|View single post by Texas Defender|
|Posted: Sun Dec 16th, 2012 10:51 pm||
The two special counsels, namely John J. Clifford and Richard Dana, who were appointed by the Federal Government both withdrew, questioning the validity of the Government's case. They thought that the Government was likely to lose and should leave well enough alone.
Southern Heritage 411
There was no enthusiasm in the Federal Government to pursue the case against Jefferson Davis. The source above claims that it was the Government looking for a way out in 1868. It was the Government that continued to delay the proceedings over and over again. If the Government was: "Fully prepared" to press the case, it certainly could have. The defense team was certainly fully prepared to defend Mr. Davis. The case never got beyond preliminary motions. There was no desire on the Government side to risk having a civilian court rule in Davis' favor and validate the legitimacy of secession. There was little to be gained by risking such an outcome.
You can have your own opinion, but I think it highly unlikely that the Government could ever have obtained a treason conviction against Mr. Davis in a Virginia court. The one point that we agree on is that the civilian populace as a whole had no desire to pursue vengeance in 1868. There was a desire to return to normalcy.
As for Andrew Johnson's blanket amnesty granted on 25 December 1868, this Virginia source claims that it was motivated by the fear that the USSC court would rule in Davis' favor on the double jeopardy issue.
Encyclopedia Virginia: Jefferson Davis's Imprisonment A timeline is included.
As for my statement about the case going forward in civilian courts, that was in response to Barlow's comments on this thread about Joseph Holt being: "Ready to go." My point was that Mr. Davis was in civilian control beginning in 1867. (I previously noted that Davis was indicted by a grand jury in Virginia). Holt would never have gotten the chance to try Davis with a military tribunal because such tribunals had been declared unconstitutional wherever civilian courts existed. (See USSC Decision ex parte Milligan (1866). ). The indictment against Davis wasn't made in Virginia until 1868.
Last edited on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 11:30 pm by Texas Defender