Justice Delayed, Not Denied

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G. Douglas Jones presents Stetson's Nichols Foundation Prominent Speakers lecture

G. Douglas Jones presents Stetson's Nichols Foundation Prominent Speakers lecture. Click for high-resolution image.

Famed attorney G. Douglas Jones presented “Justice delayed, but not denied: the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing prosecutions” to a  crowd of  law students and professors  on March 12 in the Great Hall at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport.

Jones discussed one of the most significant prosecutions from U.S. civil rights history as part of Stetson Law’s annual Nichols Foundation Prominent Speakers Lecture Series. Jones secured murder convictions nearly 40 years after the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.

“We were running against time,” Jones said of the historic case, in which several key witnesses’ testimonies were heard just before they died.

The church bombing was a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement. Jones is the former U.S. attorney for the northern district of Alabama who prosecuted and won murder convictions against two former Ku Klux Klansmen, Thomas Blanton Jr. and Bobby Frank Cherry, for the 1963 church bombing that killed four young girls. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute recently awarded Jones the 15th Anniversary Civil Rights Distinguished Service Award. “Lawyers can do great things,” Jones told the young law students in the audience.

Stetson’s lecture series is named for Perry Nichols, who served as president of the American Trial Lawyers As ­sociation and the International Trial Lawyers Association. An inductee to the Stetson Law Hall of Fame, Nichols also was a charter member of the law school’s board of overseers. The Nichols Foundation Prominent Speakers Series, established in 1995, enriches academic life at Stetson by presenting prominent speakers from business, government and the law.