Famous Defendants: My Views of Their Guilt or Innocence
Bishop, et al.        1692 Witchcraft Guilty Innocent 100%
Andrew Johnson        1868  High Crime/Misd No Conviction Innocent** 98%
Lizzie Borden        1893 Murder Not Guilty Guilty 99%
Bill Haywood        1907 Murder  Not Guilty Guilty 96%
Leo Frank        1913 Murder Guilty Innocent 99%
Nicola Sacco        1921 Murder Guilty Guilty 99%
B. Vanzetti        1921 Murder Guilty Guilty
Scottsboro Boys    1931-1937 Rape Guilty Innocent 99%
Bruno Hauptmann        1935 Kidnap/Murder Guilty Guilty 99%
Alger Hiss        1949 Perjury Guilty Guilty 99%
Julius Rosenberg        1951 Conspiracy to commit espionage Guilty Guilty 99%
Ethel Rosenberg        1951 Conspiracy to commit espionage Guilty Guilty 95%
Sam Sheppard        1954 & 1966
Murder Guilty/Not Guilty*** Guilty
William Calley        1970 Murder Guilty Guilty 99%
Chicago 7(key 5)        1970 Inciting riot Guilty Innocent**** 80-95%
Leonard Peltier        1977 Murder Guilty Guilty***** 97%
Lindy Chamberlain
       1982 Murder Guilty Innocent 99%
Ray Buckey
       1987-90 Child molestation Hung jury
Innocent 99%
O. J. Simpson        1995 Murder Not Guilty Guilty 99%
Timothy McVeigh
       1997 Murder & other
Guilty Guilty 99%

*  My view as to whether the defendant was guilty of the charge.  In some cases, although I believe the defendant guilty, I do not believe the evidence was sufficient to sustain a guilty verdict given the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard that juries are supposed to apply.  In other cases (e.g., the Scopes trial), the defendant may have clearly been guilty as charged, but the law he was charged with violating should have been found unconstitutional.  The column with the heading "Confidence" notes the level of confidence that I have in my judgment of the defendant's actual guilt or innocence.

**Andrew Johnson undoubtedly did commit some of the actions alleged in the articles of impeachment, but I do not believe that any of his actions constituted a "high crime or misdemeanor" within the meaning of the Constitution.

*** In a second trial in 1966, Sheppard was found not guilty.

****The Chicago 7 were convicted of crossing a state line with an intent to incite a riot.  My view of the defendants' guilt depends upon my understanding of the words "intent," "incite," and "riot."  My confidence in the innocence of the defendants ranges from 80% (for Hoffman and Rubin) to 95% (for Dellinger).  Seale, who was one of the original Chicago 8, was probably guilty.  The key five defendants were rightly convicted of criminal contempt for their conduct at trial, but the 7th Circuit, appropriately I believe, chose not to require the defendants to serve any jail time.

*****I think it unlikely that Peltier fired the shots that killed the F. B. I. agents, but he was a member of a group of three AIM members who approached the agents at close range with the intent to kill. One of the three killed the agents.  Regardless of which one did, Peltier would be guilty under a felony-murder theory.

Famous Trials Bowling