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September 28, 2023 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

In-Person: An Evening with Phillip A. Hubbart


September 28, 2023
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm


zArchive2-Books & Books Coral Gables
265 Aragon Ave
Coral Gables, FL 33134 United States
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Books & Books presents…


featuring Roy Black and H.T. Smith


From Death Row to Freedom: The Struggle for Racial Justice in the Pitts-Lee Case

(University Press of Florida, $35.00)

Thursday, September 28th, 7:30pm| Books & Books, Coral Gables


Books & Books is thrilled to present an evening with Phillip A. Hubbart discussing his book: From Death Row to Freedom: The Struggle for Racial Justice in the Pitts-Lee Case (University Press of Florida, $35.00). An insider’s account of a wrongful conviction and the fight to overturn it during the civil rights era.

Featuring Roy Black and H.T. Smith.

This event is FREE and open to the public and books will be available for purchase the night of the event so make sure to stay after the talk for a book signing! Please RSVP only if you intend to join us.

About the Book:

An insider’s account of a wrongful conviction and the fight to overturn it during the civil rights era.

This book is an insider’s account of the case of Freddie Pitts and Wilbert Lee, two Black men who were wrongfully charged and convicted of the murder of two white gas station attendants in Port St. Joe, Florida, in 1963, and sentenced to death. Phillip Hubbart, a defense lawyer for Pitts and Lee for more than 10 years, examines the crime, the trial, and the appeals with both a keen legal perspective and an awareness of the endemic racism that pervaded the case and obstructed justice. Hubbart discusses how the case against Pitts and Lee was based entirely on confessions obtained from the defendants and an alleged “eyewitness” through prolonged, violent interrogations and how local authorities repeatedly rejected later evidence pointing to the real killer, a white man well known to the Port St. Joe police.

The book follows the case’s tortuous route through the Florida courts to the defendants’ eventual exoneration in 1975 by the Florida governor and cabinet. From Death Row to Freedom is a thorough chronicle of deep prejudice in the courts and brutality at the hands of police during the civil rights era of the 1960s. Hubbart argues that the Pitts-Lee case is a piece of American history that must be remembered, along with other similar incidents, in order for the country to make any progress toward racial reconciliation today. Publication of this work made possible by a Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.



About the Author:

Phillip A. Hubbart served for 19 years as a judge on the Third District Court of Appeal of Florida; 12 years as a public defender in Miami, Florida, and Washington, D.C.; and over 30 years as adjunct professor of law in Miami. From 1965 to 1975, he served as a defense attorney for Freddie Pitts and Wilbert Lee.

About the Speakers:

H.T. SMITH is the founding Director of the Trial Advocacy Program at Florida International University College of Law. He is a nationally-renown trial lawyer and a highly sought after trial advocacy lecturer – with a reputation for demanding a” full cup of justice” for the least, the last, the lost, the looked over and the left out. He was voted the Top Trial Lawyer for 2017 by the 4,500 members of the Dade County Bar Association, listed in The Best Lawyers in America for over 20 years, listed in Florida Super Lawyers,selected as one of the Top 10 Trial lawyers of the Year by the National Law Journal, and is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell.

Roy Black, the senior partner of Black, Srebnick, Kornspan & Stumpf, P.A., is one of the nation’s premier trial lawyers. With 40+ years’ experience as a criminal defense attorney, he has handled hundreds of cases in Florida and throughout the United States. He also handles select civil lawsuits, offering his clients a complete service in high-stakes cases. Perhaps best known for his successful defense of William Kennedy Smith on rape charges in Palm Beach, Florida, Mr. Black also successfully defended Eller Media (now known as Clear Channel Outdoor) against manslaughter charges stemming from the bus-bench electrocution of a 12-year-old boy in Miami; Albertson’s, Inc., when the State of Florida charged the Fortune 500 company with manslaughter in the death of a shoplifter; artist Peter Max in New York; and race car driver and dancing with the stars champion Helio Castroneves against tax evasion. Other noteworthy clients have included Rush Limbaugh, Kelsey Grammer, Justin Bieber, South Florida police officers Luis Alvarez and William Lozano and banker Fred De la Mata.