Hinds shares journey as young chemist, longtime attorney

Lennox Hinds stated that “those of us who choose to be defense, criminal lawyers, must be fearless advocates both inside and outside of the courtroom.”

Attorney Lennox S. Hinds’ fearlessness came through in his recent reflections during a speaker series program in front of a diverse audience.

He thanked Edward H. Brown Jr., the African American Cultural Society (AACS), and its Pan African Study Group for sponsoring a speaker series event. He also thanked President Joseph Matthews for the welcome.

Growing up in Trinidad, the 80-year-old reflected on his journey that has taken him from a career in pharmaceutical research at Charles Pfizer and petrochemical research at Cities Service Oil Company to Rutgers University Law School, and as its faculty member for 40-plus years.

Prior to changing his career from science to law, Hinds worked as a research scientist and in private research. As an analytical chemist, he headed up a group of scientists who used applied physics to analyze products using techniques like X-ray spectrochemical analysis.

‘A Crossroads’

Hinds received a United States patent in 1969 for X-ray spectrochemical analysis.

“I liked science,” he affirmed, “but the truth is I found myself – and this was during the struggle within the civil rights movement when Martin Luther King was arrested, and SNCC and CORE were out on the frontlines – I would be joining the picket lines at night, after work, on the weekends. (SNCC stands for Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and CORE for Congress of Racial Equality.)

“But most of my productive hours were spent in the line,” Hinds said, “and I reached a crossroads because I was working on jet-fuel research, and American planes were bombing people. And, I was using my skills in furtherance of a war machine…I just was so conflicted,” he added.

The last straw involved fighting for desegregating the New Jersey public schools, for which he was grossly misquoted by a newspaper. It caused embarrassment for the then 25-year-old section manager, who was heading up a team of scientists twice his age. The young husband and father could no longer play the dual role and recapitulated and attended Rutgers Law School.

Perspective on Law

Hinds earned his bachelor’s degree in1962 from the City College of New York. He was awarded a Charles H. Revson Fellow at the City College of New York’s (CCNY) Center for Legal Education and Urban Policy for 1979-1980.

Hinds shared his perspective of the law and the challenges facing us in this period.

“My perspective is molded by the forces of race and class that have affected and impacted on me as a Black lawyer and a member of an oppressed minority,” he said.

“I need not remind anyone here that you – each and everyone of you and everyone who looks like me in this room – were counted as three-fifths of a person for some purposes and…as chattel for all other purposes by the framers of the Constitution.

“My comments and observations are significantly informed by over 46 years of my practicing law throughout the world and almost 40 of those years as a professor of law in the United States,” he affirmed. “I also confess to you that my orientation has been influenced by being a defense lawyer.

“I’ve always been a defense lawyer, criminal lawyer – both in domestic courts and in the United States, and before international tribunals.

“Consequently, most, if not all, of my clients have been underdogs,” he said, “or often labeled as outlaws, and at times, those of us, who represented them, were considered not any different than our clients.

“It was only a thin line separating us – who were defending them before the bar – from joining them behind the bars,” he said.

Defended Davis, Counseled Mandela

Hinds later stated that “those of us who choose to be defense, criminal lawyers, must be fearless advocates both inside and outside of the courtroom. We have to be better prepared than the prosecutor because the government has unlimited resources that they use against us,” he added.

The retired professor emeritus of criminal justice from Rutgers School of Law has defended Angela Davis, Assata Shakur – aka Joanne Chesimard – the New York 8, as well as victims of police brutality and other governmental lawlessness, including the FBI’s Counter-Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO).

Hinds was counsel to Nelson Mandela, the African National Congress (ANC), the Southwest African Peoples Organization (SWAPO), and others.

In private practice, he is a senior partner in the firm of Stevens, Hinds, and White, PC,
which has offices in New York, New Jersey, and Paris.

Prior to joining the firm, Hinds served for years as the national director of the National Conference of Black Lawyers of the United States and Canada.

He was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the International Criminal Court for Yugoslavia, the Permanent International Criminal Court in The Hague, and the Special Court for Sierra Leone, among others.

Book Signing and Libations

Berthrum “Bert” Hinds introduced his brother.

The AACS presentation included a book signing of Hinds’ book, “Illusions of Justice: Human Rights Violations in the United States,” which he describes “documents how the U.S. government using the law – the illusion of justice – pretending that what is justice is really injustice as it relates to us.”

The attorney was introduced by his brother, AACS member Berthrum “Bert” Hinds, and was the first speaker presented for the society’s Pan African Study Group Speaker Series, chaired by Edward H. Brown Jr., MPA.

A libation ceremony preceded the speaker, prepared by Nii Sowa-La, and the closing remarks and a certificate of appreciation were presented to Hinds by AACS Chairman of the Board of Directors Edmund G. Pinto Jr.

The members of the Pan African Study Group are Edward H. Brown Jr., chairman; Peggy Aleem, Ann Bernard, Loretta Bryant, Alton Dempsey, Jackie Dempsey, Ethel Green, Lawrence Green, Alberto Jones, Ralph E. Lightfoot, Joseph Matthews, Calvin D. McNeal Sr., Dr. Reinhold Schlieper, D. Ayoka Jasey SowaLa, Nii Sowa-La, Jean M. Tanner, and Meshella E. Woods.


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As always, remember our prayers for the sick, afflicted, the prodigal son, or daughter, and the bereaved.


Birthday wishes to the Rev. Gillard S. Glover, Feb. 20; Berkeley Chandler, Feb. 21; Shauntice Shephard, Feb. 25; My sister-in-law, Renata McCarthy, Feb. 26. Happy anniversary to Jimmy and Ruby Sims, Feb. 20.



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