the prosecutor while there’s breaks and that form of component.’” monnat defined that customers didn’t find it irresistible when their lawyers fraternized with prosecutors. “she stated, ‘speak to the purchaser. Inform him you’re going to [talk to the prosecutor]. Due to the fact when you’re protecting again, you’re putting out a very exclusive form of strength within the courtroom, and the jury can see it when they arrive in.’ “ever due to the fact that,” he provides, “i’ve absolutely changed that. I’m just myself.” and ever in view that, wu has been sitting inside the gallery giving monnat small nods of approval, or appears of disapproval if he goes on too long. “she’s especially appropriate at supporting pick jurors,” he says. “a number of that can be because she spent see you later [in the u. S.] seeking to make choices about americans without understanding certainly what they had been pronouncing.” all of her court help led to a husband-and-wife collaboration, a persevering with prison schooling route called “crouching tiger, hidden dragon: kung fu strategies for trial” in which their theories are melded with solar tzu’s the art of warfare into an hourlong application. Trial lawyers are endorsed to: 1) know the battleground, 2) know the enemy, and three) realize yourself. Monnat lectures even as wu plays kung fu. As for monnat’s kung fu? “i’ve been formally declared grace wu’s maximum hopeless martial arts pupil,” he has stated. Monnat calls himself a fortunate man. He’s fortunate to have grown up in wichita, he’s fortunate to have partnered with spurrier and wu, and he’s lucky to be doing what he’s doing. “i love being a legal professional,” he says. “i love defending accused humans. In a manner, it’s a type of calling. … i use the entirety i’ve discovered from grace wu, from gerry spence, from mike finnigan, from george marsh, from father bob williams, and take into account that i don’t have to be anyone other than who i am.” on this way he’s unlearned the lesson of his adolescence idol. The lone ranger derived his energy from placing on a masks and going it alone. Monnat derives his strength from taking off his mask and soliciting for assist. “the lone ranger is a splendid delusion,” monnat says, “that honestly wishes to be shed for the popularity that we’re all operating on things together.”