Category Archives: National Equal Justice Library

Law at the Movies: The Central Park Five – Monday, April 1

The Loving Story poster

Please join the Friends of the Law Library, National Equal Justice Library, The Innocence Project, Georgetown Criminal Law Association, the Georgetown chapter of the National Lawyers’ Guild, Outlaw, WETA, and Law Docs at the latest co-sponsored Law at the Movies event, part of the ongoing Georgetown Law Library Equal Justice Film Festival:

Movie: The Central Park Five (2012, runtime 119 mins)
Date: Monday, April 1, 2013
Time: 6:00pm (refreshments & seating), showtime 6:30pm
Location: Hart Auditorium, Georgetown University Law Center

Heralded as one of 2012’s most powerful documentaries, The Central Park Five tells the story of five black and Latino youths who were convicted and served sentences for the 1989 rape of a white woman, only to be exonerated when the true offender confessed the crime 13 years later. Ken Burns and his co-directors chronicle the “Central Park Jogger” case, for the first time from the perspective of the five teenagers whose lives were upended by this miscarriage of justice.

After the screening, stay for a discussion with the film’s creators and one of the five accused men:

Sarah Burns – Director, writer, and producer, The Central Park Five
David McMahon – Director, writer, and producer, The Central Park Five
Yusef Salaam – Central Park Five defendant

Sarah Burns will also sign copies of her book, which was the basis for the movie.

For information on other upcoming events in the Georgetown Law Library Equal Justice Film Festival, visit www.law.georgetown.edu/library/about/125/filmfestival.cfm.

To learn more about the Friends of the Georgetown Law Library program and the benefits of becoming a member, visit www.law.georgetown.edu/library/visitors/friends.

Law at the Movies: The Loving Story – Tuesday, Mar. 26

The Loving Story poster

Please join the Friends of the Law Library, National Equal Justice Library, The Innocence Project, Georgetown Criminal Law Association, the Georgetown chapter of the National Lawyers’ Guild, Outlaw, and Law Docs at the latest co-sponsored Law at the Movies event, part of the ongoing Georgetown Law Library Equal Justice Film Festival:

Movie: The Loving Story (2011)
Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Time: 6:00pm (refreshments & seating), showtime 6:30pm
Location: Hart Auditorium, Georgetown University Law Center

This 2011 documentary explores the Civil Rights Era story of an interracial couple whose challenge to state anti-miscegenation laws criminalizing their marriage led to the historic U.S. Supreme Court decision of Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967).

After the screening, stay for a discussion led by panelists with valuable insights on the history and context of the film:

Philip Hirschkop, attorney who litigated on behalf of the Lovings throughout their legal battle
Patricia King, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law, Medicine, Ethics, and Public Policy at Georgetown Law
Elisabeth Haviland James, producer and editor of The Loving Story and founder of Thornapple Films

For information on other upcoming events in the Georgetown Law Library Equal Justice Film Festival, visit www.law.georgetown.edu/library/about/125/filmfestival.cfm.

To learn more about the Friends of the Georgetown Law Library program and the benefits of becoming a member, visit www.law.georgetown.edu/library/visitors/friends.

New Indigent Defense Research Guide

To recognize the fiftieth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, the Georgetown Law Library has created a research guide devoted to the subject of indigent criminal defense.

This new guide combines primary and secondary legal sources, as well as original source material held in the National Equal Justice Library and Special Collections here at the law library. Also included are related materials such as statistics and items from our popular materials, such as the movie Gideon’s Trumpet, starring Henry Fonda.

We have organized the material into three main sections: One dealing with the law before Gideon; one devoted to Gideon itself; and one covering post-Gideon developments. The guide is designed to help students and others who want to quickly immerse themselves in the case law, scholarship, and historical materials concerning this essential element of our criminal justice system.

“Lawyers in criminal courts are necessities, not luxuries”

Library recognizes 50th Anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright with exhibit, film screening, research guide

Fifty years ago, on Monday, March 18, 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overruled its own 1942 decision in Betts v. Brady. The Court mandated that states must provide lawyers for persons who are facing serious criminal charges, and who cannot afford counsel. Gideon v. Wainwright was a reflection of the broad awareness toward poverty at the time (President Johnson declared the War on Poverty in 1964), paving the way for the establishment -and improvement of — public defender structures and systems in all U.S. states. The case had broad constitutional implications, and represented a victory for the position that the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights were applicable to the states under the Fourteenth Amendment. One of the leading advocates of that position was Justice Hugo Black, who wrote the option of the Court. “Any person haled into court, who is too poor to hire a lawyer, cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel is provided for him…lawyers in criminal courts are necessities, not luxuries.” 

