On this day in Alabama history: Scottsboro Boys verdict overturned

On this day in Alabama history: Scottsboro Boys verdict overturned
The defendants in the Scottboro trial and their lawyer, Samuel Leibowitz, at a Decatur jail. Standing, left to right: Olen Montgomery, Clarence Norris, Willie Roberson (front), Andrew Wright (partially obscured), Ozie Powell, Eugene Williams, Charley Weems and Roy Wright. Haywood Patterson is seated next to Leibowitz. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photograph by the Brown Brothers)

November 7, 1932

In Powell v. Alabama, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the original guilty verdicts given to the nine Scottsboro Boys by an all-white jury. Falsely accused of raping two white women on a train, the Scottsboro Boys were not given access to a lawyer until shortly before the trial, with little time to prepare a legal defense. The Supreme Court’s ruling declared that the right to be represented by a lawyer with adequate time to prepare for trial was fundamental to a fair trial. The ruling was the first time the court had reversed a state criminal conviction for a violation of a criminal procedural provision of the U.S. Bill of Rights.

Read more at http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-1456

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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