The Honorable Leonard L. Finz from Finz & Finz, P.C. was recently featured in a Newsday article spotlighting his induction into the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School (OCS) Hall of Fame. In addition to his illustrious military career, Judge Finz also served as a New York State Supreme Court Justice who has been peer reviewed as one of America’s preeminent trial lawyers.
Inside Manhasset’s historic Gracewood Mansion, Judge Finz was officially inducted into the OCS Hall of Fame, which also recognizes other notable veterans such as former Senator Bob Dole and Tommy Franks, former commander of the U.S. Army. During the induction ceremony, Major General John F. Hussey of the U.S. Army Reserve noted Judge Finz’s superior combat service and distinguished public service.
The New York State Senate and New York State Assembly also passed resolutions to acknowledge Judge Finz’s “extensive and superior service to our nation and to our community,” according to Senator Anna Kaplan.
Judge Finz’s brave service, which earned him numerous medals and recognitions, began when he was drafted at the age of 18 for the U.S. Army during World War II. As a band musician, he bravely decided to leave his saxophone to become a combat soldier and fight overseas, stating: “I didn’t want to play the sax on parade grounds while combat soldiers were dying in battle for our country.”
After Japan surrendered in World War II, some American soldiers were being held as prisoners in the Philippines. With no previous legal experience, Judge Finz was assigned the “Defense Counsel” title to defend more than 50 U.S Army soldiers at individual court-martial trials.
To do this, he was sent to locate witnesses in remote villages while driving in an open jeep armed only with a .45 caliber sidearm. However, there were Japanese snipers who refused to surrender and were hiding out in jungle caves. Judge Finz accepted the mission and successfully defended every accused Army solider within six months.
Senator John Brooks stated at the ceremony, “As a young man, Lieutenant Leonard Finz led his artillery battery into combat to serve and protect his nation. Today, we have the honor to recognize Judge Leonard Finz for a lifetime of devoted service. He is an icon of his generation and a role model for others to follow.”
Now a 97-year-old decorated veteran, Judge Finz founded Finz & Finz, P.C. in 1984. He is also a singer, actor, politician, and published author of several thriller novels.
About the Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame
Established in 1958, the Officer Candidate School (OCS) Hall of Fame honors “graduates who had distinguished themselves during WWII through Valorous Combat Leadership and subsequent Superior Meritorious Service.” There are now over 2,500 members who have been recognized out of the 300,000 graduates since 1941.
Nominees are recommended by “a person of stature,” such as an OCS Hall of Fame Member, Senior Military Officer, or Senior Public Service Civilian. Members of the OCS Hall of Fame are honored for:
- Superior valorous combat leadership
- Superior meritorious service
- Distinguished public service
- Superior public service
- Lifelong service