Monday Profile: Mark Hugger

Mark Hugger has practiced criminal defense in Washtenaw County and southeastern Michigan for 17 years. Law is his third career, following short-lived attempts at rock and roll stardom and journalism. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their dogs OB and Sugar.

What would surprise people about your job? I concede that I have a high tolerance for bad behavior. But, it is far too easy to judge a criminal defendant without any consideration of the often fixable flaw that brought them into the system. The clients that I like on a personal level far outnumber those that I would shun.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? I have no clue what perfect happiness means, but I would never pass on the opportunity to walk in the woods with Jennifer and the dogs.

What is your greatest fear? The calendar.

What is the trait you hate most in others? A person's willingness to believe and disseminate anything that supports their point of view.

What is your most treasured possession? A battered copy of "Stones of Summer" by Dow Mossman, with a letter to me from the author. The book is a tragically under-read novel whose main character, Dawes Williams, is a Midwestern Holden Caulfield. I read it first while in high school and countless times since. At college in the late '70s, a friend and I planned a trip to Iowa to search for Mossman, who never published again, but we did not follow through. In 2002, Mark Moskowitz made an award-winning documentary, "Stone Reader," about his successful search for Dow Mossman. Moskowitz and I exchanged emails after I heard about the movie and some months later, I received the letter from Mossman.

It's 7 a.m. Monday. How are you feeling? Like taking a walk with the dogs that doesn't end until Friday afternoon.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Having long accepted that "virtue is a lack of sufficient temptation," I went to Wikipedia for some help on this question and found a long list. I suppose there is no virtue in being picky. So, if forced to choose, piety might be a virtue that has little meaning to me.

What's your greatest achievement? My cheese soufflé served for close friends on Memorial Day three years ago.

What would you say to your 16-year-old self? I wouldn't bother trying. That kid wouldn't listen anyway.

What would be your ideal job? Bass player for Lucinda Williams.

Favorite joke? If God didn't want us to eat cows, why did he make them out of meat?

What is something most people don't know about you? I am an online bridge addict. My parents taught my sister and me when we were very young and I played a little with an older woman from the neighborhood when I was in my 20s, mostly for the opportunity to drive her black Trans Am. Last Spring, when I was laid up with a badly sprained ankle, I found Bridge Base Online. I have played daily since.

If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be?

My father, my mother and my aunt. All of whom left too early because of health problems related to a lifetime of smoking cigarettes.

Favorite word? Savasansa.

What's one thing you can do now that you couldn't do 20 years ago? Make a credible brown sauce.

Favorite place to spend money?

My credit card receipts would show Whole Foods and Plum Market. But my favorite would be Huron Camera in Dexter.

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Where would you like to be when you're 90? Behind the wheel of a BMW M3 with a full head of hair and open road ahead.

Published: Mon, May 14, 2012

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