Topics in the News
The Attorney General and the Teamster
The McClellan Committee.
In 1957 concerns with organized crime in labor unions led to the formation of a special congressional committee headed by Sen. John L. McClellan that was commonly referred to as the McClellan committee. McClellan brought along Robert Kennedy as the counsel for this select committee. It was in the hearings held by the McClellan committee that Kennedy first met James R. Hoffa. The committee had investigated Teamster leader David Beck who was later convicted of larceny and income tax evasion. The removal of Beck cleared the way for Hoffa to rise to command of the powerful Teamster Union, which represented truckers throughout the United States. By the mid 1950s it had become the largest union in the country both in terms of membership and funds. The Teamsters Union, and Hoffa in particular, was to become an obsession for Kennedy as the years progressed. The McClellan committee investigation of the union turned up disturbing information about its new leader. Although officials failed in several attempts to gain convictions against Hoffa, the information unearthed convinced Kennedy that Hoffa was an evil man. Kennedy came to believe that Hoffa was involved with many organized-crime figures, including the mobster Sam Giancana, reputedly the head of Chicago's Mafia. He also thought that Hoffa was siphoning money from the union funds and was engaged in other illegal acts such...
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Baker v. Carr
The concept of representation is basic to local, state, and federal government. Such bodies as local councils, state legislatures, and the U.S. House of Representatives are formed by elected officials who come from a particular area or district to represent the interests of the people who elected them. If one representative comes from a district with ten people and another comes from a district with a thousand people, the people in the smaller district can be said to have a greater voice in government than the people in the larger district. Representation is thus unequal and government may be unfair
By the end of World War II district imbalance was especially great in the states that had the fastest growing populations. In Georgia the largest congressional district had 823,680 people in it, while the smallest had only 272,154. Illinois was another seriously malapportioned state. Its largest district, in the Chicago area, had over 914,000 people, while the smallest comprised only about 112,000. In the state legislature of Florida a majority of the members of both houses represented districts containing less than 15 percent of the state's population.
Districts Frozen in Time.
These disparities occurred because, at the turn of the...
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The Boston Strangler
A Summer of Fear.
In the summer of 1962 Boston, Massachusetts, was gripped by fear. In June a fifty-five-year-old woman was found dead in her apartment. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled by a cord. The cord had been tied in a bow beneath her chin, a method which was to become the sign of the murderer known as the Boston Strangler. By the end of the month, two more elderly women were found murdered in similar circumstances. In the next two months four more women in their sixties and seventies were found strangled. The Boston police faced rising demands for action as it became clear that elderly women in Boston were being targeted by a madman. For the next several months no new bodies were found. Then in December the Strangler struck again. This time he raped and strangled two young women in their early twenties. It was now clear to the police that they had a serious problem on their hands that was not going to go away. Certain evidence suggested that the same man was responsible for all the murders. Each of the victims had been strangled with articles of clothing which had been tied with the same type of knot. Also, there was no sign of forced entry into the homes of the victims, which indicated that the killer was a smooth operator.
The Killing Continues.
The Strangler struck again in March 1963. It appeared that the victim,...
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The Trial of the Chicago Seven
In August 1968 the Democratic party held its national convention in Chicago. The Vietnam War and the civil rights movement were near their respective climaxes, charging American politics with tremendous ideological intensity. Two groups, the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (MOBE) and the Youth International party (Yippies) had been planning since early 1968 to conduct protest demonstrations in Chicago during the convention. Rock concerts were scheduled, parade permits were sought, and other preparations were made by the members of the two organizations. During the event there were repeated clashes among the crowds of protesters and the police and National Guard. Many were injured on both sides, and several protesters were arrested.
The Anti-Riot Act.
Earlier in 1968 a group of conservative senators had added to the Civil Rights Bill of that year a provision which came to be called the Anti-Riot Act. The new statute made it a violation of federal law to travel in or use the facilities of interstate commerce with the intent to incite riot. After the convention Lyndon Johnson's Justice Department had drawn up indictments for violation of the act against five MOBE and Yippie leaders, plus three other men who were also involved in the protests. David Dellinger, Rennie Davis, and Tom
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Civil Rights Act of 1964
A Momentous Year.
