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Key to success: Vision Key to success: Passion Key to success: Perseverance Key to success: Preparation Key to success: Courage Key to success: Integrity Key to success: The American Dream Keys to success homepage More quotes on Passion More quotes on Vision More quotes on Courage More quotes on Integrity More quotes on Preparation More quotes on Perseverance More quotes on The American Dream


Albie Sachs

Constitutional Court of South Africa

Albie Sachs: It was so tough being called an advocate, a lawyer, an attorney in an apartheid court, even with decent judges. The judges were white, the prosecution was white, the lawyers were white, the accused were frequently black. So it was really, as Mandela once said, "I should get equal justice, but I feel I'm a black man in a white man's court. I shouldn't feel that." Even outside of the obvious racism in many of the laws, there were racist assumptions in the court that were so taxing and enervating. The judge would say to an African woman twice my age, "And, Rosie, what did you see next?" He might say it in a very kindly voice. I couldn't call her Rosie. She was Mrs. Shabalala. But if I called her Mrs. Shabalala after the judge had called her Rosie, it's like I'm giving him a little punch, and that could be bad for my client. The judge and the prosecution would speak about "five Bantus," "five natives." These weren't natives, these were people. Five men, five men and women. But if I challenged the use of language, then it was like I was having a go at them and my client could suffer. So even in the very simple way you expressed yourself, you either compromised with derogatory or undignified terminology, or you became contestational on a peripheral issue that didn't deal with the guts of the matter and your client could suffer as a result. It cost so much psychological energy to find ways of avoiding that, neither the one or the other. You just say, "Uh huh," you know, to the witness, not using either term. The racism in that sense impregnated everything about the court from the beginning to the end.
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Albie Sachs

Constitutional Court of South Africa

But not long afterwards I, myself, was in a cell on my own. I remember walking around in this little concrete space. The door slammed. The echo that's slamming in my ear and so, this is what it's like, this moment you're dreaming of. You're in the freedom struggle, and you're going to be locked up, and will you be brave and what'll it be like? And I'm walking around, and I'm singing and I'm whistling, and I'm trying to keep up my courage. There's a mat on the floor, there's a little toilet in there with a wire thing that you can pull. And five minutes, ten minutes, I don't have a watch, 20 minutes. The time goes so slowly. It's just you, your toes, the wall, your toes, the wall, looking at what to do, no one to speak to, nothing to do, nothing to occupy yourself. It was far worse than I've ever imagined, far, far, far worse. I thought you just had to be brave. You bared your chest. Let the enemy come. Let them do their damnedest. And in a way, you're fighting your own loneliness, your own eagerness to have someone to talk to.
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Albie Sachs

Constitutional Court of South Africa

Albie Sachs: I would try to keep myself going by inventing games, and I would sing songs, a song beginning with "A," "Always." "Because," "Charmaine," "Daisy," go through the alphabet. It's quite an interesting collection of the hit tunes of October 1963. And my favorite was "Always." "I'll be living here always. Year after year, always. In this little cell, that I know so well, I'll be living swell, always, always." And I would sort of waltz around, singing to myself and be amused with the fact that this Irving Berlin song-- picked up by Noel Coward, who wrote comedies of upper middle class manners -- was keeping alive the spirit of this freedom fighter in Cape Town. "I'll be staying in always, keeping up my chin always. Not for but an hour, not for but a week, not for 90 days, but always." And then it'd be "Because," and "Charmaine," and so on. I would try to remember the states in the United States of America. I had two arms then, so I could count on ten fingers, but -- and I would begin with all the A's -- and I couldn't mark down. And I think I got up to about 47 once.
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Albie Sachs

Constitutional Court of South Africa

A day or so later -- somebody was smuggling in messages to me, in a thermos flask, in fact -- and there's a message to the effect that somebody else had been locked up, an architect, and had been through similar experiences, and his wife saw him and, and he was like a ghost. And he'd whispered to her what had happened to him, and she'd gone to court with that information and got an order restricting the security police from continuing the interrogation. And I wrote the second most important legal document I've written in my life, and I include working on the Constitution of South Africa. And a tiny piece of paper in the note that was smuggled out, saying what I've just explained to the camera now, in just a few words, that it could be used in evidence in his case. But the fact is, they didn't come back for me, so it did save me from further interrogation. And I'm sure the intention was to pile it on, pile it on, pile it on, break me down completely. So though I ended up not giving away any information of any value, I still feel something inside me was broken, some strand of dignity and self-possession, and I've never got over it, never got over it. There's some humiliations and pains you carry with you. You get on with your life, you manage, you do things, but you can't say, "It doesn't matter. It doesn't count." It counted. It was worse than being blown up, much worse then being blown up. The attack on my mind, my spirit, my dignity, much worse then the attack on my body which came many years later.
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Albie Sachs

Constitutional Court of South Africa

I had met Stephanie Kemp who'd been, as it turned out, in the same prison cells I'd been in, and I was asked by an attorney to defend her. She was being charged with sabotage. And I said, "Please, I can't. I identify so much." "Just go and speak to her, give her some courage. When it comes to the trial we'll get someone else." Well they did get someone else to be the senior lawyer. Meanwhile I've fallen in love with her. We didn't mention anything. We didn't touch. We just spoke about the case and a bit about her past and sense of betrayal. But we were in love across the table, and she was sentenced to some years imprisonment, released. She came out to warn me that they're coming for me again, that was my second detention. I still remember her saying, "And I was in that prison cell, and I got so angry with you because they all told me, 'Why can't you behave like advocate Sachs?' And that pompous stuff you wrote up above the cell door, 'I, Albert Louis Sachs, am detained here without trial under the 90-Day Law for standing for justice for all.' Couldn't you say it in less legal language?" And of course, even when I was writing that, I was careful not to say anything that could be used in evidence against me. I also wrote "Jail is for the birds" on top of the cell.
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Jonas Salk

