Larry A. Hammond
{ "" }
Share Larry's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
Larry A. Hammond

Phoenix - Phoenix attorney Larry A. Hammond, a nationally renowned advocate for justice and a founding partner of the Phoenix law firm, Osborn Maledon, P.A., passed away March 2, 2020, following a long illness. He was 74.

His passions were well-known to colleagues and friends - family, the law and baseball. While the legal community respected his intellect and willingness to take on the tough cases, the ushers at Chase Field knew his commitment to baseball. He scored every game he attended - and that was a good many.

The most senior member of Osborn Maledon's investigations and criminal group, Larry came to the predecessor firm of Osborn Maledon in 1974, establishing a practice that for nearly 50 years focused on capital defense representation and white-collar crime, including notable pro bono clients.

Over five decades, he won numerous national awards and recognitions including the American Bar Association's John Minor Wisdom Public Service and Professionalism Award and the Southern Poverty Law Center's Justice Award. Under President Carter, Larry received the U.S. Attorney General's Award for Exceptional Service. In Arizona, he received the Tom Karas Criminal Justice Award, the Judge Learned Hand Community Service Award, and the Arizona State Bar Association's Walter Craig Award.

In 2015, Larry received the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal's Professionalism Award. Most recently, he was recognized by the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers, of which Larry was a Fellow, as an Access to Justice Distinguished Pro Bono Fellow for his work with the Arizona Justice Project. And in recognition of his many contributions to the Arizona legal community, he was inducted into the Maricopa County Bar Association Hall of Fame.

From 2005-2007, Larry was president of the American Judicature Society - a national organization devoted to the administration of justice in America. Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno presented him with the 2008 Justice Award, the Society's highest honor, in a ceremony appropriately held on the infield of Scottsdale Stadium.

Larry helped found the Arizona Capital Representation Project in 1988, which assists inmates convicted of capital crimes, and he served as chair of the Arizona State Bar's Indigent Defense Task Force. He strove to set high standards for all criminal defense attorneys, and he led by example.

But Larry was most proud of founding the Arizona Justice Project, the fifth innocence organization in the nation, for which he served as president for 22 years. To further the reach of that work, he helped found the Innocence Network, which has blossomed into a network of over 60 innocence organizations worldwide. Because of the Arizona Justice Project's work, 27 people have been freed from unjust imprisonment.

Larry had a tremendous impact on young lawyers. He taught law courses for Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, Elon University College of Law in Greensboro, N.C., the University of New Mexico, St. John's College (Santa Fe), and Birmingham City University School of Law in the United Kingdom, and he wrote prolifically on the need to assure that no one was denied access to fair treatment under the law for lack of funds. He helped create law-school clinics at ASU and UofA that focus on wrongful convictions.

Although he did not aspire to be a lawyer while growing up in El Paso, Texas, he had a distinguished career from the beginning. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Texas, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Texas Law Review. After graduation, Larry clerked for Judge Carl McGowan on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and then for two U.S. Supreme Court Justices, Hugo L. Black and Lewis F. Powell, Jr. He later served as an assistant Watergate Special Prosecutor, then as a deputy assistant attorney general with the U.S. Justice Department during the Carter administration.

As Larry prepared to move to Phoenix, Justice Powell wrote him a note: "I think you are one of the ablest lawyers with whom I have ever worked. Your capacity of penetrating legal analysis is exceptional. You also write with clarity and precision and I had complete confidence in the thoroughness and integrity of your research and in the soundness of your judgement."

In Phoenix, Larry's distinguished career included pro bono work for the NAACP in the 1970s on school desegregation, working on international war crimes as part of an American Bar Association task force and advocacy for increasing the funding for lawyers appointed to serve as public defenders in capital cases. His pro bono work on behalf of John Henry Knapp uncovered new fire science evidence that led to a retrial and a reversal of the conviction of the man who had wrongly spent 18 years on death row.

At Osborn Maledon, Larry mentored dozens of lawyers, many of whom are now the best known and most respected attorneys in Arizona, including numerous state and federal judges. His advice on legal issues was sought not just by clients but also by other lawyers, leaders of state and federal Bar associations, government officials, and leaders of industry. He was referred to by one national legal publication as the "Dean of the Arizona criminal defense bar." And his colleagues at Osborn Maledon revered him for his intellect, his humanity, and his selfless dedication to others.

Larry is survived by his wife, Frances ("Nobody else has Frances"); three children, Brooke Hammond, Blake (Jane) Hammond and Amanda (Chad Swenka) Hammond; and nine grandchildren, Brennan Austin Hammond, Haley Kristine Langille, Hugh Hammond Swenka, Joshua David Lundine, Louis Hammond Swenka, Pearl Hammond Swenka, Randall James Lundine, Stephanie Ema Lundine and Victoria Lynn (Trey) Roberts. Larry is also survived by his sisters Madelynn and Nancy, his brothers Chuck and John, and their families.

