Topics in the News
The Hall-Mills Murder Case
"The Trial of the Century."
It was called the trial of the century, though in fact the so-called Scopes "Monkey" Trial of 1925 has greater claim to that label. In fact, the trial of Mrs. Frances Stevens Hall for the murder of her husband and his lover was just one sensational murder trial in a decade of such sensations.
The Pastor and the Choir Member.
On the morning of 16 September 1922 a couple wandering in a lovers' lane on the outskirts of New Brunswick, New Jersey, discovered the bodies of a man and a woman carefully arranged under a crabapple tree. Both had been shot to death. The woman's throat had been cut, nearly severing her head, and her larynx and tongue had been cut out. The murder victims were identified as forty-one-year-old Rev. Edward Wheeler Hall, rector of the Church of St. John the Evangelist, the most fashionable Episcopal church in New Brunswick, and thirty-four-year-old Mrs. Eleanor Mills, a member of the choir and wife of James F. Mills, a dull, colorless man who worked as the church sexton and as a janitor at a local school. Love letters exchanged by the handsome, charming preacher and the attractive Mrs. Mills were scattered around the bodies. These missives, which were liberally quoted in newspapers nationwide, confirmed widespread gossip about an affair that had been going on for more than two years....
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Involuntary Sterilization: Eugenics and Public Policy
Heredity versus Environment.
During the 1920s various social commentators argued that the population of the United States was being "corrupted" by the birth of too many individuals of inferior genetic quality. According to such observers, an alarming number of mentally retarded women had been allowed to give birth to off-spring who later displayed the same deficiency as their mothers. People who subscribed to such thinking were usually firm believers in eugenics, a science that deals with improving the hereditary quality of the human race by selective breeding practices. Eugenicists reject the premise that environment—especially socio-economic class—rather than heredity accounts for most personal differences among human beings.
Overcrowded Mental Institutions.
During the first decades of the twentieth century public health officials in Virginia placed a large number of "feeble-minded" women of child-bearing age in state mental asylums, causing such institutions—including the State Colony for Epileptics and Feeble-Minded in Lynchburg, Virginia—to be seriously overcrowded. In June 1922 the Virginia General Assembly passed a statute that permitted the involuntary sterilization and subsequent release of female inmates who seemed otherwise likely to require permanent confinement.
The Carrie Buck Case....
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Law Enforcement: The Hoover-Donovan Feud
"Wild Bill" Donovan.
In autumn 1924 J. Edgar Hoover, acting director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), was displeased to discover that an old rival would be his immediate supervisor. He was William J. "Wild Bill" Donovan, a protégé of U.S. Attorney General Harlan Fiske Stone. In Washington, D.C., Donovan was a "real comer." An army colonel in World War I, he had received decorations for bravery on the battlefield, including the Congressional Medal of Honor. Following the war he had begun a successful legal practice in New York City and was suggested as a potential director of the Bureau of Investigation (the original title of the FBI). Donovan was appointed assistant attorney general with the specific task of overseeing the Criminal Justice Division, which then had jurisdiction over the FBI. Hoover would therefore be obliged to report directly to Donovan.
A Power Struggle in the Justice Department.
Hoover recognized that, like...
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Law Enforcement: The Legal Basis for the Wiretap
Going after the Bootleggers.
For most of the 1920s a syndicate of bootleggers based in Seattle, Washington, operated with relative impunity throughout the Pacific Northwest and routinely smuggled major consignments of liquor into the United States from British Columbia. Such hauls were transported by oceangoing ships and deposited on remote beaches along the Puget Sound. Truck convoys carried this liquor inland to Seattle, where it was stored in various cellars within the city limits. These bootleggers reputedly sold two hundred cases of liquor per day.
Gathering Evidence through Wiretaps.
