All PRACDL members are mourning the recent death of our dear colleague Jorge L. Arroyo Alejandro. It is difficult to express ourselves in words that do any semblance of justice to our feelings of sorrow. One of our members, Manuel San Juan, upon learning of Jorge's death, posted the following poem on our listserv:
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone
- W. H. Auden
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
I was able to locate this letter written by Jorge to Ms. Inés Quiles who hosted the "A Palo Limpio" radio talk show at WKAQ. The letter is in Spanish, so my apologies for those unable to understand it. In it Jorge expresses his disagreement with some comments made during a radio broadcast about criminal defense lawyers getting their guilty clients off through technicalities. Jorge was too much of a diplomat to write an abrasive letter, but he certainly got his point across in his unique gentlemanly manner. I read this letter again and it felt as if I had Jorge next to me again. It is probably the best expression I have read or heard in defense of the work criminal defense lawyers do. Jorge's pride in his profession comes through loud and clear. And to those who knew Jorge, the letter is simply that Jorge that we came to admire and respect, to enjoy as a friend, both in and out of the courtroom. Jorge was, in essence, a lawyer's lawyer.
Jorge was PRACDL's longest serving President.
Jorge, we will miss you greatly, but you taught us much that we will never forget. Even in your illness you showed us the meaning of dignity. So long, Jorge. Until we meet again, a great big hug.