EL PASO, Texas - Prominent attorney Joseph Sib Abraham died just before 8 a.m. July 4, according to his son, Billy Abraham.
"He was surrounded by family and went peacefully," his son, Billy, said. "He's now with our Lord."
Billy tells ABC-7 that his father had pancreatic cancer.
According to a Martindale-Hubbell profile of Sib, his practice areas included Appeals, RICO, Criminal Tax Litigation, State and Federal Civil Appeals, and Civil Tax Litigation.
Sib, who was born in El Paso in 1936, was admitted in 1961 to the bars of Texas and the U.S. District Court, Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western Districts of Texas.
In a 2007 El Paso Bar Association profile, Sib was asked about his most interesting cases.
"The most interesting and certainly the most rewarding case I handled was
my successful representation of the Honorable Enrique (Henry) Pena. Retired Judge Pena was not only a great jurist who devoted his legal career to public service, but he was a close friend and contemporary," Sib said. "I felt it was an honor that he chose me to represent him against him. The Not Guilty verdicts returned by the jury in January of 1995 were the most satisfying ones of my career, because they vindicated a man who was truly innocent of the charges levied against him. Representing innocent individuals is the most frightening of all situations. A federal cocaine case in Los Angeles was another interesting case I handled in the late 1980's, early 1990's. It was the largest cocaine seizure in U.S. history (21 tons of cocaine and $12,000,000.00 cash), and hoped, the legal issues involved and the lawyers I worked with were extraordinary."
Sib first opened his practice in 1961 with the intentions of developing a practice geared towards real estate and business, according to the El Paso Bar Association profile.
"When Lee (Chagra) joined me a year later, my legal career suddenly took a different path," Sib said in the profile. "Lee had always wanted to practice criminal law and he convinced me to try criminal cases with him, so I did. Lee and I went to Judge William Ward in the 34th District Court and asked him to appoint us to as many criminal cases as possible, even though in those days the appointed cases were strictly pro bono. We even had to pay the expenses out of our pockets. Judge Ward accommodated us and our criminal law business took off – especially since we achieved remarkable success in defending those accused of committing crimes. In the mid-to-late 1960's, conspiracy law became the new "darling" of prosecutors."
"Consequently, Lee and I often found ourselves wanting to be hired by multiple defendants indicted in the same case," Sib said in the profile. "Obviously, multiple representation created a conflict of interest, so Lee and I mutually and amicably agreed to terminate our partnership, primarily in order to maximize effective legal representation in the criminal law area. Thereafter, both of our careers as criminal defense lawyers went beyond our wildest dreams."
Read the full El Paso Bar Association profile on Sib at http://bit.ly/1kftyBm