In Memory

Frank Cecil Newman - Class Of 1934

Frank Cecil Newman

Frank C. Newman, a retired state Supreme Court justice, architect of human rights laws and former dean of Boalt Hall law school at the University of California at Berkeley, died February 18, 1996 in an Oakland hospital after a brief illness. He was 78

A strong civil libertarian, Justice Newman left an indelible mark during his five years on California's highest court, but perhaps his most enduring legacy on the world stage will be his pioneering contribution to the field of international human rights law. His vehement protests against gross human rights violations in Greece and Chile helped establish the basis for United Nations procedures to respond to such problems. In 1975, he was the architect of federal legislation that formed the legal framework for President Jimmy Carter's human rights campaign.

''In many forums, and particularly through the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Frank provided an important voice in every major human rights concern of the last three decades,'' said Boalt Hall Professor David Caron.

A prolific writer, he co-authored pioneering course books on human rights and published numerous articles to help develop legal mechanisms of international human rights enforcement. He introduced the emerging field of human rights law to the Boalt curriculum in the late '60s and was in great demand as a speaker.

At Boalt, where Justice Newman became a professor in 1946 and served as dean from 1961 through 1966, he was ''the soul of the law school,'' said Boalt Professor Robert Cole.

Former UC Berkeley Chancellor I. Michael Heyman, now executive secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, recalled that he first came to Berkeley because Justice Newman brought him there. ''We were colleagues at the university for 35 years. I will always treasure our relationship.''

Justice Newman also made major contributions to California law. In 1964, he was selected as chairman of the Drafting and Executive Committees of the California Constitution Revision Commission, which in 1972 completed the last thorough revision of the state's constitution. Appointed to Supreme Court by Governor Jerry Brown in 1977, Justice Newman authored several important decisions, including ones that extended free speech to shopping centers, struck down Santa Barbara's ''anti-commune'' ordinance barring unrelated people from living together and upheld a state law permitting defendants to close their preliminary hearings.

State Supreme Court Justice Stanley Mosk said of him: ''Frank contributed a scholar's approach to the judicial studies of the Supreme Court. He had the ability to see beyond the immediate problem in litigation to the impact the result would have on the pattern of law.''

After resigning from the bench in 1982, he was appointed to UC Berkeley's Jackson H. Ralston Professorship of International Law and in 1984 was named co-chairman of the campus' Peace and Conflict Studies program.

Born in Eureka and raised in South Pasadena, Justice Newman graduated from Dartmouth in 1938 and received his law degree from UC Berkeley in 1941. He received a doctorate in jurisprudence from Columbia University in 1953. During World War II, he served with the Office of Price Administration and was an officer in the Navy's Office of General Counsel.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Frances of Orinda; his daughter, Holly Newman Daniels of Novato; and his sister, Dorothy Newman Clements (SPHS '43) of Woodland.

San Francisco Chronicle, February 22, 1996