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Soiled Dove Plea

    A speech delivered by the attorney Temple Lea Houston in 1899 in Woodward, Oklahoma, considered by many trial attorneys to be the perfect closing argument. The accused prostitute was scheduled to be tried for prostitution one morning and the judge discovered she had no attorney nor money. Houston agreed to defend her and delivered extemporaneously the Soiled Dove speech also known as the Plea for a Fallen Woman.
    "Gentlemen of the jury: You have heard with what cold cruelty the prosecution referred to the sins of this woman, as if her condition were of her own preference...Gentlemen, one of our sex was the author of her ruin, more to blame than she, then let us judge her gently....You know the story of the prodigal son, but he was a son. For the prodigal daughter there is no return....Oh consider this when you come to decide her guilt, for she is before us and we must judge her. They (the prosecution) sneer and scorn at her... The Master while on earth, spoke in wrath and rebuke to kings and rulers, yet never reproached one of these. One he forgave. Another he acquitted... And now, looking upon this friendless outcase, who of you can say to her, 'I am holier than thou' in the respect which she is charged with sinning? If the prosecutors of the woman you are trying had brought her before The Savior, they would have accepted His challenge and each one gathered a rock and stoned her. Gentlemen, do as your Master did twice under the same circumstances that surround you. Tell her to go in peace."
    Within ten minutes the all male jury acquitted the accused by unanimous verdict.