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Today in legal history...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Suspect in 1964 Mississippi civil rights killings arrested
Cynthia Miley at 12:00 AM ET

On January 24, 2007, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) arrested a Mississippi man for the 1964 deaths of two black men in a reopened civil rights-era case. Ex-KKK member James Ford Seale was originally arrested in 1964 on suspicion of kidnapping Henry Dee and Charles Moore, who were later found dead in the Mississippi River, but was released due to a lack of evidence after providing information to the FBI. Seale pleaded not guilty to the charges. His trial began on June 4, 2007. Seale was ultimately convicted that same month and sentenced to three terms of life imprisonment. In September 2008, a panel of judges from the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacated the decision because of a five-year statute of limitations, which the court held could be applied retroactively. However, in June 2009, the Fifth Circuit issued an evenly-split en banc decision, which had the effect of upholding the original conviction.

Learn more about the civil rights and Mississippi from the JURIST news archive, and read commentary on Seale's trial from JURIST Guest Columnist Margaret Burnham in Forum.

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