Saturday, July 21, 2007
Tuesday, July 21, 1925
A light rain fell in Dayton on Tuesday morning, forcing the trial back inside and cutting the number of spectators. The judge started the proceedings a few minutes early, before Darrow and Stewart arrived. As counsel for both sides hurried to their places, Raulston took it upon himself to bar further examination of Bryan and to order the Commoner's prior testimony expunged from the record. "I feel that the testimony of Mr. Bryan can shed no light upon any issue that will be pending before the higher court," the judge ruled; "the issue now is whether or not Mr. Scopes taught that man descended from a lower order of animals."
With this ruling, Darrow called it quits. "We have no witnesses to offer, no proof to offer on the issues that the court has laid down here," he declared. "I think to save time we will ask the court to bring in the jury and instruct the jury to find the defendant guilty." ... Bryan accepted the inevitable. "I shall have to trust to the justness of the press, which reported what was said yesterday, to report what I will say, not to the court, but to the press in answer ..."
Stewart, Darrow, and Raulston agreed on the terms of the judge's charge to the jury, and jurors finally reentered the courtroom. After expecting front-row seats for the entire proceedings, they had heard only two hours of testimony against Scopes and none of the memorable speeches. ...
The jury received the case shortly before noon and returned its verdict nine minutes later. They spent most of this time getting in and out of the crowded courtroom. "The jurors didn't even sit down to think it over,'' one observer noted, "but stood huddled together in the hallway of the courthouse for the brief interval. ... The only point of concern involved the jury's decision to let the judge impose the minimum $100 fine. State law required that the jury fix the amount of the penalty, Stewart observed. Raulston assured him that local practice in misdemeanor cases allowed the judge to impose the minimum on persons adjudged guilty, and Darrow agreed to that procedure -- a decision he would deeply regret.
Only a few speeches remained. Scopes spoke briefly at the time of sentencing -- his first words to the court. Prompted by Neal, the defendant called the antievolution statute unjust and pledged to continue fighting it in the name of academic freedom. Counsel took turns thanking the court and community. Representatives from the press and state bar added cordial comments. In their farewell remarks, Bryan and Darrow tried to explain the widespread interest in the trial. The Commoner called the matter a little case raising a great cause, and asserted that "causes stir the world." Darrow, in contrast, blamed everything on the religious nature of the prosecution. "I think this case will be remembered because it is the first case of this sort since we stopped trying people in America for witchcraft," he claimed. "We have done our best to turn the tide . . . of testing every fact in science by a religious doctrine."
- Edward J. Larson, Summer for the Gods
All of the reporters loved Dayton and the kind of hospitality that had been shown them. To vent their gratitude they hired the village dance hall, imported a band from Chattanooga, and invited the town. The town came. Darrow danced with the high-school girls and smoked cigarettes with their boyfriends. He waltzed with the wife of Dudley Field Malone while the entire crowd applauded them. Malone pointed to Darrow's purple suspenders and quipped: ''Not only were they the sole support of Mr. Darrow's trousers, but at times they were the principal support of our case."
- Ray Ginger, Six Days or Forever?
Labels: Scopes Trial