Publication information
view printer-friendly version
Source: Buffalo Courier
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Seat Number ‘13’ Is Banished from Court”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Buffalo, New York
Date of publication: 23 September 1901
Volume number: 66
Issue number: 266
Pagination: 1, 6

“Seat Number ‘13’ Is Banished from Court.” Buffalo Courier 23 Sept. 1901 v66n266: pp. 1, 6.
full text
Leon Czolgosz (trial: preparations, plans, etc.); Buffalo, NY (City Hall); Buffalo, NY (courtrooms); Leon Czolgosz (trial: attendees); Leon Czolgosz (trial: news coverage); Leon Czolgosz (trial: predictions, expectations, etc.); Leon Czolgosz (incarceration: Buffalo, NY: visitations); Leon Czolgosz (psychiatric examination); Carlos F. MacDonald; Arthur W. Hurd; Czolgosz physicians; Leon Czolgosz; Thomas Penney; McKinley assassination (investigation: Buffalo, NY); James W. Putnam; Leon Czolgosz (mental health).
Named persons
Samuel Caldwell; Patrick V. Cusack; Leon Czolgosz; Frank T. Gilbert; Arthur W. Hurd; Carlos F. MacDonald [misspelled below]; Thomas Penney; James W. Putnam.
On page 6 the article bears the title “Trial of Assassin Begins This Morning.”


Seat Number “13” Is Banished from Court

     Police arrangements for the trial in the City Hall today, and for as long as it continues, are calculated to be as perfect as the occasion would suggest. Streets leading to the City and County building will be guarded by cordons of police, mounted and patrolmen, and should the size of the crowds warrant it, the thoroughfares will be roped off.
     Business in the combined building will not be suspended, but it is safe to say that it will feel the effect of this most interesting of trials. No one will be permitted to enter the City Hall without first satisfying a half dozen or more different officers that he has business there. Those who approach will first be stopped at least half a block away, or wherever the outer cordon of police is drawn. Here they must prove to a sergeant that they have business in the building. Then they will have to go all over it again at the entrance to the building.
     During the progress of the trial the elevators will not stop at the second floor, the floor on which is the court room. The stairways, both on the first and third floors will be guared [sic] by more police and they will prevent anyone going to the courtroom [sic] floor who has not actual and important business there.
     Admission to the court room will be limited to the actual court attaches, fifty-three newspaper reporters, and 218 other persons, the latter including talesmen for the jury and attorneys, and witnesses, who will not be barred from the room.
     The usual courtesies which have permitted attorneys not connected with a case to seats within the railing have been withdrawn and those attorneys not employed in the Czolgosz case who secure admittance will have to find seats in the audience part of the room.
     The space within the railing is entirely occupied by the court attaches and the newspaper reporters, the latter representing personally and through press associations all the papers in the United States and most of the journals of the world. Probably never before and seldom again will there be such a center for the dissemination of news.
     At the table directly in front of the [1][6] bar will be seated the assassin and his attorneys. To their right and directly in front of the witness box is the table for the official stenographers. At the foot of the jury box, which is on the west side of the court room, is the table to be occupied by District Attorney Penney and back of him will be seated three or four of his assistants. They will have charge of the exhibits, such as maps, charts, confessions, letters and other material evidence which may be offered.
     Then clustered all about the space within the railing and against the railing on the outside are the tables for the reporters. Each of these seats has been numbered and each reporter who will be in attendance has been assigned his seat, having a ticket admitting him to the room and bearing the number of his seat.


     The committee having charge of the press arrangements was evidently inclined to bad omens for when they came to place the number thirteen on the seat which in its position would naturally have had that number, there was objection and the much abused number was destroyed and in its place No. 54 was substituted, there being only fifty-three seats.
     In reference to the handling of the prisoner there will be ample officers for that. Chief of Detectives Cusack and Sheriff Caldwell will have direct charge of the prisoner. He will be brought into court through the tunnel leading from the jail to the court room and on either side of him he will be handcuffed to a detective. There will be a liberal sprinkling of detectives in the crowd through which the prisoner will pass and among the spectators in the room. This precaution is taken in case an attempt should be made to do violence to the prisoner.
     If the manner of the insanity experts retained by the defense and also that of District Attorney Penney after he had had a conference with them is indicative of anything, the attorneys representing Leon Czolgosz will enter no evidence in his defense.
     These attorneys have already said the only defense that was left open to them is that of insanity, and now that it is probable that their own alienists are of [t]he opinion that the assassin is now [and?] was sane at the time he shot the president, they can do nothing but submit the case on the evidence produced by the state and see that he receives whatever the law may provide for him.
     For an hour and a half yesterday afternoon Drs. [sic] Carlos F. McDonald, the insanity expert of New York City, and Dr. Arthur W. Hurd, the insanity expert of the State Hospital for the Insane, visited Czolgosz in his cell in the jail. The assassin was as stubborn then as he has been on other occasions when other than officers approached him. He was asleep on the bench in his cell when the doctors called. After they had awakened him they tried to explain to him that they had been retained by his lawyers to ascertain on what lines a defense could be made so as to save his life.


     But Czolgosz, after rising to his feet, would not listen to them. Turning his back upon them he walked to the little window at the back of his cell and looked silently down into the courtyard. When they saw that their efforts to get him to talk were of no avail the doctors silently watched him, taking note of every movement. Occasionally Czolgosz would look around to see if they were still there, but most of the time he stood silently at the window.
     Once he sat on the edge of the bench and stared blankly a moment at the floor. Then, without looking at the doctors, stretched himself out and with his face up, closed his eyes in utter indifference to his callers.
     The doctors tried to impress upon him the fact that he would go on trial today for his life and that unless he spoke to them there would be little likelihood of saving his life.


     The experts were with him until 4:45 p. m. and Sheriff Gilbert is authority for the statement that during that time he never spoke a word to the alienists, and seemed relieved when they were gone.
     After leaving the prisoner the doctors went at once to the office of District Attorney Penney, where they were joined by Dr. James W. Putnam, one of the Buffalo doctors who previously examined Czolgosz and pronounced him perfectly sane. The conference with Mr. Penney lasted until 6:30 p. m., when all of the gentlemen left together. They refused to say anything, but it was evident that Mr. Penney was glad over the result of the alienists’ investigations of Czolgosz’s mental condition.


     A matter which caused some comment was the object the doctors of the defense could have in calling upon the prosecuting attorney and remaining in conference with him nearly two hours.
     This was answered by some to the effect that they had failed to find any evidences of insanity about the assassin and felt it their duty to so report to the District Attorney. On this point, however, the doctors were silent, saying they had been instructed to say nothing to anyone.



top of page