There's little known about the disbarment of Lawrence Marsh in 1911, barely two years after he became Utah's first minority attorney.
A brief Utah Supreme Court ruling approving the disbarment says Marsh "kept a house of prostitution . . . that white girls resorted to his said house where they consorted with negroes."
University of Utah law student Ginger Utley has done some digging and found evidence that raises some questions about the nature of Marsh's boardinghouse. Utley has thus far found the pretrial documents but is still looking for transcripts of Marsh's trial.
"There's a big hole. The most interesting piece is missing," Utley said of the trial transcript. "What was his defense?"
Utah Minority Bar Association president Sean Reyes believes the evidence is strong enough to move forward and try to reinstate Marsh's bar membership, posthumously.
Utley is looking to do more research and is hoping to collect enough evidence to write a paper by the end of next semester.
Utley said witness testimony is somewhat conflicted, and there's no testimony from any woman who accepted money for sex or from any man who paid for sex.
She points to a next-door neighbor who testified that she didn't know anything about the reputation.
The only word from Marsh's side in the pretrial documents is a request for a change of venue, and there's no response or reasoning.
"I don't know if proof is really the goal, as much as to understand the story . . . to understand what happened to the first black attorney to practice in the state," she said. "There's so little evidence."