Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1 Examined by Mr. Foster. Challenged for cause by the Defense, challenge overruled by the Court. Peremptorily dismissed by Counsel for the Defense. Court discussion regarding the constitutional provisions governing the qualifications of a juror. Judge Gary's ruling on this issue was challenged as an error in the appeal of this case. See In the Supreme Court of Illinois. Brief and Argument for Plaintiffs in Error.
Examination of Leroy Hanna with subsequent court discussion, 1886 July 12.
Volume G, 164-174, 11 p.
Commission merchant dealer for Bushee, Bombs & Co.
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Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1
Examined by Mr. Foster. Challenged for cause by the Defense, challenge overruled by the Court. Peremptorily dismissed by Counsel for the Defense.
Court discussion regarding the constitutional provisions governing the qualifications of a juror. Judge Gary's ruling on this issue was challenged as an error in the appeal of this case. See In the Supreme Court of Illinois. Brief and Argument for Plaintiffs in Error.
Monday afternoon, July 12, 1886.
having been duly sworn to answer questions as to his qualifications as a juror in said case, deposed and stated as follows:
MR. FOSTER: (Q) Where do you live?
A. 510 Thirty Ninth Street, Hyde Park.
Q What is your business?
A. Life stock, commission merchant dealer.
Q Have you a partner?
A. Yes sir.
Q What is the firm?
A. Bushee, Bombs & Co.
Q How long have you been in that business here?
A I have been in this firm a year ago last February, the first of February. I have been here 8 years.
Q Eight years in the business yourself?
A. Eight years I have been in the business at the Stock Yards.
Q Where were you in business before?
A. I was shopping in stock from the country here.
Q Where did you reside?
A. Livingston County in this State, Fairbury, Illinois.
Q Did you live there some length of time?
Q How many years?
A. I lived there 9 years.
Q What is your age now?
A. 40 years old.
Q You have been in the live stock business most of the time since you have been a man in years?
A. Yes, sir;
exclusive in that business.
Q You have heard and read of the Haymarket meeting?
A Yes, sir.
Q The explosion of the bomb and the killing of Mr. Degan have you?
A. Yes, sir.
Q You formed an opinion upon the commission of an offense at the Haymarket?
A. Yes, I have.
Q Have you formed an opinion as to whether the defendants, or any of them now on trial are guilty of that offense?
A I am not certain about that - whether I have formed an opinion that they are guilty.
Q Well, have you formed an opinion upon the question of their innocence or guilt?
A. No, sir, I have not.
Q You have not formed an opinion?
A. No, sir.
Q Do you know anything about the principles contended for by socialists, communists and anarchists?
A. Well, something of it, but I haven't investigated it very much, sir.
Q Do you know anything about what they claim to know, whether you have a prejudice against them or not?
A. Yes sir
Q You have a prejudice against them?
A. I have a prejudice against them.
Q Now, from all sources of information which you have received, from any and all sources, and all prejudices that you may have, do you know of anything which would influence your determining this case upon the testimony and the
testimony only, if you should be selected as a juror or would that be biased, and your verdict be prejudiced by any bias which you now have, or opinion?
A. I think that my verdict might be biased some, opinion might be biased.
Q Your answer would be then that you could not act upon the proof that was presented here in court and that alone, and be influenced by the bias which now exists in your mind- is that your condition of mind now?
A. Yes, sir.
Counsel for the defense thereupon challenged the said Leroy Hanna for cause.
MR. GRINNELL: Mr. Hanna, I understood you to say first that you had formed no opinion - didn't know that you had formed an opinion as to the innocence or guilt of the defend dants?
A. Well, I have not, No, sir.
Q You have formed an opinion as to the crime perpetrated, the nature and character of it?
A. Yes, sir.
Q Now, if you should be taken and sworn, as a juror in this case, to try the same, upon the proof presented to you here, do you believe that you could determine from the proof alone presented in court, under the instructions of the court, whether or not the defendants are guilty, regardless of what you have read and heard?
