With the prosecution and defense resting their cases, Judge Pollock issued his instructions to the jury. Unlike Judge Van Valkenburgh in the Missouri trial, Pollock showed no tendency to appeal to the jury to be patriotic and biased towards the defendants. He began by acknowledging that war inflamed passions and prejudices which could sway loyal citizens to impose standards of their own and fix the boundary line of punishable speech at a point which makes all opposition to the war a crime. The judge admonished the jury to decide the case on the “cold, clammy facts.” If the court could try the defendants wholly removed from any thought of the war, “the nearer justice will be done in this case.”
The Kansans stood accused of entering into a conspiracy to induce men to refuse to register for the draft. Conspiracy literally meant “to breathe together.” So far as this case was concerned, Pollock cautioned, the defendants as individuals and not acting in concert with one another, had the right to do or say anything whatsoever and that whether they did or did not favor this country engaging in war was not the question for which they were on trial. On April 12, after deliberating one hour, the jury returned a verdict. Not guilty on all counts.
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