John R. Dunne
|John R. Dunne|
|Member of the New York Senate
from the 6th district
|Preceded by||Norman F. Lent|
|Succeeded by||Kemp Hannon|
|Assistant United States Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division|
|President||George H.W. Bush|
|Preceded by||James P. Turner|
|Succeeded by||Deval Patrick|
January 28, 1930 |
Baldwin, New York
|Residence||Garden City, New York, Columbia County, New York|
|Alma mater||Georgetown, Yale Law|
|Website||Whiteman Osterman & Hanna|
John Richard Dunne (b. January 28, 1930 in Baldwin, New York) is a Republican politician and lawyer from Long Island, New York. Dunne was a major figure in New York Republican politics in the second half of the 20th century. He is best remembered for his twenty-three years in the State Senate and his involvement in the Attica prison riots.
Dunne attended Garden City High School. He graduated from Georgetown University in 1951, and received his law degree from Yale Law School in 1954. He married Denise in 1958 and has four children. Today, Dunne resides in Garden City and Columbia County. He is senior counsel at the Albany law firm of Whiteman Osterman & Hanna. He is also a director of several corporations.
In the State Senate
Dunne was a member of the New York State Senate from 1966 to 1989, sitting in the 176th, 177th, 178th, 179th, 180th, 181st, 182nd, 183rd, 184th, 185th, 186th, 187th and 188th New York State Legislatures.
He was a popular state senator, both in his district and in Albany. He went on to be re-elected eleven times, serving until 1989. Dunne served as Deputy Majority Leader, as well as chairman or ranking member of six committees. Numerous Republican public figures from Long Island served on Dunne's staff, including Michael Balboni.
Dunne was a major figure in the Attica prison riots of 1971. At the time, Dunne was chairman of the Senate Corrections Committee, which oversees the prison system. At one dramatic moment during the riot, Dunne entered the prison with New York Times editor Tom Wicker and Assemblyman Arthur Eve to negotiate with the prisoners. He strongly criticized Governor Nelson Rockefeller for the latter's actions, including a refusal to visit the prison, and argued that the prison standoff could have ended without bloodshed if state officials had acted differently.
Dunne was an original sponsor of the Rockefeller drug laws in 1973, but by the 2000s argued for major changes in New York drug laws. Dunne sponsored the New York law that protects the confidentiality of tests for HIV/AIDS.
He was regularly mentioned as a possible candidate for other offices, including statewide offices. In 1977, he sought the Republican nomination for Nassau County Executive, but lost the primary election.
George H. W. Bush administration and later legal career
In 1990, President George H. W. Bush nominated Dunne to be Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. His appointment was supported by members of both parties, including Mario Cuomo, Charles Rangel and Richard Thornburgh.
After serving at the Justice Department, Dunne became a partner in the firm of Rivkin Radler LLP, then known as Rivkin, Radler, Dunne & Bayh.
He was recognized several times for his contribution to the law in New York State, earning the New York State Bar Association's Gold Medal Award in 2006, among other awards. In 2003, the New York State Bar Foundation named its fund for legal services for indigent persons after Dunne.
In 2006, Dunne was appointed chairman of a task force charged with reforming the state probation system.
2009 New York State Senate leadership crisis
- Dunne's profile at Whiteman Osterman & Hanna
- Oral history interview with John R. Dunne (2008) from Justice in New York: An Oral History (full transcript)
- President George H.W. Bush nominates Dunne to the Justice Department
- Governor Paterson picks Dunne to intervene in the 2009 Senate crisis
- The NYS Bar Foundation names its fund after Dunne
- Dunne on the Attica prison riots and his Justice Dept. nomination
|New York State Senate|
Seymour R. Thaler
|New York State Senate
Norman F. Lent
Norman F. Lent
|New York State Senate