May 29, 2008
It goes pretty much without saying how much I wanted to be with you and Rose today for this
auspicious occasion. I only finally yesterday allowed myself to face the logistical impossibility of
the trip. So, I sit down to write what will be a grossly inadequate message as the world here
begins to grow light in the early morning of your day. And then, I admit, I suddenly realized that
not being there is a good thing - I would only cry. Never a good thing for a prosecutor’s
reputation. It will be better all round for me to write now and come out and fish with you later.
I have taken the liberty of forwarding with this a few pictures because I thought they would make
you smile and remind you, as if you need it, of what you have always fought for and will now
move on to do so in a far more positive way - the critters. This fine family lives in a tree two
houses up the street from us in urban Takoma Park. They recently got too large for their
accommodations and have been hanging out in our backyards as the teenagers take flying lessons.
This is what we want to show our children and grandchildren. That is what you help to make a
But what is most significant is not the kind of work you chose to do, but how you have gone
about doing it. Your generosity of spirit extends not just to wildlife but to people. I guess
anyone who can bond with a monitor can find the good in just about anyone. But the result is
that people trust you, literally, with their lives. They know that you will do the Right Thing, that
you will be fighting with them for all their causes, global and personal. That fundamentally you
are one of those that truly care, and continue to do so even at great personal cost.
I think I first understood something of your quality when Kloe was arrested back in 1996. Here
was a man that you had worked undercover for years. He was in handcuffs being taken to jail in a
foreign country and had you to thank for it. Yet his reaction was to turn to you for advice on
what he should do. An extraordinary trust. You have only to look around you today to have
some idea of how many lives you have touched, and will continue to touch, in a very profound
But who you are continues (thank goodness); one aspect of what you are is changing. In
recognition of what has been, a few brief mental images of highlights of our mutual career:
· you asking for a doggy bag for all the kale decorating our plates at the rib restaurant to
take back to the tortoises after dinner in Orlando during the Operation Chameleon take
· my blurting out that your new bass boat, the apple of your eye, was gaudy
· fishing with Cathy in Florida after Judge Conway dismissed our case
· sharing our frustrations as she who shall not be named forced us to remove money
laundering charges from the Botany indictment, and later . . . , well, sharing our
· working in the backroom of the UC shop
· getting the search warrant at the San Diego Zoo
· you talking to the snake you had just handed me - “now, don’t bite the prosecutor”
· helping out Dave
· and, the gazillion times you simply believed - in me, in our joint abilities, in the critters and
the moral necessity of trying to make a difference
Webb often says that one of his finest accomplishments was pairing up you and I professionally. I
could not agree with him more. You are simply, bar none, the finest agent with whom I have had,
or expect to have, the privilege of working. Do not think that by retiring you will be rid of me!
Many of my cases right now stem from the work of NGO’s - I expect that trend to increase.
I have a handful of personal heroes. They include the Judge I clerked for, a diminutive
government official from Honduras who told the truth, and Ken McCloud.
Senior Trial Attorney
Environment and Natural Resources Division
U.S. Department of Justice