Death of Colleague, Ken Strutin, Author of LLRX Criminal Justice Guides for 13 years

Kennard (Ken) R. Strutin, lawyer, law librarian, Director of Legal Information Services for the New York State Defenders Association, professor, author, teacher, colleague, friend and respected leader in the effort to illuminate the struggles of incarcerated persons and to champion justice for them, died on November 30, 2018 after a brief illness – he was 56 years old. Ken graduated from Temple University Law School, was a trial attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Nassau County and then with the Orange County Legal Aid Society. Thereafter Ken earned his Master’s in Library Science from St. John’s University and continued his professional career as an expert and prolific author, teacher, advocate and change agent in the areas of criminal law and social justice.

In 2005 I reached out to Ken, whose expertise in all facets of criminal justice matters was well known in the legal community, in the hope that he would consider sharing his knowledge with the community. Ken thankfully agreed, and we began a correspondence that continued for 13 years, and allowed me the privilege of publishing 70 of his exceptional research guides, all unique to LLRX. I had a deep respect for Ken’s commitment to illuminating the evolving issues of criminal justice, and this led us to exchange many ideas related to resources, training and teaching programs, topical articles and relevant court decisions. Ken was indefatigable in his ability to research and articulate the most complex, nuanced and technical aspects of the daunting hurdles presented by our criminal justice system. Ken’s research guides addressed a myriad of issues ranging from Detainers, Detention and Deportation: From Presence to Personhood, to Bail in Justice: Innocence, Indigence and Incarceration, Automatic Justice: Shaping the Legal Mind of Tomorrow; Prison Affected People: Punished to the Margins of Life; and Pain Science and the Administration of Justice.

Ken’s guides are marvels of that exemplify the breath and depth of expert legal research within which are woven complex layers of empathy and compassion, as well as a focus on ethics and contemporary moral philosophy. Ken’s work was built upon his foundational belief in social justice. In the preface to one of his guides, I wrote: Criminal law expert Ken Strutin’s new article is yet another research tour de force – a collection of recent and notable developments concerning DNA as forensic science, metric of guilt, herald of innocence, and its emerging place in the debate over privacy and surveillance.  I was honored to have published just a portion of the large biography of his work, and I will maintain these guides on my site moving forward. I urge you to take time to read them – all – as your time permits – and to incorporate them into your own learning about this expansive subject matter, as well as to include his guides as you teach others about this continuously evolving and challenging area of the legal system.

All of Ken Strutin’s 70 guides on are available at this link.

Ken’s work provides us with ample knowledge to continue on the path he illuminated. Each of us is well prepared for the task – as researchers, law librarians, lawyers, professors and journalists, we can and we will focus on ensuring that social justice for all becomes embroidered in the fabric of our country in a way that cannot be torn to shreds, trampled and discarded by anyone who holds an elected or appointed office that intersects with social justice in our country. And please, continue to support programs such as the Sentencing Project, to whom I have contributed in Ken’s honor over the years, and which I will continue to support. Let us all continue to work with and to support our colleagues in all sectors, to achieve social justice in America – Peace.

Posted in: Big Data, Civil Liberties, Criminal Law, Ethics, Government Resources, Human Rights, Legal Education, Legal Ethics, Legal Research