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DCL/MSU, State Bar of Michigan to Celebrate Legal Milestone

9-8-98

Media contact:
Kristan Tetens,
Media Communications,
(517) 355-2281

East Lansing, Michigan. - The Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University will be the site of the unveiling of a very special State Bar of Michigan Legal Milestone marker at noon on Wednesday, Sept. 2.

The marker honors Milo Radulovich and the two lawyers who represented him in a historic legal battle. In 1953, at the height of McCarthyism, the United States Air Force attempted to strip Radulovich of his treasured commission for associating with his allegedly subversive father and sister. He was faced with the option of resigning "in lieu of elimination from the service" or requesting a hearing. Radulovich chose to fight the charges. He was assisted by two Michigan attorneys, including Charles C. Lockwood, a 1922 graduate of DCL, who took the case pro bono (without remuneration) and won.

The complete text of the marker that will be placed at the north entrance of the DCL/MSU building is attached.

Milo Radulovich will be the guest of honor at the day’s event, which gets under way at 10 a.m. with a panel discussion of the legacy of his case. Panelists include Michael Ranville, author of a book on the case titled To Strike at a King; Roger Rosentreter, editor of Michigan History magazine, and Kenneth Sanborn, retired Macomb County Circuit Court judge and Lockwood’s partner in Radulovich’s defence.

At 11 a.m., a separate panel will discuss the role of pro bono work in the legal profession. Panelists include DCL/MSU faculty members Michael Lawrence and John Soave Jr.; John Muth, past president of the State Bar of Michigan and chairperson of the Grand Rapids Bar Association’s Pro Bono Committee; and Karen Russell, Macomb County attorney and winner of the 1997 State Bar of Michigan John W. Cummiskey Pro Bono Award.

The dedication ceremony will follow at noon on the north patio of the DCL/MSU building, featuring remarks by Radulovich. Other speakers will include DCL/MSU dean Jeremy Harrison and MSU president Peter McPherson.

A reception that includes an exhibit organized by University Archives and Historical Collections will follow the ceremony.

The State Bar of Michigan’s Legal Milestone program recognizes important cases, events, and personalities in Michigan’s legal history while educating the state’s residents about their legal heritage.

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Text of Michigan Legal Milestone

"Milo Radulovich and the Fall of McCarthyism"

During the 1950s, McCarthyism jeopardized the personal reputations of countless American citizens. In 1953, the United States Air Force attempted to strip First Lieutenant Milo Radulovich of his commission for associating with his allegedly subversive father and sister. He was faced with the option of resigning "in lieu of elimination from the service" or requesting a hearing. Radulovich chose to fight the charges.

He was assisted by two Michigan attorneys. Charles C. Lockwood, a 1922 graduate of the Detroit College of Law, was a sole practitioner and professor at DCL. Kenneth N. Sanborn, a sole practitioner from Macomb County, knew Radulovich from their days in the Aviation Cadet Program at Michigan State College. Moved by the unjustified attack on Radulovich, the two lawyers took the case pro bono and used the power of public opinion to gain support for their client.

Legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow and producer Fred W. Friendly saw the Radulovich case as the compelling story needed to strike a fatal blow to McCarthyism. It was featured on the popular CBS program "See It Now" in October 1953. The following year, the Air Force rescinded its order to revoke Radulovich’s commission. It is generally believed that the program was the beginning of the end for the McCarthy era.

Of his attorneys Radulovich said, "They restored one citizen’s faith in Michigan’s legal community." Lockwood later represented fifteen individuals facing similar charges, winning every case. Sanborn became a Circuit Court Judge and one of Michigan’s most respected jurists.

Placed by the State Bar of Michigan, Macomb County Bar Association, and the Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University
September 2, 1998


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