The most extensive and far-reaching civil rights act since Reconstruction won approval in Congress in 1964. This was not to say that the new law dealt with all the concerns of black Americans, In particular the question of effective measures to ensure that unrestricted voting would be available to blacks was left to another day. However, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 marked a major step forward for government involvement in preventing racial discrimination, particularly in the private sector.
The act was divided into eleven parts or titles. Among its provisions were: an extension of the life of the Civil Rights Commission which had been established by the Civil Rights Act of 1959; prohibition against voting registrars applying different standards to black and white applicants; prohibition of racial discrimination in public education; an authorization for the executive branch to halt the flow of federal funds to both public and private programs in which racial discrimination was allowed to continue; and authority for the attorney general to bring suits, upon written complaint of individuals, to desegregate public facilities, including those run by state or local governments.
A Question of Control.These measures basically dealt with the exercise of control over federal...
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In Cold Blood
The Clutters.On Saturday night, 14 November 1959, the lights did not burn late at the home of Herbert Clutter and his family near Holcomb, Kansas. The Clutters customarily rose early on Sunday to prepare for church. In many ways they represented the heartland American ideal. Herbert Clutter was a successful wheat farmer and the current chairman of the Kansas Conference of Farm Organizations. A respected man in the community, Clutter never touched alcohol or tobacco or even caffeine. His wife Bonnie was a retiring woman and something of an invalid, but she was well liked and was a caring mother of their four children, two of whom were
The Murder Scene.
The morning of 15 November, two friends of Nancy whom the Clutters took to church each Sunday were alarmed to find the house quiet. After they entered the home, they found Nancy's body in her room. By that afternoon the house was...
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Criminal Law in the 1960s
A Decade of Change.
During the 1960s the U.S. Supreme Court dealt with many cases involving criminal procedure. Several of these cases resulted in major changes in the way police and the courts dealt with criminal defendants. Some of the changes involved extending protections granted in the Bill of Rights to the states, others involved interpreting the Constitution's provisions in light of changing technology and circumstances that the founding fathers could not have imagined. In other cases the Court moved to enhance the protections of criminals in response to changing social values. The result of all these cases was enhancement of individual liberties and confusion for police, as the standards by which law enforcement would have to operate were in a state of flux.
Search and Seizure.
The standards by which a police search for evidence was deemed valid and the admissability into evidence of anything that was found thereby became subjects of profound change. The most significant development occurred in 1961 in the case of Mapp v. Ohio. In that case state police had obtained evidence without a warrant and in violation of the Constitution. The question the Court had to answer was what to do with the evidence. It clearly linked the defendant to an illegal activity. Could the trial court consider such evidence? If federal...
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The Drug Wars
Status Is Not a Crime.
In the spring of 1962 the U.S. Supreme Court heard the case of Robinson v. California, involving a Los Angeles man who had been convicted of being a narcotics addict. At trial a police officer testified that he had examined the defendant Robinson and found what appeared to be needle scars on his arm. The trial judge instructed the jury that they could find Robinson guilty if they believed he fell into the category of a drug addict. In legal terms that meant that Robinson could be convicted even if the prosecutor had failed to offer evidence of his actual use of an illegal drug. In a landmark decision handed down in June 1962, Justice Potter Stewart held that status could not be made a criminal offense. To do so, said the majority opinion, would be a cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Use of banned drugs could be sanctioned by criminal penalties, and addicts could be forced by the government to enter treatment programs which involved involuntary confinement. But mere proof of addiction was no longer sufficient to send a person to prison.
The Treatment Alternative.
In a series of court decisions and administrative rulings in the 1920s, the punitive approach to the drug problem had become entrenched in American legal practice....
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Freedom of Religion
A Devil of a Controversy.
