Meriwether Lewis Stands Trial
March 11, 2006
U.S. District Judge Owen Panner, a life trustee of the College, sat in judgment over history when Lewis & Clark Law School and the Oregon Historical Society put Meriwether Lewis on trial in October.
As part of the national bicentennial commemoration of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the law school and historical society produced two mock trials for the public based on charges arising from the expedition. The charges involved the theft of a Clatsop Indian canoe by Captain Meriwether Lewis while at Fort Clatsop, and the killing of two Blackfeet Indians in Louisiana territory during Lewis’ return trip home. The indictments are based on violation of federal law.
Four third-year law students served as prosecutors and defense attorneys in front of overflow crowds. Among the historical figures to testify were Sacagawea, expedition guide; York, a slave to Captain William Clark; Captain Meriwether Lewis; and George Drouillard, an interpreter.
In case you were wondering, both juries found Lewis guilty of stealing the canoe but not guilty of homicide.