Peel's case was a last one for renowned litigator

Ann Knef Jan. 20, 2011, 2:56am


Chicago attorney Jerold Solovy, who represented Gary Peel at the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and at the U.S. Supreme Court, died Wednesday at his home in Naples, Fla.

Solovy, 80, was chairman emeritus of the firm Jenner & Block, and regarded as one of the preeminent appellate and trial lawyers in the country, according to the firm's Website.

He was lauded as a "fierce litigator with the heart of a public servant," by Jenner & Block chairman Anton Valukas.

Solovy joined Jenner & Block in 1955 after graduating from Harvard Law School and practiced at the firm his entire career.

"Jerry represents the very highest ideals of Jenner & Block and of the legal profession," Valukas stated in a message on the firm's Website. "He was among the leadership that founded Jenner & Block's renowned pro bono program and was instrumental in furthering our firm's unrivaled commitment to serving the communities in which we practice."

"Today we have lost a great colleague and dear friend. Jerry is one of the finest attorneys I've ever worked with."

Among his accomplishments, Solovy successfully represented the Illinois Attorney General in reducing fees paid to law firms that had represented the state in the nationwide tobacco industry litigation from the requested $900 million to a total of $67.5 million, the Jenner & Block Website states.

"In addition, he successfully argued SWIDA v. National City Environmental, 768 N.E.2d 1 (Ill. 2002), before the Illinois Supreme Court, a closely watched eminent domain case, in which a state-created body was not allowed to condemn private property in an economically distressed areas and to immediately transfer it to another on the premise that the land would be used in a more profitable manner," according to Jenner & Block's Website.

"This is one of the rare cases in the United States in which a private taking was declared unconstitutional."

On the day before Solovy's passing, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal made by Peel, who was convicted on child pornography charges involving nude photographs he took of his 16 year-old sister-in-law in 1974.

Peel had argued the photos weren't illegal when he took them.

Peel's 2007 conviction also included charges of obstruction of justice and bankruptcy fraud and carried a 12-year sentence.

Last year, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decided that Peel had been sentenced twice for the same crime, as his verdicts for obstruction of justice and bankruptcy fraud depended on the same set of facts.

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