Quite frankly, Jim's death is so shocking that I don't even know where to begin in writing about him.
He was one of the very best defense attorneys that Harris County had to offer and he headed a very successful and highly respected law firm with Gilbert Alvarado. I was explaining to my wife today that I thought there were (generally) two types of criminal defense attorneys -- those who are good litigators and those who are well-versed in all the case law. Jim was one of a handful of attorneys I know who possessed both qualities.
I went to trial against Jim and Gilbert when I was a Felony Two in the 185th. To this day, it was the most mentally taxing trial I ever participated in. Jim redefined "tenacious" and he didn't let even the smallest of details slip past him. I remember at one point, in a moment of frustration, telling him:
Damn, Jim. I'm surprised that you didn't object when I said "Good morning" during voir dire since I hadn't proven up that it was morning or that there was anything good about it yet.The trial was a battle that seemed to last forever. I think that it was the longest trial I ever had that didn't involve a fatality.
And Jim infuriated me throughout it all.
Because he was just so freaking good. I mean, he was really good. He bombarded me with case law. He broke up the flow of my questioning. His cross-examinations were as methodical as they were lengthy.
I went home at the end of trial every day both physically and mentally exhausted.
Because Jim Lindeman was one hell of a good attorney. That's what good attorneys are supposed to.
After the trial, as professional adversaries always should do, we were friends again. Whenever another prosecutor was getting ready for trial against him, however, I made sure to let them know they would need to get a good night's sleep before trial. Jim was going to wear them out.
Jim was the consumate gentlemen and although we fought against each other relentlessly in trial, we left any and all animosity in the courtroom. I never hung out with him in a social setting, but he was always so friendly and kind around the courthouse. He was a lawyer and a mentor to many of those younger attorneys who came after him, and he was always willing to help those who needed him.
He embodied the knowledge, the advocacy and the grace that I think all lawyers should aspire to.
Our community lost a true gentleman today. And one of the best trial lawyers I ever had the honor to do battle with.