Murder, Justice Department, Montgomery Alabama discussed on Coast To Coast AM With George Noory
Marathon fueling the American spirit Welcome back to Jim, Bohannon show with our guest David veto a research fellow at the independent institute and professor of history. At, the university, of Alabama Tuscaloosa Abby co, author, of TRM Howard. Doctor. Entrepreneur and civil rights pioneer we're talking about a reopening of the Emmett till murder case yes of the sixty three years ago now Clearly as you note witnesses potential, defendants in, the like in many cases, dead, this is a. Test. Of the Justice department charge of investigating long ago burgers that are thought to have been racially motivated. And The. Justice department in, the, last ten, years it's efforts led to five, successful prosecutions glue that of, Edgar Ray Killen involved in the murders of the three. Civil rights workers in the Mississippi who died in prison this past year, that. Of course was the subject of the movie Mississippi burning starring Gene Hackman which some of you may have seen over the years So the last. Successful prosecution came eight years ago when a former Alabama, state trooper was convicted of manslaughter for the killing of one Jimmy Lee Jackson or protesters debt led to the Selma to Montgomery March again to the extent that that. That the law, still applies that's fine and good in the case, of murder I don't suppose, that there is ever a statute of limitations is there Now I'm not a lawyer but no I don't I don't believe there then again there's also the the other. Notion that there are federal civil rights laws involved here that. In fact it would be quite possible to be tried twice in one of these cases once for the state law of committing murder and once, for the federal law involving the violation of someone's civil rights. And, I believe the courts have held that such trials are. For two different crimes. And therefore do not constitute. Double jeopardy that's as I recall my memory of the reading. Of this So in other words it's not an academic exercise, our actor things that presumably. Can be done in the in these cases there would potentially be a, lot of cases out there of course we're talking like, you said, about a sixty, three year, old case in in that particular case only know, one person that could, be prosecuted, all the. Law enforcement people are. Gone and, again there was a cover up you know there were there were employees black employees of milem and, Brian who were involved in the crime they were pretty much compelled to participate my wife and I interviewed one of them before he died but they're all gone now and you know the people. That covered up are pretty much all gone but there are many sort of read more recent cases you know in the. Sixties for example where a lot of people still are around So the so this evidence continuing and again the the pickings, as you might expect are so much slim but nonetheless, have been, some cases Mitch, factor there, have been a successful reopening the Justice department Had this new inquiry first reported by the Associated. Press last began a significant rule of the review of the till case fourteen years ago prosecutors audibly determined, that the statute of limitations let, them without. Any charges they could pursue in, a federal court Be FBI still conducted an inquiry which included an exclamation, of the emit immortals body from an Illinois cemetery for about two years to settle whether there were any state crimes that could still. Be prosecuted I I'm, not sure other than than murder I'm not sure what crimes we could be talking about. Here and it was interesting that prosecutors determined that. The statute of limitations had left without any charges they could pursue in a federal court if I'm not mistaken anybody involved in this had. Already been tried for murder in a state court and acquitted and of course any retrial would be double jeopardy If there's no federal Charge that that is, still around since obviously then statutes of limitations apply to the the civil rights laws that that we discussed a second ago while I find. This of academic interest I'm not quite sure where the FBI is looking. Into this at all, you do have, Caroline like, I said Brian Dunham and. She. Was never tried okay so that would be a? Case you, could bring I I unless we get a confession from her. Or something like that I think, that that extremely unlikely but I suppose it's a possibility and it's probably the main reason they reopened, this investigation I would I would guess, in, that particular case again this is a case of of Justice delayed beyond the point of of of reasonably getting, anything done and well I suppose it makes. Us all feel better the. Something is being, investigated, I must say frankly given the, circumstances we've discussed tonight I'm not sure that I find this to be Particularly efficient use of limited federal resources your thoughts I, tend to agree with you I think there are a lot of cases that are you know where you do have some you know you, you do have some potential I just don't see it here I think. It may be was, a spur of, the moment, decision maybe somebody read Timothy. Tyson's. Which again now questions have been called about what? He but, he found in that book and said oh okay we have. A confession here let's go after, this case well turns out they really did so I think somebody maybe didn't think to think this, through I understand why they're doing it, I, just think that that's the target is not the best target it this late day are there any state investigations, that that go back this far in any. Any part of the country. That that try, to, look at at circumstances that were, improperly handled at the time or is this strictly As far as you? Know a federal effort I. Don't know then he stayed investigations going on, certainly there, are cases going back even further but, you you, have to look at examples, like you, know holocaust guy now that's being you know ninety five year old that's. Being sent back, to Germany to, be tried so you know it does happen. But I can't think of any state investigations go to go, back that far The the circumstances of course of the. The, till, case I suppose we're we're instrumental given that it was nineteen fifty five and of course I I don't recall if this was before or after the. Montgomery Alabama bus boycott which really vaulted, Dr Martin Luther King junior to national prominence. Do you recall there two are linked together, Dr TRM Howard, we talked about last, time was a prominent civil rights bigger in Mississippi well anyway he went on. A national speaking tour only. Three days after the jury's acquittal he predicted. That, it, was going to. Be an acquittal in ROY Wilkins. The n. w. c. p. basically said I, want you, to go around the country he was, getting crowds, and cities like Baltimore Madison, Square Garden, ten twenty thousand people bigger crowds than anyone really had gotten in recent. Memory for a, civil rights 'cause, it was building up a lot of pressure. Was attacking the FBI well anyway A lesser known part of it tour was. In November twenty, seventh nineteen fifty five in Montgomery Alabama, and his host, was Martin Luther King then unknown nationally Rosa Parks. Was in the, audience, and three days later Rosa Parks refused to her seat she, made quite clear, that the reason she refused to give up her seat was. She was thinking of? Emmett till well Howard speech. Only three days before that had been the focus that had been the first event. Montgomerie, to, really focus on that issue so they the the issues you know the till case I think you can find it pretty clear link to the Montgomery. Bus boycott and of course then the, decision was to organize a movement around Rosa. Parks action and king was chosen to head, that we're going, to come back and, talk more about that with our guest David Beethoven again he's the author of. TRM Howard will reintroduce you. To him as well and be back in a, moment If you have freedom of speech My concern is sucker minnows talks.