Federal officials knew that the headquarters of this criminal organization was in the Seattle offices of a merchant marine company. Yet over the years this ring had established firm ties with local law enforcement authorities, who repeatedly warned them about upcoming raids. To collect hard evidence against this syndicate, the local division of the Federal Prohibition Bureau decided to wiretap the telephones at the bootleggers' headquarters and to "bug" the residences of key syndicate members. By February 1926 an agent who had been a telephone lineman had successfully placed listening devices on the outside lines of a dozen office telephones. During the next six months agents listening to telephone conversations gathered evidence that led to the...
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The Leopold and Loeb Case and the Development of the Insanity Plea
The "Perfect Crime."
On 21 May 1924 Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, teenage scions of wealthy Jewish families in Chicago, lured fourteen-year-old Robert Franks, whom they barely knew, into their automobile, bludgeoned him to death with a hammer, and threw his body into a culvert in a nearby public park. They had randomly selected Franks as the victim of their "perfect crime," thinking that they had planned their "caper" so carefully that they would escape detection. Yet Leopold had inadvertently left his prescription eyeglasses at the scene, and the police had both murderers in custody by the end of the month.
Hiring Clarence Darrow.
On 2 June the Leopold and Loeb families retained the well-known attorney Clarence Darrow, believing he could use his influence to "make an arrangement" that would save the youths from the electric chair. From the outset the guilt of Leopold and Loeb was never in question. Both of them had confessed to their roles in the crime and displayed little remorse. The cold calculation of the murder horrified the public, and there was great popular demand that these "spoiled brats" get the death penalty. Major daily newspapers gave this case extensive coverage from the beginning.
A Plea of Insanity.
Darrow had no illusions about the difficulty of his task. After...
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The Limits of Free Speech
A longtime leading member of a militant faction in the Social Democratic Party (USA), Benjamin Gitlow was a vocal public supporter of the Russian Revolution of November 1917. In June 1919 as business manager for Revolutionary Age, a publication of the Social Democrats, Gitlow approved the distribution around New York City of twelve thousand copies of an issue that featured a manifesto declaring the need for a similar violent uprising in the United States. He gave his assent with the full knowledge that this piece violated the provisions of a sedition act passed by the New York General Assembly in 1916. Gitlow and several other people were subsequently arrested, but state prosecutors decided to try him individually, charging that he had promoted "criminal anarchy" within the state boundaries of New York, even publicly "hawking" copies of the journal in Herald Square, Manhattan.
During Gitlow's trial in February 1920 his defense attorney,...
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Race Relations: Death in a Desegregated Neighborhood
Unrest in a Detroit Neighborhood.
In February 1925 Dr. Ossian Sweet, a black physician, moved with his family to a house on Garland Avenue, on the outskirts of a white neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan. Predictably, many of their new neighbors were outraged by the Sweets' presence. When anonymous death threats began, Dr. Sweet hired black bodyguards, who accompanied him everywhere, and announced that he had a formidable arsenal of firearms in his home. Sweet and his friends, all army veterans, were proficient in the use of such weaponry. Initially, white troublemakers confined their activities to throwing rocks at the house and other acts of petty vandalism. Local police did nothing to curtail such actions.
Rioting and Death.
On the evening of 9 September several white youths had an altercation with two of Dr. Sweet's brothers on the street. A mob quickly formed, but both Sweets escaped safely into the doctor's house. As the crowd grew, its members began moving toward the front door. Several rioters climbed onto the porch and smashed some windows. All the while, white onlookers chanted racist slogans. Then gunfire suddenly came from inside the house. The Sweets later claimed they had shouted warnings before opening fire.
After the shooting ended, one rioter, Leo...
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Race Relations: Denying Black Suffrage
The Rise of the Southern All-White Primary.
In 1923 the Texas General Assembly enacted a statute that barred all "persons of color" from voting in state Democratic Party primaries. On 26 July 1924 in El Paso, Dr. L. A. Nixon, a black dentist, attempted to vote in the Democratic primary as he had done in the past. Nixon had paid the required annual poll tax, but Charles Herndon, the judge of elections for Precinct 9, refused to issue him a ballot.
