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Thu May 18, 2017 09:16

You and anyone else are entitled to an opinion. You should, however, condition that opinion by admitting the history. In 1935 in New Jersey what Trenchard did was not illegal or considered unfair. It was not illegal or unfair before Ernesto Miranda's case went to the US Supreme Court to not advise an arrested person rights before using any statements against that person in court. You are entitled to your opinion, but you should concede the historical aspects of any judicial decision.

The New Jersey court was asked to give Hauptmann a new trial because Trenchard's instructions to the jury were "unfair" and thereby illegal. It was, therefore, considered in Hauptmann's appeal. The court, in denying that claim, said "The whole charge shows signs of having been prepared with great care and without waste of words. It pointed out, and properly, features of the evidence which by the court were deemed important for their consideration in getting at the facts. He indicated in some cases his individual view, but in no case was that view so placed before the jury as to require them to consider themselves controlled by it. On the contrary, the court was careful at all times to reserve to them the ultimate decision on matters of fact." Trenchard went on to instruct the jury that they were not bound by any of his comments and that they were to decide the case on their own.

Before 1879 defendants in federal trials were not allowed to testify themselves because they were not considered to be credible witnesses. Was that legal? Yes. Did it change later? Yes. But now to go back and say that before 1879 a defendant denied the right to testify in his own trial before in federal court was treated illegally is historically wrong.

You are entitled in 2017 to say that Hauptmann was treated unfairly in your opinion. You are not entitled in 2017 to say Hauptmann should have received a new trial in 1936 because of Trenchard's comments if you are saying it was illegal or unfair in 1935.

One definition of "forum" is "an opportunity for open discussion". If this is not an "open forum", the readers should be cautioned accordingly. Perhaps a cautionary note that "this forum will not entertain any ideas except those that Hauptmann was innocent or, at least, treated illegally and unfairly." Perhaps then readers or participants would know that they would have to look elsewhere for the whole story.

  • trencherbob mills for forum, Wed May 17 18:37
    I can't agree on that. Trenchad outlined Hauptmann's alibi, then asked the jury, "Do you believe that?" Translation for any breathing human being..."I don't believe that, and you shouldn't either."... more
    • But, the lawyers have been telling us.....Ronelle to Bob Mills, Thu May 18 12:51 was all "legal." Trenchard, evidently, had the "legal" right to warn the jurors that Hauptmann was a "liar"?! Unbelievable. Thus, no grounds for retrial. I guess it depends on which lawyer is ... more
    • Trenchard — Anonymous, Thu May 18 09:16
      • entitled opinionsRonelle to TEXAS Anonymous 2602:306:3b94:e290:c45c, Thu May 18 13:08
        Yes, you are right TEXAS Anonymous. Everyone should be entitled to an opinion EXCEPT for a COURT JUDGE at a murder TRIAL. As I keep saying, it might have been "legal" but it was still a lynching.... more
        • Re: entitled opinionsAnonymous, Tue May 30 16:51
          " it was still a lynching. Those were once legal too, you know? " I never knew that "lynchings were legal" !!! Where does it say that? Just because they happened doesn't mean they were "legal." Are... more
          • lynchinganother anonymous, Wed May 31 08:29
            Are you serious? It's not at all confusing!Don't you understand what was meant by that?! It's like saying "They might as well have taken him out of his cell and lynched him." In other words, that... more
          • alan dershowitzRonelle, Wed May 31 01:51
            Since you don't like MY opinion you might be surprised by Alan Dershowitz' opinion from a TV segment on this case - that Hauptmann's trial "was a judicial lynching!"
            • hauptmann trialbob mills for ronelle and forum, Thu Jun 1 09:51
              Maybe "perfect storm" would be a better description than "judicial lynching," which implies that Hauptmann was an innocent bystander. A cocky German defendant at a time (1935) of growing angst from... more
              • perfectRonelle to Bob Mills, Sat Jun 3 06:26
                "A perfect storm. And OK...a judicial lynching as well." So, maybe we can now refer to it as a "perfect judicial lynching storm" ? There were so many "perfect storms" against Hauptmann - all over the ... more
              • lynchingRichard Sloan, Fri Jun 2 09:46
                Nice summary, Bob. Well done. I'm in the middle of Melsky's book, and he is starting to show that there was evidence of a second person involved in the crime, and that the police and detectives'... more
                • Re: lynchingsteve for rich, Tue Jun 6 09:56
                  i never saw hard evidence that there was two people. people were trying to connect somebody for years
                • Re: lynchingMichael For Richard, Sat Jun 3 08:13
                  Richard, The frustrating part is that I had 3 editors. The last guy even corrected my footnotes! Of course that took me days to reverse. However, in the end, the publisher did not print the final... more
                  • Re: lynchingsteve for mike, Tue Jun 6 09:58
                    that's the problem I want to hear your personal conclusions
                    • two?Richard, Wed Jun 7 09:15
                      I was never satisfied that one person did it. The hard evidence could be photos of all the footprints, which Mike discusses. But the cops screwed up by not taking pics of all of them and protecting... more
                  • vol. 2 of Melsky'sRichard, Sun Jun 4 10:07
                    Well, Mike, I look forward to vol.2. I assume you have reached a conclusion as to who dunnit and that you'll be revealing it in Vol.2. or maybe you'll only tell us that it's still not a sure thing.... more
        • Re: entitled opinionsMichael For Ronelle, Thu May 18 19:41
          If a tree falls in the woods, and there's a 1911 case that would allow for the testimony in a 1935 trial that it does not - do you care? I sure as hell don't. Perhaps other lawyers would enjoy that... more
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