Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1
Motion by defense counsel for a new trial, 1886 Oct. 1.

Volume O, 52-55, 4 p.

Motion filed by counsel for the defense for a new trial on the grounds that the verdict was contrary to law and evidence, there was insufficient evidence to convict, the instructions to the jury were improper, the jury was not impartial and there were errors in empanelling the jury, the closing argument by the prosecution was improper in addition to other errors, irregularities and improprieties.

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And thereupon the defendants severally moved the court for a new trial in said cause, which motion for a new trial was entered and continued.

And afterwards, to wit, on the twenty-fourth day of September, A. D. 1886, the said motion was called up for argument; whereupon the defendants moved the court to continue the hearing of the said motion and the court, upon agreement of counsel, set the same for hearing on the first day of October, A. D. 1886.

And afterwards, to wit, on the first day of October, A. D. 1886, upon said motion for a new trial being called for argument, the said defendants filed the following suggestions in support of their motion for a new trial or grounds therefor, and in support thereof.

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In the Criminal Court of Cook County,

The People of the State of Illinois,
August Spies, Michael Schwab, Albert R. Parsons, Samuel Fielden,
Adolph Fischer, Louis Lingg, George Engel and Oscar W. Neebe.

Indictment for the murder of Matthias J.Degan.

Now come the said defendants, severally and respectively, as well in their own proper person as by their attorneys, and in support of their motion for a new trial heretofore entered herein, they show to the court the following:

1. The verdict in said cause is contrary to the law and the evidence.

2. There is no evidence in the record in said cause supporting or justifying said verdict.

3. The court erred in giving the several instructions asked and given on behalf of the people.

4. The court erred in refusing to give the several instructions which were asked on behalf of the defendants and refused by the court.

5. The court erred in admitting improper, incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial testimony offered on behalf of the people.

6. The court erred in excluding testimony offered on behalf of the defendants.

7. The trial of the above cause was not had before, nor was the verdict therein rendered ny "an impartial jury."

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8. There was miscondent upon the part of the officers of the law in the selection and summoning of the jurors in said cause, so that the persons summoned under the various special venires issued in said cause, were not impartial jurors, but were selected with special reference to their known or supposed prejudices against the defendants, and for the purpose of insuring a conviction of the defendants in said cause.

9. There is newly discovered evidence touching the issues involved in said cause.

10. The closing argument of the States Attorney was improper in its statement of substantive matters not in evidence, in its appeals to the prejudices and passions of the jury, in its misstatements of the issues, and in its abusiveness towards the defendants; all having a natural tendency to mislead the jury, and prevent a fair and impartial verdict.

11. The court erred in its several rulings as to qualifications of jurors, and their competency; and in refusing to allow defendants to ask of the jurors certain questions proposed to be put to them; and also in allowing to the State more than twenty (20) peremptory challenges in the cause.

12. The court erred in modifying the instructions asked in behalf of the defendants.

13. The court erred in overruling the motion of defendants' Spies, Schwab, Fielden and Neebe for a separate trial.

14. There were other irregularities and improprieties, and said verdict is manifestly illegal, unjust and against the testimony

By W. P. Black,
Salomon & Zeisler, and
Wm. A. Foster Def't's Atty.

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And thereupon the following proceedings were had:

Mr. GRINNELL: If the Court please, I suppose we are ready to take up and argue the motion for a new trial in case 1195 on the old docket, known as 100 on this. I would like all the defendants sent for and brought into court.

THE COURT: Bring them up.

Mr. Black: If the Court please, before proceeding with this motion I desire an opportunity to have an interview of a few moments in one of the adjoining rooms, with my clients, for the purpose of reading over to them an affidavit which I desire to have them subscribe, and which as yet I have had no opportunity of reading to them It will take much less time than to attempt to read it over one by one, or here in the Court room.

THE COURT: This is an affidavit to be sworn to by all?

Mr. Black: Yes, your honor.

THE COURT: Then they will all have to go to one of the rooms here.

The defendants retired with their counsel,and returned at 10:35.

Mr. Grinnell: If the court please, I believe me are ready to proceed with the motion that has been filed.

Mr. Black: If the court please, before proceeding with the discussion of the motion for the new trial,there is a preliminary motion I desire to make, based upon affidavits. The motion I will read briefly, having put it into writing.

Captain Black then read the motion referred to as follows:

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