Thursday, May 30, 2013

Jim Thomas graduated from school of hard knocks

Top criminal defense attorney Jim Thomas attributes some of his success to growing up in a tough east-side Detroit neighborhood and facing forceful men of God in high school in the 1960s.
Thomas said he had to fight to keep his lunch money from being stolen while walking to and from school growing up on Kensington Street between Mack and Warren avenues.
And then in high school, at the all-boys Austin Catholic Prep in Detroit, he withstood strict, physical discipline from Augustinian priests who served as teachers and administrators. He described the effect of beatings at a speech last week in Macomb Township.
“As many of you know, they (priests) weren’t afraid to lay hands on you. It was a great learning experience for me. It taught me discipline.
“The fact that a priest could beat you is now frowned upon, but it seems to me that there’s no judge in a black robe who could do to me what the priests did. It steeled me for the criticism and fights I’ve had in court.”
Thomas, who represented former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick at his recent federal trial, is on the other side of the world these days. He moved 11 years ago to a tranquil, lakefront neighborhood in Harrison Township.


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