Nationally recognized leader on criminal and racial justice, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of the Trone Center for Justice and Equality Jeffery Robinson will speak in Charleston September 20, 2018 at 6 p.m. in the Burke High School auditorium (244 President St.). The evening is open to the community free of charge.
Robinson will speak about racial history, its influence on our times, and reasons truth in history is critical to democracy. Among other things, he will explore the roots of white supremacy dating back to the early 1600s and review the state of race in 2018 to create an understanding of moving forward in America with fairness and equity. He will use film clips and news reel excerpts to weave a compelling presentation.
He will be hosted by the League of Women Voters of the Charleston Area with the help of the ACLU of South Carolina, College of Charleston, and the Charleston Branch of the NAACP. Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg will close the evening announcing plans for the city’s continuing work on social justice and racial equity. That commitment was formalized June 19, 2018 when Charleston City Council acknowledged and apologized for the city’s role in slavery.
Robinson’s passion for criminal defense ignited after he attended, at age 11, a march led by Dr. Martin Luther King, just a week before Dr. King’s assassination. The march in Memphis, Tennessee, which was Robinson’s hometown, ended in violence.
According to the Harvard Law Today, Robinson’s father, a school principal and lifelong educator, took his son to court to see the arrested marchers’ hearings.
Robinson said he watched the criminal defense attorneys that day and left the courtroom wanting to be one of them.
Graduating from Harvard Law School in 1981, Robinson represented indigent clients in state court at The Defender Association and then in federal court at the Federal Public Defender’s Office, both in Seattle, Washington. In 1988, he began a 27-year private practice at the Seattle firm of Schroeter, Goldmark & Bender. There he represented a broad range of clients in local, state, and federal courts on charges ranging from shoplifting to securities fraud and first degree murder. He has tried more than 200 criminal cases to verdict and has tried more than a dozen civil cases representing plaintiffs suing corporate and government entities.
In addition to being a nationally recognized trial attorney, he is a respected teacher of trial advocacy, a faculty member of the National Criminal Defense College in Macon, Georgia, and has lectured on trial skills throughout the United States. He has also spoken nationally to diverse audiences on the role of race in the criminal justice system. He is past president of the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and a life member and past member of the board of directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Robinson is also an elected fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.