The Gazette 1993

JAN/FEB 1993


Obituary - Vincent Hallinan

Hallinan was successfully prosecuted by the government for tax evasion in 1953, a charge some saw connected to his defence of Bridges. For this he served eighteen months in a federal penitentiary. To add insult to injury, the State Bar of California suspended him from practice for three years on foot of the tax conviction. Hallinan preferred not to talk about this period of his life. He soon battled his way back from adversity to continue, up until the time of his death, the campaign against injustice he had begun so many years before. He was bestowed with a suitable honour this year when the Northern California Trial Lawyers' Association named him Trial Lawyer of the Century. The memorial service for Vincent Hallinan, lawyer and pugilist, was attended by a huge gathering on October 17, 1992. It was fittingly held at the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union Hall in San Francisco. May he rest in peace. John G. Olden In the matter of Christopher Forde, Solicitor and in the matter of the Solicitors Acts 1954 and 1960 TAKE NOTICE THAT by Order of the High Court made on Thursday 14 January 1993, it was ordered that no banking company shall without leave of the High Court make any payment out of any banking account in the name of Christopher Forde or his Firm Christopher G. Forde & Co. carried on at 79 O'Connell Street, Ennis, Co. Clare or his sub office at Kildysart, Co. Clare. It was further ordered that the practising certificate of Christopher Forde be suspended. Patrick Joseph Connolly, Registrar of Solicitors N O T I CE The High Court

and was often inclined to use his fists to pummel his legal opponents in what he termed "out-of-court settlements." By one account he is reputed to have struck "at least 23 officers of the court" in his career. But Hallinan the brawler was also Hallinan the benefactor. In 1963, he persuaded the Supreme Court to quash the murder conviction of an innocent man who became the first person ever to be freed from California's death row. TWo years earlier Hallinan had responded to an ad placed by an impoverished woman in a local newspaper who offered to work for any attorney without pay for life in return for saving her husband from the gas chamber. No fee was ever exacted. Hallinan took on his most controversial case in 1949 against a backdrop of nationwide communist hysteria. "It was the perfect case," recalled his son Terence at a testemonial tribute to his father earlier this year, "where the client went free and the lawyer went to jail." Harry Bridges, the Australian-bom founder of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union and organiser of the infamous San Francisco waterfront strike of 1934, was accused of lying about his communist affiliations on taking his citizenship oath. His deportation trial was bound to be a political hot potato with repercussions for those publicly siding with Bridges. Hallinan's involvement incited scom from the right and later drew the attention of the FBI. Despite an intense and vigorous defence m heated proceedings, the government's charges were affirmed in the red-baiting climate of the day, only to be dismissed on appeal to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, Hallinan lost his own appeal of a finding of contempt stemming from the trial. He was sentenced to six months in pnson.

Irish-American "Trial Lawyer of the Century" Dies at 95 San Francisco, California - October 1 marked the death at age 95 of the celebrated Irish-American lawyer, Vincent Hallinan. Champion of the under-dog and called a lion in the courtroom for his ferocity, Hallinan leaves a legacy as one of the last great independent lawyers in America, a spokesman for social change; afraid of no one. During a legal career that spanned over seventy years, Vincent Hallinan earned a national reputation for his impressive legal skills and willingness to go to extremes in the furtherance of his clients' interests. He crusaded against court corruption, mounted brilliant defences in high profile murder cases and won record awards against corporations and insurance companies. His combative and often irreverent style was matched by his sharp wit. When a federal judge asked him whether by his actions he w as trying to show contempt for the court, he replied "No, Your Honour, I'm trying to hide it." Born in San Francisco in 1896 of Irish immigrant parents, his father from Ballingarry, Co. Limerick, his mother a Sheehan from West Cork, Hallinan once entered the political arena as an independent presidential candidate. He also sparred with J. Edgar Hoover, spent time in federal Prison and went all the way to the US Supreme Court with a suit, ultimately unsuccessful, alleging fraud on the part of the Catholic Church for expounding on the existence of heaven and hell. Hallinan possessed the toughness, cunning and determination required of a member of a poor minority to get ahead. While he played rugby well into his seventies, his real sporting love was boxing. A former boxing coach, he relished a good fight both in and out of the courtroom

Another set-back followed when

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