Clarence Darrow: The Creation of An American Myth

By Richard J. Jensen | Go to book overview
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Speech in Self-Defense
Los Angeles, 1912

Gentlemen of the jury, an experience like this never came to me before, and of course I cannot say how I will get along with it. I am quite sure there are very few men who are called upon by experience of this kind, but I have felt, gentlemen, after the patience you have given this case for all these weeks, that you will be willing to listen to me, even though I might not argue it as well as I would some other case. I felt that at least I ought to say something to you twelve men besides what I have already said on the witness stand.

In the first place, I am a defendant charged with a serious crime. I have been looking into the penitentiary for six or seven months, and now I am waiting for you twelve men to say whether I shall go there or not. In the next place, I am a stranger in a strange land, 2,000 miles away from home and friends--although I am proud to say that here, so far away, there have gathered around me as good and loyal and faithful friends as any man could have upon the earth. Still I am unknown to you.

I think I can say that no one in my native town would have made to any jury any such statement as was made of me by the district attorney in opening this case. I will venture to say he could not afterward have found a com

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