Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar Remembers Past President Murray J. Janus
Washington, DC (January 26, 2013) – Richmond, Va., attorney and Past
President (1981-82) and Life Member of the National Association of Criminal
Defense Lawyers (NACDL) Murray J. Janus passed away overnight. Janus was also a
former president of the Richmond Bar Association and the Richmond Criminal Bar
Association, as well as a past chair of the Virginia State Bar’s Criminal Law
Section. The Association remembers Murray with immense gratitude for his
leadership of the nation’s criminal defense bar and his lifelong commitment to
the principles and values that define NACDL.
NACDL’s President Steven D.
Benjamin, also from Richmond, said “Murray Janus was
the epitome of a criminal defense lawyer and the model of a dignified
professional for me and all who knew him. He taught us by his example the
importance of intellect, hard work, and knowledge in the
representation of our clients. He made us better lawyers. He was a
great and caring friend. His mentorship and strength guided us through the
challenge of practicing the most difficult work in the law. He will be missed
by his many friends and colleagues, but his influence on generations of lawyers
will be forever felt and remembered."
Upon being sworn in as NACDL President at the 1981 annual meeting of
the Association at the Hotel Bonaventure in Montreal, Quebec, Janus pledged to
continue to make NACDL a growing, vibrant organization committed its role as
“Liberty’s Last Champion.” And he most certainly did. He missed no opportunity
to remind America’s criminal defense lawyers of the importance of NACDL’s
public education efforts about the nature and importance of the defense
function in the criminal justice system. In his column in the January-February
1982 issue of The Champion, he
said that educating the public and the media is key to returning our society to
the proper framework, one in which “defendants would again be presumed to be
innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt[.]” Janus was also very
concerned about the erosion of Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights, warning back
in 1982 that “[i]f we sit silent and do nothing while the exclusionary rule is
abolished throughout the land, we not only will have helped set the law of
civil liberties back 25 years, but our children and their children will be the
poorer for it.”
“It’s a sad day for the nation’s criminal defense bar. We have lost a
great role model. The entire NACDL community extends its condolences to Murray
Janus’s family,” NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer said.
Contact: Ivan J. Dominguez, Director of Public Affairs & Communications, (202) 465-7662 or email@example.com.