Expelled from his junior high high school for publishing an underground newspaper critical of the school administration, Kuby embarked upon a peripatetic life that would lead him to travel to and live in many different parts of the globe. As a teenager, he emigrated to Israel, but returned to the United States shortly thereafter due to what he has described as "anti-Arab racism".
After dropping out of college, Kuby briefly worked on a tug boat in the U.S. Virgin Islands, after which he moved to New England, and then to Kansas where he enrolled in courses at the University of Kansas, eventually completing the degree that he had abandoned several years before.
Partnership with William Kunstler
While working on his degree, Kuby interned with William Kunstler, a famed radical attorney known for his successful defense of the Chicago Seven. Kuby earned his Juris Doctor from Cornell Law School in 1983.
From 1983 until Kunstler's death in 1995, the two worked together on a number of highly controversial, well-publicized civil rights and criminal cases, including those where they represented Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman (head of the Egyptian-based militant group Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya), Colin Ferguson (the man responsible for the LIRR shootings, who would later choose to represent himself at trial), Qubilah Shabazz (daughter of Malcolm X, accused of plotting to murder Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam), Glenn Harris (a New York public school teacher who absconded with a fifteen year-old girl for two months), Darrell Cabey (one of the victims of the Bernard Goetz shooting), and perhaps most controversially, associates of the Gambino Crime Family. During the first Gulf War, they represented dozens of American soldiers who refused to fight claiming "conscientious objector" status. They also represented El-Sayeed Nosair, assassin of the late extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane.
Although they worked together, Mr. Kunstler had never formalized a partnership with a contract or tax filings. Despite a letterhead that read "Kunstler and Kuby", Mr. Kuby was paid as an employee and had never shared in the firm's meager profits and losses. On this basis Kuby was denied ownership rights to the firm's case files, accounts, and name. When Kunstler's widow, a radical lawyer in her own right, put her late husband's (deceased, September 4, 1995) archives under lock and key, Kuby had filed a complaint against her with the attorney disciplinary committee. The committee dismissed the complaint in August of 1996. In December 1996 a court case brought by the widow, Margaret Ratner, resulted in Kuby being denied any partnership rights in the Kunstler firm.
After Kunstler's death, Kuby continued the work-- and the cases-- of his late mentor. In 1996, he won a judgment of 43 million dollars against Bernhard Goetz. He also won nearly a million dollars for members of the Hells Angels motorcycle club, who were wrongfully arrested by the New York City Police Department. He won the 2001 release of two men imprisoned 13 years for a murder they did not commit, winning a judgment of 3.3 million dollars for the pair. He secured a reversal of a murder conviction for a mentally-ill homeless man whose candle accidentally caused the death of a firefighter. In 2005, Kuby won close to a million dollars for another wrongfully convicted man who spent eight years in prison. Kuby now is senior partner in Kuby & Perez LLP, which specializes in criminal defense and civil rights.
Radio and television personality
Kuby co-hosts (with Curtis Sliwa) the popular Curtis and Kuby in the Morning program aired on weekdays from 5 to 10 am on WABC-AM 770 in New York City. He is also a frequent pundit and substitute anchor on Court TV. He and Sliwa previously shared a short-lived midday television program on MSNBC. (Kuby jokes that he has "a face meant for radio.")
Kuby has often claimed to be a communist. However, Kuby's political beliefs moderated considerably after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Of Jewish heritage, Kuby has also said he is an atheist, a point he often makes in sarcastic remarks on the airwaves with Sliwa, a Roman Catholic. One of his favorite sardonic quotes includes, "Thank God I'm an atheist". He is interviewed in Kevin Keating's muckraking documentary Giuliani Time (which is concerned with Rudy Giuliani's career).
Testimony/Controversy during John Gotti Jr. retrial
In 2006, Kuby was subpoenaed by the defense to testify at the second John Gotti Junior trial regarding a failed plea bargain Kuby handled for Gotti in 1998. In March of 2006, Kuby testified that he had engaged in a conversation with Junior Gotti, who told him "that he was sick of this life", and "he wanted this to be over."
Although the jury foreman stated that Kuby's testimony had no impact on the jury, the jury deadlock and ultimate mistrial created a brief period of hostility where both hosts were mutually antagonistic, questioning each other's motivations in a particularly aggressive manner.
Since 1986, Kuby has been in a long-term relationship with Marilyn Vasta, or as he refers to her on air, "the "beloved Marilyn". They have one daughter. On January 24, 2006, Ron Kuby married the "beloved Marilyn". The date was chosen because it was the 20th anniversary of their first date.