By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
His continuing practice amuses and worries his friends.
"I'm afraid he might do something to damage his great reputation," Ron Goranson says. In trial, his flashes of brilliance are followed by lapses of memory.
But Tessmer proved he could still try a case when he won an acquittal six months ago in a DWI trial. "The initial facts didn't look good for him," recalls Dallas Judge Dan Wyde, who presided over the case. "But he got the officer to admit a different version of the facts than he put in his police report. That's not too common."
"Charlie's like an old fire horse," says Stan Weinberg, who assisted him in the trial. "When the phone rings he's ready to go, a little slower perhaps, with a few more aches and pains. But he's still ready to go."
The repairman arrives at his house and begins to work on the wall clock. "I always thought that I would keep running as long as that clock did," he tells him.
Tessmer suggests his own reason why he's still practicing law 50 years after he began. "I need the money. I have some put away, but I don't know if I will outlive it. I never thought I would be 79. I thought I would be dead at 40, the way I was living."
He says he still "partakes of the grape"; he's a regular at the VFW Post on Garland Road, where he "can still buy old soldiers drinks...at half price." And why should he stop anyway? "Most of my AA friends are dead and buried," he says.
The repairman has finished quicker than expected, and Tessmer demands to see the invoice. "I want your boss' name and phone number," he bellows, his sonorous voice intimidating the repairman.
Tessmer grabs the paper and dials the number. "Yes, this is Charles Tessmer, and I have your man here," he declares. "I just want you to know he has done an admirable job."
The repairman looks relieved; his face beams with appreciation.
Instinctively, Tessmer reaches for one of his business cards and hands it to him. Never know when you might need a good criminal lawyer.
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