Statement by Sam Cary Bar Association Regarding the Passing of Former Denver District Attorney and SCBA Co-Founder, Norm Early
It was with deep sadness that members of the Sam Cary Bar Association received the news that one of our organization’s co-founders, Norm Early, passed away on May 5, 2022. From 1983 to 1993, Norm was the first and only Black District Attorney for Denver, as well as the founder and first President of the National Black Prosecutors Association. Norm further distinguished himself on many fronts--as a trusted mentor to countless young attorneys, a local and national champion of crime victims’ rights, an eloquent speaker at many local and national criminal justice events and one of the best trial attorneys who ever graced a courtroom. Most importantly, Norm distinguished himself by operating the most diverse law firm in the state with lawyers of color and diverse attorneys appointed as chief trial deputies and division leaders. Those lawyers have gone on to become Denver District Attorney, Manager of Safety, and Equity partners at major law firms.
During his storied career, Norm received many awards, including a Department of Justice Award for outstanding service on behalf of crime victims, a Government Leadership Award from the National Commission Against Drunk Driving and an Ending Violence Effectively Award for providing aid to survivors of sexual abuse.
In 1991, Norm ran for Mayor of Denver, but lost the race to then former state representative Wellington Webb. While disappointed in the election outcome, Norm often referred to that loss as a learning experience. Always a class act, Norm proceeded to strongly support Webb in his three terms as Mayor.
Norm loved his family, his community and his role as a changemaker. Even though his professional and personal plates were always overflowing, he remained a loyal and devoted member of the Sam Cary Bar Association during his prosecutorial career and for many years after he left the active practice of law. Members of Sam Cary will always cherish Norm’s million-dollar smile, his generosity of spirit and most of all, the bear hugs he bestowed upon everyone who came within his reach.
With Norm’s passing, the wind has blown out of our sails for a moment. However, remembering and channeling Norm’s tireless commitment to justice for all is the best way we can honor his rich legacy.