The Honorable “Rusty” Ladd


Loss of Justice

With the tragic and untimely passing of my dear friend and mentor, the Honorable Larry “Rusty” Ladd, my first emotion is an overwhelming sense of loss.

Not just the loss of someone that I admired and revered, but the loss to our justice system and the loss to everyone that would have heard his passionate message of freedom.

His Love of Freedom

Rusty’s love of freedom wasn’t just confined to his role on the Bench; he also loved the freedom he felt on his motorcycle.

Those that know Rusty know that this isn’t his first motorcycle wreck.

Some years ago, he was driving through an intersection here in Lubbock and again, someone pulled out in front of him. After this wreck, his wife Irene said, “no more motorcycles.” Actually, in his version, those were her first words on his hospital bed and he didn’t blame her one bit.

Some years later, he started getting the motorcycle bug again, but he didn’t dare tell Irene. One day he and Irene were sitting at a red light and beside them a biker pulls up on an old Harley.

According to Rusty, the biker looked like he was on his way out of town with a bedroll strapped to the back. Rusty looked out on this biker, with what must’ve been a longing stare like a caged bird next to a window, because Irene put her hand on his and said, “It’s time.”

She knew how much Rusty loved to ride and she knew how much he loved that freedom. She told Rusty that he could get another motorcycle, as soon as the kids were graduated and off to college.

Mourn but Honor

I can’t help but mourn the loss of a personal hero, but I have to remind myself that he’s in a better place now. If he saw me carrying on the way I have these past few days, I know he’d just probably look at me over his glasses with his sharp gaze and wry smile and tell me that there are better things I could do with my time such as feeding the homeless.

He’d probably tell me to have a steak for him at Cagle’s, and ask me to remember the things he taught me about people and about how we should never lose sight of them in our application of the law.

So even though all I want to do is mourn his passing, I’ll do my best to honor his memory by applying his message as I progress in my career. Although it is of little consolation, I do take some solace in the fact that he died doing something that he loved; we should all be so lucky.

Rest in Peace my friend, and I’ll see you at the next docket call.

–Authored by Matthew L. Harris, Esq.,

 Matthew Harris Law, PLLC

1001 Main Street, Suite 200, Lubbock, Texas, 79401-3309

Tel: (806) 702-4852 | Fax: (800) 985-9479

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