Safety and Health Reporter
Brien Roche Law > Blog > Misc > Legal History

Legal History

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Legal History

Brien Roche

Freedom Calls

Freedom calls for Frederick Douglass. Douglas began his quest for freedom on a train that pulled out of Baltimore, Maryland. He jumped onboard a rail car designated for blacks. His name, according to his papers, was Frederick Bailey. The papers belonged to a real sailor who had been freed. He boarded the train without a ticket. Maryland at that point was a slave state as was the neighboring state of Delaware.

Freedom Calls Frederick Douglass

Prior to his train ride for freedom, Douglass had learned how to read and write. He had been viewed by his master as a valuable commodity and also a dangerous commodity. He had been working at the Baltimore shipyards and, while there, he had learned the language and the manner of the sailors that surrounded him.

When the train conductor finally approached him, he announced that he had a paper with the American eagle on it and that eagle would carry him around the world. The conductor glanced at the papers and then moved on, believing that Douglas was probably a sailor.

Freedom Calls New York

The train took Bailey to Havre de Grace where he caught a ferry across the Susquehanna River and then a train to Wilmington, Delaware. He then took a steamboat to Philadelphia and then caught another train to New York City. All of this in September 1838.

From that beginning, Douglass went on to become an author, lecturer and advocate for the abolition of slavery.alt=”Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Legal History” width=”100″ height=”150″ class=”size-full wp-image-9397″ /> Brien Roche[/caption]

Boss Tweed

We have all heard of Tammany Hall.  It is the so-called meeting place of the famously corrupt head of the New York City Democratic Party.  His full name was William Magear “Boss” Tweed.  Tweed served one term in the U.S. Congress but he became much more powerful as the head of the Tammany Society which had almost unlimited control over political patronage throughout the state of New York. 

Boss Tweed Of New York

Tweed’s source of power was principally the Irish immigrants who flooded into New York.  Eventually Tweed was arrested.  During his first jury trial, the jury failed to reach a verdict.  It was believed that the jury had been rigged.  In a second trial that was better controlled by prosecutors, he was convicted of 204 counts.  His 12-year prison sentence was eventually reduced to one year.  He was thereafter sued by the state for $6 million and was confined to debtor’s prison.  While he was in prison, he was allowed out in the afternoons for a walk in Central Park.  Finally in December of 1875 Boss Tweed disappeared.  He escaped to Cuba.  From there he fled to Spain.  He was eventually returned to New York, where he agreed to testify against fellow conspirators.  He died in 1878, still imprisoned in the Ludlow Street Jail.

Legal History-Famous Defamation Trial

A famous and perhaps the first defamation trial to occur in this country involved a gentleman by the name of John Zenger. Zenger was a former indentured servant who was born in Germany. He began printing a publication known as the New York Weekly Journal in 1773.  Many of his articles were pointed at the royal governor by the name of William Cosby. Cosby was a former gambler and soldier with royal connections who had acquired a reputation for being corrupt.

Cosby eventually had Zenger arrested and charged with libel. Libel or defamation at that time included any criticism of the government whether or not it was true. The jury pool was hand-picked with selected supporters of the Governor. Zenger’s attorney, a Philadelphia lawyer by the name of Andrew Hamilton, successfully argued that the prejudicial jurors should be stricken. He prevailed on that.

Lawyer Admits Client Made Statement

Hamilton admitted that his client had printed the offending remarks. Hamilton’s defense was based on the fact that the words themselves were not false or scandalous and therefore Zenger was not guilty.

The jury after hearing all of the evidence deliberated only for minutes and returned a verdict of not guilty in favor of Zenger.  The jury apparently accepted Hamilton’s argument that the statements were not false. This trial laid the foundation for what became known as the First Amendment, ensuring freedom of speech and freedom the press.

Contact a Defamation Attorney

If you feel you have been the victim of defamation, contact Brien Roche today to discuss your case.

Attorney For The Damned

Most of us have probably heard of Clarence Darrow, the famous attorney that undertook the defense of a teacher who was discussing evolution and who acquired national and international fame in the Scopes trial. 

Clarence Darrow, however, had a few trials of his own.  In a recent book entitled Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned, the author John Farrell puts a more human face on Darrow and discusses some of his potential missteps. 

Darrow was accused in two different instances of bribing jurors.  Each of those cases went to trial.  In the first of those cases Darrow gave his own closing argument and did what he was known for doing in many other cases, i.e. putting the entire justice system on trial in the case.  In that particular case he was found not guilty.

In the second trial involving similar allegations the jury came back with a hung verdict of 8-4 for conviction.  Darrow was not retried however he never did fully recover from the anguish of these trials. 

As is so often the case, this very flawed man accomplished many good things.

The Glove Did Fit

In one of the trials of the century involving O. J. Simpson, he was asked for some reason, to put on the supposed glove that was used by the murderer and, as we all may recall, the glove did not fit.The prosecutor thought the glove did fit.

His defense counsel, Johnnie Cochran, subsequently argued to the jury that since the glove did not fit they must acquit.

One of the prosecutors involved in the trial, Christopher Darden, who clearly was outmatched by the defense counsel in the case recently claimed in a forum dealing with controversial cases that he believed that Johnnie Cochran tore the lining of the glove so that Simpson’s fingers could not go all the way into the glove.

When challenged as to why he did not raise that at the time of the trial Darden had no good explanation other than that he did not have any actual facts to back up his assertion. 

Darden himself, of course, was soundly criticized for even allowing this courtroom demonstration to occur since he did not know ahead of time whether or not the glove would fit.Most trial lawyers know all too well that courtroom demonstrations are very dangerous if you do not know the outcome ahead of time. 

For more information on the law see Brien Roche’s book Law 101 and for information on legal history see the pages on Wikipedia.

