Michael L. Stout Law

True Believers and the Road to Hell

True Believers and the Road to Hell explores the perspectives of persons who have passionately performed stellar work to improve our justice system and our community, and the challenges they have faced.

The Road Ahead – More interviews coming soon

The Road So Far – Guest interviews:

Plaintiff’s lawyer and civil justice advocate.

Part onePart two

“My greatest accomplishment is in cases where we’ve effected social change.”

“Being different in the courtroom is an advantage.”

“I will not use my skills to defend sexual assault cases.”

“I could be a kinder person. I’m working on that.”

Expert on prisons and capital defense.

Part one Part twoPart three

“Watching public defenders in New Hampshire and New Mexico, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

“New Mexico has forgotten some lessons of the 1980 Prison Riot.”

“There’s a disconnect between media attention and reality when it comes to effective approaches to crime.”

“Many don’t understand that incarceration actually jeopardizes public safety.”

“Every prison cell is a monument to failure of our system to address social problems.”

Justice system activist and artist.

Part onePart two

“I’m an eternal optimist, a glass half full person. We can do better by our justice system. My art is an outlet for that expression.”

“It’s really a punishment industry; I believe we can dismantle it.”

“I resigned from the New York Parole Board after being a constant critic. My colleagues were elated I resigned.”

“I was born with the resilient gene. Though my mother was critically injured by a drunk driver, I strongly believe in forgiveness and redemption.”

Veteran television journalist who has reported on Presidents over the decades.

Part onePart twoPart three (Presidents he’s covered)

“The worst way for the United States to get a country to do something is to tell them they’re wrong.”

“Reagan and Tip O’Neil fought over policy but, in the end, they made a deal. The only way life works is to make a deal.”

“I worked with Diane Sawyers, Barbara Walters and Cokie Roberts, all professional women of high integrity, but they were in a minority at the time. Since then women have made great strides in journalism.”

Former Governor of New Mexico, College Chancellor and life time Republican

Part onePart twoPart three

“When I was 35 I knew everything. I was very smart. Over the years I learned how little I know.”

“We will eventually get away from the Big Lie about the election and on to doing the public’s business.”

“The best years of my life are associated with New Mexico State University.”

Executive director, National Association of Public Defenders
01/26 & 02/03/2022

Part onePart two

“Public defenders taught me everything I know about being a true believer.”

“I’ve learned the essence of teamwork and mitigation from public defenders.”

My mother being shot by my father in front of me when I was five years old has had great impact. God said to show him the grace and mercy that God showed us that day by saving us.”

Expert criminal defense attorney from Macon, GA

Part onePart two

“There is no case I won’t take because of the charge or the unpopularity of the client.”

“The Arbery case has caused a roller coaster of emotions, dissolution of friendships and severing of relationships I had thought were unbreakable.”

“We used no racist approaches of any kind in our representation of our client.”

First female federal judge in NM

Part onePart twoPart three

“I learned valuable lessons from my brother being in the federal penitentiary. I saw the terrible toll taken, including on parents and family. I’ve seen the terrible medical treatment and food and how crippled inmates are when they get out.”

As a lawyer “you better not go into federal court green or lazy or burned out. If you’re not able to give it your all you shouldn’t do this.”

Prison reform advocate – Second appearance

Part onePart twoPart three

“Solitary confinement makes people worse. It is a machine designed to create mental illness. It affects both inmates and guards.”

“The first solution is to not make things worse.”

Seasoned New Mexico advocate

Part onePart twoPart three

“Patience is important to being a judge. Sometimes judges forget how hard it is to be a lawyer.”

“The burning social issue right now it economic inequality.”

Inspirational presenter on “the science of finishing”

Part onePart Two

“After much personal adversity, I think ‘how can I leave the imprint I want to leave?’ My legacy is my purpose.”

“My message to women about sexuality, ‘align your actions with your values and you’ll minimize your regrets.’”

Historical fighter against racial injustice and in favor of access to the justice system

Part onePart two

“The system has dealt terribly with race issues. Race is an important issue all through the process from stop to bail to juries to appeals. 95% of prosecutors are white and they make the most important decisions in a case; the system is harder on people of color.”

“Our sentencing is excessive, especially of young people. We must push to be more rational and proportionate.”

Expert in jury selection and trial consultation

Part onePart two

“(Jury consultant) Cat Bennett is the most remarkable soul I’ve ever met. She taught me to make decisions about jurors with your heart, your gut, and not your head.”

“I’m not looking for a fair jury. I’m just trying to level the playing field against prejudices. I’m looking for a jury that has the courage to make the right decision.”

Former New Mexico Supreme Court Justice

Part onePart two Part three

“I retired because the Court had become more of an administration court and less about writing opinions. And I wanted to participate in democracy in other ways.”

“My parents told me I was going to college, but I wanted out, until I heard a Vietnam veteran explain how a lot of people could not help themselves.”

“I realized I was not the sharpest knife in the drawer, so I worked my tail off to be a good lawyer and a good Justice. I only looked for applause from my conscience.”

