Saturday, August 29, 2015

Chivalry Justice Quotes from Judges, Prosecutors, Legislators & Lawyers: 1912 - 1922


Isaac Lipson – New York City lawyer – 1912

“The life of my client [Minor Cortalyou] is in danger,” attorney Isaac Lipson declared. “His wife’s mind has become inflamed as a result of the wholesale freeing of wives charged with murdering their husbands.”


John E. W. Wayman – Prosecuting attorney of Cook county (Chicago). – 1912

“The ordinary man such as a juror finds it difficult to differentiate between an exceptional and abnormal woman, as most murderesses are, and the everyday woman he has known since he was a boy. When a woman appears for trial before him, straightway in his own mind he manufactures some extenuating circumstances, some excuse to account for her of the murder.”
He feels sure that this woman who looks so much like the women of his own family must have been abused and hounded and driven insane by the cruelty of the man she killed. So in almost all cases the juror, unsophisticated in the subtle psychology of the woman criminal, has made up his mind long before he retires to the jury room that the woman on trial committed her crime during some violent brain storm that rendered her irresponsible.”

“A woman’s crime as a rule exhibits a far greater degree of moral turpitude than a man’s. Few murders by women are the result of impulse. They are marked by premeditation, cunning, cruelty and cold blooded diablerie. For the most part the crimes of women have these characteristics in common.”
Women usually take their victim unawares. Many of their victims are killed while asleep. The saving clause for the woman in most cases is that the murder is committed without eye witnesses. Usually the woman and her victim are alone when the murder occurs. This invariably is the result of the woman’s cunning plan. It enables her in court to tell whatever story she chooses and there is no one to contradict her. The charge of murder stands on purely circumstantial grounds.”

John E. W. Wayman – Prosecuting attorney of Cook county (Chicago). – 1912

“It appears absolutely impossible to find 12 men in this country who will convict a woman of murder. 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.”

Maclay Hoyne – Illinois State’s Attorney of Cook County – 1914

“The manner in which women who have committed murder in this county have escaped punishment has become a scandal. The blame in the first instance must fall upon the jurors who seem willing to bring in a verdict of acquittal whenever a woman charged with murder is fairly good looking and is able to turn on the flood gates of her tears, or exhibit a capacity for fainting.”

Source: “Decries Freeing Woman Slayers – State’s Attorney Hoyne Raps Juries Which Are Moved by Tears of Pretty Defendants. – Action of Police Flayed – Prosecutor of Cook County Dismisses Charges of Murder Against Mrs. Augusta Dietz, Who is Accused of Slaying Her Husband.” Warsaw Daily Union (In.), Mar. 17, 1914, p. 16

Agnes McHugh – Chicago attorney – 1916

“A man jury will not convict a woman murderer in this county, if the prosecutor is a man. I think this leniency may be traced to the chivalry latent in every man. The jurors see two or three big strong men sitting at the prosecutors’ table, and subconsciously feel that these fierce prosecutors are attacking the frail, pretty woman in the prisoner’s chair. Their instinct is to defend her. Perhaps their pity would not be stirred so profoundly if a woman was in the prosecutor’s chair. I believe the leniency of juries with feminine slayers is responsible for the wave of ‘affinity crimes’ sweeping Chicago. The woman criminal will receive justice only when there’s a woman in court to prosecute her. We demand justice for women — not maudlin sympathy or leniency.”

Source: “Women Say Only Woman Can Stop Women Killing Off Their Husbands - With 20 Chicago Women Acquitted of Slaying Husbands or Lovers, Feminine Lawyers Ask for “Justice Instead of Sympathy” of Men.” Sep. 26, 1916, p. 5

Judge Frank E. Johnston Jr. – Chicago – 1920

“When women judge members of their own sex, it is a sure thing that no more sentimentality will effect the prisoner’s release. Women jurors will vote to convict a guilty woman every time, and we intend to make Chicago safe for husbands.”

Source: “Make Chicago Safe For Husbands, Task For Women Jurors – Sterner Verdicts Expected By Officials When The Lady Voters Get Busy.” Syndicated, The San Antonio Express (Tx.), Aug. 23, 1920, p. 2

Sheriff David H. Knott – New York – 1921

“It is necessary to have women jurors to convict women accused of some crimes, he asserts, and continues: I could cite many examples where women accused of crime are allowed to go free because the attorney for the defendant will play on the sympathy of the men jurors. A year and a half ago in the criminal branch a woman was accused of certain crime before Judge Weeks. We were all absolutely positive that she should have been found guilt and sent up for five years. She was tried twice before a men’s jury, the first time ending in a disagreement and the second time pronounced not guilty. A women’s jury would probably have found her guilty. Woman to-day can commit murder and it almost impossible for the District Attorney to convict her because her sex.”


