Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1 Instructions from the court to the jury in deciding the case against August Spies et al. Includes definitions of murder, unlawful killing and express malice. Provides the sentences appropriate for those found guilty of murder. Defines accessory, conspiracy, circumstantial evidence, and outlines the degree of reasonable doubt that must exist in the jurors' minds to result in an acquittal. And thereupon, after argument, the Court gave the following instructions to the Jury in behalf of the People: Instructions on the part of the People.
Court's instructions to the jury on behalf of the people, 1886 Aug. 19.
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Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1
Instructions from the court to the jury in deciding the case against August Spies et al. Includes definitions of murder, unlawful killing and express malice. Provides the sentences appropriate for those found guilty of murder. Defines accessory, conspiracy, circumstantial evidence, and outlines the degree of reasonable doubt that must exist in the jurors' minds to result in an acquittal.
And thereupon, after argument, the Court gave the following instructions to the Jury in behalf of the People:
Instructions on the part of the People.
The Court instructs the jury, in the languge of the Statute, that murder is the unlawful killing of a human being,in the peace of the pwople, with malice a forthought, either expressed or implied. The unlawful killing may be perpetrated by poisoning, striking, starving, drowning, stabbing, shooting or by any other of the various forms or means by which human nature may be overcome, and death thereby occasioned. Express malice is that deliberate intention unlawful to take away the life of a fellow creature,which is manifested by external circumstances capable of proof. Malice shall be implied when no considerable provocation appears,or when all the circumstances of the killing show an abandoned or malignant heart. (Given.)
The court instructs the jury that whoever is guilty of murder shall suffer the punishment of death, or imprisonment in the ponitentiary for his natural life,or for a term not less than fourteen years. If the accused or any of them,are found guilty by a jury,the jury shall fix the punishment by their verdict. (Given.)
The court instructs the jury that while it is provided by the Constitution of the State of Illinois, that"every person may freely speak, write and publish on all subject" he is by the Constitution held responsible, under the laws, for the abuse of the liberty so given. Freedom of speech is limited by the laws of the land to (Given.)
the extent,among other limitations,that no man is allowed to,advise the committing of any crime against the person or property of another. And the State provides:
"An accessory is he who stands by, and aides, abets or assists or who, not being present, aiding, abetting or assisting, hath advised encouraged, aided or abetted the perpetration of the crime. He who thus aids, abets assists, advises or encourgaes shall be considered as principal, and punished accordingly."
Every such accessory, when a crime is committed, within or without this State, by his aid or procurement in this State, may be indicted and convicted at the same time as the principal, or before or after his conviction, and whether the principal is concvicted or amenable to justice or not, and punished as principal. (Given.)
The court further instructs the jury as a matter of law,that if they believe from the evidence in this case beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendants or any of them conspired and agreed together or with others, to overthrow the law by force, or to unlawfully resist the officers of the law, and if they further believe from the evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, that in pursuance of such conspiracy and in furtherance of the common object a bomb was thrown by a member of such conspiracy at the time and that Matthias J.Degan was killed, then such of the defendants, that the jury believe from the evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, to have been parties to such conspiracy, are guilty of murder whether present at the killing or not and whether the identity of the person throwing the bomb be established or not. (Given.)
If the jury believe from the evidence, beyond a reasonable doubt,that there was in existence in this county and State a conspiracy to overthrow the existing order of society and to bring about a social revolution by force, or to destroy the legal authorities of this City, County or State, by force, and that the defendants, or any of them were parties to such conspiracy, and that Degan was killed in the manner described in the indictment, that he was jkilled by a bomb, and that the bomb was thrown by a party to the conspiracy and in furtherance of the objects of the conspiracy, then any of the defendants who were members, of such conspiracy at that time are in this case guilty of murder, and that, too, although the jury may further believe from the evidence that the time and place for the bringing about of such revolution or the destruction of such authorities had not been definitely agreed upon by the conspirators, but was left by them to the exigencies of time, or to the judgment of any of the conspirators. (Given.)
If these defendants or any two or more of them conspired together with or not with any other person or persons, to excite the people, or classes of the people, of this city, to sedition, tumult and riot, and to use deadly weapons against, and take the lives of other persons, as a means to carry their designs and purposes into effect, and in pursuance of such conspiracy and in furtherance of its objects, any of the persons so conspiring, publicly, by print or speech advised or encouraged the commissions of murder without designating time, place or occasion at which it should be done and in pursuance (Given.)
of and induced by such advice or encouragement, murder was committed then all of such conspirators are guilty of such murder whether the person who perpetrated such murder can be identified or not. If such murder was committed in pursuance of such advice or encouragement and was induced thereby it does not matter what change, if any, in the order or condition of society or what if any advantage to themselves or others the conspirators proposed as the result of their conspiracy. Nor does it matter whether such advice or encouragement had been frequent and long continued or not, except in determining whether the perpetrator of the murder was or was not acting in pursuance of such advice or encouragement and was or was not induced thereby to commit the murder. If there was such a conspiracy as in this instruction is recited and such advice or encouragement was given and murder committed in pursuance of and induced thereby,then all of such conspirators are guilty of murder. Nor does it matter, if there was such a conspiracy how impracticable or impossible of success its ends and aims were, nor how foolish or ill-arranged were the plans for its execution, except as bearing upon the question whether there was or was not such conspiracy. (Given.)
