Thursday, November 04, 2010

Stanton Parish Rines, Jr., R.I.P.

Of your charity, please stop and pray for the repose of the soul of Stanton P. Rines, who died this week of complications from diabetes.  Stan was a defense lawyer whom I worked with in the public defender's office in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, when I first started practicing.  The defense bar received word of his death this morning.

Although I had not seen Stan Rines for several years, I have been thinking about him all day, since receiving the news of his death. I can't say I was surprised, because he was not in the best of health even when I knew him; but there is still the shock of realization that comes even when the end is not unexpected.

When I was an infant in the law, Stan handed me an obscene live conduct case: the client, age 73, dropped his drawers in the post office on the 4th of July and...well, allegedly did some stuff one is not supposed to do in the post office or any other public place. Stan said, with a twinkle in his eye, that it would be better for this guy to be represented by a fresh young thing than to have one dirty old man representing another dirty old man. But whatever dirt Stan might have had on him, it was not an essential part of his makeup. He was kind and gentlemanlike, and generous. I never detected any meanness or pettiness in him; he certainly cut other people, even adversaries, a lot more slack than I was willing to do. That, I think, is because he was knocked around enough in the school of life to realize where his own failings were; whatever lessons in humility he had received, they were not wasted on him.

Stan was a great sailor, and loved being out on his boat.  He gave me one of the best days of my life when I was living in Coeur d'Alene, and that was the day he took me and a couple others out sailing. That was the first time I'd ever experienced the silent speed of a sailboat. Stan was pretty agile and resourceful on the boat, even with his mangled limbs, the product of injuries he had sustained in an accident some years earlier. We spent the whole day sailing or motoring on Lake Pend'Oreille, visiting and enjoying the view and the blue water and the weather, and then went back to Bayview for dinner. I never wanted that day to end. Yet, after all that, Stan was disappointed that he could not show his guests an even better time: he was actually apologetic that there wasn't enough wind to cut the motor and sail the whole day!

Besides all of this, Stan was one hell of a lawyer. It is said of him that he once got a guy off a possession charge by arguing to the jury that if he'd have known he had the dope on him, he'd have used it. If that story is not ought to be.

Stan will be missed. Requiescat in pace.


  1. Stan was a kind man above all else. He was also one of the finest criminal defense attorneys to practice in Idaho - the story about the possession case is true. There are many other stories out there about his skill and wit, some of which exist only in the minds of countless peers with whom he privately shared a nugget or two of his knowledge and experience in order to help them navigate a case. When he listened, you knew he was listening. When he spoke, he meant what he said. Stan fully understood that credibility is all that an attorney has in front of judge and jury, particularly when representing an accused person, and he had credibility in spades. He understood people, he knew the law, and he used his powers for good and not evil. He also liked to have a good time, a very good time. I could say more, but I can see Stan's face turning red and hear his deep laugh just before he says that he only did what anyone would do. He often said that. If that were only true, Stan, if it were only true.

  2. Thank you for your post. Stan was a friend of my friend Tim Kane (Binghamton NY) when they were in Boy Scouts many years ago. Tim is recalling good times spent with Stan as a young man and then of good times shared on his boat in the 90's. Thank you again for sharing your memories and know that prayers have been offered and will continue to be offered for the repose of the soul of Stan.

    Tim Kane - Binghamton, NY (posted by Christine Carnrike)