ChesterNewMatterWinter2017 - 28
The Legal Profession Has
By Brian Cuban, Esquire
ot long ago, I keynoted the Cuban American Bar
Association Annual Judicial Luncheon in Miami.
They said it was the first time they had brought
in a speaker such as myself as the event was usually about
election cycle stump speeches. They wanted this event to
be different for very personal reasons.
of my younger brother rousing me from my bed. My .45
automatic lying on my nightstand.
The residuals of cocaine, Xanax, and Jack Daniels are
still coursing through my veins. Questions from the
attending psychiatrist pierce my fog and anger like tracer
rounds. "What drugs have you taken? How are you
feeling? Do you want to hurt yourself?"
In the back of my mind, what's left of the lawyer takes
over. I know that my family can't commit me, but he can.
Proceed with caution. I don't mention that I had been
"practicing" sticking the barrel of the gun in my mouth
and dry-firing the gun.
The Cuban and Miami legal community had recently
lost a well known and respected colleague with the suicide
of Miami lawyer Ervin Gonzalez. Not long after that, the
death of Miami federal prosecutor Beranton J. Whisenant
was ruled a suicide. Two tragedies among a profession
with a suicide rate in the top five of all professions. I was
almost one of those grim statistics.
Ripped back to reality. Voices in the room. The doctor
is talking to me again. When was the last time I used
cocaine? I'm pretty sure it has been recently, since it
was all over the room when my brothers showed up. I
had become the consummate liar in hiding the obvious
cocaine habit and drinking problem from my family.
July 2005. A dark room. Table, desk, chairs. I'm with a
staff psychiatrist of the Green Oaks Psychiatric Facility
in Dallas, Texas. My brothers, Mark and Jeff, are sitting
at the table across from me. I have a vague recollection
More questions. Do I think I need help? Will I go to
rehab? Sure, whatever will get me out of here. I lash out
again. They have no right to do this. I yell across the table.
"You have no right to control my life! I am an adult!
Mind your own business!" They quietly let me rant.
28 | New Matter