Publication information

Spokane Daily Chronicle
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Too Much Legalism”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Spokane, Washington
Date of publication: 17 September 1901
Volume number: 16
Issue number: 12
Pagination: 3

“Too Much Legalism.” Spokane Daily Chronicle 17 Sept. 1901 v16n12: p. 3.
full text
McKinley assassination (international response); lawlessness (mob rule); Leon Czolgosz (trial: predictions, expectations, etc.); law (criticism); Leon Czolgosz (legal defense).
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz; Charles J. Guiteau; William McKinley.

Too Much Legalism


American Law Allows Guilty to Escape Punishment.
Prominent Criminal Lawyer Will Defend President’s Murderer.

     NEW YORK, Sept. 17.—After 48 hours’ discussion of the Buffalo tragedy, public opinion in England asks the question whether America will tolerate another Guiteau scandal when McKinley’s murderer is brought up for trial, says the London correspondent of the Herald. Lynch law, as applicable to this wretch, was never so nearly popular in England, all classes agreeing that short shift is the only fitting justice. From one of his majesty’s judges your correspondent is able to give the substance of the highest legal opinion here as to what the Buffalo courts ought to do.
     “This ought to give America the chance to shake off the incubus of too much legalism,” said the judge, “and by legalism I mean straining the law to defeat its own purposes. In criminal trials it seems to be the main object of the American courts to discover a jury who will liberate the prisoner, not carry out the law.
     “Absurd questions are asked whether the veniremen or jurymen have read about the case, whether such reading has led to the formation of opinion on the merits of the case so as to prejudice the verdict; whether they are acquainted with the prisoner or victim. This absurd straining for loopholes, which the courts appear to encourage, is, in my opinion, the first step towards anarchy.
     “In this connection it is reported that a famous crimimal lawyer of New York, who left London on a sudden call on Saturday, has been summoned to Buffalo to defend Czolgosz. This does not indicate that the murderer is absolutely friendless, but, on the contrary, that he is merely the tool of an organization with funds behind it.”