Habeas Corpus and the Courts: Individual Liberties from Joseph Smith to Abraham Lincoln to Guantanamo
This production was created as one of a series of annual theatrical events presented by the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission (ISCHPC) and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM). Previous events dramatized a retrial of Mary Surratt for her role in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and a retrial of Mary Todd Lincoln, who was tried for charges of insanity in 1875. In early 2013, Justice Anne Burke from the Illinois Supreme Court contacted Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and a former Utah Supreme Court Justice, to ask if the Church could assist the ISCHPC in looking at Joseph Smith's legal cases in Illinois.
Elder Oaks contacted Richard Turley, Assistant Church Historian, who, with Jeffrey Walker, a contributor to the Joseph Smith Papers Project and an adjunct professor at the J. Reuben Clark Law School, met with the ISCHPC and the ALPLM to discuss the project. As Joseph Smith used the writ of habeas corpus on several occasions while in Illinois, the group decided to center its efforts on those cases. Walker, who has studied Joseph Smith's use of habeas corpus, was asked to write the script, and Dean Corrin, associate dean of the theater school at DePaul University, became involved as the dramaturge. Walker and Corrin worked together to refine Walker's script into the production.
For the text of Dallin H. Oaks's presentation on Joseph Smith's extraditions, click here.