Developer of Polio Vaccine

There are two great tragedies in life. One is to not get what you want; the other is to get what you want. And if I had gotten what I wanted, it would have been a greater tragedy than my not getting what I wanted, because it allowed me to get something else.
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Jonas Salk

Developer of Polio Vaccine

There are three stages of truth. First, is that it can't be true, and that's what they said. You couldn't immunize against polio with a killed-virus vaccine. Second phase: they say, "Well, if it's true, it's not very important." And, the third stage is, "Well, we've known it all along." What you are describing is the process that you have to go through when you come up with an idea that has not yet been tried or tested.
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Barry Scheck

Co-Founder, Innocence Project

Right after the Marion Coakley case, there was another case involving an individual named Castro in the Bronx. After we did this seminar at Cardozo Law School, one of the people from the public defender's office says, "You guys are very interested in this. Could you do the admissibility hearing? The prosecution wants to prove that blood on Mr. Castro's watch is not his blood, but is actually the blood from the murder victim." So we were initially very suspicious, based on our early dealings with Lifecodes, because we could see that they hadn't published peer-reviewed articles, and they hadn't done some of the basic validation research that you would expect for this technology transfer. So we got the evidence in this case, and we never contested in the Castro case that the exclusion that the blood on the watch wasn't from Castro. Because the way these DNA tests work, you would see these bands. They had what they called a RFLP testing at that time, that had to do with bands going down in a gel and you would see it. The bands were clearly not aligned, then it was an exclusion, and there was no dispute about the exclusion. So we didn't dispute that. But when they said, "Well, these bands that don't look the same are really the same, and then we can make an inference about the statistical significance of that by looking at population genetic evidence." Well, there was some very serious scientific problems with that. So we went to these Cold Spring Harbor seminars, and we started showing what they called the auto rads and some of the data to the scientists there. And we ran into this Dr. Eric Lander who's quite an extraordinary figure, very brilliant man. He was looking at it and he immediately realized, "Oh my God, here we are in the genetics community, and we all believe that this technology transfer is going to work, because it is such a robust technology, and of course DNA testing is going to work." But then, when he saw how this was being misapplied, and they had not done the right validation studies to prove that the things matched, and they hadn't done the population genetics work adequately to give us a real statement about what the significance of it was within certain populations.
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Barry Scheck

Co-Founder, Innocence Project

Barry Scheck: One of the cases that -- in the first decade of the Innocence Project -- involved Kenneth Waters, who was convicted of a murder in Ayer, Massachusetts. When we got involved in the case, there was already his sister, Betty Ann Waters, who is a real hero. Betty Ann had watched Kenny get convicted in this small town where they grew up and they both were raised in total poverty. She was a mother with two children, a GED. And her brother is saying, "Well, I want you to become a lawyer to get me out of jail. You are the only person I trust. And otherwise, I am going to commit suicide," was essentially the bargain he made with her. So sure enough, Betty Ann, eventually becoming a single mom with two kids, went to college and then went to law school, all for the purpose of getting her brother out of jail. And near the end of it, she called the Innocence Project, and me in particular, to assist her in the end in trying to get Kenny out of jail, and she did. She is a wonderful inspirational figure, and he was a great guy. He was funny and full of life, and tragically died just a few months after we got him out.
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Barry Scheck

Co-Founder, Innocence Project

One of the areas that really brings it home is a case I did in 1996 in Boston, involving Louise Woodward, the so-called nanny, that got a lot of international attention. And this was a case where Louise was charged with murder for the death of young Matthew Eappen, who was one of two children that she was watching. When Matthew presented in the hospital, he had a skull fracture, a subdural hematoma, and he literally had the equivalent of what looks like a stroke. He had a hypoxic ischemic incident. His brain was swelling when he was admitted to the hospital. And the doctors reasoned, from looking at these symptoms, that what must have happened is that his head was smashed against a fixed hard surface at 26 miles an hour. Otherwise you couldn't get a skull fracture. And because they saw subdural hematomas, and retinal hemorrhages, and shearing of the white matter of the brain, they said, "Ah-ha! This must have meant that he was shaken as hard as an adult can shake, with the head snapping back and forth, for about a minute-and-a-half." And it turned out that when we finally did this trial, and brought in the scientists that originally had written all the articles about shaken baby syndrome, they said, "Well, first of all, I can't believe that you're misinterpreting our article. If you see a subdural hematoma, and shearing of the white matter of the brain, and a skull fracture, that can account for a lot of the things that we used to think was caused by shaking alone," because they did a big study on this. And that doesn't mean that the baby's head was he was shaken for a minute-and-a-half with his head snapping back and forth where you ordinarily would see injury to the back, to the spinal cord, which you didn't see in this case. So there was a lot of misinterpretation of some of the fundamental articles that were the foundation for this. So we brought those scientists back in to testify in that case.
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