Publication information
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Source: Lawyer
Source type: journal
Document type: article
Document title: “The Duty of the Advocate in Defending His Client”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: December 1902
Volume number: 4
Issue number: 38
Pagination: 129-31 (excerpt below includes only pages 130-31)

“The Duty of the Advocate in Defending His Client.” Lawyer Dec. 1902 v4n38: pp. 129-31.
Seymour D. Thompson (public statements); Leon Czolgosz (trial: personal response).
Named persons
Henry Brougham; Leon Czolgosz; Charles J. Guiteau; William McKinley.
“Judge Seymour D. Thompson, at a recent meeting of the Rochester Bar Association, delivered an address. . . ” (p. 129).


The Duty of the Advocate in Defending His Client [excerpt]

     “A true illustration of the extent of the duty of the advocate toward a client seemingly guilty, is offered by the case of two distinguished lawyers of this State who at the earnest request of the Bar Association of Buffalo, and of the judge whose duty it became to preside at the trial of the assassin Czolgosz, consented to defend him. The fact of his assassination of President McKinley was publicly known, and was not denied by him or by any one in his behalf. There could be but one defence, and that was that the assassin was insane. A lawyer pursuing the ethics announced by Lord Brougham, would have placed the rights of his client so far above the rights of his country and of society, that he would have raised every conceivable technical defence, and thrown every technical obstacle in the way of the prosecution which ingenuity could invent; would [130][131] have turned the trial into a bear garden, like the trial of Guiteau, and would have prevented the culprit from reaching the dues of justice for many months, perhaps for years. Instead of thi[s], we had the spectacle of a trial where the advocates who had assumed the unpleasant burden of defending the prisoner acted in his behalf to the limit of the line of duty and went no further. The defence of insanity was raised, and fairly made but as no evidence could be adduced to support it, it was not, and could not have been pressed. The judge was impartial in his charge. When the jury retired to consider of their verdict, they could not have had any doubt as to their duty; but they, nevertheless, remained for some time in their consultation room, to give a decent appearance to the part which they took in the administration of justice in a case so solemn. They brought in a verdict of guilty[.] Afterward the prisoner was called up for sentence. He could not offer any reason why sentence should not be passed upon him. It was passed. He was allowed the respite of thirty days prescribed by the law of this State between sentence and execution; a respite which may be a solace to the prisoner under any circumstances, and which may be an advantage to the innocent unjustly condemned. Public justice was thus decently vindicated; and I have yet to hear a lawyer say that the distinguished members of the profession who undertook the defence of that wretched man were blameworthy in not going beyond what they did.”



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