Now, your Honor, I have been practicing law a good deal longer than I should have, anyhow, for forty-five or forty-six years, and during a part of that time I have tried a good many criminal cases, always defending. It does not mean that I am better. It probably means that I am more squeamish than the other fellows. It means neither that I am better nor worse. It means the way I am made. I can not help it.
I have never yet tried a case where the state's attorney did not say that it was the most cold-blooded, inexcusable, premeditated case that ever occurred. If it was murder, there never was such a murder. If it was robbery, thee never was such a robbery. If it was a conspiracy, it was the most terrible conspiracy that ever happened since the Star-Chamber passed into oblivion. If it was larceny, there never was such a larceny.
Now, I'm speaking moderately. All of them are the worst. Why? Well, it adds to the credit of the State's Attorney to be connected with a big case. That is one thing. They can say,--
"Well, I tried the most cold-blooded murder case that ever was tried, and I convicted them, and they are dead."
"I tried the worst forgery case that ever was tried, and I won that. I never did anything that was not big."
Lawyers are apt to say that.
I suppose it may have some effect with the court; I do not know. Anyway, those are the chances we take when we do our best to save life and reputation.
"Here, your clients have pleaded guilty to the most cold-blooded murder that ever took place in the history of the world. And how does a judge dare to refuse to hang by the neck until dead two cowardly ruffians who committed the coldest-blooded murder in the history of the world?"
That is a good talking point.
I want to give some attention to this cold-blooded murder, your Honor.
Was it a cold-blooded murder?
Was it the most terrible murder that ever happened in the State of Illinois?
Was it the most dastardly act in the annals of crime?