Kinoy v. District of Columbia Historic Case

At a Glance

Date Filed: 


Case Description 

Kinoy v. District of Columbia is a lawsuit in which CCR, joined by bar associations, law professors, and lawyers throughout the country, came to Arthur Kinoy’s defense, arguing that attorneys have the right and duty to vigorously plead their clients' cause.

In 1966, CCR founder Arthur Kinoy was convicted of "loud and boisterous" conduct for his attempt to cross-examine an informant at a HUAC hearing. As political persecutions in the 1960’s increased, activist lawyers vigorously defended their clients, which brought the lawyers themselves under attack by prosecutors, judges, and bar associations.

The purpose of such attacks was twofold: to crease an “object lesson” to discourage other attorneys from representing political activists and to force the lawyers to focus on their own defense, drawing energy and attention away from the civil rights and anti-war movements.

Kinoy’s conviction was unanimously reversed two years later.

This case is related to other efforts to defend activist attorneys, such as Cockrel v. Maher, Justin Ravitz, United States v. Chase, Chase v. Robson, Kentucky Bar Association v. Taylor, and Taylor v. Hayes.