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Anthony, Susan B. - THE OUTRAGE WORSENS

THE OUTRAGE WORSENS (Illustration) American History Biographies Famous People Government History Social Studies Civil Rights Trials

Among other things, in his Instruction to the Jury, Justice Ward Hunt said: “The 14th Amendment gives no right to a woman to vote, and the voting by Miss Anthony was in violation of the law.” That statement is included in this record of the trial.

 

Instead of allowing the jury to deliberate the case, and render its own decision, Justice Hunt read a prepared statement he wrote before final arguments. His actions effectively took the case away from the jurors whom he did not allow to reach an independent verdict.

I have decided as a question of law...that under the Fourteenth Amendment, which Miss Anthony claims protects her, she was not protected in a right to vote...I therefore direct that you find a verdict of guilty.

Judge Selden, Susan's defense counsel, objected (at page 68 of the transcript):

That is a direction no Court has the power to make in a criminal case.

The judge's response?

Take the verdict, Mr. Clerk.

Hunt then denied Selden's request to poll the jury (to ask each juror if that was his verdict). It is the right of the defense counsel to have the jury polled. Of course, if the jury had been polled in the Anthony case, what would they have said?

The Judge could have decided the case as a matter of law - without a jury - had a proper motion been put before him. But no such motion was filed and the result of the case was procedurally defective.

Not surprisingly, the judge denied a motion for new trial and asked Susan Anthony if she had anything to say before he imposed sentence. When she rose to speak, he continued to cut her off.

After he imposed a fine of $100 and court costs, Ms. Anthony said she would not pay it.

In his final act unbecoming a Justice of the Supreme Court, Ward Hunt would not imprison Susan Anthony when she refused to pay the fine. Superficially, that may sound kind ... or lenient. His reason was anything but kind or lenient.

Ms. Anthony could not appeal her case unless she were imprisoned. Hunt's actions were intended to cut off all her rights to appeal.

Even if she had a chance to appeal her case to the United States Supreme Court, would "the brethren" have reached a different result? This, after all, was the Court that endorsed "Jim Crow" laws.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5139stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jul 01, 2000

Updated Last Revision: Jan 27, 2016


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