In 1962 the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision which created an immense amount of controversy. The case was Engel v. Vitale, and the issue involved was the freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. There are few legal disputes which trigger the degree of emotional involvement among the populace as those involving the freedom of religion. Other than desegregation, there was no legal issue in the 1960s which aroused such widespread interest and criticism of the highest court in the land. In part this reaction was due to the importance of religion to many Americans. In part it was due to a dichotomy which is reflected in the Constitution itself. The freedom of religion set forth in that document really embodies two separate and often conflicting concepts. One portion of the right consists of the establishment clause which prohibits the establishment of religion by the government. The second portion of the Amendment deals with the related but distinct right of citizens to engage in the free exercise of their own religion. In this latter portion the issue is not one of government sponsorship, but rather of government interference in people's chosen form of worship or even nonworship. The First Amendment's religious provisions reflect the concern of our nation's founders who, as former British subjects, were very...
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A Rising Tide.
By the 1960s the term juvenile delinquency had come to mean any sort of antisocial act committed by a young person. It included not only criminal acts but also behavior perceived as harmful to society and destructive to the people involved. While the first few years of the decade represented a continuation of trends established in the 1950s, by the late 1960s the nation faced a significant increase in youthful violence and drug use. Even more alarming was the accompanying social disaffection and overt challenges to political and social institutions.
In part these developments were symptoms of an expanding society growing less personal and less integrated. In the smaller, traditional communities most people knew one another personally. Black sheep children were less likely to become a criminal statistic. Instead, their family and friends would exert pres-sure to conform and would provide a degree of support, assistance, and shelter. While never entirely true for the very poor, the social cohesion of the smaller communities provided a bulwark for the majority of young people. But with the development of increasingly impoverished inner-city areas and rising racial strife in the 1960s, the youth-crime statistics presented a disturbing picture. According to FBI statistics, young people under the age of...
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An Empty Home.
At about 6:00 P.M. on 8 June 1964, the mother of fifteen-year-old Jerry Gault returned from work to her home in Gila County, Arizona, where she learned from a neighbor that her son Jerry was in the custody of the local juvenile court for having made an obscene phone call. Jerry Gault had one previous brush with the law—he allegedly stole a baseball glove two years earlier. After a brief release to his parents, Jerry Gault was summoned to an informal hearing before a judge of the superior court, who had been designated to serve as juvenile court judge. At the hearing, the judge questioned Jerry and an official at the juvenile facility where he had been held. It appeared that Jerry had been arrested by a local sheriff's deputy for making an obscene phone call to a neighbor, a Mrs. Cook, who was not at the hearing.
On the basis of a slender collection of information, the judge declared that Jerry Gault was a delinquent child under Arizona law. He was committed to the State Industrial School until age twenty-one, unless sooner discharged by an appropriate court order. Had Jerry been an adult and found guilty of making an obscene phone call, he would have been subject to a maximum fine of fifty dollars or imprisonment for not more than two months. Because he was only fifteen, Jerry was facing six years of...
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A Summer of Hope.
In June 1964 the Council of Federated Organizations, a combination of four civil rights groups and the National Conference of Churches, organized what it called the Mississippi Summer Project. The project's purpose was to send northern college-student volunteers, mostly white, to Mississippi for the summer. There they were to work in "freedom schools" to teach blacks in the state about their constitutional rights and to take part in a campaign to assist black-voter registration. Another aim of the project was to gain greater national attention for the struggle against racial discrimination in Mississippi by involving large numbers of white civil rights workers. Unfortunately, while it succeeded in getting nationwide attention, it was at the cost of the lives of three workers based in Meridian, Mississippi. The three men were Michael Schwerner, twenty-four; James Chaney, twenty-one; and Andrew Goodman, twenty.
Schwerner was not a summer volunteer. He had already been working in Mississippi for six months and had been an instructor at the project's training course for the volunteers. A white man from New York, Schwerner graduated from Cornell University and became a social worker in New York City. He then joined the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), helping on various projects to combat racial...
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New York Times v. Sullivan
Sticks and Stones.
