Penn, William - Jury Goes to Prison - A SHAM TRIAL

Twelve men from the City of London were selected as jurors.

Ten judges, including the Lord Mayor of London, made up the court.

Because Penn published the trial transcript, in 1670, we have a good record of events. Things did not go as the court planned.

The judges thought trial would be a simple, one-issue case:  Did William Penn preach at Grace Church?  If the answer was yes (and the facts were clear - he did), the case was over. The "Conventicle Act" proscribed the rest of the story.  If he preached then he CAUSED a "tumultuous assembly" by application of the law.

As it happened, however, Penn's jury didn't like the law.  And ... they did not like how the court treated Penn during the trial.

Upset with Penn's deft ability at questioning the judges on points of common law, the court locked Penn in the "bale dock." The jury could hear, but no longer see, Penn during the trial.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5155stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 01, 1999

Updated Last Revision: Jul 02, 2015

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"A SHAM TRIAL" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 01, 1999. Jan 15, 2019.
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