CARMEL VALLEY — As sick as he had been, battling disparate sorts of cancer about 7 decades, I started to assume that Richard Rosen, of Carmel Valley, remarkably regarded felony defense attorney and musician, was, unlike the rest of us, immortal.
Absolutely, the moment once again, he would valiantly vanquish loss of life and we would continue on with the lunches we had shared on the side deck of the property exactly where he and his spouse of 46 several years, Susan, experienced lived for 3-and-a-half decades and lifted their two sons, Gabe and Evan. When we satisfied, we would each dress in masks, in deference to his treatment method-compromised immunity and pandemic protocol, and we would engage in no cost-ranging conversations that involved his legal vocation, sports activities, audio and politics.
Even with the constant specter of most cancers, which we also talked about, I assumed that like the innumerable juries he experienced confident to rule in favor of a impressive assortment of clientele, the fates would not decree a responsible verdict for him. So, on the early morning of Nov. 12, when I referred to as Susan to request when it would be Okay to go to yet again, I was shocked when she stated, “Richard died very last night time. I don’t know what to do. I have hardly ever been a widow right before.”
He was 13 days shy of turning 73, getting lived very long enough to satisfy his want of voting for Joe Biden.
Rosen was a substantial presence. He experienced a lot of admirers and produced a name for himself the two in the authorized industry and as a musician, where he performed blues harmonica and sang.
As a lawyer, Rosen argued some of Monterey County’s most superior-profile instances. He is in all probability finest remembered for one particular that dominated the entrance page of this newspaper 15 yrs back and attracted individuals from in the course of the county to watch the often-gripping proceedings. He represented a Carmel woman who experienced shot and wounded her estranged partner. Soon after barely an hour of deliberations, jurors acquitted her on all four counts, together with tried murder. Important things were being the battered female syndrome and forensics examination. The victory was demonstrative of his tactic.
“He fought like hell, but it was by no means personalized,” mentioned John Phillips, who as a Monterey County prosecutor squared off versus Rosen many situations. “He was a really achieved demo legal professional, generally tremendously ready, experimented with a terrific case and was brave,” added Phillips, a member of the Monterey County Board of Supervisors for the earlier six many years.
Afterwards as a Excellent Court docket judge, Phillips took inventory of Rosen from a distinct point of view.
“I created much more respect and admiration for him at the time I could action back objectively,” Phillips mentioned. “He had the potential to get out of a witness what he essential to guide his consumer in a way that was nonetheless respectful. Richard was quite superior at cross-examining without humiliating the witness.”
A musical expertise as perfectly
In the world of music, his crowning accomplishment was “Dylan and Dylan,” a 3-human being exhibit produced by Rosen, Taelen Thomas and Steve Mortensen that merged the tunes and writings of Bob Dylan with the poetry of 20th century Welshman Dylan Thomas.
“I hugely suggest it for its originality and beguiling excursion into the lives, minds and performs of two passionate and unpredictable literary geniuses,” wrote the Herald’s songs critic Barbara Rose Shuler in 2017.
“In the two regulation and songs, he was exceptionally meticulous in his preparing,” explained his elder son, Gabe, 39, of San Francisco. “I recall as a child, when he had a large situation, he would retire to the living home and pore around it for hours just about every night, and this was the one time he was not to be disturbed. But there was around a period of about 15 a long time when he was training legislation and taking audio classes concurrently practically every 7 days.”
In the early 1980s, Rosen represented a guy accused of strangling a woman south of Carmel. The intently followed scenario, which provided the dropping and refiling of prices, ongoing for two many years. Jurors could not arrive at a verdict but leaned strongly toward acquittal. The prosecution considerably dropped the charges in the courtroom.
Nothing if not outspoken, Rosen attacked the murder investigation by both equally the sheriff’s business office and police in the circumstance. In one more situation, Rosen criticized the bench, indicating, “The judges, who ought to be screening these (research warrant) apps, have come to be rubber stamps for the police. The judges have abdicated their roles of shielding the Structure.”