The law of defamation deals with injury to a person's reputation and good name by false statements. One form, libel, is commonly associated with the printed word, though it can consist of statements made over other durable and widely disseminated mediums, such as television. In a libel action a person who has been defamed before a third party can sue the publisher of the statement for damages. The standard for libel claims was traditionally one of strict liability. If a person published a false statement, they were liable for damages even if they had not acted unreasonably, thus, it was easier to sue a person for libel than for most other wrongs. The justification was that great harm can result from the broadcast of false information about a person. Up to 1964 strict liability in the law of libel had been largely ignored by the U.S. Supreme Court. It was left to the states and their courts to deal with the question of what constituted libel and what standards of proof were required. But in that year the high court, pulled along by the rush of events in the civil rights movement, made changes which would have an enormous effect on the relationship between the press and public figures.
A Controversial Advertisement.
The case that brought about this shift resulted from an advertisement placed by a civil rights group in...
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In the Heat of Summer.
Shortly before noon on a hot summer day in Austin, Texas, a tragedy unfolded which shocked the nation. The date was 1 August 1966. A student of architectural engineering at the University of Texas began firing from the tower which soared 307 feet above the campus. The shooting spree of Charles Whitman would become one of the bloodiest rampages in recent American history.
A Typical Childhood.
The sniper's background was not particularly troubled. The big, muscular, young man had grown up in Lake Worth, Florida, the oldest of three sons of a plumbing contractor. His home life appeared typical. As a child he had attended a Catholic school. He had a newspaper route and served as an altar boy at his church. He played school sports and made Eagle Scout when he was only twelve years old. His father was a gun enthusiast who insisted that his sons be able to shoot. Whitman further developed this skill during a stint in the U.S. Marines.
Yet despite the apparent tranquility of his childhood, trouble lurked beneath the surface. His father was a rigid disciplinarian with a quick temper, who later admitted to beating his wife. Neither Whitman nor his youngest brother were on good terms with their father. Like his father Whitman had a temper and had...
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The Supreme Court of the 1960s
The Double Standard.
As the decade of the 1960s opened, the U.S. Supreme Court was weighted on the side of liberal judicial activism. In virtually all matters that came before it, the entire Court adhered to the jurisprudential principle which legal scholars call the "Double Standard." Based on a series of cases from the late 1930s, this approach makes a sharp distinction between property rights and personal rights. In the former area, the Constitution is held to allow wide leeway to legislative interference in business and commercial matters. In contrast, government infringements on personal rights protected by the Constitution, such as privacy or free speech, are much more strictly scrutinized. More-over, Chief Justice Earl Warren and three of the associate justices—Hugo Black, William O. Douglas, and William J. Brennan, jr.—were strongly committed to judicial activism. In cases where they felt individual rights were being jeopardized by governmental acts, they did not feel constrained by legal precedent. Under those circumstances, the activist justices were willing to challenge decisions of the federal and state legislatures and of other democratically elected officials.
The decade was barely a year old when the Supreme Court rendered its decision in Mapp v. Ohio. The 1961 case was the first of a...
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Voting Rights Act of 1965
The Federal Government Weighs In.
Even though blacks were guaranteed the right to vote by the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution, passed in 1870, racial discrimination in voting was still widespread after World War II. Congress and the president finally began to act to redress these problems in the 1950s. The Civil Rights Act of 1957 sought to deal with continued discrimination by empowering the attorney general of the United States to bring suits on a case-by-case basis, rather than relying solely on private challenges. But even with the Civil Rights Acts of 1960 and 1964, which sought to stream-line this process, case-by-case challenges were not very effective. Voting rights suits were difficult, time consuming, and slow to resolve. Preparation for a trial often required thousands of man-hours to comb voter registration records. In addition, even when the cases were carried to conclusion and the state lost, that did not necessarily solve the problem. Some states just resorted to new tests or different methods of racial discrimination not covered by the court decree, which was limited to the facts of the case before it. Broad legislative action was required to address the various and often ingenious forms that racial discrimination in voting took in the different states.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 sought to...
