- Swedish Police To Question Julian Assange At Ecuadorian Embassy
Comedian Lenny Bruce Life And First Amendment Trial Remembered
The great 1950s comedian and rebellious social satirist Lenny Bruce died 50 years ago this month accidently from a morphine overdose. He was certainly driven to death by the various trials prosecutors put him through said Martin Garbis, the young attorney who in 1964 unsuccessfully represented him in a crucial obscenity trial in New York City. Bruce was a groundbreaker, transcending the conventional subjects for humor at every opportunity. He was concerned with vanguard ideas in the mid 50s black power, prison reform, the rights of convicts, the plight of Native Americans, religious and political frauds like Billy Graham and his friend President Richard Nixon, and the right to abortion. He was not taken in by US Cold War ideology. He thought Cuba, that the United States Navy,at the better claim to Guantánamo Bay. He refused to support radio free Europe, thinking it hypocritical given the racism and corruption in America. And he said – the ultimate heresy – that of communism cooked for you “solid”. Richard Kuh, who as an assistant District Attorney in Manhattan prosecuted Bruce for obscenity in 1964 thought that Bruce crystallized rebellion. He provided not only bone searing talk, but fanfare and a rallying point.
Lenny Bruce was indeed the spiritual father of the cultural radicalization of the 60s. New York Governor George Pataki pardoned Lenny Bruce in 2003 stating that his decision, nearly 4 decades after the conviction, was “a declaration of New York’s commitment to upholding the First Amendment.
Guest – Attorney Martin Garbus represented Lenny Bruce. Martin is one of the country’s top trial lawyers, as well as an author and sought-after speaker. Time magazine called him “legendary” and “one of the greatest trial lawyers in the country”. The Guardian, declared him “one of the worlds finest trial lawyers”. An expert at every level of civil and criminal trial, and litigation, he has appeared before the United States Supreme Court in leading First Amendment cases, and his cases have established precedents there and in other courts throughout the country. A case he filed, Goldberg v. Kelly, that resulted in a favorable 5-4 Supreme Court opinion was described by Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan as “arguably the most important due process case of the 20th Century”. Martin Garbus has written seven books, hundreds of articles, and has taught that the law schools at Columbia and Yale Universities.
Immigrant Children Forced To Act As Their Own Lawyers
Each year, thousands of children are forced to act as their own lawyers in United States immigration courts with no one to explain the chargest against them.. They are thrust against trained federal prosecutors in seeking asylum or other types of relief in proceedings that most adults find often impossible to understand much less navigate effectively.
In contrast to individuals charged with criminal offenses, such as homicide or kidnapping, the government has no obligation to provide court-appointed legal defense for those who cannot afford an attorney in civil cases. Many children in immigration court hail from Central America where they escaped poverty and especially perilous conditions.
Having an attorney can mean the difference between being deported—often putting their lives at risk—and remaining in this country. One survey found that more than half the children representing themselves were deported, contrasted with only one in 10 who were provided legal representation.
A class action lawsuit filed by the ACLU and other civil rights groups is challenging this gross systemic failure.
Guest – Attorney Lauren Dasse, Executive Director of The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project. Lauren has been representing young people facing deportation for years, and last year gave 7,500 know-your-rights presentations to children in Arizona shelters. Lauren Dasse grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and earned her B.A. in Latin American Studies and Sociology from the University of Arizona. She received her J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the CUNY Law Review. She has interned with the Center for Constitutional Rights and Make the Road New York, and participated in the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic at CUNY Law.