Saturday, April 27, 2002

Dr. Mudd and Military Tribunals: Here We Go Again

History with a Sept. 11 twist. A chapter in American history that has come to life again in the federal courts may shed light on the jurisdiction of post-Sept. 11 military tribunals. [National Law Journal]

This is an article about the conviction of Dr. Samuel Mudd as a co-conspirator in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Interestingly, the findings of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit could “shed some light” on the Bush administration’s plans with the military tribunals, according to Eugene Fidell, a partner in a D.C. firm and president of the National Institute of Military Justice.

Why do I care? My law school, the T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond, enacted a “moot court” in 1993 reenacting the Mudd trial. Arguing on behalf of Dr. Mudd was the great- granddaughter of Mudd’s attorney with none other than F. Lee Bailey. When I was a 3L, I was the winning bidder at a charity auction on the book commemorating the retrial – Dr. Mudd and the Lincoln Assassination (edited by my ConLaw professor, J.P. Jones). The book was signed by F. Lee Bailey. Even better, it was signed by Bailey from prison (for more on why he was in prison, see this brief news blurb): “For Rick Klau, Wishing you great success at the bar, F. Lee Bailey”.

(Bailey was disbarred in November by the Florida Bar.)

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