November 23, 2011
Award-Winning Journalist to Present at "Contempt of Court"
Mark Curriden, bestselling author, senior writer for the ABA Journal, regular contributor to the New York Times DealBook, and Writer in Residence at the SMU Dedman School of Law in Dallas will be offering two CLE programs on Wednesday, December 7.
The day starts with “News Media and the Practice of Law” (3.0 CLE hours, including 1.5 ethics) which will walk lawyers through the ethics, legalities, and practicalities of dealing with the media, be it newspapers, magazines, TV, radio or the ever-expanding reach of the Internet-based media. Mr. Curriden will be joined by Judge John P. Bessey, Franklin County Common Pleas Court; R. William Meeks, R. William Meeks Co., and S. Michael Miller, Kegler Brown Hill & Ritter.
The afternoon program, “Contempt of Court: A Lesson in Legal History” (3.0 hours CLE, with 1.5 ethics and 1.0 professionalism), is based on the book by Mark Curriden and Leroy Phillips Jr.
A century ago, Ed Johnson, a young black man in Chattanooga, Tenn., was falsely accused of rape, railroaded through the criminal justice system and sentenced to death – all in three weeks. Twice, a lynch mob attacked the jail before the trial. His court-appointed lawyers abandoned the defendant. Two African-American lawyers – Noah Parden was a family lawyer and Styles Hutchins was a civil trial attorney – stepped forward to defend Johnson pro bono in a surprise, last minute appeal. Despite constant death threats from the mob and the loss of all their clients, these two lawyers zealously advocated for Johnson.
The story and CLE address many of the legal issues that remain even today, including: the role of lawyers zealously advocating and defending a politically unpopular client who is the scourge of society; the responsibility of lawyers who face financial ruin or even death threats due to their representation of a client; judicial independence; protection of the rule of law, especially in the face of outside influences on the administration of justice; and the role of lawyers in using the media pretrial to influence the public and taint the jury pool. For this seminar, Mr. Curriden is joined by presenters: Judge Guy L. Reece, II; Franklin County Common Pleas Court and Samuel H. Shamansky, Samuel H. Shamansky Co.