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04/17/07

Legal community helps chronicle 20-year legal battle of a wrongly convicted man


Legal community is coming forward to right the legal wrong done to Darryl Hunt. Hunt spent 20 years behind bars for a crime he never committed.

HBO documentary films in collaboration with global law firm Clifford Chance U.S., LLP, and area's law schools will screen the film The Trials of Darryl Hunt. The event will be held at the Carolina Theatre on April 19.

The documentary is a story of a 20-year long struggle of passionate people to free Darryl Hunt.

It was in 1984, when Hunt, a 19-year-old African-American, was accused of raping and murdering Deborah Sykes, a young, white newspaper reporter. He was sentenced to life in prison. Ten years later, DNA tests proved that Hunt did not rape Sykes. The findings also doubted his involvement in the reporter's murder. However, Hunt had to spend 10 more years in the prison.

During these two decades, Hunt's defense attorneys and public supporters fought persistently for his freedom. In February 2007, the city of Winston-Salem rewarded Hunt $1.65 million for his wrongful conviction and imprisonment. Hunt also received a reimbursement of $358,545 from the state of North Carolina.

"I'm pleased that we have been able to facilitate efforts to make (the documentary) available to the law school community," said Craig Medwick, Regional Managing Partner for Clifford Chance in the Americas. Medwick also lauded the film for its forceful portrayal of important legal and societal issues in a sensitive and dramatic manner.

In addition to Clifford Chance, various schools are partnering HBO in hosting of the film's special screening. These include area law schools at Duke University, North Carolina Central University, and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The award-winning HBO documentary is to debut on April 26, exclusively on HBO.

Greenberg Traurig reinforces its presence in Tampa
International law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP, has merged its Tampa practice with Zinober & McCrea P.A. Greenberg Traurig started its Tampa office eight months ago with only four attorneys, which will now increase to nearly 20 owing to the recent merger.

Zinober's founders Peter W. Zinober and Richard C. McCrea, Jr., together with the firm's attorneys, are joining Greenberg's national labor and employment practice group in Tampa office on May 1. The merger will also result in the closure of Tampa firm Zinober & McCrea.

With decades of experience in labor and employment law, attorneys Zinober and McCrea will join Greenberg as shareholders. However, the number of the lawyers joining Greenberg Traurig is not finalized yet. The global firm's labor & employment practice comprises more than 90 attorneys in its U.S. and Europe offices.

The compatibility of the two firm's clients is not likely to create much friction. Phone calls have already been made to Zinober's top clients Walt Disney World and Lowe's Home Centers Inc., to ensure continuation of the book of business.

Zinober declined to reveal the difference in the rates of the 1,675-lawyer international firm and the 13-lawyer boutique. He didn't anticipate much problem from the firm's clients. However, he did concede that some public sector clients may find full-service rates of Greenberg on a higher side.

BIZARRE NEWS

The nice thief: Ma'am, can I rob the bank please?
A robber with a heart!!
A gunman robbing a convenience store in Florida allowed the cashier to call for medical help and apologized too! The story began when a masked robber entered the Kangaroo Express armed with a semiautomatic handgun and demanded the cashier Mary Parker to open the safe. When the 60-year-old told him she didn't have the keys, he ordered her to empty whatever money was in the cash register into a bag. Surprisingly, he got defensive and informed that he didn't have a job and he needed cash to pay his bills. Parkers then began to have heart problems and pleaded the robber to call 911. And yes, the robber actually helped her call 911. Once the gunman realized he was not going to get into the safe, he left apologizing, "You have a good day. I'm sorry this had to happen. I'm sorry, God!" However, police said that the robber still took cigarettes and $30. What should be the likely punishment if he gets caught?? Any answers lawyers?

Clifford Chance

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