America's best defense attorney: Clarence Darrow

06/29/11 Robert Lorei
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Good morning, welcome to Radioactivity. There’s a new biography of legendary attorney Clarence Darrow… the attorney who had a long career defending the downtrodden in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. He was far ahead of his time. We’ll talk with his biographer in a moment. But first one listener comment about yesterday’s interview with a USF researcher who is part of a team studying red-light cameras. Their conclusion is that red light cameras actually do more harm than good. Here’s what one listener had to say.

Clarence Darrow was way ahead of his time. He was born in 1857 but was a champion of equal rights for African Americans, he supported women’s rights, he opposed the death penalty, he famously defended a Tennessee teacher for teaching evolution in the classroom in the famous “Scopes Monkey Trial”; and he represented labor activists and accused murderers with equal tenacity. On top of that he was a freethinker, an anarchist, a populist and perhaps the greatest defense attorney ever in America.

John Farrell has just written a new book about Darrow called CLARENCE DARROW: ATTORNEY FOR THE DAMNED (Doubleday). He joins us now on by phone.

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