A Legal Challenge to the Whites-Only Primary.
At the urging of the El Paso branch of the NAACP, Nixon filed a lawsuit against Herndon. Claiming that his constitutional right to vote—as guaranteed by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments ~~~ had been violated and that he had been denied his franchise on the basis of race, he sought $5,000 in punitive damages from Herndon and the state of Texas. In July 1925 the Federal District Court for West Texas dismissed Nixon's case, but the U.S. Supreme Case later accepted it on the basis of writ of error. Members of Nixon's legal team—including Moorfield Storey, the national secretary of the NAACP, and Louis Marshall and James A. Cobb, attorneys who had represented the NAACP in similar civil rights challenges—argued the case before the Supreme Court on 4 January 1927, Attorney General Daniel Moody of Texas sought special permission to file a brief...
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Race Relations: A Legal Definition of Color
A Challenge to Segregated Education.
In September 1925 Martha Lum, a Chinese American student, was denied admittance to Rosedale High School in Bolivar County, Mississippi, on the grounds that the facility was reserved exclusively for white pupils. School authorities told her father, Gong Lum, that she would have to attend an underfunded, "colored" high school of inferior quality in a nearby county. Gong Lum filed suit against the Bolivar County School District. He did not challenge the basic premise of racially segregated education. Instead his white attorney, Earl Brewer, argued, "Colored describes only one race, and that is the Negro." Martha Lum, he said, was a native-born American of pure Chinese extraction and "without any drop of Negro blood." Further-more, Gong Lum, a local dry-goods merchant, annually paid the county school taxes that provided funds for the maintenance of the all-white Bolivar County school system.
Preserving the "Lily-White" School.
State education officials replied that all public schools in Mississippi were segregated institutions by law and that individuals of Chinese extraction must be classified as "non-white." Since students of the "Mongolian race" were so rare in Mississippi, it would be impractical for the state to build schools for their exclusive benefit, and therefore they must attend the schools...
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Race Relations: The Rise and Fall of the Ku Klux Klan
Advances in the Battle against Racism.
During the Jazz Age the militant white racism of the preceding three decades finally began to lose its intensity. White supremacists of the 1890s had described African Americans as belonging to a diseased, degenerate race not likely to survive more than a generation. Sen. James K, Vardaman of Mississippi had predicted that the "nigra" would be extinct in North America by the 1920s. In fact, the black population of the United States increased steadily in the 1920s. Though lynchings of blacks remained widespread throughout the southern states, the number of such hangings declined during the decade. In 1921 fifty-nine African Americans were lynched, while eight years later the number had dropped to seven. During the same period African American legal advocates won some modest courtroom victories against segregation. The American legal system, however, was not yet prepared to confront the basic question of racial equity.
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The Sacco and Vanzetti Case
On 15 April 1920 in South Brain-tree, Massachusetts, Frederick Parmenter, the paymaster of the Slater-Merrill Shoe Company, was about to enter the factory grounds with two metal boxes containing slightly more than $15,000 in cash when he and a security guard were accosted by two armed robbers. After fatally wounding Parmenter and his companion, the bandits seized the payroll boxes and were seen driving away with a third man in a Buick touring car. Onlookers described the gunmen as "short, dark, foreign types." The getaway vehicle was later found in the nearby town of Brockton.
Arrests of Suspects.
The next month state police officers raided a private dwelling in Staughton, Massachusetts, that was suspected of being a "safe house" for fugitive political terrorists. Among those taken into custody were Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, two Italian immigrants. Both men were outspoken advocates of anarchism and union organizers who worked among laborers in local textile mills.
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The Saint Valentine's Day Massacre
Gang Rivalry in Chicago.
