Monday, April 5, 2010
Services Set for Criminal Defense Attorney Charles Lloyd
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Funeral services are scheduled for Thursday for Charles E. Lloyd, one of the city’s most prominent criminal defense attorneys.
Lloyd, who died Tuesday after a long battle with cancer, was 75.
A former high school football player from Indianola, Miss., Lloyd came to Los Angeles in the 1950s with the dream of becoming an attorney, and rose to prominence in a legal career that spanned five decades.
He began that career as one of Los Angeles’ first African-American deputy city attorneys in 1962, and later partnered with Tom Bradley at Lloyd, Bradley, Burrell & Nelson before starting a successful solo practice when Bradley, later mayor of Los Angeles, left to pursue his political career.
Lloyd came to Los Angeles as a teenager. According to legend, it was with a hole in his pocket and 12 cents.
He went from Los Angeles City College to California State University, Los Angeles, then to USC Law School while working as a member of the Los Angeles Police Department.
According to the Los Angeles Sentinel, when Lloyd entered solo practice, he refused to accept any litigation opposing the city during Bradley’s five terms as mayor. He later helped his former partner during Bradley’s two unsuccessful campaigns to become governor, and Bradley appointed Lloyd as a harbor commissioner.
The Sentinel has also reported that Lloyd, at the height of his career, said President Nixon wanted to make him a federal judge, but he refused “because I make more money as a lawyer.”
Lloyd was honored in 1992 by the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section as trial lawyer of the year.
The honor was accompanied that year by controversy over the case in which he represented Soon Ja Du, a 51-year-old Korean-American grocer who shot and killed Latasha Harlins, 15.
Harlins was at Du’s South Los Angeles store in 1991 when she reportedly put a bottle of orange juice in her backpack and approached the counter with two dollars in her hand. Du, apparently believing Harlins was trying to steal the juice, attempted to stop her, but a scuffle ensued.
Du shot Harlins in the back of the head after Harlins reportedly threw the juice on the counter and was heading out of the store.
A jury found Du guilty of voluntary manslaughter, but Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joyce Karlin—who now uses the name Joyce Karlin Fahey and retired from the bench in 1997—suspended a 10-year prison sentence and imposed probation, community service and a fine.
Harlins’ death came just 13 days after the videotaped beating of Rodney King, and outrage over Du’s sentence is said to have been a contributing factor leading to riots that ensued after four LAPD officers were acquitted on charges stemming from King’s beating.
Many Korean businesses were targeted in the 1992 riots, which caused approximately $1 billion worth of property damage.
Outrage over the sentence also brought Karlin three challengers in that year’s election, but she was returned to the bench, with Lloyd as one of her most vocal supporters.
Karlin Fahey lamented Lloyd’s passing yesterday, remembering him as “a gentle soul.”
“He was a true gentleman. He was a fantastic attorney and a true professional who was courageous and acted on his beliefs. I admired him tremendously.”
Lloyd similarly gained notoriety in 1985 after a client who pled guilty to attempted murder was granted probation.
He was also portrayed by actor James Earl Jones in the 1994 television movie “Confessions: Two Faces of Evil,” based on a case that involved multiple confessions to a murder.
Lloyd is survived by his wife of 10 years, Anslyene Lloyd, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and four siblings.
Thursday’s services will take place at 11 a.m. at Holman United Methodist Church, located at 3320 West Adams Blvd. in Los Angeles. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers donations be sent to City of Hope and the American Cancer Society.
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company