Case No. 1069 lives on in memory of Lockney's law students

The case of 1069 (pronounced one, zero, six, nine) came to light once again during homecoming celebrations at UND. Tom Lockney was at the center of the reminiscences.

The case of 1069 (pronounced one, zero, six, nine) came to light once again during homecoming celebrations at UND. Tom Lockney was at the center of the reminiscences.

Lockney, longtime UND law professor, was honored at a retirement reception during homecoming. While his list of accomplishments is long and distinguished, some of his former students like most to think of 1069. It all started when a student of Lockney's, Craig Hunter, approached him about representing an individual who wanted to legally change his name to the number 1069. With the help of former student Tim Geck, they appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court. The court issued an opinion that didn't give a clear answer.

"While they rejected the statutory name change procedure, they said 1069 could use the informal name change rules," Lockney said. And he carried a copy of the decision to prove his name was just that -- 1069.

The case drew national attention, and Lockney and 1069 were invited to appear on Tom Snyder's "Tomorrow Show." Lockney recalls wearing a pinstripe suit and trying to look and act like a legal scholar and lawyer. He explained the theory is there is not an unlimited right to change your name -- but it basically is free speech and right to privacy guaranteed by the constitution. Then, with all this eloquence, he dropped a word bomb. And it ended up with his claim to fame being that he was bleeped on a national television.

To this day, former students chortle over the show. Robin Huseby, an attorney in Valley City, N.D., and director of the Indigent Defense Commission, remembers sitting in the local watering hole in Grand Forks, known as Frenchy's, and waiting to see the show. Lockney was supposed to be on before 1 a.m., and it kept getting on closing time.


She remembers Frenchy wanting to kick them out and she and her friends staging sort of a coup so they could stay until their professor's segment came on. When it did, Lockney talked about the famous case and then dropped the word bomb. Huseby says, "He was a rock star in class after that."

Bruce Quick, an attorney in Fargo, says his memory is the same. "The reason we had to stay so late is that Tom Snyder thought Tom's client was too strange to put on the show and waited until the very end of the program to bring him on."

Quick says Lockney was frustrated by then and out came the graphic language.

"On a more serious side," Quick says, "Tom taught at UND for nearly 40 years which must be a record for the law school. Most of the attorneys in North Dakota have had him as an instructor. His criminal procedure class was my favorite in law school and helped convince me to practice criminal law as a career. He was instrumental in starting the Norway law school exchange program with UND that continued for more than 25 years. He also started the flag football game with the med school that continues to this day."

Quick now teaches the criminal justice class that he took from Lockney.

Lockney joined UND's law school faculty in 1971, and his work here was described in the winter edition of the Law School Review. It credits Lockney for continually looking for ways to inject real world examples into the curriculum. He served as a municipal judge in nearby Larimore, Northwood and Emerado, N.D., for almost 30 years. And it gave the professor real-life situations to explain to his students.

People tend to forget professional accomplishments, but they always remember the colorful events.

Lockney is well-remembered for coaching the annual Malpractice Bowl football game between the law school and medical School.


He was affectionately known as "Knute" to his players and accepted the challenge to lead the law squad into battle against the "Medheads."

Now retired and living in the Twin Cities, speculation around here is that he is probably playing music in some Irish pub.

Quilts and books

At week's end: North Star Quilters Guild is sponsoring a conference beginning today at the Alerus Center featuring designer Judy Niemeyer. ... "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" is running at UND's Burtness Theatre. ... "The Odd Couple" will be at Fire Hall Theatre through Saturday. ... Red River High School has "12 Angry Jurors" on stage through Sunday. ... The Northern Plains History Conference is in town, and North Dakota State High School Soccer championships are scheduled this weekend here. ... The seventh annual Applefest will be held Saturday at First Presbyterian Church. ... And the final Art and Wine Walk for the season is set for Saturday downtown. ... The Big Read is off and running, centering on the book about the Vietnam era "The Things They Carried."

Cheerful people

Cheerful people of the week: Kathleen McLennan and Terry Dullum.

Reach Hagerty at or (701) 772-1055.

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