The Law Library of Congress will kick off a series of lectures that will explore how Magna Carta has impacted both historical and contemporary topics such as legal representation, the status of women in medieval times, and the use of primary sources to illustrate history. The series is planned to coincide with the upcoming exhibition “Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor,” which will open November 6, 2014.
The first lecture of the series, “Trial by Jury—Magna Carta’s Influence in Criminal Law and Legal Representation,” will begin at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 8 in the Mumford Room on the sixth floor of the Library’s James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave., S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public; tickets are not required.
Some of the most basic principles of the United States Constitution, including the right to a speedy and public trial with an impartial jury, can be traced to Magna Carta. However, despite this constitutional right, defense attorneys often are asked the question – how can you represent guilty criminals?
Abbe Smith, professor of law and director of the Criminal Defense and Prisoner Advocacy Clinic at Georgetown University Law Center, will moderate a panel of distinguished law professors to discuss the above question and more. Panelists include Angela J. Davis, professor of law at American University’s Washington College of Law; Monroe Freedman, a professor of law and former dean at the Maurice A. Dean School of Law at Hofstra University; and from Georgetown University Law Center, Paul Butler, professor of law, and Vida Johnson, visiting associate professor of law. Professor Smith and the panelists have written a collection of essays on this topic, “How Can You Represent Those People?”
We hope you can join us! For those of our readers who will not be able to make it to the event, we will have a member of the In Custodia Legis team attend on your behalf and blog about it afterwards. We will also live tweet the event via Twitter @LawLibCongress, using #1215MCLC.
The exhibition “Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor” will celebrate the 800th anniversary of the first issuance of Magna Carta. Opening November 6, 2014 and running through January 19, 2015, the 10-week exhibition will feature the Lincoln Cathedral Magna Carta, one of four remaining originals from 1215, along with other rare materials from the Library’s rich collections to tell the story of Magna Carta’s influence on the history of political liberty.