Monday, August 16, 2004
Criminal Defense ‘Legend’ Harry Weiss Dies at 89
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Services were held Friday for criminal defense lawyer Harry Weiss, who died last week at age 89.
“That was the end of a living legend,” retired California Supreme Court Justice Armand Arabian said. Arabian said Weiss appeared before him often when Arabian was a trial judge.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Luros echoed Arabian’s remarks, saying that Weiss, who was about 5’4”, “was short in stature but cast a giant legal shadow.” The well-dressed Weiss—he wore a fedora with a large brim and sometimes a cape—often represented people who could not afford to pay him, even before the term pro bono was widely used, Luros said.
Marvin Klynn, a now-retired attorney who worked for Weiss in the 1950s and 1960s, said that Weiss was part of a vaudeville family and impressed judges, juries, and clients with his engaging personally.
“He was well-liked by court personnel and anyone he came in contact with,” Klynn said.
He also had occasional run-ins with clients and the State Bar, particularly in his later years. He was reproved or suspended on three occasions, and resigned with charges pending in 1999.
He also had a reputation for not always being ready for trial. “Harry was a great continuer,” Klynn quipped. On one occasion, Klynn recalled, “he said ‘Go to Bakersfield and get a continuance,’” on a robbery case. “I came back three months later” with an acquittal, he said.
Weiss was so happy he sent a wire reading “I’m so proud of you, I raised you from a pup,” Klynn recalled.
He is survived by a niece and nephew, Susanne Greene and Sammy Weiss, both attorneys, Klynn said.
Friends and family of Weiss are planning a public gathering in his memory, Luros said.
Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company