Bobby Seale


Bobby Seale, on trial with seven other radicals for disrupting the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, refused to accept William Kunstler as his lawyer. Instead, he opted for Charles Garry, the Panthers' lawyer. For several weeks during the trial, Seale disrupted the proceedings, demanding Garry represent him or that he be allowed to represent himself. Federal Judge Julius Hoffman had him bound and gagged after citing him for contempt, ordered a mistrial and had Seale tried separately. The group became known as "The Chicago 8." The action against Seale caused international outrage.

As Seale recalls the incident in his book, "Seize The Time:" "They [marshals] took me back to the lock-up outside the courtroom. They got some tape and put it across my mouth. They handcuffed my hands down close to the legs of a metal folding chair and put the irons on my legs. They looped the chain through one of the rods running across the front of the folding part of the chair and brought it out and clasped it to my right leg....

Through the tape I hollered [in the courtroom], `I object,' in a muffled sound, but it could be heard. `I object.' The tape wasn't holding too well because of my beard. So I said again, `I object, I object. I have a right to defend myself.' So they took me out again. Two or three marshals lifted the chair up and just took me back into the lock-up. They put the tape back on me, put a rag around my mouth, tied the thing, and took me back into the courtroom."


Copyright 2001-, Terry Muse
Revised: November 6, 2001
Contact: Terry Muse