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The Champion

March 2003 , Page 62 

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By Robert Lindemeier

Read more 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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