Publication information
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Source: Outlook
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “The Trial of Czolgosz”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: 5 October 1901
Volume number: 69
Issue number: 5
Pagination: 242-43

“The Trial of Czolgosz.” Outlook 5 Oct. 1901 v69n5: pp. 242-43.
full text
Leon Czolgosz (trial); Leon Czolgosz (trial: personal response); Leon Czolgosz (legal defense); Leon Czolgosz (removal to Auburn State Prison).
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz; Charles J. Guiteau; Loran L. Lewis; William McKinley; Roland B. Molineux; Truman C. White.


The Trial of Czolgosz

The assassin of President McKinley was tried, convicted, and condemned to death last week. The trial, including the securing of the jury, occupied only two days, and the actual time of the sessions of the court was eight hours and a half. The sentence was pronounced two days later. It is worth while to note the extraordinary promptness and brevity of the trial as contrasted with the sensational, tedious, and wearing sessions of Guiteau’s trial and of such murder cases as that of Molineux. The State of New York, and in particular the bench and bar of Erie County, deserve the highest praise for the dignity and fairness with which the proceedings were conducted from beginning to end. As we noted last week, Czolgosz was furnished the aid of the ablest counsel, and his lawyers undertook the case at a distinct sacrifice to their own inclination and their business interests. Wisely and honorably, however, they did not hold that professional duty required them to fight the case on technicalities, or to present to the jury a defense which they knew to be no defense. The question of insanity was not raised by the State; the District Attorney held, and the Court sustained him in his view, that an assumption of sanity existed, to be dispelled only by direct evidence to the contrary. No such evidence was introduced, and it is understood that no alienist who examined Czolgosz considered him of unsound mind or irresponsible for his act. The address of the prisoner’s counsel and the charge by the Court both dwelt on the duty of law observance under all circumstances. Thus, Judge Lewis of counsel, after commenting on the dangers and criminal doctrines of Anarchism, pointed out that lynch law is in itself anarchism. In this respect, he said, the trial of Czolgosz should be a great object lesson to the world. In the same line of thought, Justice White in charging the jury declared that no higher tribute could be paid to the dead President than “to observe that exalted opinion and reverence for the law which he would ask if he were here.” After the sentence on Thursday Czolgosz was taken to the prison at Auburn, where he will undergo the penalty of death on some day during the week beginning on Monday, the 28th day of October next. The demeanor of the assassin during the trial was thought by some to be stolid, by others to show a degree of fear amounting to semi-paralysis as regards outward actions. He said hardly anything, seemed to have difficulty in understanding the questions asked him, and his only utterance was, as transmitted to the Court by his counsel (for he could not speak audibly), the assertion that no one else had anything whatever to do with the crime. When taken to Auburn, Czolgosz for a time broke down physically and morally and had to be carried into the prison. The threatening demeanor of [242][243] the crowd about the prison may have had something to do with this. The assassin is said to have expressed repentance of his crime.



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