A. Well, I think -
Q It is not an absolute question as to what you know you can do. The statute does not require that. It does not require that you should not have an opinion; it simply requires
you to inform us whether you believe that you can determine from the proof alone the innocence or guilt of these defendants, regardless of what you have read or heard, or your opinion?
A. Well, I would try to do it - at least.
Q I know that. Do you believe that you could do what you would try to do, what you say that you would try to do? - You know something about the duties of a juror?
A Yes, sir.
Q It is to hear and determine the question presented, the guilt or innocence of the defendants upon the proof presented here. Now, do you believe that you can do that and do it upon that alone?
A. Well, I think I could, probably.
THE COURT: Mr. Hanna, let me ask you a few questions. Have you ever seen either of these eight men sitting in that row, before you came into court, to your knowledge?
A No, sir, not to my knowledge.
Q Then you have no personal acquaintance with either of them?
A No sir.
Q And the only opinion that you have upon the case to be tried here is what you have derived from reading newspapers, or talking with other people?
A. Yes, sir.
Q I could not hear your answers? Have you ever talked with anybody who said he was present at the time of the transaction, the Haymarket meeting?
A. Yes, sir - I talked with a policeman that was present at that.
Q Was there any conversation with any policeman mentioning the names of either of these men?
A. No sir.
Q Or the name of any one of these men?
A. No, sir, there was not.
Q So that your conversation with policemen had no influence upon your opinion with regard to any of these individuals?
A. No, sir.
Q Now, the task that will be before the jury who are to try this case will be to listen to all the evidence in the case and then make up their minds and determine and decide whether that evidence proves or fails to prove that these defendants or any of them are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Now, do you believe that you could sit here, if you should be taken as one of the jurors, do you believe that you can sit here, and from that evidence fairly and impartially determine whether it proved that they are or are not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt - not what your own opinion is, or what your own opinion ever may be, but what do you believe now about your ability to fairly weigh and determine what that evidence proves?
A. Oh, I think I could hear the evidence and decide on the evidence and that alone.
Q And decide simply from the evidence without reference to anything else?
A. Yes, sir.
Q The duty of the jury is ended by rendering a verdict in the case, but that verdict is to be based upon the evidence and nothing else. Now, do you believe that you can
fairly and impartially render a verdict in this case if you should be selected as a juror in accordance with the law and the evidence?
A. I think I could.
THE COURT: I will overrule the challenge.
MR. FOSTER: You say that you talked with a policeman in regard to it?
A. Yes, sir.
Q That was there?
A Yes sir.
Q What was his name?
A. I dont know his name.
Q He told you about what happened there in a general way, I suppose?
A. In a general way, about the way they marched up and they throwed the bomb through the crowd.
Q Did he tell you anything about who had made speeches?
A No, sir, he didn't mention that.
Q Didn't say anything about Mr. Spies or Mr. Parsons or Mr. Fielden?
A. No, he did not mention those in particular.
Q You have heard those names before, haven't you?
A Oh, yes.
Q So then with your opinion, such as you have, has reference to those names, to the persons that bear those names?
A. Yes, sir, all the opinion I have has reference to the parties that bear those names.
Q And the prejudice that you speak of that you had it applies also to these defendants, or some of them?
A Yes, sir, and the principles that they advocate.
Q It applies to Mr. Spies, Mr. Parsons and Mr. Fielden?
A Yes, sir.
Q And that prejudice you say is so strong that you do not know whether you would be influenced by it or not when you come to consider of the testimony and the charge of the Court, as I understand it?
A. It would have some influence on me, probably, but - I am prejudiced against the principles that they advocate.
Q And by reason of the prejudice against the principles you are prejudice against these names, against the persons that I have mentioned?
A. Yes, I am.
Q Now, then, the prejudice that you have against the defendants is such that you do not know whether your verdict would be influenced by it or not, as I understand you?
A That is the way I feel; I dont know but we deceive ourselves sometimes when we say we can do so and so.
Q Yes, I know we do. It is not a question of how you will feel after a while, but do you now believe that your prejudice against the defendants or some of them is such that your verdict probably would be biased?
