Business law

‘Unbelievable event’ for Trump to cite Scottsboro case


Former President Donald Trump.
Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

  • Trump’s lawyers have unsuccessfully sought to delay the federal election interference trial to 2026.
  • His team pointed out Powell vs Alabama, A SCOTUS ruling that guarantees the defendant “reasonable time” to obtain counsel.
  • Delia Omuna, a professor at Harvard University, told The Washington Post that Trump’s team cited the Scottsboro Boys case as “incredibly eventful.”

When lawyers for former President Donald Trump sought to delay the former president’s federal election interference trial to April 2026, they cited the landmark Supreme Court case involving the infamous convictions of the “Scottsboro Boys” — nine young black men falsely accused of raping two white women. .

In the 1932 decision, Powell v. Alabama, the court’s ruling guaranteed the defendant’s right to “reasonable time and opportunity to obtain counsel.”

The Scottsboro case has attracted widespread attention. The men were quickly arrested, tried, and sentenced within weeks, and had no opportunity to speak with their lawyers before their conviction.

As a result of Powell’s order, the men’s convictions were reversed, but the effects of the accusations did not disappear. Collectively, the men have spent decades in prison. By 1950, some suffered from poor health and violence. One of the men committed suicide.

Trump’s legal team, seeking to fight accusations that Trump sought to sabotage the results of the 2020 presidential election, said the former president needed additional time to prepare the defense, pointing to Powell.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan was not convinced by quoting W Trial appointment To start in March 2024.

“I have seen many cases get unduly delayed because the defendant lacks proper representation or cannot properly review discovery because they are in custody,” the judge said. “That is not the case here.”

Chutkan said Trump – who has not been imprisoned for a long time – had a “completely different” situation than what was outlined in the Trump administration. Powell.

Delia Omuna, a professor at Harvard Law School, recently he told The Washington Post that it was “incredibly eventful” for the Trump team to cite the Scottsboro case.

“The Supreme Court held that there was an express denial of due process because the Scottsboro defendants were not given reasonable time and opportunity to retain counsel,” she told the newspaper. “This is not the case with Accused Trump. His actions that led to these charges occurred more than two years ago, and he has several attorneys representing him.”

Kenneth W. Mack, a law professor and associate professor of history at Harvard University, told The Post that the Scottsboro case is “a landmark of American law.”

“It is hard to believe that Trump’s legal team actually thought his citation would be persuasive for this judge, or for any subsequent judges who will rule on appeals after the trial ends,” he said.

During an interview with CNN last week, Trump attorney John Lauro sought to cut short on criticism of the Scottsboro quote, arguing that Powell “It is routinely cited in legal briefs and in Supreme Court decisions regarding the right of attorney.”

“Therefore we were ethically required to cite this case and bring to the court’s attention the claim and the legal principles set forth in Powell v. Alabama,” he said. “What we did not do in any way in our briefing was to point out that there were any similarities between the factual circumstances of the Powell case and that of President Trump.”


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