We lost one the brightest minds in law on Tuesday, March 29th. Johnie Cochran passed from a bout with a brain tumor and it was almost treated as an aside.
The signoff on my local newscast had the anchorman coming back from a story about an 83 year old lady who does what she can at the local firehouse trying to relieve tensions and give the boys what they may be missing at home and he then goes, "Oh yeah and Johnie Cochran is dead. Good Night and Stay Classy."
Cochran was a man that started out prosecuting in what was at the time the largest prosecuting attorneys office in the world, the L.A. District attorneys office, and quickly made his way to one of their lead roles. At that point they created a monster that would come back and bite them in the ARSE.
Fulfilling the internal need to serve a greater good, he started defending the rights of disadvantaged people. Having won 10 straight criminal defense cases against his old employer, he took the case of Geronimo Pratt. L.A. DA's office was not going to let him get passed them with this one. Right or wrong, Cochran was not going to win that case. So Pratt's innocence was of no consequence. Johnie was defending so innocent or not, the case had to be one of example. Cochran lost his first case, Pratt went to jail for life, and it has been discovered that tons of evidence that would have freed Pratt had been buried by the DA.
Johnie never the less was pole vaulted to a level of celebrity. But regardless of his station he still remained grounded, taking cases upon merit rather than dollars. As he defended 'The Glove' to the best of his ability, he also defended Reginald 'I got the Beatdown' Denny. He wowed the jury at the OJ trial when he spit, "If the Glove don't fit, you must acquit ..." As OJ faked as if the blood stained glove was too small for his hand.
The Cochran victories are the stuff legends are made of while the defeats were hardly noticed. So with his passing, we don't look at it as a defeat, but a home-going. Godspeed Johnie. We only regret that R. Kelly, Beanie Seigel, and Kobe Bryant could not retain you.