November 14, 2008

Inside the courtroom.

In the previous post, I told you I was going to take my fisheye lens to the Wisconsin Supreme Court today.

Wisconsin Supreme Court

You can read descriptions of what is in the courtroom murals here. My favorite one -- in the center of that picture (enlarge) -- shows:
...the trial of Chief Oshkosh of the Menominees for the slaying of a member of another tribe who had killed a Menominee in a hunting accident. It was shown that under Menominee custom, relatives of a slain member could kill his slayer. Judge James Duane Doty held that in this case territorial law did not apply:
. . . it appears to me that it would be tyrannical and unjust to declare him, by implication, a malicious offender against rules which the same laws presume he could not have previously known...

Judge Doty acquitted Chief Oshkosh of the charge. They became friends.

This is the same legal issue depicted in the 1965 movie "Dingaka," which had a profound effect on me when I saw it as a teenager.

Here's another picture, of the courtroom, from behind the bench:

Wisconsin Supreme Court


Richard said...

Nice room, but it looks like a church. Replace the bench with an altar and you could be in Italy.

Fred4Pres said...

I love that court room, flooded with light and color. I love regional history paintings like that you describe.

I remember driving through Vermont and visiting an active court house in a town my wife stopped in to buy some cheese or syrup.

I went in with my 4 year old daughter. It was like a New England Purtain wood church. Simple and spartan, with paintings of old judges in frames. Very different in scale and design than the Wisconsin Supreme Court building, yet similar in feel (at least it seems that way). Big wooden framed panes, flooding the smaller room in light. Lots of wood with with a well worn look of age and patina and gave it character. Dark oak accents and floors with white washed walls.

Chip Ahoy said...

Boy, they sure don't make 'em like that anymore. <--- Conjecture. For all I know, they do still make them like that but I just never see them.

I thought you were going to talk about what the case was that you had to become prepared.

The man walking that's blurred, has an impressive stride.

MadisonMan said...

I don't see the badger.

Unknown said...

Our Court design were featured in a mag.. i have to look it up... im at a friend house at 172 & Fort Washington

Lem said...

it seems i posted under my friends id


Lem said...

Sam is really Lem

rhhardin said...

It looks like an impressed-with-own-importance room design that a bureaucrat would come up with.

Tank said...


How are the acoustics.

Lotta good looking courtrooms - ya can't hear sh**

chickelit said...

Nice room, but it looks like a church. Replace the bench with an altar and you could be in Italy.

As a child, the place was kind of sacred. On school field trips, we shuffled slowly through those immense chambers, hearing stories about paintings and marble, our voices muted by awe and respect. The capitol is like a church in Madison.

Mark O said...

Of all the foul deeds of the Founders, for which no Democrat seems yet to have apologized, the treatment of the different Indian Tribes and their existence as a separate nation with separate laws, is the least discussed. I wonder why.

The story behind the painting shows an understanding of justice long dismissed.

Fred4Pres said...

Madisonman, doesn't the badger only come out when court is in session. He or she sits in the center chair on the bench. If your arguments suck or you go over the allotted time limit, the badger growls at you.

Rockeye said...

Blast from the past. I was married in that room, by the current chief justice. Happiest day of my life.