76 Tex. L. Rev. 1293 (1997-1998)
Race Trials

handle is hein.journals/tlr76 and id is 1311 raw text is: Race Trials

Anthony V. Alfieri*
I told Mister Washington / You couldn'tfind a white man / With
his name.
-Yusef Komunyakaa
Introduction
This Article is the third in a series devoted to the study of race,
lawyers, and ethics in American law. The opening work of the series
explored the rhetoric of race in cases of black-on-white racially motivated
violence, citing the defense of Damian Williams and Henry Watson on
charges of beating Reginald Denny and others during the 1992 South
Central Los Angeles riots.2 The next work probed racial rhetoric in cases
of white-on-black racially incited violence, noting the civil and criminal
trial of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1981 lynching of Michael Donald.3 The
work at hand analyzes the rhetorical meaning of race in the recent double
* Professor of Law and Director, Center for Ethics and Public Service, University of Miami
School of Law. Earlier versions of this Article were presented at Boston College Law School, the Mid-
Atlantic Clinical Theory and Practice Workshop, Temple University School of Law, and the Working
Group on Law, Culture, and Humanities. I am grateful to the participants in those workshops and to
David Abraham, Adrian Barker, William Childs, Wes Daniels, John Ely, Martha Fineman, Michael
Fischl, Clark Freshman, Ellen Grant, Patrick Gudridge, Phil Heymann, Amelia Hope, Lisa Iglesias,
Sharon Keller, Ann Kleinfelter, Don Jones, Peter Margulies, Clare Membiela, Michael Perlin, Susan
Stefan, Sam Thompson, and Frank Valdes for their comments and support. I am also grateful to the
Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York for its generosity in this
matter and, equally important, for its gracious acceptance of disagreement. It honors the best traditions
of public service when an agency of the United States government opens itself for review and criticism
in good faith and with good grace. I additionally wish to thank Bill Bradford, Jennifer McCloskey,
Monique McKenna, Christina Prkic, Tim Ravich, Shana Stephens, and the University of Miami School
of Law library staff for their research assistance. This Article is dedicated to Astrid Johnson and
Barbara Vollmer.
1. YUSEF KOMUNYAKAA, A Good Memory, in NEON VERNACULAR 14, 15 (1993).
2. See Anthony V. Alfieri, Defending Racial Violence, 95 COLUM. L. REv. 1301 (1995).
3. See Anthony V. Alfieri, Lynching Ethics: Toward a Theory of Racialized Defenses, 95 MICH.
L. REv. 1063 (1997). On the culture and defense of lynching, see also Anne S. Emanuel, Lynching
and the Law in Georgia Circa 1931: A Chapter in the Legal Career of Judge Elbert Tuttle, 5 WM. &
MARY BILL OF RTS. J. 215 (1996); Barbara Holden-Smith, Lynching, Federalism, and the Intersection
of Race and Gender in the Progressive Era, 8 YALE J.L. & FEMINISM 31 (1996).

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