In addition to our continuing work on Season Three of History of the Saints, the production team was asked to shoot and edit a three-hour round table discussion on Habeas Corpus that took place in the Senate Hearing Room (formerly the Supreme Court Courtroom) in the Illinois Capitol Building in Springfield, Illinois, on April 4, 2013. The discussion consisted of two panels, one on the use of the Writ of Habeas Corpus by Joseph Smith and other members of the Mormon Church in the 1800s, and one on the use of it by prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. The general introduction was made by Jim Thompson, former Governor of Illinois. The moderator was Gery Chico, Chair of the Illinois State Board of Education and, among other positions, former Chief of Staff to Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. The first panel consisted of Reg Ankrom of the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County; Thomas Campbell of the Chicago Law Firm, Baker & McKenzie and the author of Fighting Slavery in Chicago: Abolitionists, the Law of Slavery, and Lincoln; Leslie C. Griffin, the William S. Boyd Professor of Law at UNLV; Lachlan Mackay, Director of Community of Christ Historic Sites and great-great-great grandson of Joseph and Emma Smith; Hon. William Ray Price, Jr., former Missouri Supreme Court Justice; Richard E. Turley, Jr., member of the editorial board of the Joseph Smith Papers Project; and Jeffrey N. Walker, Senior Advisor for the Joseph Smith Papers Project.
Panel two consisted of Jeffrey D. Colman and Thomas P. Sullivan, both partners at the law firm of Jenner and Block and both currently very active in pro bono work representing prisoners of Guantanamo Bay; Andrea D. Lyon, clinical professor of Law and director of the Center for Justice in Capital Cases at DePaul University; Hon. Sue E. Myerscough, United States District Judge for the Central District of Illinois; and David B. Owens, a civil rights attorney at Loevy and Loevy in Chicago.
It was very interesting to see how the experiences of Joseph Smith and his use of the writ shed light on what’s happening today. It was a fascinating discussion.