Attorney and activist, fighting injustice locally and internationally

Part onePart two Part three

“I did not feel discrimination until 9/11. Everything changed with 9/11.”

“I’m passionate about representing people what are charged in that I consider myself to be a patriot to fight for the little guy.”

Executive director of Wildlife for All

Part one Part two Part three

“There’s no question that we’re worse off today than decades ago. The life support systems of the planet are unraveling due to human activities.”

“The extinction crisis is an existential threat. We’re losing populations of species at a more rapid rate than if humans were not on the scene.”

Appellate attorney and legislative advocate

Part onePart two

“We need a prison system that looks nothing like our present system.”

“The system is not perfect because it’s run by humans. Add to that there are far too few resources given to indigent defense.”

Former Supreme Court Justice, present trial lawyer-turned 83-year-old team roper

Part onePart twoPart three

“A rule of life I learned from Justice Seth Montgomery – I’m going to do as much as I can for as long as I can.”

“I’m concerned that the practice of law has lost some of its humanity. Lawyers are too prone to win at all cost with the ends justifying the means.”

Powerhouse capital lawyer

Part onePart two

“By doing this work you are making a political statement on behalf of the disenfranchised and the despised.”

“The first questions I ask is ‘what color is the victim?’”

Former Speaker of NM House of Representatives

Part onePart twoPart three

“I grew up in a bakery. I learned how to deal with people. Both Democrats and Republicans ate at the restaurant. They fought each other and battled hard, but they remained friends.”

“I learned to deal with the individual, not the party.”

Guantanamo lawyer and teacher of lawyers

Part onePart two Part three

“At the end of the day, criminal defense is about commitment – commitment to the client.”

“My advice to young advocates is to take the work seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously.”

“The mistakes I most regret are not of being too aggressive, but of being silent.”

Prison reform advocate – 1st appearance
{Audio only}

Part onePart two

“The torture of solitary is less apparent in a prison than in a jail, but it’s no less torturous.”

“Try to help people do better and in doing do the problems of incarcerations start to drift away, to dissipate. Everyone – guards, inmates, and the community – is helped by a shift from a militaristic to cooperative approach.”

Policy director, The Innocence Project

Part onePart twoPart three

“We’ve created a system of de-humanization, a system designed to not see a full person but to assign a number.”

“Using a volume-based system is a big problem; it’s a set up for not the best narrative. A goal is to reduce the criminal justice footprint.”

“Conditions of confinement are effectively torture.”

Executive director, ACLU of New Mexico

Part onePart twoPart three

“While decrying cancel culture, the GOP is cancelling education on critical race theory. This is terribly unjust.”

“It’s not all that clear about who’s going to be writing the history books.”

New Mexico State Senator

Part onePart twoPart three

“We can’t keep teachers with what we’re paying them.”

“It’s a man’s world but we women are starting to make a difference because of the numbers of us in the Legislature. We have a much better caucus. Diversity is getting better.”

“I’m looking for women of color for my appointments.”

Child of the 60’s, attorney to the stars and the disadvantaged

Part onePart two

“It’s critically important that we stand up – in courtrooms, board rooms and bar rooms – against injustice when it raises its ugly head. I want my mark to be that I stand up for righteousness.”

“The United States has built an incredibly efficient railroad called the criminal justice system. We need to slow it down.”

Member of the NM House of Representatives

Part onePart twoPart three

“My vote to repeal the unconstitutional abortion law brought criticism from my party. That, combined with the events of January 6th at the United States Capitol, sent me on a discouraging course about my party.”

“I’m a caucus of one, the Independent Minority Caucus. I don’t find myself wishing to caucus with either party.”

Long-time editor of the Albuquerque Journal

Part onePart twoPart three
Abridged interview

“We try to report fair and balanced information so people can make decisions and separate our opinions from reporting… We are careful with our large megaphone.”

“Many people have an interesting story to tell; let’s fact it, we’re all a mixed bag.”

“We may disagree a bunch, but I respect the role of institutions, including the defense bar.”

Just a country boy and death penalty attorney

Part onePart twoPart three

“I was taught not to pick on someone smaller or weaker. I’ve never felt the system was fair to those less fortunate than we are.”

“To defend a federal murder case I was paid more than for 20 state capital cases.”

Turned acting into training for lawyers

Part onePart twoPart three

“Theatre is very similar to law; the core of what we’re doing is to tell a story to move our audience to a different place.”

“If we’re going to have an adversary system, we must fund it so advocates can do their job and make a difference.”

President, Rio Grande Foundation

Part onePart twoPart three

“My political economic philosophy is laissez-faire.”

“I take issue with the idea that there is a massive gender wage gap in this country. …it is not a thing, broadly speaking.”

“Decisions about schools and COVID were made for political reasons, not for the safety of children.”

Beloved resident of Mesilla and elder statesman for NM

Part onePart twoPart three

“One must have a certain modesty about them.”

“I was not a good campaigner; I always stopped to talk about the person’s entire family.”

“Politicians were more respectful to each other than they are now.”

“If you call taking care of the poor and the sick liberal, then I’m liberal.”