Lawsuit Hau

Thoughts of defender Dr. Dietz, Karlsruhe

Dear Mr. Langen!

(translation by Thomas Kugler)

You ask me for a smaller essay on the lawsuit Hau and my experiences with state attorneys. I was careless and promised you to write such an essay and right now I stand in front of, or better, I sit in front of this burdensome necessity to have to write this essay. Burdensome hence because I now, after my mysterious client and I have somewhat recovered from our surprise about the puzzling death sentence – he by the way considerably quicker than I, and his remark to me:” Do you know, Mr. Dietz, eight months of remand because of a went wrong rendezvous in Baden-Baden, that's still ok; but to be sentenced to death for it, that seems a bit too extensive to me!” is no newspaper hoax, but literally true,- so, burdensome, because I realize now that the issue isn't over at all, but only beginning right now. I not only have to request revision, I also have to give reasons for it, and not only legal reasons but also moral legitimation for all the numerous people who judge by other imponderables rather than by legal aspects. And also I have to collect all the material that is brought to me at the moment from everywhere for a new trial as a precaution and I have to keep silent finally - so I don't follow the example of my Mr. opponent from the prosecution – silent about all this what supports my deep conviction of the falseness of the verdict. I will keep silent also because I don't want people to say about me that I discussed my opinion of “guilty” or “not guilty” in the press unless the suitcase is legally finished and a verdict was spoken. I can say only this, Professor Aschaffenburg, who wrote me a letter after his dismissal as an expert third party in front of the court, which you probably know from the newspapers, is a far better psychologist than me, because he realized in only one day what took me many months to realize. Well, I have to say to myself’s excuse that we as attorneys demand witness’ evidence and also documents as proofs whereas the psychologist is satisfied with an insight into the mind. It is an absurdity that our legal system still separates strictly between jurisprudence and authorities on a subject (authorized experts). And it would be way way more necessary that our young growing attorneys would study anthropology, social- and also criminal psychology and everything what belongs to that – rather than to learn by heart hundreds and thousands of legal paragraphs. They should study this other aspects for years as a major subject at university. Then it would be impossible that in an eight months lasting investigation a personality such as the accused Hau, on whose guilt or innocence I today avoid any word as said before, could face such a complete lack of comprehension; that they complained and wondered about what we know about his sex life, that he as a young student even after having consumed lots of alcohol went to prostitutes and that he further, in contrast to Goethe, who you can only esteem when you got to know women as he did, called Schiller a “consumptive manufacturer of dramas”, furthermore that he, who in the year of 1901 as a twenty year old student eloped with a lady who was six years older than him – his later wife – and later in time, as she was ill the whole time, cheated on her – these facts which actually have nothing to do with the current investigation, were successfully used to create a bad and hostile mood against the defendant. Finally, that such a man like Hau, who travelled twice in a year from Washington to Constantinople, would even travel from London to Baden-Baden for a rendezvous - and everything else mentioned above - seemed odd to the people because of their lack of psychological knowledge. And with a bit more of psychology one would not have taken for granted that he, who had professorship and office in Washington, and who had a lot of rich relatives to ask for money - besides his father an his murdered mother-in-law, that he would without making any approach to ask someone for money, would murder his mother-in-law to get a heritage of only 75.000 Mark, under circumstances that would necessarily ruin his whole existence with his wife and their child, and all this in a manner for which he would surely receive the worst possible grade in a “preliminary examination for robber and murderers”. And with a little bit more psychology one would not see in this - what the hurt at heart wife called “the guilt” of her husband, which drives her out of her life, - self-explanatory the guilt of the murder and also not in the fact that she demanded the same thing (suicide) from her husband.