Comments are closed.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Legal History

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Legal History

Brien Roche

Freedom Calls

Freedom calls for Frederick Douglass. Douglas began his quest for freedom on a train that pulled out of Baltimore, Maryland. He jumped onboard a rail car designated for blacks. His name, according to his papers, was Frederick Bailey. The papers belonged to a real sailor who had been freed. He boarded the train without a ticket. Maryland at that point was a slave state as was the neighboring state of Delaware.

Freedom Calls Frederick Douglass

Prior to his train ride for freedom, Douglass had learned how to read and write. He had been viewed by his master as a valuable commodity and also a dangerous commodity. He had been working at the Baltimore shipyards and, while there, he had learned the language and the manner of the sailors that surrounded him.

When the train conductor finally approached him, he announced that he had a paper with the American eagle on it and that eagle would carry him around the world. The conductor glanced at the papers and then moved on, believing that Douglas was probably a sailor.

Freedom Calls New York

The train took Bailey to Havre de Grace where he caught a ferry across the Susquehanna River and then a train to Wilmington, Delaware. He then took a steamboat to Philadelphia and then caught another train to New York City. All of this in September 1838.

From that beginning, Douglass went on to become an author, lecturer and advocate for the abolition of slavery.alt=”Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Legal History” width=”100″ height=”150″ class=”size-full wp-image-9397″ /> Brien Roche[/caption]

Boss Tweed

We have all heard of Tammany Hall.  It is the so-called meeting place of the famously corrupt head of the New York City Democratic Party.  His full name was William Magear “Boss” Tweed.  Tweed served one term in the U.S. Congress but he became much more powerful as the head of the Tammany Society which had almost unlimited control over political patronage throughout the state of New York. 

Boss Tweed Of New York

Tweed’s source of power was principally the Irish immigrants who flooded into New York.  Eventually Tweed was arrested.  During his first jury trial, the jury failed to reach a verdict.  It was believed that the jury had been rigged.  In a second trial that was better controlled by prosecutors, he was convicted of 204 counts.  His 12-year prison sentence was eventually reduced to one year.  He was thereafter sued by the state for $6 million and was confined to debtor’s prison.  While he was in prison, he was allowed out in the afternoons for a walk in Central Park.  Finally in December of 1875 Boss Tweed disappeared.  He escaped to Cuba.  From there he fled to Spain.  He was eventually returned to New York, where he agreed to testify against fellow conspirators.  He died in 1878, still imprisoned in the Ludlow Street Jail.

Legal History-Famous Defamation Trial

A famous and perhaps the first defamation trial to occur in this country involved a gentleman by the name of John Zenger. Zenger was a former indentured servant who was born in Germany. He began printing a publication known as the New York Weekly Journal in 1773.  Many of his articles were pointed at the royal governor by the name of William Cosby. Cosby was a former gambler and soldier with royal connections who had acquired a reputation for being corrupt.

Cosby eventually had Zenger arrested and charged with libel. Libel or defamation at that time included any criticism of the government whether or not it was true. The jury pool was hand-picked with selected supporters of the Governor. Zenger’s attorney, a Philadelphia lawyer by the name of Andrew Hamilton, successfully argued that the prejudicial jurors should be stricken. He prevailed on that.

Lawyer Admits Client Made Statement

Hamilton admitted that his client had printed the offending remarks. Hamilton’s defense was based on the fact that the words themselves were not false or scandalous and therefore Zenger was not guilty.

The jury after hearing all of the evidence deliberated only for minutes and returned a verdict of not guilty in favor of Zenger.  The jury apparently accepted Hamilton’s argument that the statements were not false. This trial laid the foundation for what became known as the First Amendment, ensuring freedom of speech and freedom the press.

Contact a Defamation Attorney

If you feel you have been the victim of defamation, contact Brien Roche today to discuss your case.

Attorney For The Damned

Most of us have probably heard of Clarence Darrow, the famous attorney that undertook the defense of a teacher who was discussing evolution and who acquired national and international fame in the Scopes trial. 

Clarence Darrow, however, had a few trials of his own.  In a recent book entitled Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned, the author John Farrell puts a more human face on Darrow and discusses some of his potential missteps. 

Darrow was accused in two different instances of bribing jurors.  Each of those cases went to trial.  In the first of those cases Darrow gave his own closing argument and did what he was known for doing in many other cases, i.e. putting the entire justice system on trial in the case.  In that particular case he was found not guilty.

In the second trial involving similar allegations the jury came back with a hung verdict of 8-4 for conviction.  Darrow was not retried however he never did fully recover from the anguish of these trials. 

As is so often the case, this very flawed man accomplished many good things.

The Glove Did Fit

In one of the trials of the century involving O. J. Simpson, he was asked for some reason, to put on the supposed glove that was used by the murderer and, as we all may recall, the glove did not fit.The prosecutor thought the glove did fit.

His defense counsel, Johnnie Cochran, subsequently argued to the jury that since the glove did not fit they must acquit.

One of the prosecutors involved in the trial, Christopher Darden, who clearly was outmatched by the defense counsel in the case recently claimed in a forum dealing with controversial cases that he believed that Johnnie Cochran tore the lining of the glove so that Simpson’s fingers could not go all the way into the glove.

When challenged as to why he did not raise that at the time of the trial Darden had no good explanation other than that he did not have any actual facts to back up his assertion. 

Darden himself, of course, was soundly criticized for even allowing this courtroom demonstration to occur since he did not know ahead of time whether or not the glove would fit.Most trial lawyers know all too well that courtroom demonstrations are very dangerous if you do not know the outcome ahead of time. 

For more information on the law see Brien Roche’s book Law 101 and for information on legal history see the pages on Wikipedia.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Contact Us For A Free Consultation