15 FEBRUARY 1935, Page 2

The Hauptmann Melodrama Bruno Richard Hauptmann may or may not

have committed the crime of which a New Jersey jury has declared him guilty, but everyone who sets any kind of store by dignity and decency in the administration of justice must be profoundly relieved-that the unedifying proceedings at Flemington are at an end,—even though -there is to be a repetition, in, it is to be hoped, a modified form in the court of appeal. Resort to the methods employed by prosecuting and defending counsel alike is fortunately inconceivable in an English or Scottish court of law. High—or low—water mark was touched at Flemington on Tuesday when Mr. Wilentz, for the prosecution, observed without any kind of rebuke by the Judge that "Hauptmann is cold, but he will thaw when he hears that electric chair switch." It would be a 'profound misfortune if the publicity given to this dis- creditable affair brought American courts into general .disrepute in this country. In its higher ranges. the .American legal system (it must be. remembered that it consists for the most part of the laws . of 48 different States) and American legal practice deserve full respect. America supplies many leading cases in our textbooks -and the AMerican Supreme Court is the most notable national tribunal in the world.