Born September 6, 1860 (Cedarville, Illinois)
Died May 21, 1935 (Chicago, Illinois)
By the early 1900s Jane Addams was one of the most famous and respected women in America. Her practical approach to charity, business, and reform worked well within the American free enterprise system (the freedom of private businesses to operate competitively for profit with minimal government regulation). Through her social activism to assist the poor and the young, Addams inspired the creation of the Illinois juvenile justice system, the first in the nation. The Illinois state system served as a model for other states and the federal government.
Addams also focused on pacifism (opposing war and violence) to promote nonviolent solutions to problems. She pursued her humanitarian work for a better American society throughout her lifetime. In 1931 Addams became the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The prize recognized her commitment to social reform and her work to promote peace in the world.
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Beaumont, Gustave de
Born February 6, 1802 (Beaumont-la-Chartre, France)
Died February 22, 1866 (Paris, France)
French magistrate, prison reformer
Gustave de Beaumont was a nineteenth-century French statesman when he received a commission from the King of France Louis Phillipe (1773–1850) to inspect American prison systems for the French government. In 1831 Beaumont and his friend and noted historian Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–1859) sailed to the United States. They spent nine months inspecting American prisons. At the completion of their study, they published a report entitled On the Penitentiary System in the United States and Its Application to France.
America was the New World to Europeans in the 1830s. The French Revolution (1789–99; a war in which the monarchy was overthrown and a republic was established) had called for "liberty, equality and fraternity," and the United States was seen as the political future with its principles based in individualism and equality. Many Europeans came to North America to observe and write accounts during these years. But the...
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Born March 6, 1937 (Detroit, Michigan)
Wall Street financier, white-collar criminal
Ivan Boesky worked in the fast-paced, high stakes world of Wall Street investing during the suddenly lucrative years of the 1980s. He was a financier who built a highly successful business by trading stock in companies experiencing financial difficulties. Boesky, however, became involved in a financial scam using "insider trading" (buying and selling stocks based on information not available to the general public), amounting to billions of dollars. Boesky was caught and put on trial, and the country was shocked by the extent of stock related thefts revealed during the government's investigation of Boesky and other financiers. For his crimes in the insider trading scandal Boesky paid fines, served prison time, and was banned from the securities (stocks and bonds) industry for life.
A golden opportunity
Ivan Frederick Boesky was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1937. His father, William H. Boesky, had immigrated to America from Ykaterinoslav, Russia, in 1912. William ran a chain of bars...
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Born July 19, 1860 (Fall River, Massachusetts)
Died June 2, 1927 (Fall River, Massachusetts)
Lizzie Borden was accused in the gruesome double homicide of her father and stepmother in 1892. The violent nature of the murders and the gender of the accused killer made the case a national sensation. The trial had all the elements of a media drama, ensuring the high profile case a place in American legal legend and folklore. Most people in the late nineteenth century could not accept that a woman from a socially prominent family might be capable of such a crime. The matter was settled in the court of public opinion long before it ever went to trial. Numerous books, plays, and movies have been devoted to the murders. More than a century after the Borden trial, the case remains one of the most notorious in American history.
Fall River home
Lizbeth Andrew "Lizzie" Borden was born in 1860 to Sarah Anthony Morse and Andrew Jackson Borden, a decade after her sister Emma. Lizzie's mother died...
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Born November 24, 1946 (Burlington, Vermont)
Died January 24, 1989 (Starke, Florida)
Ted Bundy did not fit the stereotype of a murderer yet he was responsible for one of the most gruesome and notorious killing sprees in American history. Bundy was handsome and charming and lured dozens of unsuspecting women to their deaths. The sheer volume of those killed (suspected to be over one hundred) along with the random nature in which his victims were chosen made his case infamous.
The Ted Bundy case changed the way law enforcement handled homicide investigations. The case introduced the computer as an instrument of serial murder detection. It was used to organize large volumes of information as Bundy's crimes spread over several state lines. By the time he was apprehended, two dozen police agencies in four states were searching for Bundy. Despite the increased sophistication of information, many of the agencies were still largely unaware that they were pursuing the same individual.
