Friday, July 10, 2009


Western Federation of Miner's Poster after the arrest of Haywood, Moyer & Petibone (facsimile I obtained of the original). Click image to use my FOLD3 viewer.

Excerpt below from THE TRIAL OF WILLIAM "BIG BILL" HAYWOOD by Douglas O. Linder

With Orchard's confession in hand, McParland proceeded to devise a plan to arrest the three members of the WFM inner circle, all living in the WFM's headquarters city of Denver, and transport them to Idaho for trial. McParland wanted the arrest and trip north to be so surreptitious and swift that the men would have no opportunity to obtain the assistance of lawyers who might prepare legal challenges to extradition. In effect, what McParland proposed was a kidnapping under the barest color of state law. McParland and Idaho state officials succeeded in convincing the governor of Colorado to issue warrants for the arrest of the the three men (codenamed Copperhead, Viper, and Rattler) on February 15, 1906, though both the warrants and the planned arrests remained a closely guarded secret until the night of February 17, when the three were rounded up (Moyer was arrested after boarding "the Deadwood Sleeper" which was to take him to South Dakota on the first leg of a probable planned escape to Canada; Haywood was arrested while having sex with his sister-in-law). Haywood, Moyer, and Pettibone were placed for a few hours in the city jail, denied permission to call family or lawyers, before being hustled in the early hours of the morning to the Denver depot and placed on a special train with orders not to stop until it crossed the Idaho border.

Not long after the special train departed the Denver station, Edmund Richardson, the longtime attorney for the WFM, boarded another train to Idaho and began the legal battle to free the three leaders. Richardson filed petitions for habeas corpus, arguing that their forcible removal from Colorado without an opportunity to legally challenge their arrest and extradition in Colorado courts violated the Constitution. The prisoners' arguments lost both in the Idaho courts and the United States Supreme Court, which in December of 1906 in the case of Pettibone v. Nichols, ruled that a prisoner was "not excused from answering to the state whose laws he has violated because violence has been done to him in bringing him within the state." Justice McKenna was the sole dissenter, writing: "Kidnapping is a crime, pure and simple. All of the officers of the state are supposed to be on guard against it. But how is it when the law becomes a kidnapper? When the officers of the law, using it forms, and exerting its power, become abductors?"

--The Trial of William "Big Bill" Haywood by Douglas O. Linder

This Day In History: The First "Trial of the Century."

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