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Staged reading on notorious lynching case presented by CLE

Loyola press release - January 25, 2010

The Institute for Continuing Legal Education at the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law presents “Contempt of Court: A Discussion of the Lynching that Changed the American Legal System” a staged reading, on Wed., Feb. 3, at 6:30 p.m.

The presentation takes place in Monroe Hall’s Nunemaker Auditorium on Loyola’s main campus. The event is open to the public, and doors open at 5:45 p.m. Admission is free to Loyola faculty, staff and students, $25 for general admission, or $60 for those seeking two CLE credit hours. Advance registration is available at www.law.loyno.edu/cle.

In 1906, a young African-American man named Ed Johnson was lynched in Chattanooga, Tenn., for the murder of a woman named Nevada Taylor. A stay of execution was ordered by Justice John Marshall Harlan of the U.S. Supreme Court. Fearing a delay or avoidance of execution, a mob broke into the jail and lynched Johnson. Mark Curriden, J.D., author of “Contempt of Court: The Turn-of-the-Century Lynching that Launched a Hundred Years of Federalism,” will discuss the history of the case leading up to Johnson’s lynching and how it changed the state and federal court systems as we know them today. Through the eyes and actions of the lawyers in this case, attorneys will be able to see what it is like to represent a client who is considered the ‘curse of society.’ The presentation will also demonstrate how lawyers should use the law and the courts for the protection of individual rights even when the courts themselves may be a part of the problem.

Curriden is the director of external communications at the law firm, Vinson & Elkins in Dallas. He was educated and trained as a lawyer but never practiced law. Instead, he chose a life of journalism, book writing and lecturing. He writes and lectures about legal history, trends of the United States Supreme Court, the American jury system and relationships between lawyers and journalists. Mark received his juris doctorate from Woodrow Wilson Law School in Atlanta.

He is the former legal writer for both the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Dallas Morning News. Curriden also has written regularly for the American Bar Association Journal, Student Lawyer, Of Counsel and other national legal and business publications. In 2005, The Wall Street Journal described “Contempt of Court” as one of the five most important books ever on the American criminal justice system.

The purpose of The Institute for Continuing Legal Education is to keep practitioners abreast of new legal developments and trends in the legal community. The institute works to improve lawyer understanding of ethical and professional responsibilities encountered in the practice of law. For more information about the presentation, call the CLE office at 504-861-5441 or 866-250-8617 or e-mail dparks@loyno.edu.