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Julius ChambersA Life in the Legal Struggle for Civil Rights$
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Richard A. Rosen and Joseph Mosnier

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469628547

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469628547.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

Taking On the Struggle

Taking On the Struggle

The Chambers Firm in the Criminal Courts

(p.224) Chapter Eleven Taking On the Struggle
Julius Chambers

Richard A. Rosen

Joseph Mosnier

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the role of the Chambers firm representing African American defendants in the criminal courts, an arena of ubiquitous racial bias and frequent injustice. At times, the skill and determination of the firm's lawyers, including Charles Becton and James Lanning, was enough to prevail, as in the trial of a young black police officer tried for murder following his shooting of a white man during an altercation, where the firm won an acquittal despite a trial atmosphere shaped by the threat of potential Klan violence. In key cases where state and federal authorities were insistent on winning convictions of African American defendants they characterized as "black militants," however, James Ferguson and other of the firm’s lawyers could do little to counter the combined efforts of hostile prosecutors and judges and unsympathetic white juries. Several such cases, including those of the Wilmington 10 and Charlotte 3, would gain national and international notoriety; many years later, discoveries confirming prosecutorial and other misconduct at trial would result in voided convictions.

Keywords:   criminal justice system, criminal courts, Charles Becton, James Lanning, James Ferguson, Wilmington 10, Rev. Benjamin Chavis, Charlotte 3, James Earl Grant Jr., T.J. Reddy

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