"The Southern Center for Human Rights was founded in 1976 in response to the Supreme Court's reinstatement of the death penalty that year and to the horrendous conditions in Southern prisons and jails... Today, alongside litigation, SCHR is sharpening its use of media advocacy, taking leadership in coalition building, engaging in legislative education, and learning how to organize the hundreds of thousands of people affected by the criminal justice system." -- "History." Southern Center for Human Rights. http://www.schr.org/about/history (Retrieved November 24, 2009)
The collection consists of papers related to the activities of the Southern Center for Human Rights from 1973 to 2001. Formats include transcripts of case proceedings, court documents, evidentiary documents, memoranda, correspondence, affidavits, legal notes, copies of legislation, newsletters, and newspaper articles. The collection consists primarily of files concerning the defense of Georgia death row inmates which reflect the legal efforts of the Southern Center for Human Rights. The collection also includes documents relating to the Center’s efforts to advocate the reform of Habeas Corpus legislation, subject files consisting of newspaper articles on the death penalty and criminal justice, and research files concerning racial discrimination in jury selection.
In general, the materials are "working" informational files, often copies of court documents or evidentiary documents. Their usefulness is chiefly their supply of details about "racially-stacked jury" and "electric chair" cases. The materials are useful as evidence of the scope and methods of the Center's efforts in defending indigent capital punishment defendants and in lobbying for and against state and federal legislation affecting the criminal judicial process.
Series 1. Case Files This series documents the efforts of the Southern Center for Human Rights in the defense of Georgia death row inmates from 1978 to 2001. The series is arranged according to the following capital cases: Jimmy Lee Horton, Carzell Moore, Tony Amadeo, George Dungee, Johhny Mack Westbrook, and Eddie William Finney. The files contain transcripts of trial proceedings, copies of court documents, evidentiary documents, memoranda, correspondence, and handwritten legal notes.
Series 2. Legislation This series consists of documents from 1982 to 1996 in support of “Racial Justice” legislation to constitutionally bar racial bias in seeking death penalties. The series also consists of documents in opposition to proposed federal Habeas Corpus limitations. The files contain copies of proposed legislation, memoranda, correspondence, copies of testimony and personal statements, newsletters, and law journal articles.
Series 3. Subject Files These files contain copies of newspaper articles regarding the death penalty and criminal justice from 1976 to 2001. The files are arranged alphabetically by subject.
Series 4. Research Files on Racial Discrimination in Jury Selection This series consists of documents compiled by the Southern Center of Human Rights regarding racial discrimination in jury selection of death penalty cases from 1979 to 2001. The files consist of documents relating to the investigation of peremptory strikes in jury selections of capital cases in Georgia. The files contain copies of depositions, evidentiary documents, affidavits, transcripts of interviews, transcripts of trial proceedings, jury strike lists, handwritten legal notes, memoranda and correspondence.
The collection is arranged into four series by record type: Series 1. Case Files; Series 2. Legislation; Series 3. Subject Files; Series 4. Research Files on Racial Discrimination in Jury Selection. Series 1. Case Files is further divided into subseries by name of defendant.