Argument Over the Court's Directing a Verdict of Guilty in the Case of
United States vs Susan B. Anthony & Jury Verdict



The Court: ....Upon this evidence I suppose there is no question for the jury and that the jury should be directed to find a verdict of guilty.

Judge Selden: I submit that on the view which your Honor has taken, that the right to vote and the regulation of it is solely a
State matter. That this whole law is out of the jurisdiction of the United States Courts and of Congress. The whole law upon that
basis, as I understand it, is not within the constitutional power of the general Government, but is one which applies to the States. I
suppose that it is for the jury to determine whether the defendant is guilty of a crime or not. And I therefore ask your Honor to
submit to the jury these propositions:
First-If the defendant, at the time of voting, believed that she had a right to vote and voted in good faith in that belief, she is not
guilty of the offense charged.
Second-In determining the question whether she did or did not believe that she had a right to vote, the jury may take into
consideration, as bearing upon that question, the advice which she received from the counsel to whom she applied.
Third-That they may also take into consideration, as bearing upon the same question, the fact that the inspectors considered the
question and came to the conclusion that she had a right to vote.
Fourth-That the jury have a right to find a general verdict of guilty or not guilty as they shall believe that she has or has not
committed the offense described in the Statute.

A professional friend sitting by has made this suggestion which I take leave to avail myself of as bearing upon this question: "The
Court has listened for many hours to an argument in order to decide whether the defendant has a right to vote. The arguments
show the same question has engaged the best minds of the country as an open question. Can it be possible that the defendant is to
be convicted for acting upon such advice as she could obtain while the question is an open and undecided one?

The Court: You have made a much better argument than that, sir.

Judge Selden: As long as it is an open question I submit that she has not been guilty of an offense. At all events it is for the jury.

The Court: I cannot charge these propositions of course. The question, gentlemen of the jury, in the form it finally takes, is wholly
a question or questions of law, and I have decided as a question of law, in the first place, that under the 14th Amendment, which
Miss Anthony claims protects her, she was not protected in a right to vote. And I have decided also that her belief and the advice which she took does not protect her in the act which she committed. If I am right in this, the result must
be a verdict on your part of guilty, and I therefore direct that you find a verdict of guilty.

Judge Selden: That is a direction no Court has power to make in a criminal case.

The Court: Take the verdict, Mr. Clerk.

The Clerk: Gentlemen of the jury, hearken to your verdict as the Court has recorded it. You say you find the defendant guilty of
the offense whereof she stands indicted, and so say you all?

Judge Selden: I don't know whether an exception is available, but I certainly must except to the refusal of the Court to submit
those propositions, and especially to the direction of the Court that the jury should find a verdict of guilty. I claim that it is a power
that is not given to any Court in a criminal case.

Will the Clerk poll the jury?

The Clerk: No. Gentlemen of the jury, you are discharged.

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