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De La Beckwith, Byron 1920-
A Shot in the Night.
On 12 June 1963 President John F. Kennedy gave a major speech on the subject of civil rights. His administration had been criticized for not involving itself more seriously in the movement. In response Kennedy signaled a change in the direction of in-creased support. That evening Medgar Evers, the Mississippi field secretary for the NAACP, watched the speech on television at the organization's headquarters in Jackson, Mississippi, while his wife and three young children viewed it at home. Mrs. Evers had agreed to let the two oldest children stay up late to discuss the president's address with their father when he returned. A little after midnight Evers's family heard his car pull up in the driveway. Evers got out carrying a stack of sweatshirts from the NAACP printed with the slogan "Jim Crow Must Go." He slammed the car door and, taking out his house keys, turned to walk up the driveway. At that moment a shot rang out and a bullet tore into his back, passing through him and entering the house. The startled Mrs. Evers and her children ran out to find him sprawled on the ground. As a neighbor fired a gun to scare off the assailant, others prepared a car to carry him to the hospital. An hour later Evers was dead, and the threat of rioting and further violence hung over the city of Jackson.
A Clue Is...
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Brennan, William J., Jr. 1906-1993
SUPREME COURT JUSTICE
Appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1956 as a legal reformer by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, William J. Brennan, Jr. became over the next two decades the leading liberal on the court.
Brennan began his judicial career in 1950, when he was appointed to the Superior Court of New Jersey. In 1952 he was promoted to the New Jersey Supreme Court. His decisions on that court show his zeal to reform court procedure in order to reduce unfair delays. They also reflect Brennan's interest in the real people whose difficulties are often overlooked by appellate judges grappling with the abstract principles presented by their cases. When Justice Sherman Minton announced his retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court in 1956, Eisenhower chose Brennan as his replacement despite the fact that Brennan was a Democrat. Brennan took his seat on 16 October 1956 during a congressional recess, and he was not confirmed until March 1957. Sen. Joseph McCarthy cast the lone negative vote on confirmation. President Eisenhower...
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Harlan, John Marshall 1899-1971
SUPREME COURT JUSTICE
Leading the Opposition.
Among the justices who sat on the U.S. Supreme Court during the judicial revolutions of the 1960s, Justice John Marshall Harlan led the opposition to the activist program of the Warren court majority.
Harlan was appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the most important appeals court in the country. When Supreme Court justice Robert H. Jackson died late that year, Eisenhower chose Harlan to fill the seat. His appointment was held up by the Senate until March 1955, because some senators were concerned that Harlan's time at Oxford University (he was a Rhodes scholar and actually received his B.A. and M.A. from Balliol College) made him too much of a believer in "world government." The Senate voted to confirm him 71 votes to 11.
The grandson and namesake of Supreme Court justice John Marshall Harlan (1877-1911), Harlan was a believer in judicial restraint. Throughout his tenure on the Court, Harlan held fast to federalist theory, in which each branch and level of government had distinct powers and roles. His principles of judicial nonpartisanship extended to his beliefs that judges should not vote for candidates for...
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Liuzzo, Viola 1926-1965
CIVIL RIGHTS WORKER
A March of Hope.
In the spring of 1965 the Nobel Peace Prize winner and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. led a march from Selma, Alabama, to the state's capital of Montgomery. The avowed purpose was to present Alabama governor George Wallace with a petition protesting voting discrimination in the state. The main purpose was to draw attention to the plight of blacks in the segregated South. On 21 March thousands of participants began the fifty-mile trek to the capital. While there were some hecklers, there was little serious harassment of the marchers. The federal government had mobilized a small army to prevent any violence. Over one thousand military police were present as well as nearly two thousand federalized Alabama National Guardsmen, supplemented by federal marshals and FBI agents. Precautions even extended to having demolition experts search the bridges in the protestors' path.
Viola Liuzzo Joins the March.
