Phoenix lawyer Peter Baird dies of leukemia - East Valley Tribune: News

Phoenix lawyer Peter Baird dies of leukemia

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Posted: Tuesday, September 1, 2009 4:42 pm | Updated: 1:08 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Peter Baird, an attorney who argued several high-profile cases during a 43-year career, has died. He was 68.

Baird died Thursday of acute lymphatic leukemia, according to Joe McGarry, a senior partner at the law firm of Lewis and Roca LLP in Phoenix, where Baird was a partner for 39 years.

Among Baird's cases was a successful lawsuit challenging the U.S. Justice Department's use of informants at worship services. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the practice was unconstitutional.

Baird also unsuccessfully defended Ernesto Arturo Miranda on criminal charges following the landmark 1966 Miranda v. Arizona decision, which said that police have to inform criminal suspects of their constitutional right to consult with an attorney and to remain silent before they are questioned.

McGarry said Tuesday that Baird was diagnosed with leukemia about two weeks ago and died at St. Joseph's Hospital.

He said McGarry turned 68 in the hospital Aug. 23 with his wife by his side and the rest of his family attending by a videolink.

"He was an outstanding trial lawyer and an outstanding human being," McGarry said. "It's a great loss."

McGarry said Baird also was a magician, performing as "The Great Bairdini" to raise money for the University of Arizona's cancer center.

Baird is survived by his wife, Susanne Baird, and his two adult sons.

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