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Born September 30, 1924 (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Died August 25, 1984 (Los Angeles, California)
Truman Capote was an author who became famous as much for his eccentric personality as for his writing. Capote initially wrote dark, mystical fiction but later shifted toward nonfiction. He preferred writing more about people and places than about issues or ideas. Capote's professional reputation was established when he helped create a new literary form known as the nonfiction novel in 1966 with his book In Cold Blood about the brutal murder of a Kansas family. It is a style of writing that combines literature, with its creative license, and journalism, which adheres to the facts.
Persons to Capote
Truman Capote was born Truman Streckfus Persons on September 30, 1924, in New Orleans, Louisiana. His mother, Lillie Mae Faulk, and his father, Archulus Persons, had a stormy relationship finally divorcing in 1931. Lillie Mae left Truman with relatives in a rural Alabama town called Monroeville when he was almost six years...
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Born April 18, 1857 (Kinsman, Ohio) Died March 13, 1938 (Chicago, Illinois)
Clarence Darrow was an attorney who championed the fundamental principle that everyone is entitled to a fair trial in a court of law. He promoted radical political and social causes and secured his place in history by opposing governmental and religious limits on individual freedom. Darrow helped sway public opinion toward tolerance of organized labor with the right of working people to unionize.
A lifelong opponent of the death penalty, he was an active member of the Amnesty Association, an organization formed to seek death row pardons (release from prison or legal responsibility for a convicted offense) for inmates who had not yet been executed for capital crimes. The Clarence Darrow Death Penalty Defense College is part of the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor in the early twenty-first century. The college teaches the skills needed for attorneys representing those who face the death penalty.
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Dewey, Thomas E.
Born March 24, 1902 (Owosso, Michigan)
Died March 18, 1971 (Bal Harbor, Florida)
Criminal prosecutor, governor
Thomas E. Dewey was an attorney who became a national hero for his success in prosecuting organized crime in New York City. He later played a crucial role in moving the United States forward as a major world power following World War II (1939–45; war in which Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, the United States, and their allied forces defeated Germany, Italy, and Japan). He revived the Republican Party (GOP) in the 1940s and twice ran as the GOP presidential nominee. Elected governor of New York State in 1942, Dewey served for three consecutive terms. His administration established the state university system in 1947 and took the lead in public health and transportation policies. Under Governor Dewey, New York was the first state in the nation to enact laws prohibiting racial or religious discrimination in employment and education.
Pursuing a career in law
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Born February 7, 1812 (Portsmouth, England)
Died June 9, 1870 (Kent, England)
Social reformer, novelist
Charles Dickens is considered by many as the most important writer of his time and remained the most widely recognizable British author, after William Shakespeare (1564–1616), throughout the twentieth century. He ushered in an age of serious attention to novelists with his dynamic writing, detailing the Victorian era (a very conservative period of formality among upper classes) in which he lived. Dickens's imaginative characters gave him the platform he needed to address the social reforms he had championed for over thirty years.
Dickens worked toward political and educational reform within Britain and was involved internationally in the promotion of prison reform and opposition of capital punishment. His popularity with the general public never declined during his lifetime, and he was seen as an advocate for the poor man. When the Dickens Fellowship was founded in 1902, it focused on Dickens's goal of remedying existing social evils to help the poor, oppressed, and unfortunate.
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Born November 15, 1882 (Vienna, Austria) Died February 22, 1965 (Washington, D.C.)
Supreme Court justice
Felix Frankfurter was one of America's more powerful people in the legal profession who sought increased protection for criminal defendants in the early twentieth century. As a Supreme Court justice, he was a major force behind the creation and validation of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's (1892–1945; served 1933–45) New Deal legislation. The New Deal was a collection of federal programs created in the 1930s to assist those most affected by the economic hardships of the Great Depression (1929–41).
As a legal scholar, Frankfurter was keenly interested in politics, and as a political progressive (one who seeks social reform though government action) he looked to create new legal means of tackling problems. He worked to expand the concept of equal protection under the laws for all, including those in the criminal justice system. Serving on the U.S. Supreme Court from 1939 to 1962, he and his colleagues were on the bench throughout the difficult years of the 1950s as racial segregation was challenged in the...
