World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Julius Hoffman

Julius J. Hoffman (July 7, 1895 – July 1, 1983) was a Chicago, Illinois, attorney and judge and former law partner of Richard J. Daley [1] who achieved notoriety for his role in the Chicago Seven trial.


  • Early life 1
  • Chicago Seven 2
  • Later life 3
  • In popular culture 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life

Hoffman attended Lewis Institute and Northwestern University before being admitted to the bar in 1915. He worked as an associate and partner of the firm White and Hawxhurst until 1936, when he became general counsel for the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company, where he remained until 1944 when he joined the law firm of Markheim, Hoffman, Hungerford & Sollo. In 1947, he was elected judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County. When his term expired, President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed Hoffman to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago. Over the course of his career as a judge, Hoffman presided over numerous important cases, including a tax evasion case against Tony Accardo, an obscenity case against Lenny Bruce, a deportation suit against alleged Nazi war criminal Frank Walus, and several desegregation suits.

Chicago Seven

His most famous case, however, was the trial from April 9, 1969 to February 20, 1970 that involved charges against protesters arrested during the 1968 Democratic Convention,[2] originally known as the "Chicago Eight". During the course of the Chicago Eight trial, Hoffman refused to allow defendant Bobby Seale to represent himself after Seale's original attorney became ill. This prompted conflicts with Seale that led to Hoffman ordering Seale to be gagged and shackled in the courtroom and eventually jailed for contempt. Finally Hoffman removed Seale from the trial, leaving the case with only seven defendants, at which point the trial became known as the "Chicago Seven" trial. Judge Hoffman became the favorite courtroom target of the Chicago Seven defendants, who often openly insulted the judge.[3] Abbie Hoffman (no relation) told Judge Hoffman "you are a shande fur de Goyim [disgrace in front of the Gentiles]. You would have served Hitler better." He later added that "your idea of justice is the only obscenity in the room."[3] Both Davis and Rubin told the Judge "this court is bullshit."

All seven were all found by a jury to be not guilty of conspiracy, but five of the defendants were found guilty of inciting a riot, and Judge Hoffman sentenced each of the five to the maximum penalty: five years in prison and a fine of $5,000, plus court costs. In addition Judge Hoffman sentenced all eight defendants and both of their lawyers (William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass) to lengthy jail terms for contempt of court. On May 11, 1972, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals vacated all of the contempt convictions, and on November 21, 1972 reversed all of the substantive convictions on a number of grounds. Among other things, the appeals court found that Judge Hoffman had not sufficiently measured the biases of the jury and that he had exhibited a "deprecatory and often antagonistic attitude toward the defense."

Later life

In 1974, author Joseph Goulden wrote a book called The Benchwarmers, which was an expose of the powerful and often private world of federal judges. Goulden conducted an in-depth investigation of Judge Hoffman and pointed out that he had an abrasive reputation among Chicago lawyers even before his most famous case. Goulden mentioned a survey that had been done among Chicago attorneys who had recently appeared before the judge and 78% had an unfavorable opinion of him. They responded overwhelmingly negatively to the questions "Does he display an impartial attitude?" and "is he courteous to both the prosecution and defense?"

In 1982, the Executive Committee of the U.S. District Court ordered that Hoffman not be assigned any new cases because of his age and complaints that he was acting erratically and abusively from the bench. Nevertheless, Hoffman continued to preside over cases until his death from natural causes.

In popular culture

  • John Prine's song "Illegal Smile" describes escaping the reality of a bad day, but ending up in court. "And the judge's name was Hoffman."


  1. ^ Judge Julius Hoffman
  2. ^ Chicago trial
  3. ^ a b

External links

  • Judge Julius Hoffman
  • Chicago 7 chronology
  • Chicago conspiracy trial
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.