JFK assassination is focus of CSU forum with Warren Commission staffers
A half-century after the fact, our national consciousness continues to reverberate with shock waves from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
“It changed America, and people today still have questions about it,” said retired Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Burt Griffin, who served as assistant counsel to the Warren Commission, which investigated the tragedy.
Griffin will participate in a forum titled “JFK’s Assassination and the Law: 50 Years Later” on Friday, December 6, at Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.
In a 1964 report that ran nearly 900 pages, the Warren Commission concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in shooting Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally on November 22, 1963, in Dallas. The commission also found that Jack Ruby acted alone when he fatally shot Oswald two days later.
“There have been numerous reinvestigations, and they’ve all come to agree that the Warren Commission was right,” Griffin told ENGAGED. “Unfortunately, nobody sells books by saying the Warren Commission was right. The media has tended to feed the suspicions of people who think that maybe we didn’t get it right. They have concerns about Oswald’s motive or if there was a conspiracy. Some people think Oswald didn’t do it.”
Joining Griffin and Willens at CSU will be Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Brendan Sheehan, who will moderate the proceedings, as well as retired Cleveland Municipal Court Judge C. Ellen Connally, former Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Steven Dever, former Cuyahoga County Public Defender Jerome Emoff, Cleveland Municipal Court Magistrate William Vodrey and CSU Law Professor Jonathan Witmer-Rich.
The panelists will delve into legal issues surrounding the assassination and investigation, as well as considerations that may have come into play if Oswald had stood trial.
“One of our hopes for this forum is to counteract some of the misinformation and unfounded beliefs that people have, in the context of presenting information for lawyers that will be of great interest to nonlawyers, too,” Griffin said.
The Cleveland-Marshall Law Alumni Association is sponsoring the forum, which is open to the public. Admission is $20. CLE credits are available. To register, call 216-687-2368 or click here.
photo by Victor Hugo King / Library of Congress