LMU Law to present symposium on Miranda warnings

March 2, 2016 — Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law will host a symposium entitled “Celebrating 50 years of Miranda v. Arizona: Past, Present and Future,” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, April 1, in downtown Knoxville.

National and local speakers will travel to Knoxville for the event, which will feature exonerated former defendant Damon Thibodeaux and his attorney, Herbert Larson. The pair will be speaking about Thibodeaux’s false confession following a nine-hour interrogation, his wrongful conviction and 15-year incarceration on death row in Louisiana’s Angola prison. Thibodeaux’s story, which has been featured on CBS’s “48 Hours,” offers insight into the practical effect of the Miranda procedures, or lack thereof, on interrogation.

Some 50 years after the United States Supreme Court decision in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), the Miranda warnings are ingrained in our society. Prior to any interrogation, a police officer must inform a suspect in custody that the suspect has the right to remain silent, that anything he says can be used against him, that he has the right to the assistance of counsel, and that if he cannot afford it, counsel will, on request, be appointed for him at the government’s expense. Once Miranda warnings are given, questioning cannot proceed until the police obtain the suspect’s knowing and intelligent waiver of his rights, and if the suspect indicates at any time that he no longer wishes to talk, then all questioning must cease.

Prior to the Miranda decision, a confession was admissible in court as long as it was considered voluntary. This standard may have prohibited the police from physically beating a confession out of the suspect, but it did not prohibit psychological ploys used by police to secure confessions from unwilling suspects, nor did it address the coercive police environment during the interrogation process. Miranda was meant to level the playing field.

The symposium will address whether Miranda warnings are effective in dispelling the compulsion inherent in custodial surroundings. Speakers will examine whether Miranda is a failure from either the defense or government perspective and investigate whether Miranda has gone far enough, or too far.

The LMU Criminal Law Society has teamed up with the LMU Law Review and Student Bar Association to plan the symposium and assemble a panel of national and local experts. Additional speakers include Joseph Buckley, president of John E. Reid Associates and co-author of “Essentials of The Reid Technique: Criminal Interrogation and Confessions,” Denver Police Detective Roger Wehr, Eighth District Attorney General Jared Effler, Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Kelly Thomas, and local defense attorneys Wade Davies and Joshua Hedrick. A question and answer session with all speakers will be held in the afternoon.

The program has been accepted for 3.25 (2.25 general credit and 1.00 dual) CLE credit hours. Admission for attorneys seeking CLE credit is $25 and includes lunch; for others, it is $10 for the program and lunch or free to the public without lunch. For more information, contact Kathy Baughman at 865-545-5301 or email kathy.baughman@LMUnet.edu.

Additionally, a visual art installation will be on display compliments of the Law and Fine Arts Society. Following the symposium, a brief ceremony will be held to unveil a memorial garden on the grounds of the LMU Law building and a ceremonial planting of a red bud in honor of the Phi Alpha Delta Watson Jr. Chapter will take place. In honor of his long service to the Supreme Court of the United States, the first addition to the memorial garden will be dedicated in honor of Justice Antonin Scalia.

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Emison to speak at LMU Law

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Feb. 24, 2016 — Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law will welcome retired lawyer and author Jim Emison at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 22, for a discussion on his forthcoming book, “Elbert Williams: First to Die.” Originally scheduled in January for Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, the program was postponed due to inclement weather.

Since his 2011 retirement, Emison has been investigating the June 20, 1940, murder of NAACP member Elbert Williams, in Brownsville, Tenn. He has authored several articles on Williams’ murder, and the full-length book is set for release later this year. His articles are included in the Encyclopedia of African American History and on the National Civil Rights Museum website (www.civilrightsmuseum.org).

“Elbert Williams’ story is as American as the right to vote, and as southern as Jim Crow,” Emison said. “The story recounts the violent collision in June 1940, in Brownsville, Tenn., of African-American aspirations to vote with white supremacist determination to preserve their lily white electorate by all means necessary, murder included.”

Emison’s research shows that before Medgar Evers, Emmett Till and James Chaney became martyrs in the Civil Rights movement, Elbert Williams was the first NAACP official in the nation to be murdered for his civil rights work, yet few know Williams’ name, let alone his story.

On June 20, 1940, Williams was abducted from his Brownsville home by police. There was no warrant for his arrest, he was not suspected of committing any crime, and there was no probable cause that he had committed a crime. His only offense seemed to stem from being the charter member of the Brownsville NAACP branch.

Police jailed Williams and interrogated him about his plan to hold an NAACP meeting. He did not return home that night and did not show for work the next day. Three days later, his wife was summoned to the Hatchie River, where a body had been recovered. Annie Williams identified her husband and a coroner’s jury was assembled at the riverbank. There was no investigation, no autopsy and no medical examination. Within hours, Williams was buried without a funeral, in an unmarked grave. The FBI investigated and the Department of Justice ordered prosecution, later closing the case abruptly in 1942.

Over 75 years later, Williams’s murder remains unsolved, and many questions about his death and the subsequent investigations remain.

