Presentation to examine ethics in criminal defense, prosecution

Contact: Mark Schwerin

KALAMAZOO—Using this year's Common Read book selection as a springboard, two experts will examine the ethical questions of the defense and prosecution in criminal trials as part of a presentation sponsored by the Western Michigan University Center for the Study of Ethics in Society.

"The Ethics of Criminal Defense and Prosecution" will be presented at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, in Room 208 of the Bernhard Center. It will feature James M. Peden, professor in the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, and Dr. Thomas Edmonds, a faculty specialist in the WMU Department of Finance and Commercial Law.

James M. Peden

Peden, speaking for the defense, and Edmonds, speaking for the prosecution, will lay out some of the ethical issues related to the criminal trial of Edward Lee Elmore. Elmore is an African-American man wrongly convicted in 1982 of the murder and sexual assault of an elderly Caucasian woman in Greenwood, S.C. Elmore's story is told in this year's WMU Common Read selection, "Anatomy of Injustice."

Peden earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Michigan and juris doctor from the University of Toledo College of Law. He joined the Cooley faculty in 1988. He has extensive experience in law office management and legal supervision and served as executive director of Cooley's Sixty Plus, Inc., Elderlaw Clinic. From 1993-96, he served as associate dean of academic affairs.

Upon passing the Ohio Bar in 1976, Peden served as an assistant public defender in Lucas County, Ohio. In general practice, his duties ranged from state, civil and criminal litigation to federal social security and bankruptcy cases. He is licensed to practice law in Ohio, Michigan and Texas.

More recently, Peden served as senior supervising attorney for the University of Toledo College of Law Legal Clinic in Toledo, Ohio. Just prior to accepting a faculty position at Cooley, he held the position of managing attorney for West Texas Legal Services in San Angelo, Texas.

Thomas Edmonds

Edmonds earned a bachelor's degree from WMU and juris doctorate from Wayne State University. He began his teaching career at WMU as an adjunct professor in 1976 and taught in every fall and spring semester until he joined the full-time faculty in the spring 2004 semester. He is the co-author of the police resource book, "Michigan Criminal Law and Procedure."

Before joining the Haworth College of Business full time, Edmonds served 28 years in law enforcement, the last 20 as the elected sheriff of Kalamazoo County. He is a past president of the Michigan Sheriffs' Association and served by gubernatorial appointment on the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards, the State Community Corrections Board and the State Polygraph Examiners' Board.

For more information, visit or contact Dr. Norman Hawker, WMU professor of finance and commercial law, at