“I experienced the highest respect for him as a defense attorney,” mentioned retired Monterey County Top-quality Court Decide Nat Agliano, later elevated to the appellate courtroom. “I generally thought how fortuitous men and women have been to have him signify him. He was so dedicated to his consumers and so faithful and devoted to them. He was incredibly professional and tenacious.”
Outstanding Court Choose Andrew Liu was a Monterey County deputy district legal professional when he initially encountered Rosen.
“If I experienced a case against him, I needed to be additional well prepared,” Liu mentioned. “Later, when I entered private apply, Richard welcomed me warmly, and we grew to become colleagues and buddies. I valued his friendship and sought his information on prison issues usually.”
Observing his cross-evaluation of a witness was akin to observing a chess grandmaster. He was generally imagining quite a few moves ahead, attempting to build the sample that would lead to acquittal.
Rosen estimated that he gained about half the scenarios he took to trial.
Retired reporter Robert Jones, who included the courts for several a long time for The Herald, spoke about “Rosen’s passionate determination to his clients.”
A single demo that Rosen did not get stands out in Jones’s intellect.
In a homicide situation, he and his customer experienced resolved not to argue for a lesser cost, insisting that she acted in self-protection. But the jury convicted the woman of a thing additional severe rather.
“Richard was so devastated,” said Jones. “He sat for fifty percent an hour, by yourself in a courtroom, deserted apart from for me hiding in the back again, with his head in his palms. I observed how deeply he felt his obligation to defend his clientele, how sharp the individual discomfort when he misplaced.”
There was more than one side to Rosen.
“Richard could be so formidable in the courtroom but in fact was so incredibly form and caring,” reported lawyer Susan Schwartz, who worked with him in the regional public defender’s office environment.
That kindness prolonged to buddies and some others whose cases he would get pro bono when they could not pay for to pay back him. His wife, Susan, claimed he was paid a lot more than as soon as with scenarios of strawberries and even gained a salmon one particular time in lieu of a payment.
She similar that just after Richard’s passing, she been given condolences and messages of gratitude from a lot of folks, a lot of of whom she did not know he had represented. Honoring sacrosanct lawyer-shopper relations, he had concealed their identities. “Some of them ended up mates of mine, not his, and I hadn’t acknowledged nearly anything about it,” she explained.
Rosen’s legal perform lined extensive swaths.
He cleared a horse rancher of plundering $1.5 million, stressing that it was a civil subject, not a prison situation. Rosen received an acquittal for a girl who admitted thieving a lot more than $400,000 through untrue health care statements, as he effectively argued that she experienced completed it out of panic and like. Rosen represented Hells Angels who wished seized home returned from regulation enforcement. He focused himself for decades to the legalization of cannabis, managing hundreds of circumstances symbolizing consumers dealing with marijuana fees.
“My father crossed the intersections of many various forms of regulation,” presented Evan. In how his father methodically geared up, he recalled the adage: “Measure 2 times slash as soon as.”
Rosen graduated UC Berkeley in 1969 and obtained his law diploma at Loyola of Los Angeles. In involving, he earned a master’s at San Francisco Point out with his thesis on Bob Dylan.
Soon after passing the bar, Rosen was in the general public defender’s office in Riverside County from 1975 to 1977, and then in the very same place of work in Monterey County from 1977 to 1982, just before going into personal follow. Legal professional Angela Johnson related with him. Rosen retired in 2014.
Even though he liked the highlight, paradoxically, in a social context, he was content to remain in the track record, listening intently to many others right until the attention could convert to him, when he could constantly be counted on to entertain.
The very well-been given “Dylan and Dylan” harkened back to the ’60s folks period, with just three performers by itself on a stripped-down phase. Rosen provided a narrative on Bob Dylan’s lifetime, taking part in harmonica and singing Dylan tracks Mortensen, accompanying himself on guitar, also sang from Dylan’s in depth repertoire, and Thomas, embodying Dylan Thomas, go through his poetry. The performances were being memorable.
“They touched individuals on a whole lot of distinctive levels,” reported Mortensen. “The guitar truly hardly ever stopped apart from for a couple of monologues and even then would be in the track record. There was a constant really feel. You can inform a demonstrate is likely properly when everybody leaving is beaming. It progressed into a tapestry of term and music.”
“The pleasure of working towards and rehearsing with Richard was just amazing,” said Thomas, who, moreover his namesake, has personified quite a few notables on phase. “He was reverential toward the harmonica and admired the earlier masters. He could just take around a tune by invitation and bless it with his possess contributory magnificence. Each time we did the clearly show it was a thrill. There was just anything magical. Richard was a person of the most deeply appreciated musicians I’ve at any time met.”
Right before this trio, Mortensen experienced executed with Rosen for numerous several years. “He just obtained much better and improved, and then he started off singing and it bought better and superior.” With cancer by no means significantly absent “practicing was a large reduction and release for him,” extra Mortensen.
Most cancers survivor and area jazz pianist Invoice Insignificant, a former Herald new music writer, also performed with Rosen.
“Our good friendship started extra than 15 yrs ago,” stated Minor. “When cancer received serious for both of those of us, we begun having Facetime jazz sessions. Richard experienced an extraordinary repertoire. He didn’t read through music. He was incredibly self-taught and was creating music. It was all experience, primarily with the blues. He was 1 of the most inclusive men and women I understood, with a fantastic perception of humor, compassion and a really like for what he was accomplishing.”
Rosen executed at numerous venues, including weekly at the Cachagua Common Retail store for a lot of a long time, as effectively as at the Golden Bough, Carmel Plaza and quite a few neighborhood situations with fellow musicians. Much less formal have been regular jam classes at his house, exactly where Rosen and good friends, potentially 20 or extra, would assemble to engage in and sing rock, nation, people and blues.
“What I don’t forget most vividly is how a great deal he liked to wail, whether on harmonica or in tune,” stated Evan, 34, who life in upstate New York.
“He beloved a tune that coursed with emotion wherever you could truly belt out the lyrics.”
To become much more proficient, Richard attended many harmonica camps.
“Bob Dylan, the most literary of contemporary lyricists, and anyone who commonly explores themes of justice in his writings was his best inspiration,” explained Gabe.
At the Monterey County Bar Association’s once-a-year luncheon last month, veteran neighborhood legal professional Larry Biegel memorialized Rosen and fellow observed area attorney Eugene Martinez, who died at 69 of COVID-19 5 times prior to Rosen’s passing.
“In the earlier month, our legal community and their families have missing two giants, lawful titans,” said Biegel. “When I visited Richie’s business, I was usually astonished at the shelves crammed with notebooks, every signifying a trial he had or was receiving prepared for. Richie was quoted as declaring upon his retirement: ‘I invested 40 several years combating with people today as a demo attorney. New music is about harmonizing with people today.’ Harmonizing is accurately what he did.”
As a devoted family person, he was a strong fixture at property, also finding out to get pleasure from cooking with Susan.
He was 1st diagnosed with cancer in 2013. More than the subsequent 7 many years, it would occur, go and reappear, an uninvited visitor. “It was like a roller-coaster,” reported Evan. There were recurrent visits to Stanford Professional medical Center, the Pacific Cancer Treatment at Ryan Ranch and Group Clinic of the Monterey Peninsula and countless techniques.
Rosen confronted it all with braveness and remarkable dignity.
As autumn waned, he sensed the end was approaching. He had fought prolonged and tough, but the downs ended up dominating the ups, the treatments significantly complicated. This career fighter at last agreed to palliative care. His only ailment was that he wished to die at residence with his family.
A medical center bed was positioned in the living room so he could search south by means of its picture window at the hills of Carmel Valley. His mother, Esther, and brother Mitch created a remaining go to from Southern California.
On Nov. 11, with Susan, Gabe, Evan and Evan’s spouse, Fru, existing, he was gone.
Just after his passing, I pored over stories that Rosen had framed about some of his most outstanding instances. There was also a plaque about his presidency of the Monterey County Bar Affiliation. It contains an emblematic photograph of him taking part in the harmonica.
He is wailing.
Lewis Leader, of Carmel Valley, is a former newspaper reporter and editor who performs as a freelance author and expert.