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Benjamin Gitlow Trials: 1920-25

Darrow For The Defense

Realizing the strength of the anti-Red hysteria, the Socialists knew they needed a powerful trial lawyer. They persuaded Clarence Darrow to take the case. Darrow was not optimistic.

"I know you are innocent, but they have the country steamed up," Darrow told Gitlow. "Everybody is against the Reds."

Gitlow later wrote that Darrow "seemed not a little frightened when I told him I intended to stand by every Communist principle and to defend my position regardless of the consequences."

Darrow said that in that case, there was no use in Gitlow taking the stand. Gitlow agreed, but demanded to be allowed to address the jury in his own way.

"Well, I suppose a revolutionist must have his say in court even if it kills him," Darrow said.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940Benjamin Gitlow Trials: 1920-25 - Darrow For The Defense, "i Ask No Clemency", The Fourteenth Amendment, Unnoticed Landmark, Gitlow V. Stalin