Publication information

St. John Daily Sun
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “This Trial May Be Shorter”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: St. John, Canada
Date of publication: 24 September 1901
Volume number: 24
Issue number: 229
Pagination: 4

“This Trial May Be Shorter.” St. John Daily Sun 24 Sept. 1901 v24n229: p. 4.
full text
Leon Czolgosz (trial: international response); Leon Czolgosz (trial: predictions, expectations, etc.); Leon Czolgosz (trial: compared with Guiteau trial); Charles J. Guiteau (trial).
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz; Walter D. Davidge; James A. Garfield; Charles J. Guiteau; John K. Porter; George Scoville.

This Trial May Be Shorter

     The indications are that the trial of Czolgosz will not be a long one. The nation will be spared an exhibition such as was given during the long trial of Guiteau for the murder of President Garfield. Guiteau was himself a lawyer, and his counsel, Mr. Scoville of Chicago, who was his brother-in-law, conducted the case for the defence with singular ability. It was pleaded that the wound inflicted by Guiteau was not necessarily fatal, but the only real defence was the plea of insanity. Whether it was to support this plea, or because his mind was [?]balanced, the prisoner kept up a running fire of interruptions, and persisted in making addresses to the judge and jury. These scenes made copy for the newspapers, and gave a theatrical air to the proceedings. As the days passed the sense of solemnity and horror which the crime had provoked was dissipated, and the Guiteau trial became a sort of ghastly joke. Everyone concerned, except the prisoner, appeared to be ashamed, and yet all were helpless. The prisoner had a right to act as his own counsel. He had a right to talk, and even to lecture his associate counsel. At least the judge allowed him this privilege, though he questioned whether a prisoner [?]ould be represented by other counsel and also act for himself. The court explained at a late stage that it had been deemed best not to restrict the prisoner, but to give the jury an opportunity to judge for themselves of his sanity. Sometime in the second month the judge thought that the jury had learned all that was necessary in this way, and Guiteau was placed in the dock. But at the end he was allowed to address the jury in his defence.
     The presentment in Guiteau’s case was made October 4th. He was arraigned October 14th. The trial was begun November 14th. Three days were spent getting a jury. The case for the prosecution was completed on the 23rd, and on that day the defence began. Guiteau himself was four days on the stand, and many of his friends testified. From December 5th to January 4th the time was mainly occupied with the evidence of experts on insanity, some called for the defence, some in rebuttal. One question put by counsel occupies four closely printed columns of an octave book, and could not be read in less than half an hour. Argument of counsel, with a short adjournment, occupied nearly the whole of January. Prosecuting Counsel Davidge summed up for two days. Mr. Scoville addressed the jury five days. Mr. Porter, on behalf of the government, occupied three days, following Guiteau’s statement. The judge made shorter work of it. His charge was less than an hour long. But the jury were still more prompt. In thirty minutes from the time of their retirement they sent word that they had agreed upon a verdict. This was on January 25th. A new trial was refused, and soon after the conviction Guiteau was sentenced to be hanged June 30, 1882.