The court instructs the jury that a conspiracy may be established by circumstantial evidence the same as any other fact and that such evidence is legal and competent for that purpose. So, as to whether an act committed was done by a member of a conspiracy may be established by circumstantial evidence whether the identity of the individual who committed the act be established or not, and also whether an act done was in pursuance of the common (Given.)
design may be ascertained by the same class of evidence, and if the jury believe from the evidence in this case beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendants, or any of them, conspired and agreed together, or with others, to overthrow the law by force, or destroy the legal authorities of this City, ounty or State by force, and that in furtherance of the common design and by a member of such conspiracy Matthias J Degan was killed, then these defendants, if any, whom the jury believe from the evidence, beyond a reasonable doubt, were parties to such conspiracy are guilty of the murder of Matthias J.Degan whether the identity of the individual doing the killing be established or not, or whether such defendants were present at the time of the killing or not. (Given.)
The jury are instructed, as a matter of law,that all who take part in a conspiracy after it is formed, and while it is in execution, and all who, with knowledge of the facts, concur in the plans originally formed, and aid in executing them, are fellow-conspirators Their concurrence, without proof of an agreement to concur, is conclusive against them. They commit the offence when they become parties to the transaction, or further the original plan with knowledge of the conspiracy. (Given.)
The court instructs the jury, as a matter of law, that circumstantial evidence is just as legal and just as effective as any other evidence, provided the circumstances are of such a character and force as to satisfy the minds of the jury of the defendatss'(Given.)
guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The court instructs the jury that what is meant by circumstantial evidence in criminal cases is the proof of such facts and circumstances connected with or surrounding the commission of the crime charged as tends to show the guilt or innocence of the party charged, and if these facts and circumstances are sufficient to satisfy the jury of the guilt of the defendants beyond a reasonable doubt then such evidence is sufficient to authorize the jury in finding the defendants guilty.
The law exacts the conviction wherever there is sufficient legal evidence to show the defendants' guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and circumstantial evidence is legal evidence. (Given.)
The court instructs the jury, as matter of law, that when the defendants, August Spies, Michael Schwab, Albert R. Parsons, and Samuel Feilden testified as witnesses in this case, each became the same as any other witness, and the credibility of each is to be tested by and subjected to the same tests as are legally applied to any other witness; and in determining the degree of credibility that shall be accorded to the testimony of any one of said above named defendants, the jury have a right to take into consideration the fact that he is interested in the result of this prosecution, as well as his demeanor and conduct upon the witness stand and during the trial; and the jury are also to take into consideration the fact if such is the fact that he has been contradicted by other witnesses.(Given.)
And the court further instructs the jury that, if after considering all the evidence in this case, they find that any one of said defendants August Spies, Michael Schwab, Albert R.Parsons and Samuel Fielden has wilfully and corruptly testified falsely to any fact material to the issue in this case, they have the right to entirely disregard his testimony excepting in so far as his testimony is corroborated by other credible evidence. (Given.)
The rule of law which clothes every person accused of crime with the presmption of innocence, and imposes upon the State the burden of establishing his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, is not intended to aid any one who is in fact guilty of crime to escape, but is a humane provision of law, intended, so far as human agencies can, to guard against the danger of any innocent person being unjustly punished. (Given.)
The court instructs the jury, as a matter of law, that in considering the case, the jury are not to go beyond the evidence to hunt up doubts, nor must they entertain such doubts as are merely chimerical or conjextural. A doubt to justify an acquittal must be reasonable, and it must arise from a can did and impartial investigation of all the evidence in the case, and unless it is such that were the same kind of doubt interposed in the graver transactions of life, it would cause a reasonable and prudent man to hasitate and pause, it is insufficient to authorize a verdict of not guilty. If, after considering all the evidence,you can say you have an (Given.)
abiding conviction of the truth of the charge, you are satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt.
The court further instructs the jury, as a matter of law, that the doubt which the juror is allowed to retain on his own mind, and under the influence of which he should frame a verdict of not guilty, must always be a reasonable one. A doubt produced by undue sensibility in the mind of any juror, in view of the consequence of his verdict is not a reasonable doubt, and a juror is not allowed to create sources or materials of doubt by resorting to trivial and fanciful suppositions, and remote conjectures as to possible states of facts, differing from that established by the evidence. You are not at liberty to disbelieve as jurors, if from the evidence you believe as men; your oath imposes on you no obligation to doubt where no doubt would exist if no oath had been administered. (Given.)
The court instructs the jury, they are the judges of the law, as well as the facts in this case, and if they can say upon their loaths that they know the law better than the court does, they have the right to do so, but before assuming so solemn a responsibility, they should be sure that they are not acting from capries or prejudice, that they are not controlled by their will or their wishes, but from a deep and confident conviction that the court is wrong and that they are right. Before saying this upon their oaths it is their duty to reflect whether from their study and experience, they are better qualified to judge of the law than the court. If under all these circumstances, they are prepared to say (Given.)
that the court is wrong in its exposition of the law, the statute has given them that right.
In this case the jury may, as in their judgment the evidence warrants, find any or all of the defendants guilty or any or all of them not guilty; and if in their judgment the evidence warrants they may, in case they find the defendants, or any of them guilty, fix the same penalty for all of the defendants found guilty, or different penalties for the different defendants found guilty.
And in case they find the defendants, or any of them, guilty of murder, they should fix the panalty either at death or at imprisonment in the penitentiary for life, or at imprisonment in the penitentiary for a term of any number of years not less than fourteen. (Given.)