Thursday, December 12, 2013

"...rested solidly and alone upon the first law implanted in all living beings-the law of self-preservation...."


Defence Fires Its 16-Inch Gun With
Telling Effect-Best Criminal
Attorney in Tennessee Assail
the Prosecution.

[Cooper v. State, Tenn. 1909]

   Nashville, Tenn., March 12.--The sixteen-inch gun of the defence's batteries was trained upon the State today with telling effect, when Judge James McFerran Anderson began his argument in the trial of Col. D.B. and Robin Cooper and John D. Sharp for the murder of former United States Senator E.W. Carmack. Judge Anderson, who is considered the ablest criminal lawyer in the State, is chief counsel for defence. Strangely enough he was a close personal friend and political supporter of Senator Carmack. Although in bad health and worn with the strain of ten weeks of active work his speech today, instead of dimming his reputation, has added only lustre to it.

   Anderson is not a dramatic orator. He adopts no theatrical devices. He does not speak in metaphors nor indulge in sentimental appeals. Only once did he refer to Col. Cooper as "the old soldier" and not once did he appeal to the sympathies of the jurors. He boldly disclaimed any idea of pleading that any editorial or speech could justify the slaying of Carmack and declared that his clients' case rested solidly and alone upon the first law implanted in all living beings--the law of self-preservation. Then he boldly plunged into a dissection of evidence and an application of law and startled his hearers by solemnly asserting that Robin would have been justified in killing Carmack before he did.

   He claimed that Col. Cooper, after having been assailed in print and upon the platform, had a right to seek out his defamer any place he might find him and demand that these assaults stop. He claimed further that Robin had a right to go with his father, and both of them had a right to go armed for their own protection if they believed that their protestations and demands would lead to an assault upon them.

   Judge Anderson declared that this was the law, that he quoted it merely to show how strongly the courts protect the right of self-defence, and to make manifest Robin Cooper's reluctance to shoot until he had himself been shot....

[The Herald and News, Newberry S.C., Tuesday, March 16, 1909. Vol. XLVII No. 22 Pg. 2]

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