Law Quadrangle (formerly Law Quad Notes)

Article Title

The Chicago 7 Trial


Extracts from a speech given before "the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan," April 22, 1970.

There are only a handful of cases each year that manage to capture the attention of the national press for a short while. There are even fewer cases that manage to keep that attention for weeks on end. The Chicago 7 conspiracy trial was such a case. It is quite understandable therefore that we have sought to draw some general lessons from that trial. Our generalizations are overextended, however, if they fail to take into account the special nature of the Chicago prosecution, and our historic experience with cases of that type. Consider, for example, the disruptive conduct of the defendants in the Chicago case. Several commentators have suggested that such conduct evidences a serious crisis that may (or does) extend throughout the judicial system, applying to cases of all types. We may indeed be facing such a crisis. but we must not forget those special factors, inherent in the Chicago prosecution, that separate the problem of dealing with disruptive conduct in that case from dealing with disruptive conduct in the run-of-the-mill criminal case the robbery, narcotics, or burglary case.