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Born June 27, 1869 (Kovno, Russia)
Died May 14, 1940 (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Emma Goldman came to America and made a career of challenging the legitimacy of government, religion, and property. Throughout her political life she championed the constitutional right to freedom of speech and worked to improve conditions for the poor, laborers, and immigrants. Goldman criticized the social and economic subordination of women and was a lifelong opponent of war.
Goldman was an anarchist (person opposed to organized governments), so she rejected any enforced political order by an individual or government. She believed people were essentially good and that all forms of government authority were unnecessary and undesirable. She argued for a new social order based on the voluntary cooperation of individuals and groups.
Goldman reached beyond the predominantly ethnic, immigrant audience that typically constituted anarchists in the early parts of the...
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Hoover, J. Edgar
Born January 1, 1895 (Washington, D.C.)
Died May 2, 1972 (Washington, D.C.)
Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
During his tenure J. Edgar Hoover built the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) into one of the most powerful law enforcement agencies in the world. Appointed director in 1924, he held the position for nearly fifty years, through eight presidents beginning with Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933; served 1923–29) and ending with Richard Nixon (1913–1994; served 1969–74).
Though gaining great fame for his apprehension of several famous outlaws, Hoover's primary notoriety as the nation's leading law officer came from attacking potential criminal activity by political radicals over several decades. Hoover contributed to national stability and security during the intense international and domestic emergencies of the Bolshevik Revolution (takeover of Russia by communists), the Nazi threat of World War II (1939–45; war in which Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, the United States, and their allied forces defeated Germany, Italy, and Japan) and...
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Born May 22, 1942 (Evergreen Park, Illinois)
Ted Kaczynski was an American terrorist who used his crimes to draw attention to his political views. His campaign to fight what he believed was the evil of technological progress was waged with bombs he delivered or mailed to sixteen different places across the country. Over a period of eighteen years, Kaczynski killed three people and wounded twenty-three others with his bomb devices. His primary targets were people he associated with computers and other high-tech industries.
Kaczynski believed that modern industrial civilization was destroying nature, alienating humans from one another, and manipulating people's minds and attitudes. In his writings, which became commonly known as the "Unabomber Manifesto," Kaczynski argued for the destruction of the industrial system in order to rid the world of modern technology and free humanity.
The education of a genius
Theodore John Kaczynski was born on May 22, 1942, in the Chicago, Illinois, suburb of Evergreen Park. Wanda Theresa Dombek and Theodore Richard Kaczynski soon...
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Born July 26, 1903 (Madisonville, Tennessee)
Died August 10, 1963 (Bethesda, Maryland)
Estes Kefauver was a senator from Tennessee who gained national attention as chairman of the Special Committee on Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce. Conducted by the Eighty-first and Eighty-second Congresses in 1950 and 1951, the committee was more commonly known as the "Kefauver Committee." Using the relatively new medium of television, the hearings drew public attention to the revelation that a nationwide organized crime syndicate actually existed. They also made the phrase "taking the Fifth" a part of American conversation, as many witnesses invoked their constitutional Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
The five-man committee headed by Kefauver exposed a powerful underworld made up of mobsters and corrupt politicians. The hearings began in May 1950 and lasted for fifteen months. Sessions in fourteen cities heard testimony from hundreds of witnesses about violence, corruption, and the criminal control of illegal markets. The hearings resulted in Treasury Department indictments of hundreds of lawbreakers.
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Born August 30, 1982 (Springfield, Oregon)
Kip Kinkel confessed to killing his parents on May 20, 1998, and then opening fire the following day at Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon, killing two and wounding twenty-five. The following year he was sentenced to 111 years in prison. His case focused national attention on the continuing tragedy of school violence that plagued America in the late 1990s.
Kipland (Kip) Philip Kinkel was the second child born to Faith Zuranski and Bill Kinkel. His sister, Kristen, was nearly six years old when Kip was born in 1982. Both Bill and Faith were educators and took their children camping, hiking, and skiing almost every weekend. The Kinkel family moved to Spain for a year in 1986 and Kip entered his first year of formal schooling. His teacher did not speak English and it proved a difficult year for Kip.
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Lee, Henry C.
