Ralph Swanson, litigation partner with Berliner Cohen, participated on October 3 as a panelist on a presentation by the Historical Society of the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of California entitled, “The Patricia Hearst Trial: The Local Lawyers Remember.”
Ralph served as law clerk to Judge Oliver J. Carter, U. S. District Judge, who presided over the trial conducted in February and March of 1976. Other panelists included the Hon. Lowell Jensen, U.S. District Judge (ret.) and former District Attorney for Alameda County; the Hon. William H. Orrick, III, U. S. District Judge and son of Hon. William H. Orrick, Jr., U.S. District Judge, who sentenced Ms. Hearst following the death of Judge Carter; David P. Bancroft, former Assistant United States Attorney, Northern District of California and member of the prosecution team; and Robert A. James, Historical Society Board Member.
The presentation covered the period before the kidnapping of Patricia Hearst on February 4, 1974, the bank robbery on April 15, 1974, in which Ms. Hearst was a participant along with members of the so-called Symbionese Liberation Army and for which she was tried in 1976, and the period in which Ms. Hearst was at large until her capture and arrest on September 18, 1975. It also delved into the trial itself, the publicity the case engendered, the various pre-trial and mid-trial motions and the verdict of guilty handed down by the jury in late March 1976.