The Village Voice

Terry Gilbert has spent the past five decades of his life working in Cleveland as a civil rights attorney. He uses the law as a vehicle for social change, as he describes in his newly published autobiography, Trying Times: A Lawyer’s 50-Year Struggle Fighting for Rights in a World of Wrongs. Gilbert shared his thoughts with me over Zoom.

“The war on drugs has been a complete disaster on many levels, impacting people of color disproportionately,” he says, summarizing five decades of history. “The collateral consequences range from mass incarceration, aggressive and military policing in marginalized communities, an epidemic of pretextual traffic stops, SWAT raids, brutal excessive force, and police shooting deaths. These policies, endorsed by courts, have devastated communities and done little to keep them safe.”

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CLEVELAND — In the midst of the national conversation about police brutality and racial bias, especially after the murder of George Floyd, the national protests, and this week’s stunning guilty verdicts against Derek Chauvin, the legal doctrine of “qualified immunity” has been widely condemned as an impediment to achieving legal accountability against police who violate people’s constitutional rights.

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Cool Cleveland

If you need proof that the youth of the ’60s who protested the Vietnam War and took part in the Civil Rights Movement didn’t all mature to be Reagan conservatives, look no further than noted Cleveland lawyer Terry Gilbert.

Gilbert’s had an interesting career, to say the least. If his name sounds familiar, there’s a good chance you heard it on the news or saw it in the Plain Dealer when an activist or protestor was arrested.

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UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio — Terry Gilbert has dedicated his career as a civil rights lawyer to pursuing justice for the disenfranchised.

“Everybody deserves justice in one form or another,” said Gilbert, who calls himself a people’s lawyer. “I was never deterred by popularity, whether people had money or didn’t have money, or whether they made mistakes.”

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Cleveland Jewish News

As criminal defense and civil rights litigation, lawyer Terry Gilbert looked back on a 50-year career of activism and achievements, he knew his story could make a long-lasting impact as a book.

Gilbert, a lifelong Clevelander who resides in University Heights and is a member of Suburban Temple Kol Ami in Beachwood, mentioned his memoir idea to longtime friend, journalist and author Carlo Wolff, a resident of South Euclid.

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