MACON – Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes will describe to Mercer Law students his efforts to reopen one of Georgia’s most notorious lynching cases on Nov. 12, from 12-1 p.m., in Mercer Law School’s Bell-Jones Courtroom.
Barnes, founding partner of the Barnes Law Group in Marietta, is working as a consultant to the Fulton County District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit to review old cases. One of these is the case of Leo Frank, a factory superintendent who was killed by a lynch mob in Marietta in the early 1900s following the commutation of his death sentence for killing a 13-year-old female employee in the factory he managed.
Barnes will discuss the details of the case, its evidence and the process of reviewing the case now for possible exoneration of Frank.
Online registration is $50 until Nov. 11 and $70 after Nov. 11 for attorneys who wish to obtain one hour of continuing legal education (CLE) credit; lunch is included. The presentation is free to Mercer Law students.
A lifelong resident of Cobb County, Barnes earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia and graduated with honors from the Lumpkin School of Law at UGA in 1972. Upon graduation, he went to work as a prosecutor in the Cobb County District Attorney’s office, where he stayed until opening his first law firm in 1975.
For more than 40 years, Barnes has tried civil and criminal cases throughout Georgia and in neighboring states. His practice has concentrated primarily on civil litigation, where he has developed an expertise in consumer class action cases, medical malpractice matters, products liability law, general tort matters and commercial litigation. He has appeared in more than 250 cases in the state and federal appellate courts.
At age 26, Barnes was elected the youngest member of the Georgia State Senate. He went on to serve a total of eight terms and was a member of the Appropriations, Rules and Transportation committees. In addition, he was chairman of the Select Committee on Constitutional Revision, which rewrote the state’s constitution, as well as chairman of the powerful Judiciary Committee.
He also served as a floor leader to Gov. Joe Frank Harris from 1983-1989. After an unsuccessful bid for the Governor’s Office in 1990, he was elected to the State House of Representatives, where he served for six years and was vice chairman of the Judiciary Committee and chair of the Subcommittee on General Law.
In 1998, Barnes was elected to serve as the 80th governor of Georgia. During his term, he concentrated on education reform, healthcare reform and remedies for urban growth and sprawl.