David Gespass and Kathleen Johnson have practiced law for more than 60 years between them. From their law school days, they have been active members of the National Lawyers Guild and have built their practice on the Guild’s credo that human rights are more sacred than property interests. To advance that credo, Kathy returned to law school and earned a masters degree in international law, with a focus on human rights. David was a founding member of the National Police Accountability Project of the National Lawyers Guild and has been a member of its advisory board since its inception.
David and Kathy have maintained a general practice over the years but have concentrated on police misconduct and civil rights, Social Security disability, personal injury, GI and Veterans’rights, criminal defense, and assisting small businesses and non-profits. In addition, they handle domestic relations cases, wills and estates.
David and Kathy are committed to giving each client individual attention. They are also available to meet on evenings and weekends.
(No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. The hiring of a law firm is a serious decision that should not be based on advertising alone. Please write the firm for more information.)
Visit David's blog at www.theleftinalabama.com.
STATEMENT OF THE ALABAMA CHAPTER OF THE NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD IN RESPONSE TO THE DECISION NOT TO GIVE ANGELA DAVIS THE FRED SHUTTLESWORTH AWARD
The National Lawyers Guild has been honored by its long history with our sister, Angela Davis. When she faced murder charges in California her legal team was led by Doris Brin Walker, then Guild president. Other members of the team included Haywood Burns, who would later become president, and Margaret Burnham, who received the Guild’s Ernie Goodman award in 2012, the year we celebrated our 75th anniversary. We were honored to have Angela give the keynote address that year.
More important, we recall Angela speaking at the 16th Street Baptist Church. One can look across the street at the church from the large windows at the end of the tour of the BCRI. It is bitterly ironic and shameful that the BCRI, nearly three months after it announced she would receive its Fred Shuttlesworth award, has chosen to retract the invitation and cancel the awards dinner. BCRI has been one of the most important legacies of Richard Arrington, Jr., Birmingham’s first black mayor and its decision irrevocably tarnishes that legacy.
Mayor Arrington was vilified for having the now-iconic sculpture commemorating the foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement placed in Kelly-Ingram Park. Many called it “divisive" but, to his credit, he ignored the protests and stood firm on the conviction that we cannot ignore or forget our history.
“Upon closer examination of Ms. (that should be "Dr.") Davis’ statements and public record, we concluded that she unfortunately does not meet all of the criteria on which the award is based,” BCRI’s statement said. There is nothing about Angela that the powers that be at BCRI did not know in October when the award was announced. Their caving to pressure from some funders is a disgrace. Their decision to rescind the award reflects nothing so much as cowardice in place of principle, the diametric opposite of all that Fred Shuttlesworth stood for. We mourn the loss of the BCRI as a Birmingham institution conceived to insure we never forget that freedom is a constant struggle and that courage in the face of adversity drives history forward. It is now just another musty museum, and one that has abandoned what was a noble mission.
WATCH DAVID ON TV
David Gespass appeared on "The Attorneys" on Sunday, November 27 on WVTM, Channel 13 discussing prisoners' rights. Click on Articles/Speeches above to watch the video.
" Motion to Resist" podcasts.
Click on Articles/Speeches to hear an interview with David.
Birmingham Public Library's Thirteenth Martin Luther King Memorial Lecture
"Voting Rights from Selma to Columbiana: Not Always Onward, Not Always Upward." by David Gespass.
Sunday, January 17; 3:00 pm.
Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor
Refreshments; free and open to the public.
Greater Birmingham Ministries Food Drive
Birmingham Public Library
2100 Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard North
Sunday, January 17
Please bring non-perishable food items
(sponsored by Birmingham Peace Project and the Birmingham Islamic Society)
*We are proud to have learned that David Gespass has been voted one of Birmingham’s top civil rights attorneys in Birmingham magazine's sixth annual peer-reviewed survey.
*In January 2013, Kathy Johnson was an international observer with Democracy International for the
Constitutional referendum in Egypt.
*David received the Birmingham Branch NAACP "Golden Jurist" Award
for his dedication to civil rights.
*The Private Manning Conviction
David Gespass responds to the conviction of Private Manning on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild. To read the article, click on "articles/speeches" above. (The article was written before Chelsea Manning announced her name change, so it refers to her as "Bradley." Henceforth, we will of course identify her as she chooses to be identified.)
David Gespass presented at a briefing hosted by the Washington College of Law Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law on the Human rights implications of last term's Supreme Court decisions. David discussed the Voting Rights Act decision. The other cases discussed were the court's decision on the Defense of Marriage Act and its non-decision on affirmative action in education. To listen to the entire program, replete with technical glitches, go to:
To read the text of David's presentation, click on "articles/speeches" above.
Firm Files Brief Before
the Supreme Court in
Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder
The case of Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder is being heard by the Supreme Court this term. Shelby County is seeking to have portions of the Voting Rights Act, which has been a critical protection of the franchise for African-Americans and other minorities, held unconstitutional. David wrote an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief for the National Lawyers Guild defending the act.
To read the brief, go to the page above and click on "Brief."