Unstoppable force for justice.
January 30, 2012 12:40 PM   Subscribe

Gigi Gordon dies at 54; crusading criminal defense lawyer. 'Defense attorney Gigi Gordon, who was hailed as 'an unstoppable force for justice,' battled corrupt police and overzealous prosecutors to free dozens of prisoners who had been wrongfully convicted.''"She changed the way criminal law was practiced in this county," said her ex-husband, Andrew M. Stein, who also is a criminal defense lawyer. "People don't realize how many people she set free."'

'Known for her fierce determination to fix what she saw as the flagrant ills of the criminal justice system, Gordon is credited with bringing attention to the misuse of jailhouse informants that led to many wrongful convictions.

Partly in response to her advocacy, legislative reforms to prevent jailhouse informants from being rewarded for false testimony began about a decade ago and were tightened last year.'

'Gordon worked quietly in the background to challenge the convictions of those set up by corrupt investigators during the Los Angeles Police Department's Rampart Division scandal in the late 1990s and the widespread misuse of jailhouse informants during the 1980s and '90s, Stein said.

"And it was never about her — it was always about the clients," he said, describing Gordon as a "stealth warrior" for the rights of the poor and powerless.'

'Gordon's commitment to sparing criminal defendants from trumped-up charges and rigged evidence led a Los Angeles judge to appoint her to represent more than 2,000 suspected victims of the Rampart corruption scandal in which police were accused of widespread abuses.

The conviction in 2000 of three LAPD officers on corruption charges stemming from the Rampart scandal represented a watershed moment for justice in the city, Gordon said at the time and proclaimed, "In Los Angeles, a badge is no longer a shield" against accountability for cops who break the law.'

She 'committed suicide after struggling with multiple sclerosis and depression.' 'Gordon, who had been sinking deeper into despair over the last year as her debilitating illness eroded her intellect and medication failed to alleviate her pain, overdosed on pills and died Jan. 18 at a Brentwood park, her friends said.'
posted by VikingSword (20 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Pendragon at 12:51 PM on January 30, 2012

posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:51 PM on January 30, 2012

posted by BrotherCaine at 12:55 PM on January 30, 2012

posted by biddeford at 1:08 PM on January 30, 2012

posted by Crabby Appleton at 1:19 PM on January 30, 2012

posted by CynicalKnight at 1:23 PM on January 30, 2012

posted by lalochezia at 1:49 PM on January 30, 2012

The world needs more people like her, now more than ever.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:58 PM on January 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

posted by dr_dank at 2:00 PM on January 30, 2012

posted by plep at 2:11 PM on January 30, 2012

posted by karmiolz at 2:43 PM on January 30, 2012

damn. an unsung hero. an inspiration.

"She was a great researcher, a great co-counsel. She was tireless, and she was the one lawyer you could call at 9 or 10 at night and she would never say she couldn't talk. She'd want to know the whole story. She just really loved the law."

posted by yarly at 2:53 PM on January 30, 2012

posted by jeffburdges at 2:58 PM on January 30, 2012

posted by oneswellfoop at 3:27 PM on January 30, 2012

She sounds like the kind of lawyer I wanted to be. Wish the fates had treated her more kindly.

posted by Currer Belfry at 3:32 PM on January 30, 2012

posted by likeatoaster at 5:28 PM on January 30, 2012

posted by mdrosen at 5:40 PM on January 30, 2012

posted by Lina Lamont at 7:10 PM on January 30, 2012

Thought about her death all day since reading this post in the morning. Just heartbreaking that she was truly heroic and yet at the end of her life found inadequate relief from the physical pain she suffered..."medication failed to alleviate her pain" Are pain meds still so primitive?

Awful she got MS and that she died so young. The world is a better place that she was born. My condolences to Madelynn Kopple, who took care of Gigi Gordon in the last year of her life.
posted by nickyskye at 1:14 AM on January 31, 2012

Odd that she is not on Wikipedia. She sounds awesome.
posted by Goofyy at 10:23 PM on February 1, 2012

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