PASSINGS: Stephen Barnett, Douglas Duitsman, Erich Lehmann

Stephen Barnett, 1st Amendment professor, dies at 73; Douglas Duitsman, publicity executive, dies at 81; Erich Lehmann, statistics professor, dies at 91

October 18, 2009

Stephen Barnett

Vocal critic of California court system

Stephen Barnett, 73, a 1st Amendment professor emeritus at the UC Berkeley School of Law and a prominent critic of the state court system, died Tuesday in Berkeley of complications from cardiac arrest, the school said.

Colleagues said Barnett, who retired in 2003, was a tireless advocate of free speech rights and had spent his last years as a vocal critic of the speed with which the California Supreme Court handed down its decisions and the way it went about much of its day-to-day business.

In recent years he served on the First Amendment Coalition's board.

Barnett was born Dec. 25, 1935, in Brooklyn, N.Y., grew up in West Hartford, Conn., and earned a bachelor's degree from Harvard University. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1962, he clerked for a year for then-U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr.

Barnett worked in private practice as a lawyer in New York and Washington, D.C., before joining the Berkeley faculty in 1967. 

He took a break from teaching for two years in the 1970s to accept a position as deputy solicitor general in the Justice Department.