By New Times
By Connor Radnovich
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Ray Stern
By Keegan Hamilton
By Matthew Hendley
By Monica Alonzo
By Monica Alonzo
Courthouse regulars recall a long-ago case in which Henze's ability to charm judges worked to the benefit of his client. Legend has it that Henze made such a favorable impression on then-Superior Court judge Sandra Day O'Connor that every important ruling went his way. His client was acquitted because of the rulings.
It is a part of Henze's approach that he also charms the prosecutors who oppose him as well as the judges.
Upon occasion, he has shown up as the defense lawyer for prosecutors who have fallen afoul of the law themselves.
"He never tries to embarrass anyone," says lawyer Don Moon, who worked with Henze at one time. "Most defense lawyers are abrasive. It's part of their personality. That's not Tom Henze.
"Watch what happens when he walks into a bar and stands around drinking from a bottle of O'Doul's, the nonalcoholic beer. People gravitate toward him. He genuinely likes folks."
It turned out that Robison was somebody Henze could work with. Now an old man, Robison wore a dark-blue suit to court every day. He could have been a retired schoolteacher. He actually did appear harmless.
When Robison took the witness stand, he showed no arrogance. He willingly admitted to the error of his ways. He was somebody a jury could like.
And, after all, the Bolles killing was 17 years in the past. That had to play a part in the decision.
Robison even admitted that he had entertained thoughts of having Adamson killed in prison. So he appeared truthful to the jury. For that admission, he now faces more trouble from the feds, who have indicted him once again.
But Robison had no choice. His words had been captured on tape.
It was several hours after the closing argument that Henze began entertaining thoughts that he might actually get Robison off.
"You never want to jinx yourself by giving yourself false hopes," Henze says. "But even when I first got done with the final argument, I thought we had a chance.
"And then, you could tell the jury was focusing on our alibi by the questions they sent out to the judge to answer."
The questions all related to where Robison was rather than at the Clarendon Hotel. It was obvious the jury did not believe Adamson. He had testified he had placed the bomb under the car and then waved to Robison, who detonated it from another car. The gamble with Adamson paid off. He had outsmarted himself.
"There was the work of a lot of people in this case," Henze says. "Perhaps I had the glamour part, because I cross-examined Adamson and Neal Roberts and gave the opening and closing arguments.
"But Jim Logan, my co-counsel, did an excellent job that I think was equally important. Rhonda Russo did a fantastic job of putting 80,000 documents and 17 years of information into a laptop computer. She made certain the correct information was always right at our hands in the courtroom.
"Attorney Jordan Green, another defense lawyer, had developed a lot of new information while he was working for Max Dunlap's defense. He willingly supplied it to us, and it was extremely helpful."
Henze believes that the entire focus of the Bolles murder case was askew from the start in 1976, because there was so much public pressure to solve the case as quickly as possible.
"They didn't look at all the theories. They just took the first one that came along and bought it wholesale."
And now we are left with this. After 17 years, Robison has been acquitted. That leaves us with a dilemma. If Robison is innocent, how can Dunlap be guilty? Quite frankly, I believe this jury voted wrong. But this is something the jurors will have to live with.
And what about Jimmy the Plumber's future? He will probably spend the rest of his life behind bars. This is so because he is presently serving a 30-year sentence for assault.
"I'm an old man," he was overheard to say the other day. "What will I do if they do set me free? I have no place to go. I'd just become another one of the homeless.