DAYTON, Tenn., July 17, 1925 (UP) - In a grand display of verbal fireworks in which Clarence Darrow nearly was threatened with being held in contempt of court, the Scopes case, through a ruling by Judge Raulston, neared dissolution today.
The judge held that scientific evidence on evolution offered by the defense was inadmissible, which left little to do but hear closing arguments and find the young school teacher guilty.
The defense, however, put forward a proposal that the testimony of scientists should be admitted for the benefit of the court with the jury barred.
Judge Raulston agreed to this, whereupon William Jennings Bryan interposed a demand for a right to cross-examine the scientists.
Clarence Darrow said the defense would not stand for this and it finally was decided that the testimony in question should be submitted in the form of an affidavit.
Judge Raulston will consider them and in the meantime the trial stands adjourned until Monday while the affidavits are being prepared.
Raulston said if this testimony altered his opinion he would reverse himself and have it given to the jury.
After the court's ruling on the matter of admissibility of scientific evidence, Darrow indignantly remarked that it was strange that Judge Raulston always ruled in favor of the prosecution.
"I hope you don't intend this to be a reflection on the court," said the judge.
"You can hope," replied Darrow, looking up from under his beetling brows.
"I can do something else, too," retorted the judge, but the matter went no further.
After court adjournment, Judge Raulston wanted to have his picture taken at his bench with Bryan and Darrow.
Bryan took his stand at one side of Judge Raulston, but Darrow was busy with his letters and did not leave his seat.
Raulston then came down and asked Malone if he would "condescend to have your picture taken with Mr. Bryan and me?"
Malone declined, saying, "We have had our pictures taken often enough. Go have it taken with Mr. Bryan," which he did.
Only the closing arguments of both sides remain before the case goes to the jury.
After Judge Raulston ruled on the scientific evidence, the defense immediately entered an exception to the ruling. In holding against the defense, Judge Raulston said he conceived his duty to be to take the general intent of the Legislature's opinion in passing the anti-evolution law into consideration and not quibble over a word.
"Why call expert witnesses?" he said. "There is nothing complex about the wording of the act. The court sustains the state in its objection to rule out the expert witnesses."
Raulston sustained in detail the prosecution's contention that the phrase of the law, "and to teach instead that man is descended from lower animals" only clarified the prohibition against teaching "evolution" by stating what it meant.
In passing, Raulston said he believed it would be better to have said "ascend" instead of "descend."
Hays took exception for the defense, saying it was a denial of justice.
He then asked that witnesses be introduced to inform the court.
Raulston agreed to the introduction of evidence to help make a record for the appellate court.
Hays wanted to go further.
"We want to present evidence and if the evidence convinces me that I as not correct in my ruling, I will reverse myself," said Raulston.
Argument over the ruling and exception which followed reading the opinion brought the daily clash between Atty. Gen. Stewart and Hays.
In the course of the wrangle, Stewart said the defense "is trying to make a farce out of the case."
Dudley Field Malone asked Stewart to withdraw his remark.
"I'll withdraw it," said Stewart, "but will substitute it with another. The defense looks upon the trial as a chance to educate the world on their theories of evolution."
He asked the court to limit the evidence for the record to a particular theory of evolution, denying the divine origin of man "as specified by the anti-evolution law."
Malone denied that the defense was here to just educate the world.
"If the defense is representing anything outside the case," he said, "it is merely interested in meeting the campaign of propaganda which has been begun by those represented by the prosecution."