People v. Wilson

CourtIllinois Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtLAWRENCE
Citation1872 WL 8298,16 Am.Rep. 528,64 Ill. 195
Decision Date30 September 1872
PartiesTHE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOISv.CHARLES L. WILSON AND ANDREW SHUMAN.

64 Ill. 195
1872 WL 8298 (Ill.)
16 Am.Rep.
528

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS
v.
CHARLES L. WILSON AND ANDREW SHUMAN.

Supreme Court of Illinois.

September Term, 1872.


[64 Ill. 196]

[64 Ill. 197]

This was a proceeding in the name of The People, against Charles L. Wilson and Andrew Shuman, the publisher and editor of a newspaper published in the city of Chicago, called the “Chicago Evening Journal,” for an alleged contempt of this court, in the publishing in said newspaper, on the 16th day of October, 1872, during the sitting of said court, at the September term, 1872, thereof, of an article which appeared as an editorial in said newspaper, in reference to the case of Christopher Rafferty against The People, which was then pending, on writ of error, in this court.

The article referred to is set forth in the following information, presented to the court by the Attorney General, on the 23d day of October, 1872:

+---------------------------------------------------------+
                ¦“STATE OF ILLINOIS,¦)¦ ¦Northern Grand Division, ¦
                +-------------------+-+-----+-----------------------------¦
                ¦ ¦)¦ss. ¦ ¦
                +-------------------+-+-----+-----------------------------¦
                ¦Supreme Court, ¦)¦ ¦September Term, A. D. 1872.¦
                +---------------------------------------------------------+
                
+--------------------------------------------------+
                ¦The People of the State of Illinois¦)¦ ¦
                +-----------------------------------+-+------------¦
                ¦v. ¦)¦ ¦
                +-----------------------------------+-+------------¦
                ¦ ¦)¦Information.¦
                +-----------------------------------+-+------------¦
                ¦Charles L. Wilson and ¦)¦ ¦
                +-----------------------------------+-+------------¦
                ¦Andrew Shuman. ¦)¦ ¦
                +--------------------------------------------------+
                

And now come the said People, by Washington Bushnell, Attorney General, and represent to the court that on the 16th day of October, A. D. 1872, there was, and still is, pending in this court, a certain cause for the adjudication and determination of this court, wherein one Christopher Rafferty is plaintiff in error and The People of the State of Illinois are defendants in error, and that, on the same day there was published in the city of Chicago, in said State, a certain daily newspaper called the Chicago Evening Journal, of which said paper on said day the said Charles L. Wilson was proprietor and the said Andrew Shuman was editor, and that said Charles L. Wilson and Andrew Shuman, on the said day, caused to be published in said paper, of and concerning said cause so pending in this court, and of and concerning this court and its supposed action with reference to said cause, a certain article, in the words following, that is to say:

[64 Ill. 198]

‘THE CASE OF RAFFERTY.’

‘At the time a writ of supersedeas was granted in the case of the murderer Chris. Rafferty, the public was blandly assured that the matter would be examined into by the supreme court and decided at once; that possibly the hanging of this notorious human butcher would not be delayed for a single day. Time speeds away, however, and we hear of nothing definite being done. Rafferty's counsel seems to be studying the policy of delay, and evidently with success. The riff-raff who contributed fourteen hundred dollars to demonstrate that ‘hanging is played out,’ may now congratulate themselves on the success of their little game. Their money is operating splendidly. We have no hesitancy in prophesying clear through to the end just what will be done with Rafferty. He will be granted a new trial. He will be tried somewhere, within a year or two. He will be sentenced to imprisonment for life. Eventually, he will be pardoned out. And this in spite of all our public meetings, resolutions, committees, virtuous indignation and what not. And why? Because the sum of fourteen hundred dollars is enough nowadays to enable a man to purchase immunity from the consequences of any crime. If next winter's session of the legislature does not hermetically seal up every chink and loophole through which murderers now escape, it will deserve the bitter censure of every honest man in Illinois. We must simplify our modes of procedure in murder trials. The criminal should be tried at once, and when found guilty, should be hanged at once, and the quicker hanged the better. The courts are now completely in the control of corrupt and mercenary shysters--the jackals of the legal profession--who feast and fatten on human blood spilled by the hands of other men. All this must be remedied. There can be found a remedy, and it must be found.'