The marchers were composed of a wide variety of people. Many were blacks from Alabama. But the protest had drawn not only seasoned civil rights workers, but also citizens from throughout the country. One of these was Viola Liuzzo, a white, thirty-nine-year-old mother of five from Detroit, Michigan. On 16 March she took part in a civil rights march in Detroit to express...
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Manson, Charles 1934-
A Scene of Bloody Horror.
At about 8 A.M. on Saturday morning, 9 August 1969, housekeeper Winifred Chapman arrived at 10050 Cielo Drive, the rental residence of film director Roman Polanski in a fashionable Los Angeles neighbor-hood near Beverly Hills. What she found that morning aroused the horrified interest of the nation. Five people lay dead in and around the blood-spattered house. The victims included Polanski's young wife, actress Sharon Tate, who was eight-and-one-half-months pregnant; Jay Sebring, a noted hairstylist; Abigail Folger, daughter of the chairman of the board of A. J. Folger Coffee Company; Folger's Polish boyfriend, Voytek Frykowski; and Steven Parent, a young man who had stopped by to sell some clock radios. The victims had been beaten and stabbed dozens of times, and the word PIG was written in blood on the front door. There seemed to be no motive. No money or valuables were taken, and none of the victims had been sexually assaulted. The gruesome scene baffled the police.
Later that weekend the mystery deepened. On Sunday night the bodies of Leno LaBianca, the middle-aged president of a chain of grocery stores, and his wife Rosemary were found in their home about five miles east of Beverly Hills. They had been dead almost twenty hours. Both had been...
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Marshall, Thurgood 1908-1993
CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER AND SUPREME COURT
A Catalyst for Change.
Thurgood Marshall was born on 2 July 1908 in Baltimore, Maryland. Earlier that summer there had been a riot in which two black men were lynched in Springfield, Illinois. For many blacks and white liberals the brutalities were a call to action. A series of meetings ensued which, within a year, resulted in the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). This was an organization upon which Marshall would have profound effects. It also was where he formed his legal reputation, which ultimately led to his appointment to the Supreme Court in 1967.
From Humble Beginnings.
Marshall's great-grandfather had been a slave who was freed by his Maryland owner. Marshall's father was a proud man who worked for a time as a railroad porter and later as a steward at a country club. Marshall's mother was a schoolteacher. At that time most blacks attended one school and whites another, and as a black teacher in a black school his mother earned much less than the...
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Ruby, Jack 1911-1967
A Murder Which Shocked a Nation.
On the afternoon of 22 November 1963 President John F. Kennedy, riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas, was killed by an assassin. Within an hour and a half Lee Harvey Oswald was picked up by the police. The press coverage of the assassination and Oswald's arrest was immense. On 24 November Oswald was moved from the Dallas police headquarters, where he had been held, to the county jail. An army of reporters was on hand, and the transfer was broadcast live on national television. Suddenly, a bulky man named Jack Ruby stepped out of the crowd and fatally shot Oswald in the abdomen.
Ruby was a fifty-two-year-old nightclub owner who had lived in Dallas since receiving an honorable discharge from the army in 1946. In Dallas he changed his name from Rubenstein and eventually operated a strip joint called the Carousel Club.
An Erratic Personality.
Ruby craved publicity and cultivated a rough-and-tumble persona. He had an emotional temperament tinged with violence. He acted as his own bouncer in his club, and he was always quick to take on anyone who made anti-Semitic remarks. He was a familiar sight around the police station and newsrooms, where he would often drop by to talk and do small favors for officers and...