Born November 22, 1938 (People's Republic of China)
Dr. Henry C. Lee is an internationally respected authority in the field of forensic science. Forensic science refers to scientific testing methods and the latest technologies to the collect, preserve, process, and analyze evidence. He has worked with law enforcement agencies on thousands of crime scenes in over thirty countries around the world.
Throughout his career Lee has been called on to testify as an expert witness in numerous challenging and high-profile cases. Dr. Lee helped develop research methods to extract and analyze DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) from human bones. DNA is microscopic genetic material found in a person's cells, which is unique to each person. This technological advance was used to identify bodies of U.S. soldiers recovered in Vietnam following the Vietnam War (1954–75; a controversial war in which the United States aided South Vietnam in its fight against a takeover by Communist North Vietnam). The technique also helped identify the remains of war...
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Lockwood, Belva Ann
Born October 24, 1830 (Royalton, New York)
Died May 19, 1917 (Washington, D.C.)
Belva Ann Bennett McNall Lockwood gained notoriety as the first woman to run for president in the United States. She was nominated in both the 1884 and the 1888 presidential races by the National Equal Rights Party. Lockwood is best remembered, however, as the first woman admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court of the United States. She was also the first woman to practice law in the lower federal court system.
As a lawyer in Washington, D.C., Lockwood exerted a great deal of political influence in both Congress and the courts. While she was most visible in her campaign to earn women's rights, especially the right to vote, Lockwood also lobbied Congress on a wide range of issues addressing injustice against a variety of groups. Lockwood was an avid pacifist (person opposed to the use of force) who served as a member of the nominating committee for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Belva Ann Bennett was the...
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Born May 23, 1846 (Burlington, Iowa)
Died August 1, 1911 (Aurora, Illinois)
Attorney, social activist
Arabella Mansfield sought equal opportunities for women in all aspects of U.S. society. She was an activist in the nineteenth century women's rights movement that spanned a range of issues from voting rights for women to the right of practicing law. As a result she became the first female lawyer in the United States. She passed the Iowa bar exam in 1869 and opened the way for other women to practice law. Within the year the Iowa legislature amended its statute to allow women and minorities to practice law in the state.
Although Mansfield never practiced law herself, she maintained her interest in legal proceedings and joined the National League of Women Lawyers in 1893, leading the way for others into careers in the law profession. A lifelong educator, Mansfield also campaigned for equal educational opportunities for women. She was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1980.
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Born c. 1812 (Glasgow, Scotland)
Died May 3, 1865 (Berkshire, England)
Daniel McNaughtan was tried in 1843 for the murder of a British government official. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and his case created a widely used legal precedent known as the McNaughtan Rules. These rules, established by Great Britain's House of Lords, were delivered by Chief Justice Nicholas Tindal (1776–1846), the judge who had presided at McNaughtan's trial. The rules state that: (a) every person is assumed to be sane until proven otherwise; and, (b) it must be clearly proved that at the time of committing the crime, the accused lacked the understanding to know the nature of his act or even that he was doing something wrong. To this day most American state criminal justice systems use a form of the McNaughtan Rules to determine a person's criminal responsibility.
McNaughtan's name has seen various spellings over the years, partly...
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Born March 9, 1940 (Mesa, Arizona)
Died January 31, 1976 (Phoenix, Arizona)
Robber, rapist, murderer
Ernesto Miranda was a career criminal whose name became familiar to every American following a Supreme Court decision that created what became known as the Miranda Rights. Miranda's conviction in an Arizona court in 1963 would be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1966. In Miranda v. Arizona the Court determined Miranda's Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination had been violated during a police interrogation. This Court decision was one of several important rulings identifying legal safeguards for defendants in the criminal justice system.
Life of crime
Ernesto Arturo Miranda was born in 1940 and grew up in Mesa, Arizona. He was called Ernie as a youth but went by Ernest as an adult. He was the fifth son of Manuel A. Miranda, a house painter who had immigrated to the United States from Sonora, Mexico, as a child. Ernie's mother died when he was five years old and his father...
