The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned the conviction of James Ford Seale, citing a five-year statute of limitations on the charges. The Klansman was convicted in 2007 on kidnapping-related charges in connection with the 1964 murders of Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee.
"The ruling is disappointing, but not surprising," said SPLC President Richard Cohen, who testified before Congress last year in support of the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act. "It's a sad reminder that justice delayed is, too often, justice denied.
"Charles Moore and Henry Dee were killed during a time when there simply was no justice for African Americans in the South. The whole criminal justice system — from the police, to the prosecutors, to the juries and to the judges — was perverted by racial bigotry. Were it not for the callous indifference of white law enforcement officials, Seale would have been in jail long ago and the statute of limitations would not have mattered."
Moore and Dee are among the 40 martyrs whose names are inscribed on the Civil Rights Memorial adjacent to the SPLC's office in Montgomery, Ala.