“Elbert Williams’s place in civil rights history as the first known NAACP official murdered is an event of national historic importance,” Emison said. “The murder of Elbert Williams is a crime that screams for justice, which can only be achieved with the completion of an investigation which was abandoned long ago.”

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Booker to speak on civil rights in Knoxville

Feb. 22, 2015 — In honor of Black History Month, Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law will welcome author Robert J. Booker at noon on Tuesday, March 8, for a presentation on the civil rights movement in Knoxville and across the country. Booker was set to present at LMU Law earlier in February, but his appearance was rescheduled due to inclement weather. The public is welcome to attend.

Booker is a prominent civil rights activist in Knoxville. He is the author of two books, “And There Was Light! The 120 Year History of Knoxville College, Knoxville, Tennessee, 1875-1995” and “Two Hundred Years of Black Culture in Knoxville, Tennessee, 1791-1991.”

As a student of Knoxville College, Booker organized sit-ins in downtown Knoxville. He later was the first African-American from Knoxville elected to the Tennessee state legislature in the 20th century. He was also instrumental in establishing the Beck Cultural Center on African American history, which he later directed.

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LMU Law provides gifts for 28 foster children

Gifts with people who wrapped

Dec. 22, 2015 — Faculty, staff and students from Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law came together to provide Christmas gifts for 28 Anderson County foster children last week. The Sixth Annual Foster Care Christmas Party Drive, sponsored by the Student Bar Association and organized by Associate Professor and Director of Experiential Learning Laura Hash, brought in $2,200 worth of gifts.

In November, the Anderson County Juvenile Court provided LMU Law with the names, wish lists and sizes for children identified by DCS case mangers as most in need. The SBA then solicited sponsors from the LMU Law community for each child. LMU Law also put together a stocking stuffed with age-appropriate goodies for each of the children.

Once the collection was complete, faculty, staff and student volunteers organized and wrapped the gifts. Hash delivered the packages to the Anderson County Courthouse, and DCS provided transportation for the children to attend a party on Dec. 17. At the party, Santa Claus distributed the gifts and stockings and the children enjoyed hot chocolate and other treats. At the party, Santa Claus distributed the gifts and stockings and the children enjoyed hot chocolate and other treats.

“The party itself is one of the most joyous occasions that anyone could ever experience,” Hash said. “Foster children have been removed from their families through no fault of their own, and they are in a confusing state of having one foot in their new world and one foot in their old world while their case works its way through the system. On party day, each child experiences the wonder of receiving a special gift from Santa. You can see the wonder on their faces as they realize they have not been forgotten. For law students, especially those who intend to practice family law, it is a great reminder who they will serve once they complete their education.”

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LMU Law to Honor Judge Joe D. Duncan

Duncan, Hon Joe D. (Robe)Nov. 2, 2015 — Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law will honor Judge Joe D. Duncan with a portrait unveiling at 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 9, at LMU Law.

LMU Law Dean and Vice President Gary R. Wade announced plans to honor Duncan earlier this year. He will join the ranks of University namesakes and esteemed lawyers Abraham Lincoln and John J. Duncan, Jr., who also have prominently displayed portraits at LMU Law. The LMU Law courtroom is also named in honor of the late Robert H. Watson, Jr., who was a noted Knoxville attorney and a member of the LMU Board of Trustees.

Joe D. Duncan enlisted in the U.S. Army and transferred to the Air Force where he served as a navigator from 1943 to 1945, reaching the rank of 2nd Lieutenant before the end of World War II. He returned home, married his childhood sweetheart, Lou, and finished his education earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee and a LL.M. degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law. Upon admission to the bar, he joined the practice of his older brother, John J. Duncan, Sr.

Joe D. Duncan served as an agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1950 to 1953. After ending his term with the FBI, he rejoined the firm of Duncan and Duncan. In 1966, he was elected as the Criminal Court Judge for Knox County, where he served for nine years before being appointed by Gov. Winfield Dunn to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. During the last three years of his 15-year tenure, he served as Presiding Judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals, a position that included the administrative responsibilities for the nine-member court.

“Judge Joe D. Duncan was well known for his patience, courtesy and sound judgment,” Wade said. “He was especially well known for his humor and storytelling. He mentored many members of the bench during his tenure and continues to participate in bench-and-bar activities in Knoxville. It is very fitting that his portrait have a prominent position in the LMU-Duncan School of Law, where it is our mission to educate the next generation of bench-and-bar members to serve Appalachia and beyond.”

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Accreditation Statement
Lincoln Memorial University - John J. Duncan, Jr. School of Law (LMU-DSOL) is provisionally accredited
by the American Bar Association (ABA).

Information About the ABA’s Accreditation Process

Questions concerning ABA accreditation may be directed to:

          Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar
          American Bar Association
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          Phone: 312.988.6738

Additionally, Lincoln Memorial University - Duncan School of Law is approved by the
Tennessee Board of Law Examiners.