Wherefore the said Attorney General, for and on behalf of the said People, moves this court for a rule upon the defendants,

[64 Ill. 199]

Charles L. Wilson and Andrew Shuman, to be and appear before this court, on a day to be named, and show cause, if any they or either of them have, why an attachment should not issue against them for a contempt of this court in respect to the publication of said article.

WASHINGTON BUSHNELL,

Attorney General.”

Afterwards, on the 25th day of the same month of October, a rule was entered of record, requiring the said Charles L. Wilson and Andrew Shuman, on or before the coming in of the court on the first day of November next following, to show cause, if any they should have, why an attachment should not issue against them, for a contempt of this court, in the publishing of the article mentioned.

Accordingly, in obedience to such rule, on the said first day of November, there was filed in behalf of the respondent Wilson, the following answer:

“And now comes Charles L. Wilson, one of the above respondents, in obedience to the rule heretofore, to-wit: On the 25th day of October A. D. 1872, entered in said court, requiring this respondent and Andrew Shuman to show cause why an attachment should not issue against them, for a contempt of said court, on account of the matters and things in a certain information filed in said court, in said rule mentioned; and in answer to the said rule, this respondent says, that he is the sole proprietor of the said newspaper, mentioned in the said information, called the Chicago Journal, and that the article set forth in said information was published therein on the 16th day of October, 1872, but this respondent says that neither before, nor at the time of the publication, had he any knowledge or information relative to the same. This respondent did not know, before said paper in which the article appeared, was published, that said article, or any article upon

[64 Ill. 200]

the subject, was written, or to be written, or that any article upon the subject was to be published, and that he neither advised or counseled, nor was he advised or counseled with by any person whatever, relative to the publication of said article, or any article whatever upon the subject.

This respondent further says, that the first knowledge or information he had relative to said article, or its publication, was when he read the said article in said paper, after its publication and distribution.

This respondent further says, that he is informed and believes that no disrespect was intended by said article to said court, or to any judge thereof, and that a fair construction thereof will not warrant an inference to that effect.

This respondent is advised and believes that the publication of said article was not designed, and had no tendency to impede, embarrass or obstruct the administration of justice in said court. And this respondent does, and will insist, that he had and still has the right, through his said paper, by himself or his agents, to examine the proceedings of any and every department of the government of this State; and that he is not responsible for the truth of such publications, nor for the motives with which they were or are made, by the summary process of an attachment for contempt, save when such publications impede, embarrass or obstruct the administration of justice.

This respondent further says, that such has been the established law of this State for over thirty years past, and that said court has no judicial power to change the same.

This respondent takes this occasion to renew his repeated expressions of confidence in the ability and integrity of said court, and of the individual members of the same, and as evidence of the same gives the following article, which was published in said paper, issued on the 26th of September, 1872; that is to say:

[64 Ill. 201]

‘The Supreme Court of Illinois, although, perhaps too ready to grant motions for supersedeas, has no sympathy with criminals. The judges are all men infinitely above any such suspicion. It is their business to examine every case appealed to them, without any bias, one way or the other, taking note solely of the facts presented in each case. The question for the higher court to decide is this: Did the accused, from first to last, have a fair trial? The presumption is that he did, and the rule is to grant a supersedeas only in case it is clear that he did not have a fair trial. While we cordially commend the zeal of the prosecuting attorney and of our courts in their efforts to check the appalling frequency of murders in this city and county, we suggest to them more caution in observing all the forms and technicalities of the law in the conduct of future murder trials. The supreme court will certainly continue to insist upon it, and every supersedeas granted acts as a premium upon murder.’

This respondent further says, that at the time of the publication of said article, first mentioned, there was an intense excitement in the community, and particularly in the city of Chicago, on account of frequent murders, and the escape of the perpetrators thereof; and this respondent is informed and believes that the design of said article was to impress upon the community the importance of electing members of the next general assembly of this State, who would remedy the defects in the criminal law of the State, by which criminals are able to escape...

