Michigan Legal Milestones
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.

Resources

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.