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People in the News
In 1961 F. Lee Bailey joined the defense of Dr. Sam Sheppard, who had already been convicted of the murder of his wife. He succeeded in having the conviction reversed by the Supreme Court and in a new trial got his client acquitted. In 1967 he represented the Boston Strangler and by legal maneuverings avoided his conviction for murder. One of the most successful criminal defense attorneys of his day, he often found himself in the center of publicity. He combined intelligent legal maneuvers with a canny ability for establishing a rapport with members of the
In 1963 a scandal appeared in the United States Senate. Bobby Baker was the secretary for the Democratic majority in that body and had become a powerful figure in his own right. He was sometimes called the "101st senator" because of his influence on legislation and committee assignments. A close friend of Lyndon Johnson, he had risen along with that powerful senator and continued as his right arm in the Senate when Johnson became vice-president. However, Baker's luck finally ran out, and he resigned in 1963. There followed an investigation that was embarrassing to the many politicians with whom he had contacts. Questions were raised as to how he had managed to amass over $2 million in assets on his $19,600 a year salary. Hearings and trials dragged on through much of the decade, resulting in Baker's conviction for...
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William J. Allen, 76, truck driver who in 1932 discovered the body of aviator Charles Lindbergh's twenty-month-old son who had been abducted by kidnappers, on 20 December 1965.
Amy E. Archer-Gilligan, 93, former nursing-home owner suspected in the deaths of over forty residents and two husbands. She was convicted of one murder for arsenic poisoning, and her death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, on 23 April 1962.
Thurman W. Arnold, 78, prominent New Deal trust-buster as assistant attorney general from 1938 to 1943, also served on U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia before quitting to establish the Arnold and Porter law firm, on 7 November 1969.
W. Preston Battle, 60, Tennessee judge in the trial of James Earl Ray for the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. He accepted the deal by which Ray pleaded guilty and was immediately sentenced to ninety-nine years in prison, on 31 March 1969.
Elizabeth T. Bentley, 55, former Communist whose disclosures helped convict several spies, including Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, on 3 December 1963.
Francis Biddle, 82, attorney general under President Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1941 to 1945 and a U.S. judge at war-crime trials, on 4 October 1968.
Henry Breckinridge, 73, former...
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Patricia C. Acheson, The Supreme Court: America's Judicial Heritage (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1961);
Donald R. Cressey, Theft of the Nation: The Structure and Operations of Organized Crime in America (New York: Harper & Row, 1969);
Gerald Dickler, Man on Trial (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1962);
Irving Dillard, ed., One Mans Stand for Freedom: Mr. Justice Black and the Bill of Rights (New York: Knopf, 1963);
Michael V. Di Salle, The Power of Life or Death (New York: Random House, 1965);
Harriet F. Filpel and Theodora S. Zavin, Rights and Writers: A Handbook of Literary and Entertainment Law (New York: Dutton, 1960);
Paul A. Freund, The Supreme Court of the United States (Cleveland: World, 1961);
Ronald L. Goldfarb, Ransom (New York: Harper & Row, 1965);
Richard Harris, The Real Voice (New York: Macmillan, 1964);
Ray D. Henson, Landmarks of Law: Highlights of Legal Opinion (New York: Harper, 1960);
Christopher Hibbert, The Roots of Evil (Boston: Atlantic/Little, Brown, 1963);
Otto Kirchheimer, Political Justice (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1962);...
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Important Events in Law and Justice, 1960–1969
- On June 26, the Supreme Court decides Hannah v. Slawson, which allows the Civil Rights Commission to keep secret the identities of persons submitting complaints, to protect them from retaliation.
- In December, President John F. Kennedy announces his choice for attorney general, his brother Robert F. Kennedy.
- On May 20, after a white mob attacks a racially-mixed group of bus riders known as "Freedom Riders," Attorney General Kennedy sends four hundred marshals and other law enforcement officials to Montgomery, Alabama, to restore order.
- On May 29, the Supreme Court holds in Braunfeld v. Brown that Pennsylvania's Sunday Closing Law did not violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. The high court reaches the same conclusion in McGowan v. Maryland.
- On June 5, the Supreme Court issues the Scales v. United States opinion holding that membership in a Communist organization advocating the violent overthrow of the government is not protected by the First Amendment.
- On June 19, in Mapp v. Ohio, the Supreme Court applies the exclusionary rule to illegal searches and seizures by state police, meaning that illegally obtained evidence must be excluded in state criminal proceedings.
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