Collections : [David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library]

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David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library

The holdings of the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library range from ancient papyri to records of modern advertising. There are over 10,000 manuscript collections containing more than 20 million individual manuscript items. Only a portion of these collections and items are discoverable on this site. Others may be found in the library catalog.

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Case files are arranged in alphabetical order by defendant's last name: Robert Bacon Jr., David Junior Brown, Frederick Camacho, Willie Ervin Fisher, Harvey Lee Green Jr., Zane Hill, David Earl Huffstetler, Joseph Timothy Keel (the largest case file at 26 boxes), Gary Wayne Long, James Lewis Martin Jr., Elton Ozell McLaughlin, and Phillip Thomas Robbins Jr.. They typically include some combination of transcripts, affidavits, attorney notes, investigative files, clemency requests, audiovisual materials, petitions, pleadings, testimony (including medical, legal, and eyewitness), correspondence, motions, photographs, Resource Center files, and some electronic records. Each individual's case history is described at beginning of the corresponding file grouping. The majority of the case files consist of 5-9 boxes of materials. The smallest case files at two boxes each are for Camacho and Robbins; the largest are those of Keel and McLaughlin, at 26 and 20 boxes respectively. Folder titles below are original titles as supplied by CDPL staff, and the original order of the files within each case group has been retained. The contents of electronic files have been migrated to a library server; please contact Research Services to use this material.

[Original recordings are closed to research. Use copies must be made before contents can be accessed.]

Legal Terms and Definitions
  1. Affidavit: any written document in which the signer swears under oath before a notary public or someone authorized to take oaths (like a County Clerk), that the statements in the document are true.
  2. Appellant: the party who appeals a trial court decision he/she/it has lost.
  3. Appellee: in some jurisdictions the name used for the party who has won at the trial court level, but the loser (appellant) has appealed the decision to a higher court. Thus the appellee has to file a response to the legal brief filed by the appellant. In many jurisdictions the appellee is called the "respondent."
  4. Certiorari: a writ (order) of a higher court to a lower court to send all the documents in a case to it so the higher court can review the lower court's decision. Certiorari is most commonly used by the U.S. Supreme Court, which is selective about which cases it will hear on appeal.
  5. En banc: signifies a decision by the full court of all the appeals judges in jurisdictions where there is more than one three- or four-judge panel. The larger number sit in judgment when the court feels there is a particularly significant issue at stake or when requested by one or both parties to the case and agreed to by the court.
  6. Habeas corpus: writ (court order) which directs the law enforcement officials (prison administrators, police or sheriff) who have custody of a prisoner to appear in court with the prisoner to help the judge determine whether the prisoner is lawfully in prison or jail.
  7. In forma pauperis: referring to a party to a lawsuit who gets filing fees waived by filing a declaration of lack of funds (has no money to pay).
  8. Mandamus: a writ (more modernly called a "writ of mandate") which orders a public agency or governmental body to perform an act required by law when it has neglected or refused to do so.
  9. Motion of appropriate relief: relief is a generic term for all types of benefits which an order or judgment of court can give a party to a lawsuit, including money award, injunction, return of property, property title, alimony and dozens of other possibilities.
  10. Motion of summary judgment: a written request for a judgment in the moving party's favor before a lawsuit goes to trial and based on testimony recorded outside court, affidavits (declarations under penalty of perjury), depositions, admissions of fact and/or answers to written interrogatories, claiming that all factual and legal issues can be decided in the moving party's favor.
  11. Subpoena: a court order requiring a witness to bring documents in the possession or under the control of the witness to a certain place at a certain time. This subpena must be served personally on the person subpenaed. It is a common way to obtain potentially useful evidence, such as documents and business records, in the possession of a third party.

(Definitions taken from website.)


Robert Bacon Jr. and Bonnie Clark were charged with first-degree murder for the killing of Clark's husband. Bacon, an African American male, had been dating and living together with Bonnie Clark, a white female. At trial, Bacon received the death penalty from an all-white jury while Clark was sentenced to life in prison. The jury had discussed Bacon's romantic involvement with a white woman in deciding Bacon's sentencing. In 1999, a federal district court judge held a hearing and ruled that Bacon's lawyers had improperly prepared for his defense. After many hearings and reversals, Bacon's execution was set for October 2001. N.C. Governor Michael Easley granted Bacon clemency on October 5, 2001 and Bacon was sentenced to life in prison. This case file includes videos relating to Bacon's sentencing and clemency plea.