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Losing an advocate

Proctor, remembered as a gentleman who fought expansion of JWA, was found in San Jose with gunshot wound to head.

March 11, 2008|By Brianna Bailey

Former Newport Beach City Councilman and prominent attorney Gary Proctor was found dead Sunday afternoon in his San Jose home in an apparent suicide, police said Monday.

Police responded to a residence in the 700 block of Harry Road in San Jose shortly before 3 p.m. Sunday and found Proctor, 63, dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, said Officer Jermaine Thomas of the San Jose Police Department. Police would not release more information on Proctor’s death, Thomas said.

Proctor resigned from his for-profit law firm that represents low-income clients in Santa Clara County dependency court last month after a San Jose newspaper ran a series of investigative stories on the firm’s alleged shortcomings.

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Stories in the San Jose Mercury News in February alleged that Proctor’s Santa Clara-county contracted firm, Juvenile Defenders, did not defend its low-income clients aggressively when it cost too much money to investigate cases.

Juvenile Defenders represents parents who face losing custody of their children because of allegations of abuse and neglect. Orange County Superior Court has contracted Proctor’s firm since 1981 to provide representation for low-income clients, Superior Court Spokeswoman Carole Levitzky said Monday.

Former Newport Beach public officials who served with Proctor during his tenure on the Newport Beach City Council remember him as fair and well-informed on local issues.

“He was always a gentleman and always showed the highest level of professionalism,” said former Newport Beach Mayor Steve Bromberg, who ran for City Council with Proctor in 2000. “He always had a sense of fairness around him and he was an advocate for what he believed in.”

Proctor was elected to the council on a platform opposing expansion at John Wayne Airport, and split his time between residences in Newport Beach and San Jose.

Proctor would fly his own plane from San Jose to Newport Beach to attend meetings, Bromberg said. In later years, Proctor suffered from several health problems including a debilitating back injury that forced him to sell his plane, a source of sadness for the former councilman, Bromberg said.

Although Bromberg was a Republican and Proctor a Democrat, Bromberg respected Proctor’s judgment on local issues, he said.

“There were times we disagreed on issues, but he never based his decision on personalities,” Bromberg said. “It was always based on facts and fairness.”

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