Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hoosier Justice in Nuremberg

The Indiana Historical Society Press has published, in its Indiana Supreme Court Legal History Series, Hoosier Justice at Nuremberg, by Suzanne S. Bellamy. According to the Historical Society, the book
examines how Frank Richman of Columbus, Indiana, and Curtis Shake of Vincennes, Indiana, both served with distinction as members of the Indiana Supreme Court. By early 1947 both justices had stepped down from the court to begin new phases in their profession. Shake resumed his law practice in Vincennes, and Richman planned to teach law. World events intervened when both men were called to serve as civilian judges in tribunals convened in Nuremberg to try secondary Nazi war criminals. Shake and Richman sat on the bench in the trials of leading German industrialists for crimes against humanity, applying international law according to American concepts of fairness.

Despite lingering doubts about the legitimacy of American judges having jurisdiction over German nationals, Richman and Shake responded with grace, competence, and high ethical standards, along with a little controversy. The book highlights the role two leading citizens of Indiana played in events that, more than sixty years later, still resonate across the world.
More and hat tip.

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