Joe Remcho


Joseph "Joe" Remcho was a founding partner of Remcho, Johansen & Purcell, where he practiced law for more than twenty years before his untimely death in a helicopter accident on January 4, 2003.

Mr. Remcho was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1969, the California Bar in 1972 and the District of Columbia Bar in 1972. He was a graduate of Yale University (B.A., 1966) and Harvard Law School (J.D., 1969).

After graduation Mr. Remcho taught second grade at the Roxbury Community School in Boston, Massachusetts.  The following year he served as a staff attorney for the Lawyers Military Defense Committee in Saigon, Vietnam, where his primary work was the defense of military personnel in serious felony criminal proceedings in military courts.  After a brief period in Washington D.C., he moved to California in 1972, where he served as staff attorney and legislative representative for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. He went into private practice in 1976.

For several years, Mr. Remcho served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco, teaching Administrative Law, Evidence, Constitutional Law and Federal Jurisdiction.

Mr. Remcho served as a Commissioner of the California Fair Political Practices Commission from 1977 to 1979.  He also served as Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa's appointee to the Bipartisan Commission on the Political Reform Act, as Assembly Speaker Robert M. Hertzberg's appointee to the Speaker's Commission on Initiative Reform, and as Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson Jr.'s appointee to the Bipartisan California Commission on Internet Political Practices.

In 1988, the California Trial Lawyers Association named Mr. Remcho Trial Lawyer of the Year.

Mr. Remcho's primary interest was the litigation of state and federal constitutional issues, with an emphasis on the First Amendment, election law, education, and public policy litigation.  His extensive appellate practice included argument before the United States Supreme Court in Storer v. Brown, 415 U.S. 724 (1973) and Torres v. Puerto Rico, 442 U.S. 465 (1979) and before the California Supreme Court in Assembly v. Deukmejian, 30 Cal. 3d 638 (1982), Legislature v. Deukmejian, 34 Cal. 3d 658 (1983), Lungren v. Deukmejian, 45 Cal. 3d 727 (1988), Legislature v. Eu, 54 Cal. 3d 492 (1991), Wilson v. California Assembly, 823 P.2d 545 (1992), California Assembly v. Public Utilities Commission, 12 Cal. 4th 87 (1995), Kopp v. Fair Political Practices Commission, 11 Cal. 4th 607 (1995), and Senate v. Jones, 21 Cal. 4th 1142 (1999).

Mr. Remcho represented numerous elected officials, including Governor Gray Davis, San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr., and other leaders in the California Legislature and California Democratic Party.

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives honor Joe Remcho (2003)