The Cleveland Daily Herald
Cleveland, May 17, 1859
Statement of Counsel.
The following statement, by the gentlemen who conducted the defence in the Rescue Cases, was not ready when we gave the statement of the prisoners themselves, but it was intended to accompany that statement. By this it is clearly seen how great a wrong was done by the Court in its Journal Entry, and how pertinacious that Court adheres to the wrong.
Messrs. Peck and others, Prisoners, &c:
Gentlemen – The following we believe to be an accurate statement of what transpired in the U.S. Dist. Court on the 15th alt., in connection with the order made by the Court that you be taken into custody by the Marshal.
Upon the announcement of the verdict of the jury in the case against Bushnell, the case of Langston was called by the Court, and enquiry was made as to whether the parties were ready. The Dist. Att’y stated that the Gov’t was ready. Defendant’s counsel replied that they were not ready in that case, but were in the case against Peck. The Dist. Att’y insisted upon taking up the cases in the order in which they stood on the docket. The Court said the Gov’t had a right so to insist, and again asked if the defence was ready in the case of Langston. His counsel replied that they probably should be by the time a jury should be empanelled. The Dist. Att’y and the Court both said that the jury then in the box (being the one that had just returned a verdict against Bushnell) were the regular jury for the trial of all the cases. Counsel for the Defendants strongly protested against being compelled to go to trial in the remaining cases before a jury that must have already made up its mind against them on all the principal questions, except one, involved in the cases. The Court observed that the mere fact that the jury had tried Bushnell would constitute no good reason why they should not try the other defendants; intimating at the same time, that it would be competent for the defendants to challenge them “for cause,” if they had made up their minds as to the guilt of those about to be tried. The defendants’ counsel then notified the Court that if it was determined to try the remaining defendants by that jury, no one of them would make any defence whatever, but that the Court might proceed with them as it saw fit. The District Attorney thereupon instantly arose, and with a good deal of petulance in his manner, moved the Court that all the remaining defendants, with the exception of Loveland, DeWolfe, and some others, whom he had permitted to go home for the time being, be ordered into custody. To this, Judge Spalding, still occupying his seat, said sharply, “I second the motion.” The Court observed that the District-Attorney had the right to require the order to be made, and directed the clerk to call the names of the defendants with the exceptions named in the motion, which was accordingly done, and those of them then in the Court Room were taken into custody by the Marshal. As this was being done, Judge Spalding asked that their recognizances might be cancelled; to which the Court replied “of course,” and directed the proper entry for that purpose to be made by the Clerk. Judge Spalding also moved the Court that the continuance in the case of Mr. Plumb, which had before been entered, might be cancelled, and he be permitted to surrender himself in discharge of this recognizance, which was accordingly done.
We cannot be mistaken in the fact that you were ordered into custody, as above stated, and that you did not surrender yourselves, as alleged in the Journal entry.
(Signed.) R.P. Spalding,
Of Counsel for Defendants.
Cleveland, May 14, 1859.