Legal and ethical issues surrounding JFK assassination investigation

CONTACT: Ken Brown – 614-487-4426; 614-746-2457;
Columbus, Ohio – (May 22, 2014) – On June 6, two former staff members of the Warren Commission will lead a six-hour Continuing Legal Education (CLE) conference titled “The Warren Commission: 50 Years Later,” an inquiry into the legal and ethical issues associated with President John F. Kennedy’s assassination investigation. How might Lee Harvey Oswald have been tried? Was there evidence of conspiracy? Featured speakers will explore these and other questions at the conference, which will be held in Columbus and simulcast live to Akron, Dayton and Perrysburg.
Kicking off the day-long conference, Retired Cleveland Judge C. Ellen Connally provides the historical context for the Warren Commission’s investigation into the assassination. Retired Common Pleas Judge Burt W. Griffen and former U.S. Justice Department attorney Howard P. Willens, both former staff members of the Warren Commission, discuss the difficulty of balancing a quest for truth with practical and ethical considerations. Judge Brendan Sheehan of the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court moderates the panel discussion that follows.
Delving into the conspiracy theories that have persisted, Willens leads a session titled, “Was There Evidence of a Conspiracy: Other Associates, Foreign Conspiracy, a Domestic Conspiracy.” A special video appearance by the prosecutor in the Charles Manson murder case, Vincent Bugliosi, highlights a “Questions from the Audience” session. Bugliosi, author of Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, will discuss the rise of assassination conspiracy theories.
Afternoon breakout sessions invite speculation about the kind of trial Lee Harvey Oswald might have lived to experience. A “Publicity and Fair Trial Issues” session features A. Steven Dever, former chief counsel of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. Professor Jonathon Witmer-Rich of Cleveland Marshall College of Law discusses Warren Commission findings and legal issues that might have surrounded Lee Harvey Oswald’s interrogation. A panel discussion about the admissibility of Oswald’s other alleged crimes features panelists Judge Brendan Sheehan, Judge Burt Griffin, Howard Willens, Professor Jonathan Witmer-Rich and Retired Judge C. Ellen Connally. Professor Witmer-Rich’s presentation, “Representing the Lying Client,” concludes the conference.
Conference registration begins at 8 a.m., and sessions run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch is provided. Pre-registration cost is $320 for OSBA members and $400 for nonmembers. The cost for walk-in registration is $345 for members and $425 for nonmembers. The charge for member government attorneys is $272; nonmember government attorneys pay $400. Three or more attorneys or office submitting registrations at the same time receive $25 off each registration, and non-attorney professionals may attend at the OSBA member rate. 
The Ohio State Bar Association, founded in 1880, is a voluntary association representing approximately 25,000 members of the bench and bar of Ohio as well as nearly 4,000 legal assistants and law students. Through its activities and the activities of its related organizations, the OSBA serves both its members and the public by promoting the highest standards in the practice of law and the administration of justice.



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