The Rhode Island legal community was saddened by the death of long-time head of the Public Defender Office John Hardiman. The School of Law recently sponsored a memorial program that featured encomiums from many of his colleagues in the trenches and Andy Horwitz, now our Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, but for many years a collaborator with John in his capacity as Director of our Criminal Defense Clinic. Below is a summary of Andy’s thoughts, followed by some pictures from the event.
Members of the School of Law community were privileged to host a tribute to the late John J. Hardiman, the Public Defender for the State of Rhode Island, who passed away late last year. The event, which was co-sponsored by the Criminal Law Society, the National Lawyers Guild, the Multicultural Law Students Association, and the Feinstein Institute for Legal Service, involved presentations by four staff members from the Rhode Island Public Defender. Several prominent criminal defense attorneys were also in attendance. Jeffrey Peckham, a 2006 graduate of the School of Law and a staff attorney with the office for the past five years, spoke first, providing a moving description of John’s emphasis on the human aspects of criminal representation. He was followed by Robert Morrow, Chief of the District Court Unit, Kerri Mowbray, Chief of Social Work, and Michael DiLauro, Director of Training and Legislation. Each echoed the same themes of John’s incredible dedication to the work, his emphasis on holistic representation for the client, and his sense of decency and humanity. He leaves behind an extraordinary legacy and will be sorely missed.