The University of Texas at Austin   School of Law

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October 21, 2005

Contact: Tanikqua Young, TMLS Public Relations Chair, email:

Ut Law's Thurgood Marshall Legal Society and American Constitution Society along with Vinson & Elkins Invite the Public to a Lecture Entitled "Contempt Of Court: A Lesson In Legal History"

What: Symposium with lecture presented by Mark Curriden, author of Contempt of Court: A Turn of the Century Lynching That Launched 100 Years of Federalism. There will be a follow-up discussion by former Dallas Mayor and Vinson & Elkins partner Ron Kirk, '79.

Location and Time: Wed., Oct. 26, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. at The University of Texas School of Law, Francis Auditorium, Room 2.114

Who: The event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided to UT students, faculty and staff. Attorneys may receive 1.00 hour of MCLE credit (which includes 1.00 hour of ethics). In order to receive CLE credit, attorneys must purchase Curriden's book as part of the CLE material.

AUSTIN, Texas―The Thurgood Marshall Legal Society (TMLS), The American Constitution Society (ACS), and Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. will host a symposium featuring Mark Curriden, Attorney/Senior Communications Counsel at Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. and author of Contempt of Court: A Turn of the Century Lynching That Launched 100 Years of Federalism. Ron Kirk, '79, former mayor of Dallas and partner at Vinson & Elkins L.L.P., will lead a follow up discussion.

Topic: In 1906, a young black man from Chattanooga, Tennessee, was falsely accused of raping a white woman. He was railroaded by the courts, abandoned by his own lawyers, and wrongly convicted and sentenced to death. A pair of courageous African-American lawyers stepped forward to handle his appeal, filing the first ever federal habeas petition in a state criminal case. To everyone's surprise, they convinced the U.S. Supreme Court to issue its first ever stay of an execution in a state criminal case. But days before the justices were scheduled to hear oral arguments, a lynch mob, led by the sheriff and his deputies, snatched the defendant from his jail cell and hung him on the county bridge. What followed was a historic case in which the Supreme Court justices ordered the arrest of the sheriff, his deputies and members of the lynch mob on charges of contempt of the Supreme Court of the United States ― the only such case of its type in U.S. history.

Book Signing: Copies of Contempt of Court: A Turn of the Century Lynching That Launched 100 Years of Federalism will be available at the presentation for $15. The book serves as written materials required for obtaining CLE Ethics credit. Proceeds go to Tuskegee University in Alabama. Contempt of Court was a national bestseller and won numerous journalism and legal honors.

TMLS is The University of Texas chapter of the Black Law Students' Association, a national coalition of black law students with members from nearly every law school in the country.