By early 1929 Al Capone had neutralized most of his major underworld enemies in Chicago. But one gang operating on the North Side, led by George "Bugs" Moran, continued to defy him, and Capone resolved to liquidate all its leadership, especially Moran. Through informants Capone knew that Moran's gang congregated regularly in a garage on North Clark Street to await the arrival of their liquor-truck convoys and that one such shipment was due to arrive at 10:30 A.M. on 14 February 1929. Capone ordered his main "enforcer," Fred "Killer" Burke, to prepare a "surprise" for Moran and company.
Gangsters Disguised as Policemen.
It was decided that three gunmen would gain access to the garage by disguising themselves as Chicago police officers conducting a routine raid. Through cash payoffs Capone procured a police car and several police uniforms. Since the intended victims already knew most of the Capone mob, members of the "Purple Gang" of Detroit were hired to pose as the policemen. When these...
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The Schwimmer Case: Citizenship and the Conscientious Objector
A Pacifist Professor.
In August 1921 Prof. Rosika Schwimmer, a native of Hungary, entered the United States to take a faculty position at the University of Chicago. She remained there for five years under resident alien status and applied for American citizenship in September 1926. A committed pacifist who had opposed World War I, the fifty-one-year-old Schwimmer gave a negative answer to question twenty-two on her preliminary application form, declaring herself unwilling to bear arms during any future national emergency. Schwimmer's application was denied by the U.S. Department of State. With Morris L. Ernst as her attorney, Schwimmer filed suit against the federal government, and her case was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on 12 April 1929.
The Supreme Court Ruling.
One month later the court ruled against Schwimmer. Justice Pierce Butler spoke for the majority, declaring: "The influence of conscientious objectors against the use of military force in defense … of our...
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The Scopes "Monkey" Trial and the Separation of Church and State
In January 1925 the Tennessee General Assembly enacted a law that forbade the teaching of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution to public-school students in that state. Devout Christians considered Darwin's scientific conclusions on human origins "ungodly." Two months later several opponents of the law met in Robinson's Drugstore in Dayton, Tennessee. They were aware that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was prepared to fund an antievolution
Image Pop-UpThe jury found John T. Scopes guilty of teaching evolution to his high school classroom in 1925.
The Last Great Heresy Trial.
As promised, the ACLU assumed all of...
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A Victory for Academic Freedom
The Nebraska Ban on Language Instruction.
In April 1919 the Nebraska General Assembly enacted a law that forbade the instruction of any modern foreign language to elementary-school pupils in that state. On 25 May 1920 Robert T. Meyer, an ordained Lutheran minister, taught a German class to some students of the Zion Parochial Grammar School. The children were Lutherans and mostly of German ancestry. After Meyer was brought before Hamilton County District Court and fined $200, his lawyers appealed the conviction on the grounds that he and the students had been denied due process as stipulated in the Fourteenth Amendment. The case of Meyer v. State of Nebraska was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on 3 February 1924.
The Supreme Court Ruling.
Four months later the usually conservative Taft Court handed down a notably liberal decision. A majority of eight justices, with George Sunderland reading the opinion, declared that Americans had always viewed "an acquisition of knowledge as beneficial." The justices also noted that it was difficult to discern how the teaching of a foreign language was harmful to the "health, morals, or understanding of the ordinary child." They therefore found the law to be arbitrary and unconstitutional.
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Allen, Florence Ellinwood 1884-1959
PIONEER WOMAN JUDGE
As a teenager in Salt Lake City, Utah, Florence Ellinwood Allen attended a lecture by suffragist leader Susan B. Anthony. Subsequently, she became Anthony's protégé and a lifelong feminist activist. After attending the University of Chicago Law School (1909-1910) and graduating from New York University Law School in 1913, Allen was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1914 and established a law practice in Cleveland that specialized in legal problems of special concern to women. She was appointed assistant county prosecutor for Cuyahoga County in 1919.
In 1921 Allen was the first woman in American history to become judge of a Common Pleas Court, and in 1926 she was the first female to be appointed associate justice on the Ohio State Supreme Court. Judge Allen was a "no-nonsense" jurist. In 1925 she imposed the death penalty on Frank Motto, a notorious Ohio gangster and murderer. She did not...
