The Peace & Justice Center is proud to sponsor a talk at Burlington City Hall TONIGHT, December 10 – International Human Rights Day – at 7:00pm by well known Vermont constitutional and criminal defense attorney David Sleigh.
Sleigh, the founder of Sleigh Law in St. Johnsbury, is an avid defender of civil liberties and prisoner’s rights. He has represented inmates locally, nationally and in Guantanamo Bay. On behalf of his client there, an Afghani citizen, he filed a Writ of Habeas Corpus four years ago. The US has never filed a response.
In Vermont, his law firm has a contract with the Defender General’s Office in Montpelier to represent clients in serious felony cases. He has won acquittals as a result of his thorough preparation, tough style, and ability to humanize defendants to juries. In one such case, that of a Jamaican man accused of rape by a 14-yr. old white girl, Sleigh persuaded the judge to instruct the jurors: if the plaintiff were black and the defendant were white, would they deliver the same verdict? This question raised reasonable doubt in at least one juror’s mind.
Those people Sleigh has defended over the years range from tasered protesters in Brattleboro, to members of a religious community in Island Pond, to many persons accused of DWI in the Northeast Kingdom.
He dates his first interest in Constitutional liberties and the Bill of Rights back to a classroom discussion in eighth grade. It was quickened when, as a student at McAlester College in Minnesota, he was on hand for the trial of the Native Americans who protested at Wounded Knee. Sleigh later earned his J.D. from Vermont Law School. Cheryl Hanna, a professor there and commentator on VPR, pays Sleigh’s professional abilities the ultimate compliment: “If I murdered my husband, I’d want him to be my lawyer.”
Sleigh’s speech, “Guantanamo, Vermont and the Constitution” will be the final event in the Peace & Justice Center’s 2013 Cost of War Speaker and Film Series. The series is produced in collaboration with the Will Miller Chapter of Veteran’s for Peace and many other community partners and will continue in 2014 as the Cost of War: Focus on Drones Series. For more information visit www.pjcvt.org or contact Program Manager, Kyle Silliman-Smith, at 802-863-2345 x6 or firstname.lastname@example.org.