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101 practice notes
  • KUTV, Inc. v. Conder, Nos. 18231
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Utah
    • 23 Junio 1983
    ...freedom of the press, include: State v. Morrill, 16 Ark. 384 (1855); Cooper v. People, 13 Colo. 337, 22 P. 790 (1889); People v. Wilson, 64 Ill. 195 (1872); State v. Judge of Civil District Court, 45 La.Ann. 1250, 14 So. 310 (1893); In re Sturoc, 48 N.H. 428 (1869); State v. Frew, 24 W.Va. ......
  • Ex parte Craig, 308.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • 22 Mayo 1922
    ...States v. Duane, Fed. Cas. No. 14,997; In re Bronson, 12 Johns. (N.Y.) 460; Bloom v. People, 23 Colo. 416, 48 P. 519; People v. Wilson, 64 Ill. 195, 16 Am.Rep. 528. Courts of record of superior jurisdiction possess inherent power to punish for contempt of court. Middlesex Sheriff's Case, 11......
  • United States v. Toledo Newspaper Co.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Ohio
    • 23 Enero 1915
    ...is needed, the argument of the Supreme Court of Ohio that offensive publication tend directly to obstruct justice. In People v. Wilson, 64 Ill. 195, 211, 16 Am.Rep. 528, the dictum in Stuart v. People, 3 Scam. (Ill.) 405, under a statute giving a court power 'to punish contempts offered by ......
  • Near v. State of Minnesota Olson, No. 91
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 1 Junio 1931
    ...A. 430; Nebraska v. Rosewater, 60 Neb. 438, 80 N. W. 353; State v. Tugwell, 19 Wash. 238, 52 P. 1056, 43 L. R. A. 717; People v. Wilson, 64 Ill. 195, 16 Am. Rep. 528; Storey v. People, 79 Ill. 45, 22 Am. Rep. 158; State v. Circuit Court, 97 Wis. 1, 72 N. W. 193, 38 L. R. A. 554, 65 Am. St. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
117 cases
  • KUTV, Inc. v. Conder, Nos. 18231
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Utah
    • 23 Junio 1983
    ...freedom of the press, include: State v. Morrill, 16 Ark. 384 (1855); Cooper v. People, 13 Colo. 337, 22 P. 790 (1889); People v. Wilson, 64 Ill. 195 (1872); State v. Judge of Civil District Court, 45 La.Ann. 1250, 14 So. 310 (1893); In re Sturoc, 48 N.H. 428 (1869); State v. Frew, 24 W.Va. ......
  • Ex parte Craig, 308.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • 22 Mayo 1922
    ...States v. Duane, Fed. Cas. No. 14,997; In re Bronson, 12 Johns. (N.Y.) 460; Bloom v. People, 23 Colo. 416, 48 P. 519; People v. Wilson, 64 Ill. 195, 16 Am.Rep. 528. Courts of record of superior jurisdiction possess inherent power to punish for contempt of court. Middlesex Sheriff's Case, 11......
  • United States v. Toledo Newspaper Co.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Ohio
    • 23 Enero 1915
    ...is needed, the argument of the Supreme Court of Ohio that offensive publication tend directly to obstruct justice. In People v. Wilson, 64 Ill. 195, 211, 16 Am.Rep. 528, the dictum in Stuart v. People, 3 Scam. (Ill.) 405, under a statute giving a court power 'to punish contempts offered by ......
  • Near v. State of Minnesota Olson, No. 91
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 1 Junio 1931
    ...A. 430; Nebraska v. Rosewater, 60 Neb. 438, 80 N. W. 353; State v. Tugwell, 19 Wash. 238, 52 P. 1056, 43 L. R. A. 717; People v. Wilson, 64 Ill. 195, 16 Am. Rep. 528; Storey v. People, 79 Ill. 45, 22 Am. Rep. 158; State v. Circuit Court, 97 Wis. 1, 72 N. W. 193, 38 L. R. A. 554, 65 Am. St. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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