Prisoners at the Bar: An Account of the Trials of the William Haywood Case, the Sacco-Vanzetti Case, the Loeb-Leopold Case, the Bruno Hauptmann Case

Prisoners at the Bar: An Account of the Trials of the William Haywood Case, the Sacco-Vanzetti Case, the Loeb-Leopold Case, the Bruno Hauptmann Case

Prisoners at the Bar: An Account of the Trials of the William Haywood Case, the Sacco-Vanzetti Case, the Loeb-Leopold Case, the Bruno Hauptmann Case

Prisoners at the Bar: An Account of the Trials of the William Haywood Case, the Sacco-Vanzetti Case, the Loeb-Leopold Case, the Bruno Hauptmann Case

Synopsis

This volume contains the trials of:

The William Haywood Case

The Sacco-Vanzetti Case

The Loeb-Leopold Case

The Bruno Hauptmann Case

Excerpt

The out-of-the-ordinary criminal case enlists universal interest because it is usually a threefold drama: the crime, the identification -- apprehension and accusation of the suspect -- and the trial and its consequence.

But the public interest in the trial of a defendant for a shocking crime has something in it far more significant than the high drama usually involved. Courts are established and their procedures regulated by basic constitutions or by the executive or legislative branch -- whichever happens to be dominant -- of the government. The administration of criminal law necessarily mirrors the government of which it is a part.

Crime itself through the ages has changed little or not at all, but the attitudes of particular societies toward persons accused of crime and the methods of dealing with such persons have changed, even in our own time, and are constantly changing. It has, therefore, been said with truth that the degree to which the ordinary citizens of a commonwealth are sensitive to wrongdoing and the degree to which, by their institutions and practices, justice is arrived at is a just measure of the civilization of that commonwealth.

And here one calls to mind Charles (Lord) Russell's masterly argument to the jury in defense of Mrs. Maybrick in which he thus accounts for the peculiar interest which Anglo-Saxons, under free and beneficent governments, have in the occurrences in their criminal courts:

There is no more striking scene to the reflective mind than that which is presented on the trial of a criminal case where the charge is a grave one -- a judge who tries with certain hands fairly to hold the scales of justice, and a jury calm, honest, dispassionate, with no desire except . . .

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