John Paul Frank

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John Paul Frank

Birthdate: (84)
Birthplace: Appleton, WI, USA
Death: September 7, 2002 (84)
Scottsdale, AZ, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Julius Paul Frank and Beatrice Frank
Husband of Lorraine Weiss Frank
Father of <private> Frank; <private> Frank; <private> Frank and <private> Frank
Brother of Jane Elizabeth Kaplan and Dorothy Ann Freschl

Managed by: Judith Berlowitz, busy writing
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About John Paul Frank

John was a lawyer who played a key role in the 1966 U.S. Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona. He and his law partner, John J. Flynn, represented Ernesto Miranda, who was arrested in 1963 and confessed to a rape after two hours of police interrogation in Phoenix, Ariz. Frank was the legal scholar who with Flynn wrote the brief considered by the Supreme Court. The resulting decision in June, 1966, required police to always inform an arrestee of his or her legal rights.

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John Frank, lawyer behind Miranda rights, dies at 84

By Myrna Oliver

Los Angeles Times

"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense."

— Miranda rights

John P. Frank, the constitutional scholar, professor and lawyer whose defense of Ernesto Miranda before the U.S. Supreme Court helped etch those words into the vocabulary of arresting officers, assuring the civil rights of all criminal suspects, has died. He was 84.

Mr. Frank, a staunch civil libertarian and key adviser in an earlier U.S. Supreme Court case mandating school desegregation, died Sept. 7 in a Scottsdale, Ariz., hospital after a heart attack.

A prominent lawyer for 62 years, Mr. Frank wrote or delivered arguments many times before the Supreme Court. One client in the 1950s was the state of Arizona trying to preserve its share of the Colorado River from "our great neighbor to the west (California) who is trying to get all the water in the river."

A 1970s client was the State Bar of Arizona trying to block attorney advertising — Mr. Frank argued that advertising by a member of any profession was "inherently deceptive," only to acknowledge a decade later that "marketing" was a necessity even for his well-known Phoenix firm of Lewis and Roca.

But his most famous client unquestionably was Miranda, an oft-jailed criminal who was arrested in 1963 in connection with the rape of an 18-year-old woman. Picked out of a lineup, Miranda confessed and was convicted and sentenced to 20 to 30 years in prison. The Arizona Supreme Court rejected his appeal.

That's when the American Civil Liberties Union stepped in, recruiting Mr. Frank and his partner John Flynn, to take the case to Washington, D.C. Mr. Frank wrote the brief and told Flynn to argue it, adding generously: "This case will make your reputation. I've already argued before the Supreme Court."

The Miranda decision written by Chief Justice Earl Warren and announced June 13, 1966, became a hallmark of the Warren court's record of expanding individual rights. The court adopted Mr. Frank's proposed standard requiring all law-enforcement authorities to read suspects a list of civil rights already provided by the FBI.

The ruling was vilified by several police and prosecutors and has been the subject of debate and litigation ever since. The Supreme Court again upheld the decision in 2000.

Mr. Frank did not save Miranda. The man was retried, again convicted and given the same 20- to 30-year sentence minus time already served. When he was released, he returned to the streets and died of knife wounds in 1976.

But Mr. Frank helped established the legal requirement.

Born in Appleton, Wis., Mr. Frank earned his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Wisconsin and a graduate law degree from Yale. He clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, whose biography he later wrote, and taught civil procedure at Indiana University and Yale.

It was during his teaching stint at Yale in the early 1950s that he was brought in as an adviser to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which was taking Brown vs. Board of Education before the Supreme Court.

Mr. Frank had written briefs in other key desegregation cases and became a major adviser on constitutional arguments for NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall. Years after Marshall won the desegregation decision in 1954, he became the first black Supreme Court justice.

Mr. Frank moved to Phoenix that year to practice law, remaining a key consultant for civil-rights lawyers. Attorney for the Democratic Party of Arizona for 30 years, he also was an adviser in politically tinged national legal issues.

Aside from the law, Mr. Frank worked for desert conservation, traveled the world to hear opera and, according to daughter Nancy Frank of Oakland, Calif., "loved zoos, chocolate and flowers."

Besides Nancy Frank, Mr. Frank is survived by his wife of 58 years, Lorraine; sons John, of Jefferson, Wis., and Andrew, of San Diego; daughters Gretchen, of Los Angeles, and Karen, of Oakland; and six grandchildren.

From Seattle Times,

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John Paul Frank's Timeline

November 10, 1917
Appleton, WI, USA
September 7, 2002
Age 84
Scottsdale, AZ, USA