In recognition of this significant anniversary, Georgetown Law Library is featuring an exhibition about the case. In addition, we will screen Gideon’s Trumpet tonight, kicking off the Equal Justice Film Festival, and will also launch an indigent defense research guide.

The exhibit in the atrium of the E.B. Williams Law Library tells the story of Gideon v. Wainwright based on materials from the National Equal Justice Library’s collections, including the Gideon’s Trumpet script and stills collection, and other items. The 1980 TV movie Gideon’s Trumpet was based on Anthony Lewis’ book with the same title, which was initially published in 1964. The movie followed the book closely, but the director also took some artistic freedoms. Photographs in the exhibit, for example, contrast the 1963 Warren Court with the Hollywood Supreme Court. Sam Jaffe, representing Felix Frankfurter, remained on the Hollywood court, while in fact he had already resigned from the Supreme Court. As one of the supporters of Betts v. Brady, he was left on the Hollywood court to represent the opinion skeptical of overturning the 1942 decision.

The movie ends with Gideon’s acquittal after a second trial, where he was represented by an attorney (Fred Turner). But what happened after the happy ending? “It’s fair to say that all of the hopes that we had have not been fulfilled,” said Abe Krash, a Georgetown Law faculty member who worked on Abe Fortas defense team for Clarence Gideon, in an NEJL oral history interview. Later this spring, the library will continue its Gideon anniversary programs, and will be highlighting the General Charles L. Decker/NLADA collection in another exhibit, which will address some of the challenges of implementing and sustaining Gideon’s mandate following the 1963 decision.

In addition to the oral history with Abe Krash, the NEJL collections include oral history interviews with Bruce Jacob, who argued against Gideon on behalf of the State of Florida as a young Assistant Attorney General, and with Anthony Lewis, the author of Gideon’s Trumpet (1964), who followed the case as a reporter. Full videos and transcripts of the interviews can be accessed at: http://www.law.georgetown.edu/library/collections/nejl/gideon/index.cfm.

Please join us for the screening of Gideon’s Trumpet tonight: http://www.law.georgetown.edu/library/about/125/filmfestival.cfm

Upcoming 50th Anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright

In preparation for the upcoming 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, the National Equal Justice Library, within Georgetown Law Library, would like to highlight a few unique materials from our collections that relate to the history of the case, and that document its impact on the development of public defender systems in the United States.

On March 18, 1963, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that states had the obligation to provide counsel for defendants who are unable to afford an attorney, extending the Constitutional right to counsel in criminal cases to poor and low-income people. By highlighting the responsibility of the government to provide legal counsel to low-income Americans, Gideon was a landmark case in the equal justice movement in the United States, paving the way for the creation and expansion of the public defender system in the country.

Among the unique NEJL materials are oral history interviews with several key participants in the case, including an interview with Abe Krash, who worked closely with Abe Fortas on Gideon’s defense team, and an interview with Bruce Jacob, who argued against Gideon on behalf of the State of Florida as a young Assistant Attorney General. Transcripts of both interviews are available online at: http://www.law.georgetown.edu/library/collections/nejl/oral-histories.cfm

The collection also includes an interview with Anthony Lewis, the author of Gideon’s Trumpet (1964), who followed the case as a reporter, and David Rintel’s movie script of Gideon’s Trumpet, as well as some still pictures and advertisements of the 1980 movie featuring Henry Fonda as Clarence Gideon. In addition, the NEJL holds a set of photocopies of original documents from the case, including copies of Clarence Gideon’s petition for writ of habeas corpus with the Supreme Court of Florida, and transcripts from the State of Florida v. Clarence Earl Gideon (1962).

Collections documenting the development and state of indigent criminal defense in the United States include the papers of James Doherty, who served as Public Defender of Cook County, Illinois, the papers of Sheldon Portman, the former Public Defender of Santa Clara County, CA, and the papers the papers of Marshall Hartman, one of the leading figures of the public defender movement in the United States. Special Collections also holds the papers of General Charles L. Decker, a Georgetown Law graduate, who was a key participant in the drafting of the Model Defender Act of 1970, and the Director of the National Defender Project of the NLADA.

Researchers are welcome to visit the NEJL, and our Special Collections Department.

Contact: Katharina Hering, NEJL Project Archivist kh781@law.georgetown.edu 202-662-4043 (NEJL)
Special Collections Department: specl@law.georgetown.edu 202-662-9149