State Bar of Michigan
home member area contact us

michigan legal milestones

milestone home




Legal Milestone List

  The Great Ferris Fire
  Berrien County Courthouse
  Elloitt-Larsen Civil Rights Act
  Milliken v. Bradley
  Elk, Oil, and the Environment
  Whisper to Rallying Cry
  Poletown & Eminent Domain
  Prentiss M. Brown
  Otis Milton Smith
  Freedom Road
  President Gerald R. Ford
  Mary Coleman
  Committee of One
  Milo Radulovich
  Striking Racial Covenants
  Murphy's Dissent
  Conveying Michigan
  Ending Jim Crow
  Pond's Defense
  Mount Clemens Pottery
  Emelia Schaub
  Rose of Aberlone
  Protecting the Impaired
  Laughing Whitefish
  The Uninvited Ear
  The King's Grant
  Improving Justice
  One Person—One Vote
  Eva Belles' Vote
  Constitutional Convention
  Ten Hours or No Sawdust
  Access to Public Water
  Augustus Woodward
  Sojourner Truth
  Justice William Fletcher
  Roosevelt-Newett Trial
  Cooley Law Office
  Baseball Reserve Clause
  Ossian Sweet Trial

1. Ossian Sweet Trial

In 1925 Dr. Sweet was arrested and charged with murder after a member of a white mob attacked his home was shot and killed. Clarence Darrow defended Dr. Sweet who was acquitted. Dedicated and placed inside the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit on May 2, 1986.


Complete Text on Milestone Marker

Ossian Sweet Trial

In June 1925, prominent black medical doctor Dr. Ossian Sweet and his family were arrested and charged with the murder of one member of a white mob which tried to shoot at the Sweet home.

The NAACP enlisted the aid of famed attorney Clarence Darrow who came here to defend the Sweets at the trial held near this building.

Presiding Judge Frank Murphy instructed the jury that "a man's house is his castle" and that Dr. Sweet had the right to defend it, if he had good reason to fear for the lives of his family or their property. These rights, he noted, belong to black people as well as whites.

Acquitted, the Sweet family moved back into their home at 2905 Garland Avenue, Detroit, and an important legal precedent had been set.

Placed by the State Bar of Michigan in cooperation with the Detroit Bar Association, 1986.



follow us
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on LinkedIn Follow Us on Twitter Follow the SBM Blog


©Copyright 2015

website links
Contact Us
Site Map
Website Privacy Statement PDF
Staff Links

SBM on the Mapcontact information
State Bar of Michigan
306 Townsend St
Lansing, MI 48933-2012
Phone: (517) 346-6300
Toll Free: (800) 968-1442
Fax: (517) 482-6248