Tom Mesereau defended a homeless black man charged with murdering a white woman from a prominent family in Birmingham, Alabama. This was a high-profile case in which Mr. Mesereau’s client faced the death penalty. Prior to trial, Mr. Mesereau’s local co-counsel received death threats. The defendant was acquitted on all counts, resulting in a loud uproar in the courtroom. See article: Star Lawyer Deeply Committed to Deep South.
Significance: This was the first and only criminal trial in Alabama’s history in which an eyewitness identification expert was used. Prior to trial, Mr. Mesereau had experience with this type of expert in California murder trials. Because the witnesses against his African-American client were white-Caucasian, Mr. Mesereau argued that the difficulties of cross-racial eyewitness identification needed to be addressed by an expert.