Photo by Michael Paredes

This plaque, which was displayed in the Moot Courtroom of the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, commemorates the Terry v. Ohio case from 1967.

 

February 28, 2017

Terry v. Ohio case receives plaque and commemoration

Cleveland-Marshall College of Law presented the dedication of a new Ohio historical plaque that commemorates the Supreme Court case Terry v. Ohio, an important case that argued the legalities found within police-citizen interactions.


On Feb. 10, in the Moot Court Room of the Law Building, Jonathan P. Witmer-Rich, assistant associate professor of law, introduced the veiled plaque and the featured speakers of the ceremony to attending guests.


Speakers present at the dedication ceremony were C. Ellen Connally, retired judge of the Cleveland Municipal Court and former president of the Cuyahoga County Council; Stuart A. Friedman, judge of the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court and son of Judge Bernard Friedman; Brett Hammond, of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office and grandson of Congressman Stokes; and Timothy McGinty, former Cuyahoga County prosecutor and Common Pleas Court judge.


Speakers discussed the case, its continued relevance in today’s world, and their personal histories relating to the case, before unveiling the plaque itself and sharing the dedication.


The Terry case, which addressed stop and frisk procedures, was the first time two African-American lawyers argued a case before an African American justice, Thurgood Marshall. Two Cleveland attorneys, defense lawyer Louis Stokes and prosecutor Reuben Payne, both 1953 graduates of Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, litigated the case in 1967.


The lawyers argued the case in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, on appeal in the Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals, from which it then went to the U.S. Supreme Court.


The plaque came to exist due to collaboration between the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, who wrote the marker text, researched and raised funds, and the Ohio History Connection, which worked with the local sponsors to do fact checking and text editing.

“It’s a great event for commemorating the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, its role in Cleveland and the nation’s legal history, in particular commemorating this milestone in the history of African American lawyers,” said Witmer-Rich.

“Terry v. Ohio continues to be the basic standard that governs those stop and frisk cases, so it’s something we continue to grapple with and to disagree about and struggle with as a country, so it has ongoing, I think day-to-day significance, for people.”

For more information, access the Terry v. Ohio Collection at engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/terryvohio.


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