March 10, 2008

CA: grief and shock over San Jose colleague's suicide

From the Orange County Register:

Prominent O.C. lawyer found dead - Gary Proctor, who handled dozens of high-profile cases, was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at his San Jose home

Defense attorney Gary Proctor..., 63, allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself in the backyard of his San Jose home on Sunday. Proctor, who with his partner Dennis McNerney had a contract to represent juvenile offenders in Orange County, moved to San Jose in recent years to manage a similar contact in Santa Clara County.

His friends said that Proctor had been in chronic pain for years with a bad back, and was depressed over recent criticism he was receiving in the San Jose Mercury News over his management of the juvenile defenders' contract in San Jose...

Proctor was also known as a legal mentor to many young lawyers, and a sharing partner to others. "He was a hero to me," said Santa Ana attorney Ken Reed. "He taught me everything I know. When I was still in law school trying my first case, he was sitting right beside me giving me advice."

Senior Deputy Public Defender Denise Gragg said Proctor was a captivating speaker who had an incredible courtroom presence. She recalled the time when she was about to try her first case, and Proctor brought her into his office -- with her two young children – to teach her how to pick a jury...

I linked to the Mercury-News series only last month. Today's sad news via the ABA Journal. Rest in peace.

(see also the Lawyers with Depression website)


Dee said...

This news makes me both sad and angry. Who was there to give this brilliant lawyer support?

SCareyStronck said...

Several Santa Cruz attorneys and one retired judge wrote to the Mercury in protest. The Mercury did not print our letter.