Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Senate Rejects Obama Nominee Linked to Abu-Jamal Case -

Thirty years ago I was local counsel to a big D.C. firm who represented a reviled cop-killer Thomas Trantino.  He had been approved for parole (maxing out) but in the interim the punishment for his crime had been made more severe. The state Supreme Court held that he had not been punished enough and sent him back to jail.  One afternoon I bumped into a friend - a former state Attorney General then head of the state Supreme Court's Disciplinary Review Board.  At the time I still had some ambitions in politics or for the bench.  I said to him "Jim - representation of Trantino will cost me".  He brushed it off "you were doing a job", he said.

His reaction was typical of lawyers.  Capital defense attorneys - like others who represent the despised - have long been held in high regard by the legal profession.  "A lawyer's representation of a client", RPC 1.2 (c) tells us "does not constitute an endorsement of the clients political, economic, social or moral views or activities".  One would hope, we know now in vain, that the United States Senate would appreciate that point.  Instead conservative Democrats from "red states" abandoned "Debo P. Adegbile, who headed the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund when it represented Mr. [Mumia] Abu-Jamal decades after his conviction, could not overcome a concerted campaign by Republicans, conservative activists and law enforcement organizations, still infuriated by the murder of Police Officer Daniel Faulkner." - gwc
Update: More detail at Legal Ethics Forum.   As a lawyers at the NAACP LDEF Adegbile filed briefs on behalf of Abu-Jamal alleging there had been racial discrimination in jury selection, and opposing reinstatement of the death penalty. - gwc
Senate Rejects Obama Nominee Linked to Abu-Jamal Case - "WASHINGTON — The long shadow of Mumia Abu-Jamal, whose trial for the killing of a Philadelphia police officer became an international cause célèbre, fell over the Senate on Wednesday as lawmakers from both parties rejected President Obama’s nominee to head the Justice Department’s civil rights division."

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