Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hoopes receives distinguished lawyer award

D. Fredrick Hoopes
Longtime Idaho Falls attorney D. Fredrick Hoopes, an eastern Idaho native who has spent his entire career defending those who faced serious criminal charges, was honored July 16 with the Idaho State Bar’s highest honor, the Distinguished Lawyer Award. A partner in Hopkins Roden Crockett Hansen & Hoopes PLLC, he previously earned the ACLU’s Thurgood Marshall Liberty Award.

“With his common sense and country wisdom he was a very successful advocate for truth and justice,” the state bar news release said.

Hoopes represented Charles Fain, who spent almost 19 years in prison, 18 of them on death row, for a murder he didn't commit. Fain was sentenced to death in February 1984 for the kidnapping, sexual assault and murder of a 9-year-old Nampa girl. The most critical evidence against him at trial was provided by an FBI specialist, who testified that pubic hair found on the dead girl's clothes was similar to Fain's, based on a microscopic comparison.

In late June 2001, after a protracted legal battle, sophisticated new DNA testing proved conclusively that the hairs -- one found in the victim's sock, the other two in her underwear -- did not come from Fain, who was freed that August.

On a personal note, having known Fred since the days reporters, lawyers and judges all had lunch every day in the Bonneville Restaurant and Lounge, I can say I have never met an attorney who believed more fervently in every person's right to the best defense available.