Visiting with Captain William A. "Billy" Cline was an unforgettable experience to say the least. He'll be 102 July 21, 2012, lives at home, and remembers every detail of the 1944 court-martial trial when he was the military defense attorney who represented Second Lieutenant Jackie Robinson. Cline won and JR was found not guilty.
When I asked what he thought he would be most noted for in his life and what he was the most proud of he said obviously he'd be noted for representing JR in his court-martial trial. But he's the most proud of the work he did for the Texas Bar as president of the Young Lawyers of Texas.
I'm working on documenting the entire interview - need to convert my old school hi8 video tape to digital. I can't wait to share Mr. Cline's wonderful stories. He recalled everything from playing as a child on the lawn of Wharton's courthouse, watching hangings, and getting in trouble at 11 yrs with the older (14) Howard Hughes while living with his parents at the Rice Hotel in Houston, to representing lots of soldiers in 2 or 3 court-martial trials every 2 wks, including Jackie Robinson who was only known then as a talented football star. JR was the only black officer at "Camp Hood" Mr. Cline could recall knowing about.