Two panels of legal experts will examine the issue in “Personal Liberty: A Discussion of Habeas Corpus from Joseph Smith to Guantanamo.” It runs from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Room 212 of the Illinois State Capitol, a hearing room that once housed the Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday, April 4, 2013.
The event is free and open to the public, but advance reservations are required. Visit http://bit.ly/habeascorpustix. According to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM), this event, sponsored by the ALPLM “and the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission, the event will focus on two different incidents in two different periods:
Attempts in the 1840s to have Joseph Smith, leader of what was then the new and controversial Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, extradited from Illinois to Missouri on charges ranging from treason to conspiring to murder the Missouri governor.
The continuing incarceration at Guantanamo Bay of people suspected of connections to the al Qaeda terrorist network.
The issue of habeas corpus – that is, having a judge determine whether someone is being held legally – was a major point of contention in both cases.
Habeas corpus in the era of Joseph Smith will be examined by Richard Turley, assistant historian for the LDS church; Jeffrey Walker, editor of the Joseph Smith Papers; Leslie C. Griffin, professor of law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Lachlan Mackay, board member of the Joseph Smith Sr. Family Association; Reg Ankrom, an expert on Stephen Douglas; William Ray Price, former justice of the Missouri Supreme Court; and Baker & McKenzie attorney Thomas Campbell.
Guantanamo and modern habeas corpus will be the subject of a second panel, with Turley; Walker; Jeffrey Colman, partner at Jenner & Block; Thomas Sullivan, partner at Jenner & Block; the Hon. Sue Myerscough, U.S. district judge for the Central District of Illinois; David Owens from the University of Chicago Law School’s Exoneration Project; and Andrea D. Lyon, law professor at DePaul University.
Both panels will be moderated by Gery Chico, a Chicago attorney. In 2004, he co-founded the law firm Chico & Nunes.
Chico served as Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Deputy Chief of Staff in 1991 and Chief of Staff from 1991 to 1995; President of the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners (2007-2010); and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the City Colleges of Chicago (2010). He resigned the board chairmanship to run for mayor in 2010 and is now Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education.
The April 4th roundtable discussion is the first in a year-long series of events related to Joseph Smith’s legal challenges produced and sponsored by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and the Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission.
On Tuesday, September 24, 2013, a mock trial in Springfield will use modern attorneys and judges to recreate the extradition proceedings against Smith. A similar trial is scheduled for Monday, October 14, 2013 in Chicago. In addition, a historical re-enactment of life in Nauvoo, the Illinois town founded by Smith will be held Monday, September 23, 2013.
The mock trial of Smith follows similar events looking at Mary Surratt’s role in Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and Mary Lincoln’s commitment to a sanitarium. Both of the earlier trials were used to develop lessons for Illinois schoolchildren.
Also, the National Hellenic Museum in Chicago held an appeal for the Trial of Socrates on Thursday, January 31, 2013. To accommodate the audience, the event was held at the Palmer House Hilton.
Moderator Gery Chico said, “These trials are popular with our Illinois students. In their classes they can imagine themselves before the bar as they learn from distinguished lawyers and historians.”
Teachers attending the roundtable can receive continuing professional development credit. Organizers have also applied for minimum continuing legal education status.