Arthur Kinoy, civil rights attorney, founded law center in Noho, 82

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Volume 73, Number 21 | September 24 – 30, 2003


Arthur Kinoy, civil rights attorney,

founded law center in Noho, 82

Arthur Kinoy, one of the civil rights lawyers who defended the Chicago Seven in 1969 and a founder of the Center for Constitutional Rights whose headquarters are in Noho, died Sept. 19 at his home in Montclair, N.J., at the age of 82.

A defender of many controversial clients, including Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for whom he filed their last appeal before their execution, and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., in his successful fight against expulsion from Congress in 1969, he was involved in many legal landmark cases.

In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld his brief that President Richard Nixon had no inherent power to wiretap domestic political organizations. With a group of lawyers who worked on civil rights in Mississippi in the 1960s, he founded the Center for Constitutional Rights, which won a settlement this month requiring the New York Police Department to report every stop and search instance to the center and other defense attorneys.

He retired as a law professor from Rutgers University in 1991.

Rosie Mendez, a Democratic district leader in the East Village who studied with him in Rutgers before he retired, said, “He was the people’s lawyer, a mentor to many students. He had been involved in practically every civil rights case for 30 years. He was a brilliant legal mind and an entertaining teacher.”