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Charles H. Turner

Charles H. Turner, who began a distinguished legal career in Chicago under United States Attorney Edward V. Hanrahan, died January 8th at Evergreen Hospice Care Center in Kirkland, Washington. He was six days short of his eighty-second birthday. In more than a quarter-century with the Department of Justice, Turner was the lead prosecutor in several highly-publicized criminal cases. Among these was the prosecution of the American Indian Movement figures Leonard Peltier, Dennis Banks, and Kenneth Loud Hawk in the aftermath of AIM's occupation of the Wounded Knee site in South Dakota. Turner also tried the first domestic terrorism case in modern American legal history when Frank Giese,a Portland State University professor, hatched a plot to bomb the National Guard armory in Portland. Perhaps even more celebrated was the case of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and members of his commune near The Dalles in northern Oregon, in the course of which Turner was targeted for assassination. Turner was born in Chicago to Frederick W. Turner, Jr., a prominent attorney, and Frances Franklin Turner, an interior decorator. Following graduation from Brown University he entered DePaul Law School. After graduating (L.L.B., 1961), he was recommended to Hanrahan by Cook County power broker, J.J. Duffy. Six years later, having moved to Portland, he joined the Justice Department there under United States Attorney, Sidney Lezak. When Lezak retired, United States Senator Mark O. Hatfield recommended Turner for the post, and President Ronald Reagan appointed him to the position in 1982. He was reappointed in 1987. When he retired in 1993, Turner and his First Assistant, Jack C. Wong, had compiled close to a perfect record in the cases they brought.Among Turner's many awards were the Department of Justice's Meritorious Service Award and his election to The American College of Trial Lawyers. 

Posted on February 2, 2018 by Sara Anderson
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