Lenny Bruce Pardoned!



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Tuesday December 23, 2003
Grants Posthumous Pardon to Performer Lenny Bruce

“The holiday season is a time when we are reminded of the true meaning of compassion," Governor Pataki said. . . .

The Governor granted a posthumous pardon to the performer Lenny Bruce who was convicted of the misdemeanor of Giving an Obscene Performance in 1964.

“The posthumous pardon of Lenny Bruce is a declaration of New York’s commitment to upholding the First Amendment. Freedom of speech is one of the greatest American liberties and I hope this pardon serves as a reminder of the precious freedoms we are fighting to preserve as we continue to wage the war on terror,” the Governor said.

Lenny Bruce’s conviction was based upon a comedy performance at Café Au Go Go in New York City. Bruce was sentenced to serve four months in jail.

Acting as his own attorney, Bruce never legally appealed his conviction on first amendment grounds. His co-defendant, club owner Howard Solomon, had his conviction reversed on appeal.

The pardon of Lenny Bruce is the first posthumous pardon granted by Governor Pataki, and the first posthumous pardon granted in New York according to records kept by the New York State Division of Parole.


In the news
- The Pardon

Read the Haaretz story

- "Swinging with the First Amendment"
the New York Times stories

- "FOLLOWING UP: For Bruce's Prosecutor, 4-Letter Word Is Duty"
- "37 Years after his death, Lenny Bruce Receives a Pardon"

- "No Joke! 37 Years After Death Lenny Bruce Receives Pardon"

Read the San Francisco Chronicle stories
- "Lenny Bruce had the last laugh"
- "Foul-mouthed comic gets the last laugh: N.Y. governor grants posthumous pardon"

Read the AP stories
- "Lenny Bruce granted posthumous pardon"

- "Comedian Lenny Bruce pardoned"

Read the New York Daily News story

- "Pardon cleans up Lenny Bruce's act"

Read the Reuters story
- "Bad-Boy Comedian Lenny Bruce Posthumously Pardoned"

Read the Washington Post story

- "Lenny Bruce Pardoned For His Language"

- The Campaign

Read the May 2003 press release.

Read the original unpublished N.Y. trial court opinion of People v. Bruce.
Read the unpublished intermediate-appellate court opinion in People v. Solomon (reversing the conviction of Lenny Bruce's New York co-defendant, Howard Solomon, owner of the Café Au Go Go).

Read the pardon petition.
Read the letters of support from well-known entertainers and writers and prominent First Amendment scholars and lawyers.

Read the letter from Kitty Bruce.

Read the Buffalo News article

- "Time to Forgive"

Read the Newsday article

- "The Last Word on Lenny Bruce"

Read the New York Times articles.

- "Posthumous Pardon Asked for Lenny Bruce"

- "Absolution for a Martyr to the Profane"

Read the Associated Press articles.

- "Supporters seek posthumous pardon for comedian Lenny Bruce"

- "Crying Foul: Group Seeks a Belated Pardon for Lenny Bruce" (Washington Post)

Read the Wall Street Journal column.

Read the New York Sun editorial.

Read the Times (London) article.

From U.S. News & World Report.

Read the Op-ed by Ron Collins & Bob Corn-Revere.

Listen to the Scott Simon Essay: Lenny Bruce, NPR, 5-24-03.

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