Getting a wrong righted after decades of injustice is one of the most satisfying things about working for justice. It is especially satisfying when it happens in a court of law. The award-winning documentary, Neshoba: The Price Of Freedom, traces one of the most amazing journeys from injustice to justice in our country. It documents the coming to justice of the men responsible for killing civil rights workers, Andrew Goodman, James Earl Chaney and Michael Schwerner, in 1964 when they finally came to trial in 2005 – over 40 years after their murders.
I first became aware that there was going to be a film of the trial at an American Society of Trial Consultants Conference. Two of my friends and fellow trial consultants, Andy Sheldon and Beth Bonora, came to us with the tale of victory on the case. Film makers Micki Dickoff and Tony Pagano had followed the entire trial process and had interviewed them as they helped bring light to one of the darkest times in our history. Much of the work done on this case was done pro bono by both the consultants and the attorneys.
It is moving to see the interviews with the families and loved ones of the victims, both then and now. It is hard to watch an ancient man, head still unbowed, tell the film makers he is not repentant for the deaths of the three young men. And it is stirring to the core to witness the brilliant lawyering and trial consulting that brought justice at last.
Every attorney who tries cases should see this film. Share it with others. Pass it on. And remember – pro bono some of your time every year. Justice is waiting.
TIP: Make a commitment to pro bono your time to at least one case this year.