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Born August 25, 1819 (Glasgow, Scotland)
Died July 1, 1884 (Chicago, Illinois)
Allan Pinkerton provided America with a national policing system at a time when there was little federal or state law enforcement. Credited as a reformer for popularizing private security, he focused primarily on crime prevention and investigation. During the American Civil War (1861–65; war in the United States between the Union [North], who was opposed to slavery, and the Confederacy [South], who was in favor of slavery), Pinkerton organized the first government-authorized secret service agency in American history.
The Pinkerton National Detective Agency was among the first private detective agencies in the world. (A detective is a police officer or investigator who investigates crimes and obtains evidence or information.) Allan Pinkerton introduced a number of innovative tools and methods to investigating criminal activity. Dubbed "The Pinks" (short for Pinkerton), his agency handled much of America's criminal investigation before the creation of the Federal Bureau of...
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In 1931 the United States was in the second year of the Great Depression (1929–41; the period, following the stock market crash in 1929, of depressed world economies and high unemployment). On March 25 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a Southern Railroad freight train eased out of the station headed west. Dozens of people, men and women, black and white, jumped on board for a free ride. For nine young black men from the South, the ride would change their lives forever.
Olen Montgomery, Clarence Norris, Haywood Patterson, Ozie Powell, Willie Roberson, Charles Weems, Eugene Williams, Andy Wright, and Roy Wright ranged in age from twelve to twenty years. Five were from Georgia and four were teenagers from Tennessee. They had hopped the train in search of government work in Memphis, Tennessee. All nine were arrested for the alleged rape of two white women on the freight train. They were taken to jail in nearby Scottsboro, Alabama.
Most of the young men spent the next two...
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Born December 23, 1923 (Cleveland, Ohio)
Died April 6, 1970 (Columbus, Ohio)
Accused murderer, physician
In 1954 Dr. Sam Sheppard was accused of the brutal murder of his wife Marilyn at their home in Cleveland, Ohio. Before the sensational Sheppard criminal case was over, a landmark Supreme Court ruling would be handed down on the widely debated conflict between freedom of the press and a defendant's right to a fair trial. The decision set specific guide-lines for criminal trial court judges to follow in an effort to protect jurors from too much publicity.
American criminal law operates on the assumption that someone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The news media, however, assumed the role of judge and jury during the investigation and subsequent trial of Dr. Sam Sheppard in 1954. He was essentially condemned in the court of public opinion before he went to trial. A review by the Supreme Court in 1966 ruled that Sheppard did not receive a fail trial and he was ultimately cleared of the crime. His story inspired a highly popular television series and a Hollywood movie, both known as The Fugitive.
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Born May 5, 1903 (Baker City, Oregon)
Died February 1, 1982 (Greenbrae, California)
San Francisco madam
Sally Stanford was a bootlegger of illegal liquor during Prohibition in the 1930s before becoming a famous San Francisco madam during the 1930s and 1940s. A madam is a woman who manages a house of prostitution, also known as a brothel. Stanford supplied prostitutes to male customers and collected a percentage of the prostitute's fee. Experiencing financial success, Stanford opened brothels in the elite sections of San Francisco, catering to wealthy and influential men from around the world. Stanford eventually left prostitution to avoid prosecution and went into legitimate business. She was eventually elected mayor of Sausalito, California, and was the subject of a movie.
Sally Stanford, named Marcia Busby at birth, was the second of six children born to a poor family in Baker, Oregon. Her mother was an English teacher and her father an unsuccessful farmer. Marcia had an older sister and a younger...
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Walling, George Washington
Born May 1, 1823 (New York)
Died December 31, 1891 (New York)
New York City police chief
George Washington Walling was the police chief of New York City from July 1874 until June 1885. Walling gained a reputation as a tough but fair and honest law officer during his decades on the force. He was elevated to the position of chief of police because of his personal heroics during the New York City Draft Riots of 1863 while serving as captain of the twentieth precinct on the lower West Side of the city. His able leadership helped restore order to a city in crisis during the American Civil War (1861–65; war in the United States between the Union [North], who was opposed to slavery, and the Confederacy [South], who was in favor of slavery). Throughout his law career Walling worked toward bringing professionalism to the New York police force by freeing it from connections to corrupt city politics. Professionalism in policing made giant strides in the later half of the nineteenth century due to the work of Walling and others.
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