Commentator and legal analyst Midwin Charles passed away Tuesday, according to her family, who posted the devastating news on Charles’ Twitter and Instagram pages. She was only 47.
To say Charles was well respected would be an understatement, with news of her unexpected passing rocking many to the core. The daughter of Haitian immigrants, Charles brought her passion for justice with her from the courtroom into the studio. Not one to mince words, she leveraged each appearance with an opportunity to set the record straight.
Charles brought needed context to the conversation in 2018 when Trump called Haiti and other Black-led countries a sh*thole. She gave host Stephanie Ruhle and fellow panelists a much-needed history lesson, beginning with Haitian Independence through American occupation’s destabilization.
A civil trial and criminal defense attorney, Charles was the founder of Midwin Charles & Associates, LLC. Bringing a mixture of legal understanding and cultural context, Charles provided regular commentary on law, culture, and politics to several networks—including TV One, MSNBC, CNN, and Bloomberg TV.
In an appearance last month on MSNBC’s Cross Connection with Tiffany Cross, Charles provided insight on the DOJ investigations into police killings and the jury selection for the Derek Chauvin trial, breaking down the process, including using pre-emptive strikes.
The shock of Charles’ untimely passing shocked social media, with fans, friends, and colleagues expressing their condolences. PBS’ Whitehouse Correspondent Yamiche Alcindor describes Charles as a “brilliant mind and beautiful person who worked so hard.”
Veteran commentator Roland Martin called Charles a “top-notch legal mind.”
Actress and writer Yvette Nicole Brown said Charles was “a real one. Beautiful. Brilliant. Principled.”
Brooklyn born and bred, Charles received her bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University. She later attended American University Washington College of Law. Charles had a prestigious early legal career, clerking for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and serving as a research fellow at Harvard Law School under Professor Charles J. Ogletree Jr’s stewardship.
She was active in community affairs serving as a board member for The Haitian Roundtable and the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network. She was also a member of the Dean’s Diversity Council for American University’s College of Law.
Committed to giving back, Charles launched the Infinite Possibilities of the Law Degree symposium in 2011. Charles pushed the boundaries of possibility and wanted to share that knowledge with future legal minds. “You basically can think outside of the box and succeed at it and do very well,” said Charles after the 2013 symposium.