Larry Dubin

(February 2016 emails - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Kelly (February 2, 2016 at 09:49 pm): I would like to get a copy of your PBS movie on Virgil D. Hawkins, "A Lawyer Made In Heaven". I've looked on the Internet to buy one and all I see is that it is at various libraries. Do you still have some left over somewhere which you could sell to me?

Dubin (February 3, 2016 at 09:47:15 -0500): Thanks for your e-mail.  The video isn't on sale, but let me know your interest in the video.

Kelly (February 3, 2016 at 03:10 pm): I have seen video excerpts and printed quotes from this video which I believe can be quite easily disproven so I would like a permanent copy for myself. Did you yourself do the fact checking for this video before you released it to all the law schools in the country?

Dubin (February 3, 2016 at 16:00:53 -0500, the last email I received from Dubin.): Tell me what you consider to be inaccurate  I would really appreciate getting that information.

Kelly (February 4, 2016 at 12:42 am): (A long list of cited errors in the PBS video about Virgil D. Hawkins which Dubin did not reply to thus ending our email exchange. Click below on "More info" to view the cited errors.) 

Kelly (February 15, 2016 at 11:22 pm): Have you begun researching the errors that I have cited regarding the PBS video? Have you made any determination on the errors that I have cited regarding the PBS video? The U.S. Supreme Court reports clearly refute the claim that the U.S. Supreme Court had ordered Hawkins' prompt admission? Do you at least agree on that one?

The long list of cited errors in the PBS video about Virgil D. Hawkins which Dubin did not reply to. 

Kelly (February 4, 2016 at 12:42 am): Here is what I have found from an excerpt that I have seen. The most serious error is the one about the Florida Supreme Court ignoring a supposed U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Hawkins must be admitted immediately to the UF Law School.

In general what research do you have to support the many as stated facts in the video? Did you just rely upon uncorroborated oral history and people's memories?

I have actual court records.


Section “1950 – Age 43”

The narrator says “In defiance of the clear precedent based on Sweatt v. Painter previously decided by the United States Supreme Court, the Supreme Court of Florida approved the opening of a separate law school at an established Black state college, Florida A&M, for the sole purpose of excluding Virgil Hawkins admission to the University of Florida.”

All that the Sweatt decision, 339 U.S. 629, said was that the Black law school offered to Sweatt upon the court’s examination was clearly inferior to the White law school and therefore being unequal Sweatt had to be admitted to the White law school however the decision specifically limits any such further relief as stated at the second to the last paragraph, “Nor need we reach petitioner’s contention that Plessy v. Ferguson should be reexamined in the light of contemporary knowledge respecting the purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment and the effects of racial segregation.” thus the Sweatt decision required a court determination regarding the equality of a state offered White vs. Black law school and that is precisely what the Florida Supreme Court was prepared to rule upon in all three of its pre-Brown Hawkins decisions, 47 So. 2d 608 (1950), 53 So. 2d 116 (1951) and 60 So. 2d 162 (1952), at a time when Plessy v. Ferguson was the equal protection standard, not Brown. At Hawkins v. Board of Control, 47 So. 2d 608, 616 it has at Paragraph [11] that a final order will be withheld until either of the parties has shown that the Board of Control has or has not provided a separate but equal Black law school for Virgil Hawkins. Also to note is that the first Hawkins decision was rendered on August 1, 1950 and the motion for rehearing in Sweatt was not denied until October 9, 1950.

Contrary to what Horace Hill says, ”… that [FAMU] law school satisfied the legal responsibility … “, the Florida Supreme Court never ruled one way or the other if the FAMU Law School was equal to the UF Law School.

Secondly in this same 1950 segment it has Charles Cherry saying that Whites were threatening Hawkins employer, Bethune-Cookman College (BCC), to fire Hawkins, yet Hawkins did not start working for BCC until 1952 probably it was sometime after the summer of 1952 when Hawkins had received his degree from there. Secondly Whites were not at all threatened by Hawkins attempts to get into the UF Law School until after the Brown decision, yet after the Brown decision having Blacks attend the UF Law School or any formerly all-White public school was inevitable, so I don’t think that BCC was ever harassed to prevent this inevitability.

Sections “1954 – Age 47” and “1956 – Age 49”.

