[Marxism] Sanford Katz obit

alan ginsberg aginsberg at lycos.com
Thu Oct 13 11:49:42 MDT 2005

Attorney Sanford Katz represented me and other students who were arrested and subjected
to academic disciplinary proceedings arising from a demonstration/sit-in at
City College of New York in 1967 or 1968.

from today's New York Times

Sanford M. Katz, a prominent civil rights lawyer who was part of the defense team that won a full acquittal in the celebrated Panther 21 conspiracy trial in 1971, died on Oct. 6 at his home in Manhattan. He was 75.

The cause was heart failure after a long illness, his companion, Judy Crichton, said.

Mr. Katz was known for representing unpopular defendants in politically charged cases. His most famous was set in motion in the late 1960's, when the New York Police Department planted undercover agents in the Black Panther Party. In 1969, 21 party members were indicted on charges that included conspiring to bomb various sites in New York - police stations, department stores and other public buildings - and to kill police officers.

Though only 13 defendants were eventually brought to trial, the group was known as the Panther 21. The case became a cause célèbre, moving Leonard Bernstein to hold a cocktail party for the group's legal defense in his elegant Park Avenue duplex.

The trial began on Sept. 8, 1970, and ran for eight months. On May 13, 1971, after deliberating for barely three hours, the jury acquitted the defendants on all counts. Sanford Martin Katz was born in the Bronx on Feb. 1, 1930. He received a bachelor's degree from New York University in 1952 and served in the Navy aboard a destroyer during the Korean War. Mr. Katz earned a law degree from Columbia in 1958 and in later years was a member of New York City's 18-B panel, which provides private lawyers to indigent defendants. 

Mr. Katz's two marriages ended in divorce. Besides Ms. Crichton, he is survived by three children: Alexandra, of Oslo; Nick, of Boston; and Christina Mastascusa of Raleigh, N.C.; and four grandchildren.


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