Larry enjoyed every day, and every day started for him hours before the sun came up. His tireless commitment to his clients and colleagues was matched by his dedication to his family. In addition to his love of baseball, he was an avid marathon runner, world traveler, and lover of country music. He only drove a pick-up truck. He loved watching the grandchildren and sporting events. And he loved to read and teach.

A celebration of Larry's life will be held at the Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix on Sunday, March 22, at 2:00 PM. UPDATE The Celebration of Life has been postponed due to the COVID-19 concerns and will be reset to another date.

In lieu of flowers or other gifts, the family requests that contributions be made in Larry Hammond's name to the Arizona Justice Project, c/o Arizona State University, 411 N. Central Ave, Suite 600, Phoenix, AZ 85004.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Arizona Republic from Mar. 4 to Mar. 13, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
View Printed Guest Book
22 entries
October 28, 2020
I am late to learn this terribly sad news. Larry was a thoughtful, kind and deeply supportive mentor to me early during my public policy career. I wish strength to Larry's loved ones during this most difficult time.
Gabriel Oberfield
March 27, 2020
I only met Larry a few times but was impressed by his dedication to the falsely accused.

He did a lot of good.

My mother, Frances Guy Veasey, was one of his biggest fans. My sincere condolences to his family.

Guy Veasey
Guy Veasey
March 23, 2020
I have a lot to say about Larry. I knew him well, long, and way too short. He's a character in two of my books. I was writing about part of his life when I learned of his death. When I interviewed him for a new book about lawyers and law teacher six months ago he told me that there would be no Arizona Innocence Project without the ASU College of Law. Tragically, now there is no Larry Hammond at the helm of the Arizona Innocence Project. Arizona has thousands of excellent lawyers. But he was not just one of a thousand; he was on every list that purported to chronicle the best of the best. He won more cases, had more friends, had a renowned position in state and national legal circles and had more fun than anyone I ever knew. He loved the law and all of its glorious uncertainties, and will be missed by the thousands of people he helped, and inspired. What Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld started nationwide, Larry Hammond did in Arizona. Both entities and the scores of lawyers they rely on every day stand for a simple, terrifying reality. Americas vaunted criminal justice system makes mistakes. Not in every case, but in too many. For decades, the notion of actual innocence in Americas vast prison population was not widely held. In fact, for many law-and-order mindsets, the notion was merely irritating. But in the waning decades of the twentieth century, a growing chorus of stories from the innocent surfaced and took on a life form. Many of them have Larry Hammond to thank, not just for saving them, but for saving all the rest of us as well.
Gary Stuart
March 15, 2020
I'm so sorry to hear that the world has lost this wonderful champion for justice. Larry encouraged me when I was in law school many years ago, and I'll never forget his kindness. My condolences to his beloved family, friends, and colleagues.
Maureen P Kane
March 15, 2020
Larry was the lawyer to whom I most often reported during my years at the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel--my first post-clerkship legal job. No one better modeled what it means to be a great lawyer and a good person. Given his love of country music, I was shocked that it fell to me in later decades to introduce him to the music of Lucinda Williams, but that was a small favor in return for how much I learned from him. He loved training young lawyers, and I count myself privileged to have been in that group.
Peter Shane
March 14, 2020
Notice of Cancellation: the March 22, 2020, Celebration of Life in memory of Larry A. Hammond


Because of concerns over COVID-19, the Hammond Family has decided to exercise caution and postpone the Celebration of Life for Larry Hammond. When a new date is established, we will let you know.

Donations are still being accepted in lieu of flowers or other gifts, at the family's request, in memory of Larry, and to honor the deep commitment of he and Frances to the lifesaving work he started. The firm and Larry's friends have collaborated with the Justice Project to establish The Larry and Frances Hammond Fund for Justice at the Arizona Justice Project. Contributions may be made online at (There is a "Comments" field to designate your donation to the Hammond Fund for Justice.)

Published in The Arizona Republic from Mar. 13 to Mar. 15, 2020
Julie Rial
March 13, 2020
I am so blessed to have known this man for more than 60 years and Frances for more. Our parents were friends and we mourned together as each passed into the spirit world. Larry was always the leader, and I was his secretary/lackey in local, diocesan and provincial positions we held through church. After graduation from Austin High in El Paso, we trudged off to UNM together in 1963 to study Russian and become (highly paid) government translators. That didn't work out for either of us, thank goodness. Dosvedanya.

