Letters: John Farra, remembered as champion for justice

On Saturday, January 27, 2018, many from the Harbor area community gathered to Celebrate the Life of John Farra. John was a long-time Harbor resident and dedicated legal advocate for at-risk individuals. Countless stories were shared about John’s willingness to represent clients who others may have deemed undesirable; John was more interested in fair and just representation than personal or public opinion. He truly believed that every person had the right to a fair trial, no matter how heinous the crime and regardless of whether the individual could afford to pay for his representation.

Seasoned attorneys and sitting Judges shared stories of John’s commitment and dedication to his clients, filing an unprecedented number of motions with the Court of Appeals. He remained undeterred in his search of justice for his clients, never moving-on from a case that he felt needed to be reexamined, a verdict that he felt needed to be overturned. They shared stories about his unwavering passion and dedication for the at-risk youth of the Harbor, appearing in Dependency Court the week before he died. At the time of that appearance, John was extremely frail and anxious about his upcoming heart surgery. However, standing up for his child client took priority over his own mental and physical wellbeing.

Younger attorneys shared stories about being mentored by John. He felt that mentoring new attorneys benefitted both the legal and public communities at large. Several also stated that John’s last name had become a verb amongst the younger professionals. The birth of the phrase, “I have just been Farra’d, again!” was established by the young attorneys who were out-maneuvered during a legal argument in court by an increasingly frail, but still formidable, impassioned Watchdog for Justice.

In this present political climate, where “fake news” and “alternative facts” are part of the nightly news. Where every day there is reporting that we are on the brink of a constitutional crisis, our FBI and DOJ under constant attack. John believed that facts mattered, justice mattered, the Constitution mattered, standing-up for and protecting those who needed help – mattered. And what I heard loud and clear from all in attendance at his Celebration of Life was that, John Farra – my beloved father – mattered.

Tayshia Farra