And with more psychology in our jurisprudence we would have reformed our criminal code long ago, the criminal code on which the comforts of judicial and, especially, other humanities passed by without a trace for decades, the criminal code which sees in all of the thousands of different cases like the case Hau only one uniform “Murder” which has to be punished with death in terms of Paragraph 211 and neither if the thousand suspects may be as different as it gets will allow extenuating circumstances nor knows anything about the different degrees of sanity which may be existent and also not about diminished responsibility. And with a bit more of psychology in our jurisprudence we would have swept away this so called “Strafprozeß”, which enables that in a case such as the Hau case under the eye of the law and under acceptance from upper instances the secrecy of a inquisition like trial can be carried to the extremes, so that the defense lawyer wasn’t allowed access to the records until March 7th 1907, that means up to four months after the crime, except for the autopsy protocols and the protocols of his own client – which they can’t forbid, but with which you can't do anything if that's all you have. The state attorney on the other hand had unlimited access to all of the documents and protocols at any time. And that they - to the very same defense lawyer who is so insistently prevented from seeing the protocols – on the 4th of February 1907 set a time limit of three (!) days “to comment” if he agrees to the accommodation of his client in a lunatic asylum. And that they respond to his objection - that he can’t comment the issue because he wasn’t allowed to see the files (which he thinks is a farce!) - : “Petitions and protests are not known to the code of procedure” and they asked him not to “unnecessarily hamper” the proceedings on “true behalf” of his client. And that they confiscate the correspondence between the accused and his wife on 24th of January 1907 right out of her hands. This is only allowed, according to Paragraph 97, crime code, if the wife is also suspicious (of being a comlice) – notabene! two and a half months after the beginning of the investigation! – at the same time the correspondence from “Baden and Rheinpreußen”, that means the letters between her and her husband's relatives and also the letters between her and the defender of her husband were confiscated. And after they didn’t find what they were looking for, Mr. State Attorney himself requested the “Madame wife” to voluntarily hand over the sought-after letter. “Of course you are not obligated to do this”. And that after Hau’s wife formally refused under reference to the law any further testimony via a letter from 27th of February 1907, the Munich police department was asked on 23rd of March 1907 to investigate (by consulting the Professor who medically treated her in Munich) the reasons and nature of Lina’s abdominal indisposition that led her to Munich in 1906.

The Professors Liszt und Kahl apparently expressed themselves that they don't think there was anything to complain about the trial of Hau, and this even though these mentioned facts have been publicly stated in the courtroom. These gentlemen will be surprised if they read these and many other facts when all the files of the case are published completely. Then they can let their students discuss and dispute the case in their advanced seminars. They will talk about to what extent direct contravention exists in this very case here and also how far-reaching our “fabulous code of procedure”, if handled just as “fabulous” - authorizes this and much more.

The way the death of the wife and other things were used to “suggest” the accused to make a confession, naturally only to “his own best”, how the press was “corrected” and “informed”, how the court alleged witnesses who didn’t testify against Hau of “little mistakes or gaps in their memory”, how others were asked in front of the court if they have been paid by the Hau-family, of all that we have fresh memories.

To say it quick: The Hau trial is – beyond all sensationalism it has a durable relevance to our jurisprudence, - one of the most blatant proofs for the necessity of an early reformation of our criminal law and our criminal proceeding. But only if this reformation takes place under elimination of the “secret inquisition”-method and also guarantees the equal treatment of all participants: only then, while tolerating the lesser evil, that one will be found not-guilty although he is guilty – we will be able to successfully prevent the far more terrifying result, that an innocent or “suspicious” person will be convicted and sentenced. The verdict of the jury court itself I do not condemn, although I think it’s wrong, particularly I am a true follower of jury court in contrast to a court of lay assessors, in which I myself was a chairman for many years and I don’t want to miss this experience. The shortcomings which are inherent to jury courts, can and have to be abolished through a broader democratic foundation when they are put together (resp. in the process of selecting the members). Only they are able to communicate the direct coherence between justice and the sentiments of the people. Nevertheless their verdict is once wrong as seen in the Hau case - so for my client that's tragic, but higher than the value of one accused’s head stands and has to stand the maintenance and development of democratic institutions, without which the people as a whole can’t get forward and also upward.

As you know, I am “Marxist” in my political, social and cultural views(– you can call me a “social democrat” as well but never “Salonsozialist”, as a paper lately entitled me and what especially hurts my wife, since we as modern humans don’t have a “Salon” but only rooms in which you can actually live and chairs on which you can actually sit), so I am Marxist and optimist and therefore rock-solidly convinced that it has to go forward and upward. That's also true for criminal law and criminal proceeding even if “the world would be full of state attorneys”. You shall not believe that I am always the “poisoned dwarf” I have been during these five days of the trial. But you know, there are situations, in which – if your heart isn't overwhelmed or nearly lacerated - you have none!

Yours faithfully

Your most loyal

Attorney Dr. Dietz

Carl Hau Homepage