A blog by Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Brian Tannebaum. Commenting on criminal law issues of local and national interest.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

To Kill A Mockingbird Turns 50

July 11, 1960, To Kill A Mockingbird was published. Look above, and it's obvious the story has great meaning to me. The Washington Post blog has a great post about the background of the book.

Author Harper Lee, known to be quite reclusive these days, sent me a message a few years ago. I had written an article for the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL) magazine commerating the death of Gregory Peck. After it was published, the executive director of FACDL called me and asked if I was sitting down. She told me Harper Lee read the article and liked it.

The Death of Atticus Finch

As I sat in stunned silence, she went on to tell me that the house FACDL owns in Tallahassee, Florida was purchased from a relative of Harper Lee. This relative for some reason made a point to always read the FACDL magazine. When she saw the article, she sent a copy to Ms. Lee.

So other than being a criminal defense lawyer, that's my "connection" with the story, my "brush with greatness."

I found this video, it captures the essence of To Kill A Mockingbird as best as I've seen, although the music is a little misplaced.

Enjoy, and happy anniversary to a story that should be required reading, or viewing.

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court, and the author of The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer.Share/Save/Bookmarkokdork.com rules Post to Twitter


  1. Jonathan C. Hansen9:46 PM

    Thanks for the only post I've read so far noting this event. "To Kill a Mockingbird" highlights the importance of criminal defense, especially today in the face of unrestrained discretion and lack of accountability by prosecutors, and the overwhelming power wielded by government. Some lessons the novel brings is that even with a jury of your peers, emotion and bias can result in totally wrong and unjust outcomes, and how easy it can be for innocent people to be convicted when those biases and emotions overpower rationality in juries. It also is revealing in portraying how criminal defense attorneys can be reviled by the majority when standing for the law and justice. Atticus Finch is an icon of all the best qualities of a defense attorney.

  2. Brian, do you have a way of linking to the article? I tried to find it on Google, but couldn't.

  3. I think he means your article that caught Harper Lee's attention. If that's not what Brian meant, I'd love to see it. How cool.

  4. The FACDL article you wrote about G. Peck.

  5. I've uploaded the article I wrote on Atticus Finch to the post

  6. That you would hear from Harper Lee at all, even second hand, is an astounding and rare event. That you would hear PRAISE, that's a lightning strike.

    Chesterfield Smith used to have young lawyers over to his home for readings and discussions of the book. It was compelling to hear a fellow, a lawyer, who came from a time and place essentially identical to the fictional Maycomb, Alabama talk about what the book meant to him.

    I always thought it was so important -- for its verisimilitude, for its literary power, for its moral impact -- that the trial is lost, despite everything. A bold an honest choice.

    How important was the book to me? My younger son's middle name is Atticus.

  7. Thanks for posting the article. I studied/discussed the book extensively in high school. I never would have dreamed then that I would later use its lessons to explain to my seven-year-old daughter why daddy's work is important.