A immoderate lover of coffee, Judge Keith Giblin talked fast as he convened his federal magistrate court.
Wrist-shackled and glum, defendant after defendant shambled into the near-empty Beaumont courtroom to hear the bad news. All business, Giblin advised of rights, pledged to appoint defense lawyers and laid out the potential punishment for each offense - punishment, in some cases, entailing sequential life sentences and half a million dollars in fines.
The morning session, lasting less than an hour, reflected modern life at its rawest.
Few if any of the dour souls on the business end of the judicial system likely suspected that the baldish, pudgy middle-aged man on the bench - once a federal prosecutor - is revered in this tough East Texas industrial city as a gentle-hearted saver of souls.
Keith Giblin is a man of many robes.