Friday, April 04, 2008

Ronald Eugene Pincham, dead at 82, leaves rich legacy in law, the judicial process and the community


(left to right) Atty. Andre Mandell Grant, Ill. Appellate Judge, ret. R. Eugene Pincham, Atty. Lewis Myers. This photo was taken by a Chicago Defender photographer (Rod) on the steps of the Defender at 2400 S. Michigan, its old location, in connection with a story on the Ryan Harris case.

R.Eugene Pincham was born in Chicago, Illinois on June 28, 1925. He died Thursday April 3, 2008 of cancer.
According to a bio on nationalbar.org Judge Pincham's parents divorced when he was seven months old. Reared in a single parent home in Athens, Limestone County, Alabama he attended Trinity School, a grammar and high school founded in Athens in 1866, by an abolitionist organization, the American Missionary Association, to educate the newly emancipated slaves.
Read more about what the nationalbar.org had to say about the life of Judge Pincham.
Read what the Chicago Tribune wrote and watch the video of what Attorney Andre Grant said, about Judge Pincham.
I met Judge Pincham as a crime reporter with the Chicago Daily Defender during the initial legal proceedings against the two little boys accused of murdering Ryan Harris. As it was told to me, he and Attorney Andre Grant, who was defending one of the pre-pubescent boys accused of the little girl's heinous murder, worked on the boy's defense together.
Apparently, Mr. Grant had trouble accessing information from the Cook County State's Attorney Office. Judge Pincham aided in making that information accessible to Mr. Grant and spoke to the media about things like probable cause and the likelihood that 7 and 8 year-old boys could commit a sex crime against an 11-year-old girl. The case was historic and received world wide attention.
Judge Pincham woke up the entire black community that year.
In 1999, I wrote a number of news stories on the case and about the two boys. Eventually, Mr. Grant won his case against the Chicago Police Department in that his client was awarded an amount of money. I remember Mr. Grant and Judge Pincham saying to me that nothing in the world and no amount of money could blot out what happen to the boys or Ryan Harris--may her sweet soul rest in peace--and that his client deserved restitution.
If it had not been for Jugde Pincham taking me aside and explaining what the little boys were going through (I believe they were placed in a regular jail? at first) and how police needed to keep searching for the real killer of Ryan Harris I would have never written so many news stories about it. Judge Pincham stood up for those who were defenseless against wrongdoing. I will always remember him for that.

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