Categotry Archives: Law

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Roy Lucas

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Categories: Artists, Law

Spurgeon LeRoy Lucas Jr., a civil rights attorney who helped legalize abortion in the United States, died on Nov. 3 from a heart attack. He was 61.
Lucas earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of South Carolina, and a law degree from New York University. After graduation, he founded the James Madison Constitutional Law Institute, a legal organization aimed at advancing a woman’s right to have an abortion.
In 1969, Lucas filed the first abortion-rights lawsuit, a move that put him in high demand from others seeking representation. He was best known for working with a committee of attorneys on the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case, Roe v. Wade.
Historians say Lucas was the first person to articulate how the 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut decision, which established constitutional privacy protection for the use of birth control by married couples, could be legally extended to include a woman’s right to an abortion.
Lucas retired in 1986 in order to focus on his passion for oil painting. He spent his final years writing about painting techniques for magazines; he was doing research in Prague when he died.

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Arthur Barnett

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Categories: Law

Arthur G. Barnett, an attorney who spent nearly half a century fighting to win compensation for Japanese Americans who were interned during World War II, died on Oct. 23 from a stroke. He was 96.
Born in Scotland, Barnett moved to Seattle with his family when he was 12 years old. He earned a law degree from the University of Washington in 1932 then spent five years in the military where he became a Quaker and pacifist.
When UW student Gordon Hirabayashi defied the curfews placed on Japanese Americans during World War II, and refused to register for internment, Barnett represented him in court. Although Hirabayashi v. United States was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1943, the case was vacated 34 years later by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Barnett spent most of his life representing victims of the American camps, and lobbying Congress to approve compensation for their pain and suffering. In 1988, that compensation was granted. President Ronald Reagan signed a bill offering a formal apology and gave $20,000 payments to each of the 65,000 survivors.
For his efforts, Barnett received the William O. Douglas Award of the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, and the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association’s Courage Award. His papers about the Japanese American incarceration period reside at the University of Washington library.

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Carmen Accordino

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Categories: Law, Musicians

Carmen Accordino, a Miami lawyer who also worked as a jazz trombonist, died on Oct. 18 from complications of pneumonia. He was 74.
Accordino received a trombone as a gift from his parents; he mastered the instrument by the time he was 10. As a teenager, he played in Philadelphia nightclubs to save up enough money to pay for college.
Accordino graduated from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and received his law degree from Temple University. After serving four years in the Army’s counterintelligence corps, he took a job with the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C.
When the S.E.C. transferred him to Miami in 1960, Accordino delved into the local music scene. He played with the Sammy Spear Orchestra for “The Jackie Gleason Show,” and performed alongside many famous musicians, including Tommy Dorsey, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr. and Eydie Gorme. In 1995, Accordino was invited to play with the country’s top 100 trombonists at a Las Vegas benefit concert.

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Roxana Cannon Arsht

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Categories: Law

rarsht.jpgRoxana Cannon Arsht, Delaware’s first female judge, died on Oct. 3 from complications of a stroke. She was 88.
Arsht graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and math from Goucher College, then received a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She was the fifth woman to be admitted to the Delaware Bar.
In 1961, Arsht became a master of the Family Court. In this position, she spent nine years hearing cases and handing down opinions –

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Charles Byrd

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Categories: Law

Charles Edward Byrd, the first elected black sheriff in California, died on Sept. 23. Cause of death was not released. He was 56.
Byrd was born and raised in Weed, Calif. He attended the College of the Siskiyous with hopes of becoming a civil engineer, but his plans changed when the chief of the Weed Police Department asked him to become a reserve officer. Byrd switched his major to criminal justice and joined the force two years later. In 1975, he became the town’s police chief.
At 39, Byrd defeated Kenneth Jourdan in the sheriff’s race, and became the first African American ever elected sheriff in California. He served four terms as the sheriff-coroner of Siskiyou County, which at the time of his election was only 1.5 percent black.
During his tenure, Byrd helped create the Siskiyou County Inter-Agency Narcotic Task Force, the Detective Unit and the department’s K-9 program. He also served as the president of the California State Sheriff’s Association.

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