William is a lawyer for Abbie and his team, who are protesting for anti-Vietnam war:

Abbie: This is a political trial that was already decided for us. Ignoring that reality is just weird to me.

William: There are civil trials and there are criminal trials. There's no such thing as a political trial.

What does mean by, trial that was already decided? Does it mean their verdict already made but trial is just mandatory?

Source: The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)


1 Answer 1


The suggestion is that the outcome of the trial - the (generally guilty) verdict and possibly the sentence - were decided by the authorities before the case was heard.

In many countries, where the judicial system is controlled by the authorities, opponents of the regime are (often falsely) accused of crimes, either to punish them or get them out of the way - or both.

It is also the case that when governments appoint/dismiss and pay judges /magistrates, they latter two come under pressure to reach verdicts sympathetic to government policy.

Some authoritarian regimes have put on show trials to cower the population.

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