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Capone, Alphonse 1899-1947
Born in Brooklyn, New York, on 17 January 1899, Alphonse Capone became involved at an early age with petty street criminals operating in his neighborhood. During one saloon brawl Capone was slashed on the cheek with a razor, earning the lifelong nickname of "Scarface Al." He became a gunman for the notorious Five Points Gang and moved to Chicago in 1919 to escape arrest on a murder charge. That same year Congress declared the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment, which prohibited the manufacture, sale, and transport of alcoholic beverages nationwide.
Chicago Gang Leader.
Through a series of "efficient" murders of criminal enemies, Capone became the primary lieutenant of Johnny Torrio, another member of the Five Points Gang, who had moved to Chicago in 1915. With Capone's help he began a concerted effort to gain control of the newly established illegal-liquor racket. When Torrio was permanently disabled in 1925 after an assassination attempt by a rival gang, "Big AT Capone assumed...
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Darrow, Clarence 1857-1938
A Famous Trial Lawyer.
Clarence Darrow represented more than fifty people charged with first-degree murder, and only one of these clients, his first, was executed. His defense of radical union leaders such as Eugene V. Debs and William "Big Bill" Haywood and antiwar activists during World War I earned him a reputation as a champion of labor and the rights of individuals before he gained worldwide renown as a defense lawyer during the 1920s.
Born in Ohio, Clarence Darrow was admitted to the bar in 1878 and spent all his lengthy legal career in Chicago, Illinois. By 1898 he belonged to a busy law firm that included a former Illinois governor, John Peter Altgeld. Darrow's first successes came in civil cases, in which he usually represented major corporate clients such as the Chicago & North Western Railway. In 1894 he took his first major criminal case, serving as an appeals lawyer for a convicted murderer, Robert Prendergast. The appeal was denied, and Prendergast was hanged on schedule.
The widespread economic suffering during a major business depression in the 1890s caused Darrow to doubt the viability of capitalism. He also became interested in labor law. In 1894 he severed his business connections to defend Debs...
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Ernst, Morris L. 1888-1976
ATTORNEY AND POLITICAL ACTIVIST
A Champion of Individual Rights.
An active member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Morris L. Ernst spent his legal career fighting for the rights of people outside the mainstream of American society.
Born to Jewish parents in the rural Alabama town of Uniontown, Morris Leopold Ernst experienced firsthand the consequences of being a social outsider. After graduating from New York Law School in 1912, he spent most of the next six decades with the New York City law firm of Greenbaum, Wolff, and Ernst.
Defending the "Outsider."
During the 1920s Ernst provided legal counsel to many of the political radicals detained in the "Palmer Raids" during the Red Scare of 1920, and he was a frequent legal adviser to the NAACP, becoming a member of its national board of directors in 1925, Through his close friendship with birth-control advocate Margaret Sanger, Ernst was retained as general counsel to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1927 and held that position for more than three decades. In 1929 he unsuccessfully argued before the Supreme Court that the beliefs of conscientious objector Rosika Schwimmer did not disqualify the...
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Musmanno, Michael A. 1898-1968
In 1926 Michael Angelo Musmanno was attempting to build a law practice in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Despite an impressive record of advanced legal training abroad, most notably in Italy, he had not been able to find a position with any of the prestigious Pittsburgh law firms, which were "closed shops" when it came to hiring ethnic Americans, especially those of Italian, Irish, or Slavic descent. Most of Musmanno's clients came from the local Italian American community, and he was also developing a reputation around western Pennsylvania as a labor advocate. In autumn 1926 he accepted an offer to join the defense team preparing legal appeals for Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, Italian-immigrant anarchists who had been found guilty and sentenced to death for two murders committed during an armed robbery.
Defending Sacco and Vanzetti.
