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"The Court Scene" from the Amistad. Murals by Hale Woodruff (1939) (Talladega College)
"The Death of Socrates" (painting by Jacques Louis David, 1787).
Clarence Darrow questions William Jennings Bryan during the Scopes Trial (1925).
Hermann Goering testifies in the Major War Criminals Trial in Nuremberg (1946).
Examination of a Witch" by Thompkins Matteson, 1853. (Suspect being examined for "witch's marks" in Salem in 1692.)
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About “Famous Trials”

Welcome to Famous Trials, the Web’s largest and most visited collection of original essays, trial transcripts and exhibits, maps, images, and other materials relating to the greatest trials in world history.

“Famous Trials” first appeared on the Web in 1995, making this site older than about 99.96% of all websites. In 2016, the site seemed to be showing its age. So Famous Trials 2.0 (thanks to my great support team) debuts in 2017 with a cleaner look, additional video and audio clips, and new features that should improve navigation around the site.

You will not find every trial deserving of being called “famous” on this site. If the famous trial you were hoping to find is not included, click on the “Other Famous Trials” link for information about additional famous trials. Decisions as to which trials to include on Famous Trials were entirely mine and inevitably reflect my interests and biases.

What criteria guided my choices? Many trials might be called famous. Each century, at least several dozen trials are heralded by someone as “the trial of the century.” Quite a few trials create a huge buzz in the months following verdict, but then slip quickly—and, in many cases, justifiably—from the public’s mind.

I’d point to two benchmarks that most guided my decision to include a particular trial. First, the trial ...