Billy Ravkind, 81, Dallas Defense Lawyer to John Wiley Price, Dies

William "Billy" Ravkind, one of Dallas' most colorful, unconventional and sought-after attorneys who represented high-profile clients like Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, died on Sunday at his home in Fairview.Ravkind, who suffered from diabetes, had been receiving hospice care. He was 81.A memorial service will be held on Tuesday at 2:30 pm at Temple Emanu-El, 8500 Hillcrest Rd., in the Stern Chapel.Ravkind was still representing Price in the months leading up to and immediately following the commissioner's 2014 federal indictment on bribery charges, even though he was wheelchair-bound at the time. It was the end of a five-decade career in law, mostly in criminal defense."I lost a real Warrior and friend today," Price wrote Sunday on his Facebook page. "Billy Ravkind was the epitome of the fabled Southern Gentleman lawyer. He was wise, witty and wonderfully equipped for his practice and profession. A great loss!!!"Ravkind used humor to appeal to judges and juries, and he specialized in unorthodox tactics that infuriated his opponents. He's been described as inventive and unconventional. He loved to be on stage, and courtroom trials provided him with a platform for his talents. There were plenty of opportunities for dramatic effect.During his closing argument in a trial years ago, Ravkind grabbed a squirt gun that the judge kept. He pointed it to his head and dropped to his knees to make a point about witness coercion.Early in his career, Ravkind wore a cowboy hat and boots to trial, which he hoped would be attention-getters. They were, especially in places like Detroit, where he was greeted as "Tex."Paul Coggins, a fellow defense lawyer and former U.S. attorney in Dallas, said Ravkind would not shy away from taking cases with overwhelming evidence against the client. Even with hopeless cases, Ravkind's folksy humor and antics would keep the jury deliberating longer than expected, he said."He was a court jester," Coggins said. "The courthouse will be a duller place without Billy around."Coggins described Ravkind in 1992 as "probably the most unpredictable lawyer I've ever met." On Monday, Coggins said he stands by that description.  Continue reading...

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