Musmanno believed that nativist prejudice against ethnic Americans was at the root of the case. He was convinced that much of the evidence presented by the prosecution had been fabricated and that both defendants had received the death penalty because of their political views. Musmanno became so dedicated to the campaign to save Sacco and Vanzetti that he refused any payment for his services. He spent most nights on a cot at the headquarters of the...
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O'Banion, Dion Patrick 1891-1924
In the early 1920s the illegal rackets on the North Side of Chicago were dominated by an Irish immigrant named Dion O'Banion. On the surface he was a genial man who loved to sing the old songs of his homeland, and he spent most days working in his florist's shop on North State Street. Yet he was also a major bootlegger and drug trafficker whom Chief of Police Morgan Collins considered "Chicago's arch-criminal." Informed insiders claimed that O'Banion—who always carried three guns concealed in special pockets made by his tailor—arranged for the deaths of at least twenty-five of his enemies. It was O'Banion who began the custom of sending large floral arrangements at the public funerals of slain mobsters. He made most of these funeral wreaths himself.
O'Banion started out as a member of a North Side juvenile street gang. His earliest adult crimes were burglary and safecracking. Because of a leg wound from an early gunfight, O'Banion walked with a pronounced limp. By the time Prohibition went into effect in 1920 O'Banion's gang—an ethnic mix of Irish, German, and Jewish hoodlums—was well placed to profit from the newly lucrative racket of bootlegging whiskey.
Rivalry with Capone.
Initially O'Banion and his...
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Palmer, A. Mitchell 1872-1936
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES, 1919-1921
"The Fighting Quaker."
A member of a Pennsylvania Quaker family, A. Mitchell Palmer was known as "The Fighting Quaker." In 1908 he left an active law practice to run for the U.S. House of Representatives and served in the House through 1915. In 1912 he was an early, vocal supporter of Woodrow Wilson's successful presidential bid.
In 1917, after the United States had entered World War I, Wilson named Palmer head of an agency to supervise the expropriation of commercial properties owned by German nationals living in the United States. In February 1919 Wilson appointed Palmer attorney general of the United States. Until that time individuals in that post had displayed scant interest in the issue of political subversion, but after October 1919, when he survived an assassination attempt staged by anarchists, Palmer became a willing partner of J. Edgar Hoover, then deputy director of the Bureau of Investigation, in plans to suppress domestic radicalism.
The Palmer Raids.
In January 1920, during a series of coordinated roundups in thirty-three cities, some four thousand suspected radicals were arrested by federal agents, who routinely violated the basic civil liberties of the suspects. These so-called...
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Stone, Harlan Fiske 1872-1946
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES, 1924
ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE US. SUPREME COURT. 1925-1941
CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE US. SUPREME COURT. 1941-1946
After graduating from the Columbia University Law School in 1898, Harlan Fiske Stone joined the prestigious Wall Street law firm of Sullivan, Dulles, and Cromwell, remaining with the firm until 1918, when he returned to Columbia to become dean of the law school.
On 28 March 1924 President Calvin Coolidge dismissed U.S. Attorney General Harry Daugherty for his alleged involvement in the corruption scandals that had rocked the Harding administration and appointed Stone to fill the vacancy. Known for his personal integrity, Stone promised Coolidge that he would review his predecessor's actions and discharge all departmental subordinates who were suspected of criminal wrongdoing. This "cleanup" campaign was in progress in December 1924 when Coolidge...
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People in the News
In October 1924 Roger Baldwin, president of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), assured President Calvin Coolidge that J. Edgar Hoover would be a good choice for the post of permanent director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Hoover's predecessor, William J. Burns, had been fired for political corruption.
On 23 November 1922 Pierce Butler of Minnesota was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Warren G. Harding. Because of Butler's record as a reactionary "railroad lawyer," a coalition of Democratic and liberal Republican senators managed to block a confirmation vote during the Congressional session that concluded in December 1922, but by the time the next session convened in January 1923, Butler's supporters in the Senate had gained the additional eight votes they needed to confirm his appointment.