When discussing the Florida Supreme Court’s supposed refusal to follow a U.S. Supreme Court order note that at the opening of “1956 – Age 49” there is no period to end the quote but there is a period for the quote’s first sentence. I have run into this misquoting of the U.S. Supreme Court time and time again in my Hawkins research. In the age of the Internet even a casual research on the matter will find the citation is, Florida ex Rel. Hawkins v. Board of Control, 350 U.S. 413 (1956) which has, “As this case involves the admission of a Negro to a graduate professional school, there is no reason for delay. He is entitled to prompt admission under the rules and regulations applicable to other qualified candidates.”, thus it was not a blanket order to have Hawkins admitted. Furthermore Hawkins never sent in his college or high school transcripts to UF or FAMU, never filled out a complete application and throughout his nine-year battle was trying to get in on a Plessy v. Ferguson era 1949 application. Also to note is Horace Hill’s statement at the opening of “1956 – Age 49” of “They didn’t retreat from the original decision and they said he was entitled to admission.”. If Hill’s first “they” refers to the Florida Supreme Court and his second “they” refers to the U.S. Supreme Court his reasoning could mean that if you pair the U.S. Supreme Court order that the UF Law School could not bar Hawkins based on his race with the Florida Supreme Court’s original decision that Hawkins was qualified in every was except race then Hawkins should be admitted, yet Hill knew that Hawkins had never sent in his transcripts and did not get a college degree until three years after he applied both factual issues thus at the opening of “1954 – Age 47” Hill says “We had appealed it to the United States Supreme Court on the legal issue involved not a factual issue.”, thus he could argue that he did not perpetrate a fraud upon the court even though he knew that Hawkins did not have a college degree when he applied and that Hawkins had never even sent in his transcripts – two facts that was admitted by Hawkins in his 1958 federal trial.

Section “1958 – Age 51”

At the beginning of this section Herman claims it would take years to litigate Hawkins qualifications to be admitted to the UF Law School and in light of that Hawkins decided to sacrifice his chance to go to law school at UF so that other Blacks could apply for the next semester. First of all why couldn’t Hawkins subsequently apply like all the other Blacks and why would it take years to determine if Hawkins was qualified now that Hawkins could no longer straddle the Plessy-Brown divide and everyone was aware of his pre-1952 college degree shenanigans and other ethical infirmities that came out when Hawkins in 1958 with his state case still pending had sought relief in the federal courts over the same issue. I have the transcript from the June 1958 hearing and federal District Judge Devane explicitly says at this June 1958 hearing that he will make sure that the UF Law School makes it a top priority to immediately consider Hawkins qualifications for the fall term which I believe back then started in September. Keep in mind that at this hearing it was admitted by Hawkins that he had made only one application, his 1949 Plessy era application, he did not get a college degree until 1952 and that his LSAT score was a 200, the lowest possible score you could get. Also the Board of Control had affidavits and the affiants in the court room were ready to testify that Hawkins was not ethically suited to practice law. What was there to litigate? As the transcripts further show Judge Devane soon thereafter called a recess and upon return Hawkins’ attorney Constance Baker Motley then voluntarily decided to drop Hawkins from the class action lawsuit because it was absolutely clear that Hawkins was not qualified to be admitted to the UF Law School.

Section “1964 – Age 57”

Here it shows in The New England School Of Law 1964 yearbook “Bethune-Cookman College, B.S., 1952” thus Hawkins was not eligible for the diploma privilege which ended in July 1951 so his 1977 admission to the Florida Bar being premised on the diploma privilege should by rule, not discretion, not have been allowed and furthermore without a college degree he was not qualified to be admitted to the UF Law School when he made his sole application in April 1949. I guess when this aired on PBS TV no one could rewind or pause and see that Hawkins did not get a college degree until 1952, prompting the viewers to question the entirety of the supposed injustice perpetrated upon Virgil Hawkins whose sole law school application was from 1949.

Section “1983 – Age 77”

In the middle of this section during the discussion about naming the FSU Law Library for Virgil D. Hawkins there is a voice over while a letter-to-the-editor is displayed. The voice claims “ …, a pending grievance against him was made public violating the rules of confidentiality.” which I believe to be a false statement since I have the transcript from a Florida Bar grievance committee hearing from this time where Hawkins makes the same accusation whereupon the hearing officer explains to him that the hearing has now proceeded past the point of confidentiality and it doesn’t seem like any question of confidentiality came up in any of his other grievance hearings.

And the “minor error in a criminal proceeding” that the narrator talks about and Hawkins in his recorded voice talks about was a significant error that sent a man to jail who would have almost certainly been found not guilty had Hawkins followed proper discovery procedure and examined the evidence at the sheriff’s office showing photographs that would have most certainly exonerated his client. Hawkins had signed off on the discovery probably not knowing what he was doing. A Florida Bar grievance committee further investigated the entire matter and heard among other points of interest direct testimony from Hawkins’ client and client’s wife that Hawkins told the wife to deceive the court and not let them know who she was married to at the time of the trial. He also bumbled throughout his in-court defense. Pause the video and read the letter-to-the-editor that is displayed on the above voice over. It was for a different case than what Hawkins was disciplined for by the Florida Bar but it is further evidence as to Hawkins’ incompetence.



Tom Kelly.