The Evening Standard—Monday, November 7, 1892 Page 6
THE BORDEN CASE.
Mr. Adams Asks for Special
Instructions to Grand Jury.
Request Made on Petition of Lizzie
to the Court.
Judge Refuses to Repeat Instructions
of the District Attorney.
Taunton, Nov. 7. — The criminal term of the Superior Court opened here this morning with Justice Thompson of Gloucester on the bench. After the grand jury’s role call had ended some little excitement was caused by the appearance of Mr. Adams, associate counsel for Miss Borden, at the bar. He addressed the court as follows:
Mr. Jennings and I acted as counsel for Miss Borden in the District Court of Fall River when she was charged with the crime of murder. She desires us to represent her in this Court, but I am doubtful whether or not we will have full standing here. But I hope your honor will hear what I have to say. We have felt that in her interest we were entitled to speak in this court without been specially assigned to the case since she has petitioned that we represent her here. This one case has been one extraordinary in its character and one which has excited great interest in the minds of the public and in the newspapers. There is no doubt in our minds that the grand jury ought to be cautioned, especially in reference to the formation of any opinion in their minds because of reading the accounts of the trial of the case in the papers. We think they ought to be cautioned in addition to their regular instruction, and that the court may fairly warn them in regard to their duty. I have here in my hand the petition of Miss Borden in which she asks us to represent her in this court, and also asks the court that the grand jury may be reconstructed, and that to justify any finding of the jury must be satisfied upon the evidence before it that the accused is guilty.
District Attorney Knowlton, asked by the court if he had anything to say in reference to the matter, appeared to be somewhat indignant and replied that he had only this to say, that in all his service as District Attorney the grand jury has never considered an important case but what he had fully instructed them in regard to their duties and he was at a loss to understand why it was assumed that he would not do his duty in the present case. If your honor thinks, he said, there is any danger of my not warning them to do their duty impartially and to instruct them in regard to the weight of evidence, I have no objection to your honor re-instructing them.
The court said Mr. Foreman and gentlemen of the Grand Jury: You have already been instructed in your duties and have taken upon yourselves the oath. I have been asked to repeat the instructions already given you and to refer especially to the rules regarding the burden of proof. You are to consider only the testimony presented by the witnesses before you, and if any of the grand jury have facts in their possession relating to this or any other case it becomes their duty to act as witnesses themselves. They cannot act upon hearsay evidence or newspaper reports, since they are not competent testimony. You will have the assistance of the district attorney in all questions of law and I do not feel that I am called upon or am under any necessity to give you any particular instructions in regard to any part of this or any other case.
The court then adjourned and the grand jury took possession of the courtroom.
Mr. Adams was seen after the court had adjourned and expressed himself as being well satisfied with what he had accomplished.