The California Supreme Court’s next program will be presented in downtown Los Angeles on the evening of Tuesday, June 25, 2013. Jointly sponsored with the Northern District of California Historical Society, the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society, and the California Historical Society, it will feature an “all-star” cast of state and federal judges and promises to be both entertaining and educational. California Supreme Court Justices Marvin Baxter and Kathryn Werdegar, California District Court of Appeal Laurie Zelon, and U. S. District Court Judges Andrew Guilford, Terry Hatter, and Ronald Lew will dramatize federal-state relations in 19th Century California, as illustrated by events in the tumultuous life and violent death of California Chief Justice and lawyer David Terry.

David Terry was one of the most colorful and controversial justices of the California Supreme Court. During his tenure on the Court he stabbed a member of San Francisco’s 1856 Committee of Vigilance and was imprisoned and tried by the Vigilantes. In 1859, Terry fought a duel with, and killed, United States Senator David Broderick. During the Civil War, Terry fought for the Confederacy as an officer in the Texas Cavalry. After the war, Terry returned to California, resumed the practice of law and, in the 1880s represented Sarah Althea Hill in two notorious trials in San Francisco (one in state court and one in federal court) over her alleged marriage to wealthy U.S. Senator William Sharon. In 1889, Terry physically assaulted U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Field, after Field–while riding circuit–had ruled against Terry in a Sharon lawsuit and then jailed both Terry and Sarah for contempt. During the assault, Justice Field’s bodyguard (a federal Marshal) shot and killed Terry, leading to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, In re Neagle, about the immunity of federal officers from state criminal laws.

The June 25 program will feature the Justices and Judges reading from documents written by Terry, Sarah, Field and others. It will also include historical images (photos, drawings, maps) of the events recounted. The program will be narrated by Richard Rahm, a member of the Northern District Society’s board of directors and a shareholder in the Littler Mendelson law firm, and Dan Grunfeld, the CSCHS president and a partner in the Kaye Scholer law firm.

The program will be held at the auditorium of the Ronald Reagan State Building, at 300 South Spring Street, Los Angeles 90013, starting at 5:30 p.m. and ending at 7 p.m. A reception will follow. The program and reception are free. MCLE credit will be available, for a charge of $30.



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