Judge Rhea M Whitehead – Presiding member of the Superior Court of Seattle – 1921

“A husband is going to get a square deal in my court. Too many men are convicted on sobby tales of wives!”

Source: “The Woman Judge Who Gives Husbands A Square Deal – She Is Introducing a Novel Procedure In Seattle Where Tears and Sentiment Carry No Weight and Women Are Not Regarded Today as ‘Helpless and Dependent Children,’” syndicated, Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette (In.), Jun. 26, 1921, sec. 4, p. 1


Lloyd Heth – Assistant State’s Attorney, Illinois

“I will demand a woman jury in this case,” Mr. Heth said. “It is impossible to get conviction of affinity slayers by men juries. In the last ten years fourteen women who killed men have been freed. The only two convicted were a woman seventy-two years old and a negress. It would be interesting to see what a woman jury would do.”


Alice Robertson – U.S. House of Representatives (Oklahoma) - 1921

“Women who murder get off too easy. They’re not judged according to the same standards as men who murder, but you don’t hear the suffragists demanding equal rights for the men, do you? No the suffragists want equal rights for women with special privileges.”


Judge Florence E. Allen – First Criminal Court Judge, in 1922 Elected to Ohio Supreme Court – 1922

“Men have always sat on juries and men instinctively shrink from holding women strictly accountable for their misdeeds. Now that women sit on juries I expect the percentage of convictions in cases of women to be greater. Women are more clever than men in arousing sympathy. I had one woman, a hardened criminal, stage a terrific fainting spell in my courtroom after the jury found her guilty. It took four men to carry her to jail. She continued having these spells, so long that I had to defer pronouncing sentence. Finally I sent her word that the longer she acted so, the longer she would be in jail. Within a few moments she sent up word that, she would be good and received her sentence meekly, with no trace of feeling”

Thomas Lee Woolwine – Los Angeles District Attorney - 1922

“The reason it is well night impossible to punish women for crimes of violence in particular is simple: It is because they are women, and because sex plays a vital part in every such trial. Men are innately loath to punish women. Women naturally arouse a feeling of false chivalry in men which allays and tempers their judgment upon the evidence. It is more difficult for a prosecutor to overcome this powerful factor than it is to convince a jury upon the state of facts presented.”


  1. Here's recent book quote on the topic of chivalry (note well the mention of narcissism in relation to chivalry):

    The modern chivalry

    Feminism has not introduced any new idea or principle, because it’s just old-fashioned chivalry. This provides the key to understanding feminism. Feminism is merely a label attached to what was always, throughout human history, a predisposition. In the half-century that western cultures have enjoyed peace and prosperity, there have been no wars where men had to be conscripted to make women feel safe and grateful for men’s contributions. It was inevitable that, in the absence of war and the increased availability of leisure time, the provided-for sex will become the spoiled sex. It was inevitable, with the ready availability and subsequent misuse of cheap and effective contraception and abortion, that the provided-for sex will become the demanding sex. Chivalry extended by men out of the goodness of their gullible hearts becomes chivalry demanded by women indulging in their narcissism. Narcissistic Woman tells Man to his face. “l’m so beautiful, you’re so chump, take care of me,” and she gets away with it. Feminism has provided the symbol around which womanly self-indulgence - that was always present - can crystallize.
    [From ‘Sanity's Insanity: Applying semiotics to understand the hidden world of mind, culture and gender roles’ p.272]


    And here's an interview between cultural mythologist Joseph Campbell and journalist Bill Moyers mentioning the topic:

    Moyers: So the age of chivalry was growing up as the age of romantic love was reaching out?

    Campbell: The Middle Ages was a strange period because it was terribly brutal. There was no central law. Everyone was on his own, and, of course, there were great violations of everything. But within this brutality there was a civilizing force which the women really represented because they were the ones who established the rules for this game.

    Moyers: How did it happen that the women had the dominant influence?

    Campbell: Because if you want to make love to a woman, she's already got the drop on you. The technical term for a woman's granting of herself was 'merci.' The woman grants her 'merci.' Now, that might consist in her permission for the man to kiss her on the back of the neck once every Whitsuntide, you know, something like that - or it may be a full giving in love. That would depend upon her estimation of the character of the candidate... The essential idea was to test this man to make sure that he would suffer things for love, and that this was not just lust.

    Moyers: Joseph, that may have emerged in the troubadour period, but it is still alive and well in East Texas.

    Campbell: That’s the force of this position. It originated in twelfth century Provence, and you've got it now in 20th century Texas. [From - The Power of Myth].

  2. Great justice quotes collection. I have compiled some quotes from you. Thanks for sharing.