Superstar Lawyer Johnnie Cochran Dies

  1. Superstar Lawyer Johnnie Cochran Dies
    Mar 29, 6:35 PM (ET)
    By GREG RISLING


    LOS ANGELES (AP) - Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., who became a legal superstar after helping clear O.J. Simpson during a sensational murder trial in which he uttered the famous quote "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit," died Tuesday. He was 67.

    Cochran died of a brain disorder in Los Angeles, said law partner Randy McMurray.

    "Certainly, Johnnie's career will be noted as one marked by celebrity cases and clientele," his family said in a statement. "But he and his family were most proud of the work he did on behalf of those in the community."

    With his colorful suits and ties, his gift for courtroom oratory and a knack for coining memorable phrases, Cochran was a vivid addition to the pantheon of great American barristers.

    The "if it doesn't fit" phrase would be quoted and parodied for years afterward. It derived from a dramatic moment during which Simpson tried on a pair of bloodstained "murder gloves" to show jurors they did not fit. Some legal experts called it the turning point in the trial.

    Soon after, jurors found the Hall of Fame football star not guilty of the 1994 slayings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

    For Cochran, Simpson's acquittal was the crowning achievement in a career notable for victories, often in cases with racial themes. He was a black man known for championing the causes of black defendants. Some of them, like Simpson, were famous, but more often than not they were unknowns.

    "The clients I've cared about the most are the No Js, the ones who nobody knows," said Cochran, who proudly displayed copies in his office of the multimillion-dollar checks he won for ordinary citizens who said they were abused by police.

    "People in New York and Los Angeles, especially mothers in the African-American community, are more afraid of the police injuring or killing their children than they are of muggers on the corner," he once said.

    By the time Simpson called, the byword in the black community for defendants facing serious charges was: "Get Johnnie."
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    wow i did not know he was sick.....
  4. by   webblarsk
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    wow i did not know he was sick.....
    Me neither!
  5. by   smk1
    just signed onto yahoo and saw this. I had no idea he was ill! This is very sad, he still had so much he could have accomplished.
  6. by   dphrn
    I was very surprised when I heard this tonight. The report I heard was it was a brain tumor, which he had known about for quite some time. I guess he learned how to keep things from the media.
  7. by   SharonH, RN
    This was sad news at our house. His daughter is a local TV reporter and we are all pretty sad for her.
  8. by   CHATSDALE
    sad news...a self made man
  9. by   pickledpepperRN
    His son is a California Highway Patrolman.

    Years ago I participated in a demonstration regarding real estate ads in an upscale area stating only non Jewish whites could buy a home. No kidding, it was on the signs!

    Later Johnny Cochran owned a home on that block.

    He defended some at no cost. A hospital workers son was tried for a burglary that happened when he was at work.
  10. by   Mkue
    Cochran was a very good defense attorney and very smart man, although I felt that his client OJ Simpson was guilty...so Cochran did an excellent job defending a guilty man. IMO
  11. by   dphrn
    Listening to many of his peers since yesterday, he was very well liked and respected. He seemed to be a very loyal and good man.

    It is unfortunate that he will be remembered mainly for the OJ case.
  12. by   mattsmom81
    Quote from Mkue
    Cochran was a very good defense attorney and very smart man, although I felt that his client OJ Simpson was guilty...so Cochran did an excellent job defending a guilty man. IMO
    Cochran is now facing, IMHO, our ultimate judge. I see some here revere him. I do not. This is America and disagreement is allowed.
  13. by   jnette
    I was shocked to hear this news last night. I wonder how he managed to keep this quiet.. never even knew he was sick. So sudden..

    He was an excellent attorney and from all I hear, a really fine human being who will be sorely missed.

    May he rest in peace.
  14. by   dphrn
    Quote from mattsmom81
    Cochran is now facing, IMHO, our ultimate judge. I see some here revere him. I do not. This is America and disagreement is allowed.
    You are right...this is America and disagreement is allowed and defense lawyers will always be needed. OJ will be the one to face our ultimate judge. But that is an old topic!

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