Saturday, September 10, 2011

Chivalry Justice in 1912

ILLUSTRATION CAPTION: Women Juries Will Not Be Moved By the Tears Of a Murderess – Portraits of three pretty women acquitted of murdering their husbands: Above, Mrs. Florence Bernstein; below, at left, Mrs. Daisy Olrich Opie Grace; at right, Mrs. Gertrude Gibson Patterson.

FULL TEXT: Chicago, There will be an epidemic of husband slaying in this country if the jury system isn't changed, thinks John K. W. Wayman, prosecuting attorney of Cook county (Chicago).

A large portion of Wayman's time has been taken up prosecuting women charged with murder. The majority were alleged husband killers, and one conviction with a short term sentence is all he can show for his efforts, Wayman is one of the best criminal lawyers in the country, too.

He has on hand seven women charged with murder. He doesn't think he can convict any of them with the present jury system in force.

What he wants is a jury of women to try husband slayers.

"Then wives who murder their husbands will get the same sort of  justice that is handed husbands who kill their wives," he says.

Mrs. Florence Bernstein was the latest Wayman prosecuted.
Her husband was shot twice in the back as he lay asleep in his bed at home. That followed several quarrels and reconciliations. When arrested Mrs. Bernstein said that her husband "had gone crazy and committed suicide." Her husband, in his dying statement, accused her of shooting him.

At the trial the widow couldn't remember whether she fired the shots or not.

After twenty-five hours the jury acquitted her.

"It appears absolutely impossible to find 12 men in this country who will convict a woman of murder," remarked Wyman.

"This mistaken idea of chivalry has resulted in numerous miscarriages of justice and a reckless abandon, on the part of women who are criminally inclined. All that is necessary for a woman  is to retreat behind the protecting wall of her sex, and an avalanche of tears, and make no other defense."

"THE SOLUTION IS WOMEN JURIES. Men cannot get away from the fascination of sex. Women jurors will not be moved by tears of a murderers. They will not permit their judgment to become paralyzed by the sight of a trembling lip and a pale face."

"Only a woman can pass judgment on a woman. Only a woman can read a woman's heart, tell when her emotional display is true or false, determine when a lie falls from her lips and when the truth is told."

Two months ago  MRS. JANE QUINN was prosecuted by Wayman for the alleged murder of her third husband for his insurance. ACQUITTED.

Then he prosecuted MRS. RENA MORROW, charged with killing her elderly husband to make room for a younger man. ACQUITTED.

MRS. LOUISE VERMILYA, alleged to have had a hand in nine suspicious deaths, including two husbands and two lovers, and against whom Wayman made a strong case, got away with a "DISAGREED JURY."

"Where one husband murders his wife fifty wives murder their husbands,” says Wayman, “and the proportion of convictions is fifty husbands convicted to one wife.”

"The failure to convict murderesses, excepting they be ignorant, homely foreigners or negresses, is not local to Chicago; it is true all over America.”

MRS. DAISY OPIE GRACE was acquitted by an Atlanta, Ga., jury after her husband testified that she shot him.

MRS. GERTRUDE PATTERSON was acquitted by a Denver jury, after her husband in  his dying statement said she had shot him.

A Montana jury acquitted MRS. VERA PROSSER of the murder of  her divorced husband after witnesses had testified that she had gone into the man's compartment on a Pullman car and jumped off the train a few minutes before the dead body was found.

A Cincinnati jury acquitted pretty MRS. MATILDA RADELOFF STOCKES, a bigamist, of the charge of murdering her first husband. She shot him while he was begging her to return to him.

On the other hand, a Virginia Jury had no resistancy about sending a NEGRESS to the electric chair.

[“Pleads That Women Juries Try Cases Of Female Slayers - Chicago Prosecuting  Attorney Declares The Only Wav To Stop Husband Slaying Is To Make Radical Changes In The Jury System,” Tacoma Times (Wa.), Aug. 20, 1912, p. 1]







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