William the Conqueror

Topics: Scopes Trial, William Jennings Bryan, Clarence Darrow Pages: 1 (340 words) Published: February 17, 2013
Dayton, Tennessee. High school football coach and substitute science teacher, John T. Scopes was found guilty of violating the Butler Act. The jury did not hear the defense testimony, as the judge declared that all of the defense testimony on the Bible was irrelevant, and the jury should not be allowed to hear it. The judge declared that the Bible in question was the official Bible of the State of Tennessee, and that this was the King James Version. The defense attorney, Clarence Darrow, asked where were they to find an expert on the Bible who was acceptable to the court; Prosecutor William Jennings Bryan interjected “I am an expert on the Bible.” This was unheard of, a counsel for the prosecution offering to be a witness for the defense! After 8 days of trial, in which the jury heard no defense and nothing from neither the defendant nor any closing arguments it took the jury only nine minutes of deliberation to find Scopes guilty. He was ordered to pay a $100 fine. The ACLU offered to defend anyone accused of teaching the theory of evolution disregarding the Butler Act. A group of businessmen from Dayton decided that the publicity of such a trial would put Dayton on the map. They convinced Scopes to take part, not even sure if he had ever covered that section on evolution. It did put Dayton on the map, but they were looked at as hicks, and hillbillies. This was the first U.S trial to be broadcast on national radio. The case went to the Appeals court where the conviction was set aside due to a legal technicality: the jury should have decided the fine, not the judge, as Tennessee judges could not set fines above $50 back then. Scopes went back to graduate school at the University of Chicago to study geology. He became a geologist and worked for United Gas studying oil reserves.

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