R.I.P. Sam Dash

Legendary lawyer, law professor and civil rights advocate Sam Dash has died. He was 79.

Samuel Dash, 79, the chief counsel of the Senate Watergate Committee whose televised interrogation into the secret audiotaping system at the White House ultimately led to President Richard M. Nixon's resignation, died of multiple organ failure May 29 at Washington Hospital Center.

....Mr. Dash's 53-year legal career touched some of the most important moments in American, and sometimes world, politics. He dramatically resigned in 1998 after four years as the ethics counselor to independent prosecutor Kenneth W. Starr, charging that Starr became an "aggressive advocate" of impeaching President Clinton. He said Starr exceeded the independent counsel's mandate, which was part of a statute that he helped draft.

....One of his daughters, Judi Dash, said yesterday that her father, who had been in Washington Hospital Center since January because of declining health, had been able to see a copy of his next book, "The Intruders: Unreasonable Searches and Seizures from King John to John Ashcroft," which will be published in June. "It deals with the violations of individual rights and the Patriot Act," she said. He was being wheeled from dialysis to his room as they discussed President Bush's State of the Union speech in which he urged continuation of the Patriot Act. "He then lectured the orderlies on the dangerousness of the Patriot Act," she said. While in the hospital, he planned another book, to be called "The Interrogators," on the rights of witnesses, she said.

The Philadelpia Inquirer has this lengthy obituary .

We last heard Professor Dash speak when he delivered an impassioned luncheon speech at the March, 2003 Gideon Symposium in Washington, DC, sponsored by NLADA and NACDL. Georgia State Law Professor Ellen Podgor reminds us that his closing words were:

Gideon was a beginning. It was a brave beginning. Read Gideon again, the wonderful language of Justice Black as to why it was time to overrule Betts v. Brady and why it is that everybody should be able to have a defense lawyer and, as we say, a competent defense lawyer with resources. This can't be America without it. And I think what we have to do is teach or at least declare or confront the present administration with what are the true values, American values, which they like to speak so much about. Those are the values epressed in the Bill of Rights of the nited States Constitution.Thank you."

Sam Dash was the second president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, from 1959-1960. He was a true hero to the defense bar.

R.I.P. Sam Dash.

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