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
||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
||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
||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
||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
||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
||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.
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
||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.
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.