Contempt of Court: A Lynching that Changed the American Justice System
As part of C|M|LAW's commemoration of Black History Month, this lecture is sponsored by C|M|LAW Alumni Association, CMBA, Norman S. Minor Bar Association, Seymour H. Lesser Scholarship Fund, and Spangenberg, Shibley & Liber. We welcome Mark Curriden, co-author of the critically-acclaimed Contempt of Court: A Turn-of-the-Century Lynching That Launched a Hundred Years of Federalism. This free discussion event in the Moot Court Room in Bert L. Wolstein Hall offers one hour of CLE ethics credit. ________________________________________________________________________
Curriden is an award-winning legal journalist, bestselling author, and frequent lecturer at legal organizations across the country. Educated as a lawyer, Curriden is a regular contributing writer on legal issues for the ABA Journal and for the New York Times DealBook on matters of corporate and business law. He also holds the position of Writer in Residence at the SMU Dedman School of Law in Dallas. Curriden is the co-author of the critically-acclaimed Contempt of Court: A Turn-of-the-Century Lynching That Launched a Hundred Years of Federalism. The book tells the true story of Ed Johnson, a young black man falsely accused of raping a white woman in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1906. Despite a lack of evidence, Johnson was tried, found guilty and sentenced to death -- all within three weeks of his arrest. The book also highlights the role of Noah Parden and Styles Hutchins, the only two African-American lawyers practicing law in Tennessee and North Georgia at the time. In fighting for Johnson's life, Parden and Hutchins filed the first ever federal habeas corpus petition in a state criminal proceeding and convinced the Supreme Court of the United States to intervene. But before Johnson would have his day in court, an angry lynch mob, facilitated by the sheriff and his deputies, dragged Johnson from his jail cell and killed him on the county bridge. Fortunately, the case didn't end there. At Parden's urging, the Supreme Court ordered the sheriff, his deputies, and leaders of the lynch mob arrested and charged with criminal contempt of the Supreme Court, which resulted in the only criminal trial ever held in the history of our nation's highest court. Mark is a frequent lecturer on the national speaking circuit. He has spoken to bar associations, judicial conferences, law firm retreats and legal organizations, including the Conference of Chief Justices, the State Court Appellate Judges Conference, the U.S. District Court Chief Judges Conference, the New Hampshire Bar Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, the Georgia Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas, the Alaska Bar Association, Virginia Bar Association, Tennessee Bar Association, Louisiana Bench-Bar Conference, Missouri Bar Association, Illinois Bar Association, North Carolina Bar Association, and the South Carolina Bar Association. Mark also has presented at numerous lunches and dinners hosted by the Inns of Court and American Board of Trial Advocates.
Curriden, Mark, "Contempt of Court: A Lynching that Changed the American Justice System" (2013). Video Archive: Other Law School Events. 13.