Brian Gurwitz Represents White Supremacist

by Jamison Koehler on February 15, 2012

A former colleague in Philadelphia said that he was surprised, upon beginning work at the public defender’s office there, how many clients asked him if he was Jewish.

“Yes I am Jewish,” he said finally to one client.  “Why do you ask?”

“It’s because I want one of those Jew lawyers,” the client responded.  “I hear they fight really hard for you.”

I was reminded of this story yesterday upon reading an article at the Orange County Weekly about our pal out in California, Brian Gurwitz. It turns out Gurwitz has been representing a white supremacist named Christopher Brown.

According to the Weekly, Brown is “a convicted felon, a member of a criminal street gang, a burglar, a thief, and, if the police are right, a violent white supremacist Skinhead.”  The 88 tattoed on his chin is some type of code for “Heil Hitler” and the “1” and “4” under his eyes refer to the importance of maintaining racial purity.

Despite these views, Brown apparently does not allow his political views to interfere with his personal life.

While awaiting trial in a Santa Ana jail for hurling racial epithets during a robbery, Brown “fell in love” – i.e., had a sexual relationship – with a female prison guard who is African American:  “Sources tell the Weekly that the sex happened at least 20 times and included every type of intercourse imaginable.  The passion allegedly even took place inside a guard station.”

But the major surprise, according to the Weekly, is that Brown “chose for his upcoming March trial a – drum roll, please – Jewish criminal defense lawyer.”  This is where Brian Gurwitz comes in.  Writes the Weekly:

Tustin-based attorney Brian N. Gurwitz is a former high-ranking prosecutor who played key roles in the grand jury investigation into the Orange County Jail murder of John Derek Chamberlain, the Haidl Gang Rape trials and the corruption prosecution of Assistant Sheriff George Jaramillo.

I called Gurwitz and asked him if Brown knows he’s Jewish.

“Of course,” replied a laughing Gurwitz.

Gurwitz’ involvement in this case brings to mind the African-American lawyer David Baugh who represented a member of the Ku Klux Klan in the famous free speech case, Virginia v. Black.  Like Chris Brown out in California, the Klan member apparently had no problem reconciling his political views with his personal interests.  Baugh says that, when he called the Klan member to offer his legal services, the Klan member accepted almost immediately.

“You do realize, sir,” Baugh said, “that I am black.”

“Yes, I know that,” the Klan member replied.  “And I hear you are also a very good lawyer.”

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

DHMCarver February 15, 2012 at 8:27 am

These attorneys are doing what we are supposed to do — and thank goodness for them. I could not help but think while reading this post of the attacks that were launched at the attorneys and firms who represent people imprisoned in Guantanamo, one of the most chilling moments in our nation’s recent history.

DA Confidential February 15, 2012 at 8:44 am

I was listening to jail calls for a man charged with multiple sexual assaults – he, too, was delighted that his lawyer was Jewish, as if it automatically gave him a head start against me, the whitey-white Anglo Englishman. Three trials into his cases, I’m ahead by two convictions to one acquittal. We’ll see if that changes his mind to, “I want one of them funny-talking English lawyers…”!

Jamison Koehler February 15, 2012 at 9:27 am

DHMCarver: Welcome to the site. Thank you for commenting. Since you are trying out new sites, you should also check out DA Confidential’s site above.

DA Confidential: I think of my former sister-in-law who is Jewish AND speaks with an English accent. You can only imagine how popular she would be as a criminal defense lawyer.

Brian Gurwitz February 15, 2012 at 11:07 am

We’re known as the Chosen People for a reason.

People choose us when they are facing prison or cancer.

But of course, every rule has an exception.

In the DA’s office, I did work with a particularly dull member of the tribe. We called him Cave Jew.

Not surprised February 15, 2012 at 8:30 pm

The defendant may also be hoping for a tactical advantage by choosing a lawyer from a group he’s believed to be abusive to. It’s common for rape defendants to seek female lawyers, hoping the jury will be more sympathetic. It’s also common for companies accused of racial discrimination to hire minority lawyers specially for that case.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: