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Poole & Shaffery, LLP., we take great pride in our Nation's Legal History and Evolution. Some very note-worthy and memorable events in our history occurred in our great courthouses including those featured here.


Jefferson County Courthouse

Birmingham, Alabama

Alabama Attorney General William Baxley won the first conviction in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing here 14 years after the infamous crime at the landmark Birmingham church. The attack during the height of the civil rights movement killed four girls, shocked the nation and helped ensure passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Baxley, then 28, took office in 1970 and made the unsolved murders of Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair his top priority. He secured an indictment against Ku Klux Klan member Robert Chambliss, who was convicted of murder by a jury in 1977. Two fellow Klansmen, Thomas Blanton, and Bobby Frank Cherry, were prosecuted by U.S. District Attorney Doug Jones in the same courthouse in 2001 and 2002. Both were found guilty.


Pima County Courthouse

Tucson, Arizona

Built in 1928 at a cost of $350,000, the courthouse has been named a National Landmark in the National Register of Historic Places. It is an outstanding example of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. The brick structure, covered with pink stucco, is traced by Moorish arches opening onto a central patio in the rear of the building and a massive cement dome covered by ceramic tile. In 1934, notorious criminal John Dillinger was captured by Tucson police at a rented house and appeared briefly in the courthouse before being extradited to Chicago. It was the only time Dillinger was arrested without a gunfight and bloodshed.


Colusa County Courthouse

Colusa, California

Built in the same year as the beginning of the American Civil War, 1861, this is the oldest remaining courthouse in the Sacramento Valley and the second oldest working courthouse in California. The "southern" style of the architecture represents an ante-bellum feel with the large columns and ornate cupola atop the building. In its early years, the courthouse served as the center of the county's social, cultural and religious activities. In 1962, the courthouse was used in the production of the classic film, "To Kill a Mockingbird", which went on to win eight Academy Awards, including best actor for Gregory Peck.

Mariposa County Courthouse

Mariposa, California

The oldest seat of justice in continuous use west of the Rockies. The most famous case brought here was "Biddle Boggs vs. the Merced Mining Co.", testing the right of frontier explorer, Civil War commander, presidential candidate and American empire builder John C. Fremont to the gold in the land of his Mariposa grant. The original building cost $9200 to construct in 1854. A clock tower was added in 1866 and fitted with an English clock shipped around the Cape Horn at the cost of over one million dollars. The site of some of the most celebrated civil, water, and mining cases in California history, the California State Bar designated the courthouse a perpetual "shrine to justice in California" on its 100th anniversary in 1954.

U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th District

Pasadena, California

Built in 1903, the site started as Mrs. Bang's boarding house. By 1920, her guest houses were replaced by the Mediterranean-style Vista del Arroyo Hotel. During World War II it was used as a military hospital. In the 1980s, the federal government restored the building for the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, encompassing Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Among the more famous cases heard here was A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc., which resulted in changing the habits of millions of digital music fans sharing files over the Internet.


Bear Lake County Courthouse

Paris, Idaho

In 1863 Mormon leader Brigham Young sent the first Mormon settlers to Bear Valley to utilize the timber, water and other resources, and to establish the community of Paris. The city is named after Brigham Young's friend Thomas E. Perris, who surveyed the town. The courthouse was built a few years later. One group of outlaws who did not have to face justice here was Butch Cassidy and his Hole in the Wall gang when they robbed the nearby Bank of Montpelier in 1896. In this case justice lost and Butch got away with $13.

New Jersey

Hunterdon County Courthouse

Flemington, New Jersey

Before there was O.J. Simpson, there was another "Trial of the Century"; that of Bruno Richard Hauptmann, accused of kidnapping and killing the 20-month-old baby of American aviator and hero Charles A. Lindbergh. It took 2 1/2 years for the New Jersey State Police, headed by Colonel H. Norman Schwarzkopf (father of future Gulf War hero "Stormin? Norman") to build a case against Hauptmann. His defense wasn't helped by his criminal record in his native Germany, or that he had fought for the losing side in World War I. But the case against him had more substance than anti-immigrant zeal, including the discovery of a portion of Lindbergh's $50,000 ransom money in his home. The ensuing trial lasted only 32 days and deliberations lasted less than 12 hours, finding him guilty of murder. A little more than one year later, Hauptmann was executed, professing his innocence to the end.


Rhea County Courthouse

Dayton, Tennessee

During 12 hot days in July, 1925, the Scopes "Monkey" Trial took place here, pitting three-time presidential candidate and former Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan against one of the most famous lawyers in American history, Clarence Darrow. The case stemmed from the American Civil Liberties Union challenging "the Butler Law," which prohibited the teaching of evolution in the classroom. Even before the trial started it became a media circus, more carnival than judicial proceeding, with a large banner on the side of the courthouse proclaiming "Read Your Bible Daily!" It ended with the 24-year-old teacher John T. Scopes fined $100, later overturned on a technicality.

Washington, DC

United States Supreme Court

Washington, D.C., Washington, DC

Despite the fact that it embodies one of the three branches of the United States government, the Supreme Court didn't have a home to call its own until 1935. Starting off in the Merchants Exchange Building in New York City, the court moved to Philadelphia before locating in Washington, D.C. in 1800. For 132 years the court met in a succession of quarters in the Capitol Building and a brief tenure in a private home after the British set fire to the Capitol during the War of 1812. In 1932, former president and sitting Chief Justice William Howard Taft persuaded Congress to build the current structure.