Gail Crawford Neher
March 13, 2020
Very surprised and saddened at Larry's passing. Frances, please let me know how I can send you a note.
Stan Betzer
March 13, 2020
Stan Betzer
March 12, 2020
I knew Larry when he was a student at the University of New Mexico, lost track of him after he transferred, and ran into him again at the last Washington Senators baseball game in 1971.
Our conversation turned to "what are you doing now." I proudly mentioned that I had secured a minimally prestigious position as a faculty assistant at Catholic University's law school. Larry hesitated, and then said he was "in between jobs." I felt terrible that I had opened a painful subject. He later clarified what he meant by "in between jobs." He had been hired as a Supreme Court law clerk for Justice Black, but when he retired Larry temporarily worked in the pool of unassigned clerks (and later became one of the first clerks for Justice Powell). I was happy to see that his professional career wasn't stunted by finding himself between jobs early in his dareer.
Larry and his wife (who I knew as Frances Johns when she was a classmate at Burges High School in El Paso) kept in touch before they moved to Phoenix. Larry gave me a behind-the-scenes tour of the Supreme Court, in particular by inviting me to parties that included lots of other Supreme Court clerks; and Frances showed me how to eat an artichoke.
I promised to get in touch with Larry and Frances when I visited my family in the Phoenix area. Now, I am sorry that I always got to busy to call, thinking that I would call them next time.
Bob McGeorge
Sandia Park, NM
March 12, 2020
Having an oportunity to have worked with Larry at the innocent project in Arizona. Larry was a true pillar in the legal community when he spoke people listen to his wisdom . . All young attorneys should take notice and follow in his footsteps We will all miss his giant grace and compassion for human kindness. Rest in peace my friend .
Patrick Andler
March 12, 2020
I was very lucky to have known Larry beginning in 1964 at the summer time Episcopal Church Camp in Valmora, New Mexico. Larry was Manager of the facility as a young college student over seeing maintenance, remodeling and scheduling of activities for church camp attendees. He had 5 high school students working for him as cooks and maintenance. These students were called kitchen boys. My brother and I were two of the five kitchen boys.
The facilities that housed the Episcopal Church camp was a former hospital and sanatorium with about 20 separate small cottages that housed patients in the 1930's. These small cottages was where young participants were housed for the Episcopal church camp.
Larry and my brother and I became very good friends and visited him several times in El Paso, Texas. I stayed in contact with Larry over the years by phone, cards and letters. It does not surprise me one bit that Larry was a very successful attorney and so well liked. He will be truly missed.
Jim Shaffner
March 12, 2020
So incredible sad that you left this world Larry. I'm honoured that i got to know you, you made the world a better place, you and your big great beautifull heart. To me you were together with your family the best host-family in the world! All love send from Holland to your family, what an incredible loss
Eva Stam
March 11, 2020
It's hard to even describe Larry. Absolutely one of the most formidable men I have ever had the opportunity to know and work with. What a beautiful heart. I was blessed to have known him.
Suzanne Westfall
March 11, 2020
A great man.

Peace to all.

Keith and Mary Goody
Mary Goody
March 11, 2020
I worked at Osborn Maledon for a few years when I had just turned 20 years old. Larry was one of the attorneys that immediately stuck out to me as he was approachable, and SO VERY kind. He treated everyone like they were a friend, never too busy to smile and say hello. I do not remember too many lawyers there, but Larry left an impression, and was one of lawyers that will always stick out in my mind because he was so, so nice. I always thought it would be so fun to work with/for him. I am incredibly sad to hear he has passed over. You were the best, Mr. Hammond. -Misty Hinshaw Vasquez
Misty Hinshaw Vasquez
March 11, 2020
My condolences on Larry's passing. We are going to miss him terribly.
Margaret Strickland
March 10, 2020
My condolences are extended as you mourn the loss of your dear loved one. May you find comfort and strength to cope during this trying time. (Psalm 90:10)
March 8, 2020
A man nobler of spirit and intellect than Larry Hammond I never met, nor would ever expect to.
Geoffrey MANOIL
March 8, 2020
With deep sadness, and yet the immense appreciation I have that I was able to work for Larry almost 9 years. The loss I feel is inconsolable. He will forever be in my heart and a part of what I do. May your hearts keep close the wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
Julie Rial
March 7, 2020
In my heart forever
Donna Toland
March 6, 2020
We were very lucky to meet Larry and his family, at both his home and at the Chase Field stadium. My wife Christine and I will never forget the support and impact he had on our daughter Doctor Sarah Cooper's career in the legal profession.
Our heart felt condolences go out to his family and friends.
Paul Cooper
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences