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Law Day 2011 Law Day 2011 Home  
Boston Massacre ProgramBoston Massacre Trial Re-Enactment Highlights Middlesex JD, CBA Law Day Ceremonies

MIDDLETOWN, May 3, 2011—The knee-high pants and leggings and pony-tail were missing but all the fire and brimstone of John Adam’s rhetoric were well-represented by noted Appellate Attorney Wesley W. Horton of Hartford in a re-enactment of the Boston Massacre Trial’s closing arguments at the Middlesex Judicial Courthouse.
 
The Re-Enactment, co-sponsored by the Connecticut Judicial Branch and the Connecticut Bar Association (CBA) was part of its Law Day activities and reinforced this year’s theme—The Legacy of John Adams: From Boston to Guantanamo.
 
Horton, who took the part of John Adams, and Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane, who assumed the role of King’s Attorney, apparently did their homework in preparing for the mock trial because their back-and-forth exchanges truly brought all those gathered back to the days of the controversial trial.
 
Attorney Wesley W. HortonThe trial was the result of a fateful night in 1770 when a young boy, bruised and battered ran home following a still undetermined encounter with a British sentry at the Customs House in Boston—where the King’s money was held. A group of enraged Bostonians came back and confronted the sentry and other British soldiers, hurling invectives at them and pelting them with snowballs, rocks, oyster shells and any other objects they could find. Though laws of the Colony prohibited the soldiers from firing upon citizens, things got out of hand and the soldiers did just that—resulting in the deaths of five colonists and the injuries of others.
 
Adams believed in the rule of law and, as such, took up the defense of the soldiers for this belief but also because no one else would.
 
The Hon. Robert L. Holzberg, Administrative Judge for the Middlesex Judicial District, opened the Law Day Ceremonies by saying, “As we pause to reflect on the importance of the legal system in our constitutional system of government, we are delighted to join with the Connecticut Bar Association in presenting a re-enactment of one of this country’s most important trials.
 
“Though it occurred over two centuries ago, the Boston Massacre Trial raises important issues concerning the relationship between individual rights and liberties and the government’s obligations to protect the safety of its citizens that is still the source of legal disputes today,” Judge Holzberg added.
 
Judge Barbara M. Quinn, Chief Court Administrator for the Connecticut Judicial Branch followed with her remarks saying, “More than ever, we need to do everything we can to protect the rule of law. Quite simply, it is the difference between democracy and anarchy. Celebrations such as this play an important role in educating the people as to why we must ensure that this essential role in democracy is not compromised.”
 
Attorney Lisa A. Faccadio, President of the Middlesex County Bar Association and Attorney Ralph J. Monaco, President of the CBA, then welcomed all the participants and emphasized the importance of the Boston Massacre Trial and legal history and laws.Chief State's Attorney Kevin T. Kane addresses the jury.
 
Throughout the trial Attorneys Horton and Kane recited actual arguments by Adams and the King’s Attorney respectively and, at one point, Kane turned to Horton and quipped, “If I may be so bold you might consider running for President one day,” a point well-taken since Adams would become our country’s second President.
 
Students from Mercy High School, the CT High School Mock Trial Champions, served as jurors and, surprisingly, half voted in favor of the defense and half for the prosecution.
 
Judge Susan B. Handy and Judge Holzberg gave the charges to the jury and led their deliberations and discussions.
 
For the record, Adams won an acquittal for the soldiers. Years later in his diary he wrote: “I have reason to remember that fatal Night. The Part I took in Defense of Captn. Preston and the Soldiers, procured me Anxiety, and Obloquy enough. It was, however, one of the most gallant, generous, manly, and disinterested Actions of my whole Life, and one of the best Pieces of Service I ever rendered my country.”
 
In his remarks, Attorney Monaco best summed up the significance of the Boston Massacre Trial and lawyers, like Adams, who were and are willing to defend the unpopular for the greater good of the law.
 
“The case that is before you is famous not merely because it is part of the story leading to the American Revolution, but it is famous because of the legal principles for which it stands—that all people, no matter whether popular or not, are entitled to a fair trial in a court of law,” Monaco said. “In fact, as English subjects, these men were entitled not only to a fair trial, but to competent counsel during that trial, a value that is a cornerstone of our judicial system.”

Mouseover images below to view captions
 
Montage from Middlesex Superior Court 2011 Law Day Event

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