Lynn "Buck" Compton was a real life World War II hero immortalized in the HBO series Band of Brothers. He is also an American attorney and judge, now retired from the California Court of Appeals.

While at UCLA, he played baseball with Jackie Robinson and football in the 1943 Rose Bowl. But shortly after that football game, he enlisted and joined the paratroopers. Assigned to Easy Company in December 1943, he was dropped behind German enemy lines on D-Day (June 6, 1944). There, he earned a Silver Star for bravery in taking out a 4-gun German artillery location, 4-gun battery firing at the disembarking Americans at Utah Beach some miles away. Compton's baseball training came in handy: his marksmanship in throwing grenades was a large feature of the successful assault on the German battery, one of which he took out by himself.

He stayed with Easy Company when they were deployed to Operation Market Garden, where he was wounded. He tried to discourage rescuers for fear they would be hit by enemy fire but five of his fellow-soldiers dragged him to safety.

Although not fully recovered, he insisted on rejoining his Company for the Battle of the Bulge. He survived the winter at Bastogne. When he discovered two of his soldiers badly injured by enemy fire, he was disabled from combat.

Lynn Buck Compton

After the war, he got a job as a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department and finished law school at Loyola. He was admitted to the California bar in 1949 and got a job as an LA district attorney, a position he held between 1951 and 1970.

In that capacity, he gained fame for prosecuting Sirhan Sirhan who assassinated Robert Kennedy in 1968. Sirhan tried to mount a defence based on mental capacity and producing a sympathetic psychiatrist which prompted Compton to famously remark:

"I think the law became an ass the day it let the psychiatrists get their hands on it."

Compton and his team of defence attorneys tore the defence apart and Shirhan was sentenced to the death penalty, saved only by the State's 1972 commutation of all death row inmates to life sentences.

With Compton at the head of the district attorney's table at trial, and while under oath, Sirhan first swore that he could not recall shooting Kennedy. But later, he rose and admitted to the assassination, denounced his mental capacity defence and asked to be executed.

In 1970, then-governor of California, Ronald Reagan appointed Compton to the bench of the California Court of Appeal, where he served until his retirement in 1990.

In 1984, he wrote an opinion in  the difficult case of Elizabeth Bouvia, still quoted in the law as it relates to euthanasia. Ms Bouvia wanted the right to cease forced feeding at a time of her choosing.

Compton was part of a courageous and avant garde California Court of Appeal decision which affirmed a person's right to refuse medical treatment even if that treatment appeared to be necessary to sustain her life.

Mr. Justice Lynn ComptonJustice Compton wrote:

"The right to die is an integral part of our right to control our own destiny so long as the rights of others are not affected. That right should, in my opinion, include the ability to enlist the assistance from others, including the medical profession, in making death as painless and quick as possible."

"Whatever choice Elizabeth Bouvia may ultimately make, I can only hope that her courage, persistence and example will cause our society to deal realistically with the plight of those unfortunate individuals to whom death beckons as a welcome respite from suffering."

In 2008, he published his memoirs entitled Call of Duty and lived in Washington State until February 2012 when the world lost a great man.

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