The great and sensational case of the United States of America vs. William D. Haywood et al. resulted in a verdict of “Guilty” against the one hundred defendants who finally faced the court and jury. Although the trial consumed over four months, and al-though the witnesses were numerous and the record unprecedentedly voluminous, the jury deliberated less than two hours. This circumstance was a great surprise to the de-fendants as well as to many impartial observers. But the last phase of the trial was marked by more than one surprise. Every one concerned had been very patient all through the long and wearisome affair, yet the closing hours of the trial produced an im-pression of the keenest desire to get through on any terms, and let the jury do what it might without proper and adequate help from the attorneys in the case. The defence suddenly decided to dispense with argument and analytical review of the evidence from its point of view. The prosecution was not unwilling to acquiesce in this arrangement, although it deprived the Government likewise of the opportunity of going over the evi-dence carefully, and showing how each of the one hundred defendants had been duly connected by it with the conspiracies charged in the indictment.
Lawyers who watched the proceedings are at a loss to account for the action of the de-fence at the eleventh hour. Was it confident of an acquittal of all the defendants? How could it afford to take so great a risk as it took in waiving the right to argue the case elaborately? Or was it so certain of an adverse verdict as to all of the accused that it did not think it worth while to claim even so substantial a right as that of analyzing and in-terpreting the evidence and disproving the views and conclusions of the other aide?
The second hypothesis is positively negatived by the assertions which some of the ablest of the defendants made privately and publicly on the eve of the final day of the trial. There can be no doubt that many of them expected that they would be acquitted. There can be no doubt that most of them believed that their side had presented a pow-erful and impressive defence. None of them had complained of the slightest unfairness on the part of the court, while some had declared repeatedly that Judge Landis, the pre-siding judge, was giving them an absolutely “fair deal.” Optimism and overconfidence on the part of the defence would seem to be the likelier explanation of its action. But, in that case, its course was unwise and unjust to the jury. Could the jury be expected to re-member unaided all the evidence and to make up its mind that each of the one hundred defendants was guilty of the several conspiracies charged beyond a reasonable doubt? Be this as it may, the verdict is before the country. The great trial ended in a practically complete victory for the Government, and a vindication of the warnings and demands of those persons and organizations in the Northwest and elsewhere who had accused the I. W. W. of disloyalty, sedition, and bitter hostility towards the Government and its war policies.
Whether the verdict is justified as to all the defendants by the evidence in the record is a question which the highest court in the land will doubtless answer in due time. Certain it is that to all outward seeming the trial was fair.
None of the defendants has alleged that in the courtroom any appeal to mere prejudice was permitted or tolerated. The prosecution was, of course, technical, but by no means too technical. The court resolved many a doubt in regard to the admissibility of the evi-dence in favor of the defendants. No disposition was manifested to restrict them as to the way or manner in which they should meet the charges against them. If they were hampered — and they say that they were it was outside of the courtroom, by lack of funds, by alleged interference with their witnesses, by the failure to deliver mail to and from the headquarters of the I. W. W., and the suppression of public appeals for contri-butions to the defence fund.