Famed Attorney Charles E. Lloyd Passes
Attorney Charles E. Lloyd
Attorney Charles E. Lloyd
There was a time in the past when defendants needed a criminal lawyer, they would call “Lloyd,” Charles E. Lloyd; he set the standards for defense attorneys.
By Yussuf J. Simmonds
Sentinel Managing Editor
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” Psalm 34:8
Not only was Attorney Charles E. Lloyd, a super lawyer, he was a lawyer who set the standards which many other lawyers aspired to emulate. He also served his community in several ways other than through his legal expertise. He was the honorary chairman of fundraising for the Brotherhood Crusade, a deeply religious person and a member of Holman United Methodist Church.
Starting his legal career in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office as one of the first Black deputy city attorneys, Lloyd eventually partnered with then future mayor of Los Angeles, Attorney Thomas “Tom” Bradley to open the law firm of Lloyd, Bradley, Burrell & Nelson. After Bradley entered politics, the partnership dissolved and Lloyd practiced on his own, as Charles E. Lloyd Law Corp. As a loyal and devoted partner, Lloyd maintained a strong bond with Bradley after the latter became the mayor.
During the time when Bradley was mayor, Lloyd, a man of integrity, would refuse to accept any litigation that opposed the city. He (Lloyd) said, â€œI will not sue the city of Los Angeles.” He also assisted his former law partner when he ran for governor (twice). Bradley appointed Lloyd as a Harbor Commissioner. At the height of his career, Lloyd said that President Nixon wanted to make him a federal judge but he refused, “because I make more money as a lawyer.”
When the Sentinel celebrated its 50th anniversary, Lloyd gave an inkling of his background: “As a little boy down in Mississippi, I used to read of such great lawyers like Chris Wright, Earl Broady, Sr., Walter Gordon, Sr., and Herman English in the pages of the Los Angeles Sentinel, whenever some of my relatives smuggled them into my little Mississippi hometown.” Little did he know that he would also become a great lawyer. His legal exploits in the courtroom became legendary–the real stuff that legends are made of. Continuing on Lloyd further explained, “After reading about the exploits of these great men I left Indianola, Mississippi, and ran from despair and hard times to the bright lights of L.A. to seek my goal as a lawyer.”
And that he did; Lloyd became one of the most skilful practitioners of the legal art that Southern California has ever seen. Superior Court Judge Kevin Filer remembered him the following way: “He was certainly the epitome of what it meant to be a trial lawyer and to fight for your client. I can remember when I just passed the Bar Examination and was working for the state public defender’s office, I wanted to be like Charles Lloyd; I wanted to be a criminal defense attorney and I would actually go over to the court and watch him in trial. He was a fighter in every sense of the word. He was an excellent litigator and knew his way around the court and knew the rules of evidence.”
Robert Mc Neill, one of the managing partners of Ivie, McNeill & Wyatt said, “He was a well connected lawyer, in and out of the courtroom–as a legal expert and a prolific fundraiser for political candidates. He was also a staunch supporter of the community, a great guy and a very good friend of Tom Bradley.”
Rickey Ivie, one of the managing partners of Ivie, McNeill & Wyatt said, “I had the pleasure of meeting him when I was practicing with Judge Scarlett and Judge Roberson and he was doing primarily criminal law. I didn’t get a chance to try any cases with him or be in court with him but I did get a chance to be around him, his persona. And Charlie Lloyd set the stage and developed the mold for flamboyance as a means of promoting himself. He did it well and backed it up with a great deal of intelligence and legal skill.”
Former Lieutenant governor and congressman (emeritus) Mervyn Dymally said, “He was an extraordinarily skilful lawyer, who had a unique relationship with members of the bench. He was also a personal friend and I will miss him dearly.”
Earl C. Broady Jr. of Broady & Lynch (whose father, Judge Earl C. Broady, Sr., Lloyd spoke highly about) said, “He was a real self made man–from the cotton fields of Mississippi to the LAPD to USC–an outstanding lawyer. He was also a real nice guy well thought of in the community and one of my mentors really.”
In 1979 when the Brotherhood Crusade honored the Pioneers of Legal Leadership, Lloyd was one of the honorees which included Justices Vaino Spencer and Wiley Manuel, Judge Earl Broady, Sr., and Attorneys Johnnie Cochran, Sam Williams and Leo Branton. He was selected for establishing a level of excellence in the legal field and for providing unparalleled leadership in fighting for true and equal justice under the law.
Back in 1985, Lloyd was involved in a controversy. Allegations were made that a man charged with murder, whom Lloyd defended, was granted probation because he (Lloyd) knew the judge who had appointed him to defend several criminal defendants. Lloyd said, “All the judges here appoint me to cases. I’ve been in the system a long time. . . . All the judges down here I know and there are many judges down here I know far better than I know Judge Ricks. And I don’t think that has anything to do with it.”
In one of his last famous cases Lloyd defend a Korean woman who had fatally shot a young Black girl after a dispute over a quart sized bottle of orange juice. It was captured on tape and Lloyd convinced the judge to grant his client probation. It happened just after the Rodney King affair and the community was outrage. However, the outrage was vented at the judge not at Lloyd.
Lloyd, a man who exuded a spirit of generosity and seemed possessed by even more generous ambitions, was honored by the Criminal Justice Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association as trial lawyer of the year, the highest honor bestowed on one of their own.
Funeral services for Attorney Charles E. Lloyd will be held on Thursday April 8, at 11:00 a.m. at Holman United Methodist Church – 3320 West Adams B. Los Angeles. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers donations may be sent to City of Hope and the American Cancer Society.