Mr. Eaman has
a distinguished resume as
one of Michigan's premier criminal defense attorneys. For example:
He has been selected to fill leadership roles by the State Bar of Michigan, the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan, and the Michigan Trial Lawyers Association. He has received awards for his leadership from the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, and the Friends of Legal Aid.
He has represented criminal defendants in several famous Detroit cases. When a local newspaper recently released a book about the history of Detroit, in a section about Detroit’s ten most famous trials, three of the trials mentioned were trials where Mr. Eaman represented a client. In two of those cases, Mr. Eaman’s client was acquitted despite enormous publicity before and during trial.
He has deep roots in Detroit and the Detroit legal community. His grandfather, also named Frank D. Eaman, was a famous lawyer in Detroit for over fifty years, founding a law firm that no longer retains his name, but remains one of Detroit’s largest law firms. Mr. Eaman’s grandfather was a progressive force in the Detroit community, especially when he was the Police Commissioner of the Detroit Police Department in the 1940’s. As police commissioner, Mr. Eaman’s grandfather removed corrupt officers, many of who were later indicted, and brought civil service appointment, racial integration, and order and respect to the Detroit Police Department. The era was known in Detroit history as “The Eaman Earthquake.”
Mr. Eaman has a deep and abiding commitment to equal justice under the law. As a young college student in the 1960’s, he engaged in civil rights activities in the North, including marching with hundreds of thousands of Detroiters in the civil rights march down Woodward Avenue in 1963 with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He marched again in the 50th anniversary of that March in 2013. As a lawyer, he has fought hard to see that individuals who cannot afford counsel have competent counsel who are paid a fair fee for their services. Three times he has represented lawyers associations who have sued judges in the Michigan Supreme Court, where those judges refused to pay reasonable fees to lawyers who accept court assignments to represent those who cannot afford counsel in criminal cases. Eaman accepted assignments to represent indigent defendants for many years at the beginning of his career. Recently, he successfully appealed on behalf of a lawyer who was paid only $5 an hour for a defense of a man accused of first degree murder. For the opinion in that case, click here. Mr. Eaman also was part of a coalition of lawyers who sued the State of Michigan because it is one of a handful of states that fail to provide any funds for public defense. The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the lawsuit could go forward, and that opinion was affirmed by the Michigan Supreme Court. For a copy of that opinion, click here.
As a result of the many lawsuits, and public pressure, Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill creating a commission to form a state public defender. Mr. Eaman was invited to the bill signing when the commission was formed.
Left: Frank Eaman with Governor Snyder at the bill signing of the new Indigent Defense Act in 2013.
While Mr. Eaman enjoyed success as a criminal defense attorney early in his career, his skills have continued to improve as he has represented clients in increasingly difficult cases, still continuing to win most of his cases. Now, he is often sought for advice by other criminal defense attorneys. Many of Detroit’s most distinguished citizens have sought Mr. Eaman’s help when friends or family members needed representation because of exposure to liability in criminal cases.