In Anniston, Alabama, on 30 July 1920 Sgt. Eugene Caldwell, a black soldier, was hanged by civil authorities for the murder of a white man. Caldwell claimed that he had acted in self-defense, and his attorneys argued that civil authorities had no legal right to try a soldier accused of committing a crime while on active duty. Despite repeated defense appeals, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene in the case.
In May 1929 prominent mobsters such as Al Capone, Meyer Lansky, Lucky...
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James De Witt Andrews, 83, legal scholar and author whose textbook Reform of Legal Procedure (1911) was required reading in many American law schools during the 1920s, 24 October 1929.
Richard A. Ballinger, 63, attorney with expertise in mineral mining law, secretary of the interior (1909-1911) under President William Howard Taft, 6 June 1922.
Edgar Addison Bancroft, 67, prominent corporate attorney from Chicago, chairman of the Illinois State Commission On Race Relations (1919), American ambassador to Japan (1924-1925), 28 July 1925.
Zebulon R. Brockway, 93, progressive penologist and longtime superintendent of Elmira State Reformatory (1876-1900) in Elmira, New York, a proponent of indeterminate criminal sentencing with an emphasis on prisoner rehabilitation, 21 October 1920.
William R. Day, 74, U.S. secretary of state (1898) under President William McKinley, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1903-1922), 7 July 1923.
Wyatt Earp, 78, American frontier lawman, assistant marshal of Dodge City, Kansas (1876, 1878-1879), deputy marshal of Tombstone, Arizona (1881), 13 January 1929.
Judson Harmon, 81, U.S. attorney general (1895-1897) under President Grover Cleveland, the first in that office to file a...
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Herbert Asbury, The Gangs of New York (New York: Knopf, 1928);
Benjamin N. Cardozo, The Growth of the Law (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1924);
Cardozo, The Nature of the Judicial Process (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1925);
Cardozo, Paradoxes in Legal Science (New York: Columbia University Press, 1928);
Clarence Marsh Case, Non-Violent Coercion: A Study in the Methods of Social Pressure (New York: Century, 1923);
Zechariah Chafee Jr., Freedom of Speech (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Howe, 1920);
Kate Halladay Claghorn, The Immigrant's Day in Court (New York: Harper, 1923);
Clarence Darrow, Crime: Its Cause and Treatment (New York: Crowell, 1922);
Darrow, The Prohibition Mania (New York: Boni & Liveright, 1927);
Morris L. Ernst and William Seagle, To the Pure … A Study of Obscenity and the Censor (New York: Viking, 1928);
Herman Feldman, Prohibition: Its Economic and Industrial Aspects (New York Appleton, 1927);
Joseph F. Fishman, Crucibles of Crime: The Shocking Story of the American Jail (New York: Cosmopolis Press, 1923);
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Important Events in Law and Justice, 1920–1929
- On January 2, federal agents begin nationwide raids on suspected political radicals. More than four thousand people are detained in thirty-three cities.
- On January 5, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the Volstead Act, the legislative measure passed to implement the Eighteenth Amendment, which prohibited the manufacture, sale, or transport of alcoholic beverages in the United States.
- On January 16, Prohibition officially begins.
- On April 19, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that to implement an international treaty, Congress may enact legislation that otherwise might be construed as a violation of an individual state's sovereignty.
- On May 5, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, known anarchists, are arrested for the murder of two men during a payroll robbery in South Braintree, Massachusetts, some weeks earlier.
- On May 15, Chicago gangster "Big Jim" Colosimo, who has been shot to death, is given the first "gangland funeral." It is attended by movie and opera stars, judges, and Johnny Torrio, who is suspected of having arranged the hit.
- On June 7, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the Eighteenth Amendment is constitutional. This ruling abrogates all existing state laws that permit the sale of light wines and beer. The justices also...
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