Setting the Stage: The Butler Law

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Just five days after the trial ended, Bryan lay down for a Sunday afternoon nap and never woke up. The diabetes with which he had contended for years had finally taken his life.

The trial itself also passed on when more than a year later, on January 14, 1927, the State Supreme Court in Nashville handed down a decision which reversed the earlier one. However, the court's decision stemmed from the very point Darrow sought to avoid - a technicality. By Tennessee state law, the jury, not the judge, must set the fine if it is above $50. The Butler Law, then, stood untested.

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