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By Robert Lindemeier
A Gideon Moment columns.
I’d never given a eulogy before nor have I since. Only because no one
else was going to do it did I volunteer to speak at the funeral of Byron
Leslie Ditton. This is something that I haven’t talked much about since
nor even considered writing about. When I got NACDL’s letter soliciting
articles for the Gideon Moment column, something said it was okay for me to do this.
Byron Ditton came into my life in the mid-1980s after I had started work
in the public defender’s office. Byron was in court on a trespass
charge because he was sleeping in a car down by the river on some
private property. Sounds like the Chris Farley comedy routine except he
had not bathed in several weeks, and he wore the same clothes the whole
time. As you can imagine, he smelled.
He kept telling me about the “white ghosts” that were bothering him out
there. The judge at the time was very familiar with Byron and she called
me to the bench. If he’d agree to a voluntary commitment to Hastings,
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