Socrates Found Guilty!

Well, this is different … as far as I recall, this is the first time we moderns followed the ancients on this one. The Sun Times seems to have the best coverage … here’s the last half or so:

[…] Former assistant U.S. attorney Patrick Collins again teamed up with Fitzgerald to do battle with Socrates’ equally formidable defense team consisting of former U.S. Attorney Dan K. Webb and personal injury attorney Bob Clifford. All this despite the fact that Socrates actually defended himself.

Fitzgerald argued that history’s view of the original conviction is biased because the only records of the trial are written by Socrates’ student and friend, Plato.

He urged jurors to give the Athenians, “who had the full trial transcripts,” the benefit of the doubt.

Collins mixed Athenian and Chicago lore in his appeal to convict Socrates of creating and worshiping a new God:

“You cannot dis the Gods, the Gods are jealous. The Gods hold a grudge. For God’s sakes even here in America in 1945 a man brings a goat into Wrigley field — there has not been a World Series game in Wrigley since. The God’s have a memory!”

Presiding Judge Richard A. Posner — who sits on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals — equated the charge of corrupting the youth to the modern era charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

“Socrates would teach young men, for over 50 years, things such as virtue, he’d teach them a method of thinking about their lives and the problems they encounter in their lives,” said Webb, who, unlike his fellow attorneys, maintained a serious tone throughout.

“The accusers have told you he taught young people to disrespect democracy … and engage in violence and threaten the democracy of Athens.”

The mock trial was presented by the National Hellenic Museum. A jury of leading politicians, lawyers and media stars joined members of the audience in voting for a verdict and recommended sentence.

After arguments, Posner said he couldn’t give the death sentence to a “70-year-old loudmouth.”

His co-judges also weighed in on the amount Socrates should be fined.

Anna H. Demacopoulos, a Cook County criminal judge, suggested 3,000 silver drachmas.

“I’d fine him two bucks and let it go at that,” said William J. Bauer, who also sits on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

As alluded to above, previous ‘retrials’ in New York and Athens both came down on the side of Socrates (see: Yet Another Retrial of Socrates) … this trial seems to have had a more ‘tongue in cheek’ (for want of a better phrase) aspect to it.

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