I am pretty sure I was about the only person in North American last week who was not ready to lynch Fort Kent nurse Kaci Hickox for refusing to submit to Gov. LePage’s request that she “self-quarantine” herself and stay in her home due to Ebola concerns. I KNOW I am the only person in Scarborough (or on Facebook!) who felt that way.

The matter went to court last week. Gov. Lepage finally agreed to switch forums from the 6 o’clock news to a Maine courtroom. He lost (this explains why he chose to stay on TV for three-plus days).

Why did I sympathize so early – and strongly – for the Fort Kent nurse?

Might relate to something a former high-ranking 04074 Land school official put me through back in l983-84 when I first started practicing law. It still sticks in my craw.

As a new lawyer, I was assigned cases by judges to represent court-appointed defendants. Some of the charges were juvenile ones, and forgettable.

As time wore on, however, the assignments became bigger – drug offenses, kidnapping, burglary, rape and two murder cases. But the manure hit the fan when I began work for a client accused of a sexual offenses against a child.

Yikes! They have constitutional rights, too?!

I was beginning to get into politics in Scarborough around this time. A person who did not particularly like me since I had opposed her spouse politically found out about my court-appointed clients. She “reported” my legal activities to a school official. Coming up was a meeting at Hannaford headquarters on Pleasant Hill Road to establish a new activity to be called Academic Decathlon. I, a sports nut, had been advocating for this new club, saying sports is great, but academic competition would be great, too.

The high-ranking official telephoned me to express “concern.” She also hinted heavily that, because “some people would feel uneasy with (me) in the room,” it might be good if I took a pass on the meeting.

I was shocked! It was a scene out the Scopes Trial, and Inherit the Wind about teaching about monkeys and evolution!

I showed up at the meeting anyway. A flunkey was dispatched to escort me to my seat, up back! I suggested we step into an office and chat.

“Before I sue you for all this, is there anything I need to know about your position that’ll make me understand what the hell you are doing?” I asked, in language that would soon endear me to a generation of school officials (Town officials don’t mind profanity, I have found).

“Some of these people have diseases…syphilis…for example,” she said.

I responded: “Unless I am practicing law naked, I don’t think I will catch anything bad from this guy.”

The next day, the school lawyer called with an apology. I accepted (I was young and foolish then. I didn’t have the sense of adventure that I do now).

Last week, Maine Judge Charles Laverdiere (my law school classmate and whitewater canoeing partner) issued an order for the Fort Kent nurse; against the state of Maine; and in praise of logic, common sense, and fact. “She currently does not show symptoms of Ebola, and is, therefore, not infectious,” he wrote. Case over.

He added in a phrase I loved: “The court is fully aware that people are acting out of fear and that this fear is not entirely rational.” Amen.

Been there. Done that. Hope you never go through it, my friend.

Dan Warren is a Scarborough lawyer who can be reached by private Facebook message at the Jones & Warren page, or by e mail at [email protected].

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