Recently in the news there has been a lot of coverage on the case of Ward Churchill v. The University of Colorado. As an alumnus of the University of Boulder, I, like many, have been glued to the television, and internet to gain as much information about the case as possible. As an attorney, I also have a strong view of the case. I attended the CU during the time period that Ward Churchill was a professor, wrote his controversial essay on 9/11, and graduated prior to the final decision to terminate his employment. I remember strong sentiment for and against Mr. Churchill on campus during my time there. What strikes me now is how I am able to separate myself from the emotion of the moment and look at the case purely from a legal standpoint. This case was not about Mr. Churchill’s views or writings, but more about whether as Americans we have the right to have such views and write such things. The jury ultimately decided that, yes, we do have the right to say such things, especially in public organizations such as State Universities.
This brought to mind some of the principles we fight for as criminal defense attorneys at Shazam Kianpour and Associates, P.C. Often the people who come to us have made mistakes, or done things they regret. These clients are no different than any other citizen of the State of Colorado. They have the same rights, and privileges as any citizen would, regardless of what crime they may have committed. This is what attorneys do, we fight for the rights of those, who certain members of society believe should have no rights. Mr. Churchill’s attorneys did the same. They fought for the Mr. Churchill’s right to hold unpopular opinions and share those views with society at large. I am heartened by the jury’s decision and hope that juries across the state continue to recognize the fundamental rights that our country was founded upon.