Miss Anthony insists that in these proceedings, the fundamental principle of criminal law, that no person can be a criminal unless the mind be so—that an honest mistake is not a crime, has been disregarded; that she has been denied her constitutional right of trial by jury, the jury having had no voice in her conviction; that she has been denied her right to have the response of every juror to the question, whether he did or did not assent to the verdict which the court directed the clerk to enter.
The trial of the three inspectors followed that of Miss Anthony, and all were convicted, the court holding, as in the case of Miss Anthony, that good faith on their part in receiving the votes was not a protection; which they think a somewhat severe rule of law, inasmuch as the statute provides the same penalty, and in the same sentence, “for knowingly and wilfully receiving the vote of any person not entitled to vote, or refusing to receive the vote of any person entitled to vote.” The inspectors claim, that according to this exposition of the law, they were placed in a position which required them, without any opportunity to investigate or take advice in regard to the right of any voter whose right was questioned, to decide the question correctly, at the peril of a term in the state’s prison if they made a mistake; and, though this may be a correct exposition of the law in their case, they would be sorry to see it applied to the decisions of any court, not excepting the tribunal by which they were convicted.
The defendant, hall, is at a loss to know how he could have avoided the penalty, inasmuch as he did all that he could in the way of rejecting the votes, without throttling his co-inspectors, and forcing them to desist from the wrong of receiving them. He is of opinion that by the ruling of the Court, he would have been equally guilty, if he had tried his strength in that direction, and had failed of success.
To preserve a full record of so important a judicial determination, and to enable the friends of the convicted parties to understand precisely the degree of criminality which attaches to them in consequence of these convictions, the following pamphlet has been prepared—giving a more full and accurate statement of the proceedings than can elsewhere be found.
Against Susan B. Anthony.
Inand for the
Northern district of new York.
* * *
At a stated session of the District Court of the United States of America, held in and for the Northern District of New York, at the City Hall, in the city of Albany, in the said Northern District of New York, on the third Tuesday of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy-three, before the Honorable Nathan K. Hall, Judge of the said Court, assigned to keep the peace of the said United States of America, in and for the said District, and also to hear and determine divers Felonies, Misdemeanors and other offenses against the said United States of America, in the said District committed.