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Letter from Daniel Meador to Ronald Sokol, Thursday, April 15, 1971

April 15, 1971

University of Virginia
Charlottesville – Virginia – 22901
School of Law

[manuscript letter on letterhead]

Dear Ron,

Here is your world’s worst correspondent getting down
to writing that he is indeed alive and well. It is un-
believable that it was August that you were here and now
it is April–income tax deadline, dogwood & all. The year
has slipped away while I here have been engaged massively
in retooling. While I knew the task of getting back on
top of my subjects would be substantial, it has turned
out to be far more so than I envisioned. New caselaw
new decisions, new writings, etc. have poured forth in
the four years I have been essentially outside the
academic enterprise. The administrative-academic
division of life I now see as much more profound than
I realized when I was over on the
administrative side of the fence. In any case it
is sheer pleasure to be immersed again in the law,
although I will feel more comfortable after I work
my way through the courses at least once.

Committee work has been harder than I would
have liked, but that is part of the game. In the
interest of attempting to keep alive the appellate
litigation program I have taken 1 case this spring from
the 4th circuit & have worked with 2 students.
The brief has just been submitted, oral argument will
[1]

probably be in June. I needed you thoughts
in shaping a theory. It is an odd case–involving
a juvenile court proceeding–a little out of my
line–and was a more difficult than usual brief
to write.

I have randomly intended and hoped to
write you about your piece on justice. Twice I
have read it. One of the reasons I have not
written before now is that I could never boil
down my thoughts into something less than long,
rambling reflections. Virtually every one of your
sentences gives occasion for extreme comment, and
I do not yet see how I can do much that will
be of any help short of an essay which I simply
do not have time to write. There is a great deal of
meat there, & I think still more on rereadings &
additional thought. It is this kind of subject,
however, on which I think conversation will be much
more fruitful than hurried efforts on my part to
put something in writing. If this matter is
still a live subject with you, & you are coming here
this summer, I would enjoy immensely kicking it
around.

Speaking of this summer, my tentative plan
is to leave on about July 9 for England for the
American Bar Meeting & to carry out a study of
[2]

the features of criminal appeals in England which
might be imported into this country, if any, to help
overcome some of the near disastrous situations developing
in some of the state & federal appellate courts. Overall
I should be in England 3 weeks–taking Jan &
children & staying in our former house in Southampton.
We expect to spend 1 week motoring on the
continent before returning here–probably through
northern France, Belgium, Holland & Germany.

I may well get heavily involved with a
wide range of matter concerning the appellate
process in this country. Two projects are
pending decision with the Department of Justice & the
Federal Judicial Center which, if they materialize,
will take me rather deeply into this area for
the next year or two–both practically & philosophically.
I should know about this by about next May. I am
keenly interested in getting into this, so hope it works re
judicial business & the threat of break-down is now a top
item on the national agenda. Innovative, even radical,
ideas are needed to reorder the process, yet to
preserve the essential function & purpose of appellate
review.
[3]

The Calley case has caused the most
astounding public reaction from the oddest
quarter. I took occasion in my Procedure
class to state the matter quite simply from the
lawyer’s standpoint. The case really is quite simple
it is a prosecution for murder. There is no
novelty about it. It has little or nothing to do
with Nuremberg, or high flying bomber, or collective
guilt. I participated in at least 2 dozen cases,
on either prosecutor or defense council, in Korea no
different analytically. You may not agree with
all of this–but this was the essence of my classroom
statement.

Dave Parrish says you have moved south
& he has provided your address. Why the
removal to the provinces? I can see that the variety
may be appealing.

It is always good to hear from you if
you can find time to write. If you are coming
this way anytime, by all means let me know.

Sincerely,

Dan

[4]

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