Legal expert Eleanor Jackson Piel, who was a fierce opponent of executions, has died at the age of 102. Let’s look at who she was and what caused her death in more detail.
Who was Eleanor Jackson Piel?
Ms. Piel was known for her courtroom prowess as well as her long career: she practiced law for seven decades, until she was in her early nineties. For the most part, she worked alone, first in Los Angeles and later, beginning in the mid-1950s, in New York.
Midcentury was an era when few women were enrolled in law school and less engaged in criminal law. Mrs. Piel helped win victories for clients that included interrogated Japanese Americans prosecuted as World War II draft resistance.
A young math genius resolved to join Manhattan’s Stuyvesant High School (formerly for boys only) despite her gender; and, in a Supreme Court case, a white teacher refused service at a Mississippi lunch counter because she was with a group of black students.
Eleanor Jackson Piel died
She was a well-known champion for the oppressed who won multiple high-profile cases, including the Death Row Brothers case in Florida.
Eleanor Jackson Piel died on Saturday at her Austin, Texas, home. She was a civil rights lawyer noted for handling death row appeals and instances involving wrongful convictions. She even got a stay of execution for a man who was due to be executed 16 hours later. She was 102 years old.
Eleanor P. Womack, her daughter, testified to her death. Mrs. Piel was renowned for her strength in the courtroom as well as her long-running career. She worked in law for seven decades, until she reached her late 90s. She was a solo practitioner throughout that period, beginning with her family in Los Angeles and then, beginning in the 1950s, moving to New York.
Tributes to Lawyer Eleanor Jackson Pil
“I was at a dinner party,” she said, “and the host declared me to be the top female attorney who lives in Los Angeles.” So she slapped him. Eleanor Jackson Piel, a lawyer who was a victim of capital convictions, She died at the age of 102.
Lake George Mirror,
a fascinating lady. Her grandfather was my great-grandfather’s brother. Radicalism runs in our family.
Eleanor Jackson Piel, lawyer who fought capital convictions, dies at 102 https://t.co/q2nZU6sSzX via @BostonGlobe “I was upset about the fact that people didn’t like Jews, when I was half Jewish, and then I had my mother being antisemitic,” “It just didn’t seem fair.” What a life— Walt Auvil (@WaltAuvil) November 29, 2022