A. It might be, and I might be aware of it; it might be biased.
Q It might be, and you cannot say whether it would be or would not be?
A. That is it.
Q That is it, isn't it? That is your answer -
MR. FOSTER: Now, we renew our challenge for cause, if the Court please.
MR. SALOMON: Now, if your Honor please, we desire to call the Court's attention briefly - we have gone over it quite a number of times, but it seems to me that there is a constitutional provision governing the qualification of a juror. That provision is found both in the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State, that a defendant shall be entitled to a trial by an impartial jury. Now, of course an impartial jury is composed of impartial jurors. Now, what is an impartial juror? It means a man who is not prejudiced against these defendants at the beginning of the case, who sit here fairly, uninfluenced, unbiased by any feeling or by any inclination against them at the beginning of this case. Now, this has been stated strongly by the Supreme Court of this State in the 56th Illionis, in the case of the Railroad Company vs. Adler - or Adler against the Railroad Company, and also in the Virginia case which I have here, and would call your Honor's attention to, if the Court cares to take up the time, to hear the opinion. Now, this statute plainly to our way of thinking takes away, or attempts to take away, the partiality of the juror; in other words, it attempts to make a partial juror impartial and competent if he himself says that he believes he can fairly and impartially try the case, notwithstanding he already says that he has a fixed and decided opinion and a prejudice against the defendants.
THE COURT: Well, as to the constitutionality of the
statute, The Suprome Court have expressed their approval of it, so that that is out of the question. What the Supreme Court have said is constitutional a court of inferior degree has no right to say afterwards is not constitutional. Then abstractly a man who is a stranger to the defendants, who has no personal acquaintance with any of them, whose only feeling about any of them is based upon rumors from sources, the truth of which he dont know anything about, must of necessity be impartial so far as any malice, ill-will or hostility toward the defendants is concerned. He may have an opinion about what they have done based upon a report of a newspaper, or orally but he must of necessity - an ordinary man will of necessity be impartial in his feelings towards them; in the inquiry which he will make necessarily he will want to get at the truth, for such is human nature - to want to get at the truth; having no malice toward the party he will want to get at the truth as to that, and when he has the authentic sources of information to act upon, in the nature of things he will cease to regard what other people have said about the matter and act only upon the information which he himself derives from original authentic sources.
MR. SALOMON: The Supreme Court have said in different cases time and again -
THE Court: Save the point upon it.
MR. SALOMON: Well we desire to have the record show that we base the objection on the statute as being in conflict
with the constitutional provisions.
MR. GRINNELL: If you should not happen to state that part of it the objection would cover the statute.
THE COURT: The position that a case can only be tried by men who have never formed any opinion before they came into the court room from newspaper reports or from conversations, results in having no - results in hearing it himself in cases that have excited the public attention so that newspapers have published them.
MR. SALOMON: Well,it is based entirely upon the assumption of the absolute truth of what they have read. Now, we have had that demonstrated a number of times in this Court, that men have come in here and though they have read these accounts have placed no credibility upon them.
THE COURT: Oh, well, here are a dozen men connected with the administration of the law for a great many years who have been reading about the English election for the last two or three days. Have any of us doubts that the majority have gone against Gladstone in England, simply because we have newspapers?
Mr. SALOMON: But that is not a question that affects in any way what we are discussing here today.
THE COURT: No, but it is as to a man's believing what he reads in the papers. Of course he believes ordinarily, but then when he comes to try the question himself as to
what is and is not the truth, he is going to act on the evidence, upon the original, authentic evidence, not upon what somebody else has said about it.
MR. SALOMON: But if he bases his -
THE COURT: Oh, well, save the point upon it, Mr.Salomon.
MR. SALOMON: I simply wish to answer the argument which your Honor presents. We do not wish it to stand against us as acquiescing in all that your Honor says about it, that is all. I do not care to argue it.
THE COURE: No. You save your point upon it.
To which ruling of the Court, so, overruling said chellenge for cause, counsel for the defense then and there excepted.