On Monday, May 23, NORML presented attorney Gerald Goldstein with the first ever Michael J. Kennedy Social Justice Award. The presentation took place in Washington D.C. at the NORML 2016 Congressional Lobby Day, which was attended by hundreds of activists who participated in a daylong training and informational conference. Eleanora Kennedy, Michael Kennedy’s widow, and Anna, his daughter, made the presentation, along with NORML national director Allen St. Pierre and NORML founder Keith Stroup.
Gerald “Gerry” Harris Goldstein, a nationally known and respected defense lawyer, is past president of both the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. He is also listed in The Best Lawyers in America and Texas Lawyer’s Legal Legends.
In his acceptance speech, Goldstein called receiving the Michael J. Kennedy Social Justice Award “the proudest moment of his life” and noted Michael Kennedy’s “grace” and powerful presence in the courtroom: “He owned it!” Goldstein claimed.
Kennedy, who passed away this past January, was chief legal counsel for HIGH TIMES from the time of its founding.
As a criminal lawyer, he championed lost causes and deeply unpopular defendants. He was a steadfast defender of the underdog and the First Amendment. His clients included Rennie Davis of the Chicago Seven, Weather Underground leader Bernardine Dohrn and Huey Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party. His clients also included Timothy Leary and the Native American protesters at Wounded Knee, S.D.