"It is his first offense. We might as well let him go": homicide and criminal justice in Chicago, 1875-1920.Chicago's Pleasant Place erupted in violence on April 23, 1907, when John Nesczuk began work on a fence along the property line behind his house. Nesczuk's neighbor, John Wijas, complained that the fence intruded in·trude
v. in·trud·ed, in·trud·ing, in·trudes
1. To put or force in inappropriately, especially without invitation, fitness, or permission: into his garden. "What are you doing that for? You are spoiling my garden," Wijas roared from his window. "Come down here and we'll show you," Nesczuk answered. (1) Rather than accepting the challenge, Wijas--or perhaps another inhabitant INHABITANT. One who has his domicil in a place is an inhabitant of that place; one who has an actual fixed residence in a place.
2. A mere intention to remove to a place will not make a man an inhabitant of such place, although as a sign of such intention he of his home--hurled a brick out the window, hitting Nesczuk, breaking the fence builder's arm, and temporarily halting construction on the "spite fence A spite fence is an overly-tall fence typically constructed between adjacent lots by a property owner who is annoyed with, or wishes to annoy, a neighbor or who wishes to completely obstruct the view between lots. ." (2) Five days later Nesczuk's sons and two friends resumed work on the fence, and the violence flared anew. When Wijas, a forty-eight-year-old factory foreman, ventured near the disputed turf, the elder Nesczuk screeched "now we've got him. Kill him." (3) Nesczuk's son, Joseph, attacked Wijas with a hammer, striking him on the head and "crushing in his skull." (4) As soon as Wijas crumbled to the ground, Nesczuk's other son, Lawrence, and their friends pounced pounce 1
v. pounced, pounc·ing, pounc·es
1. To spring or swoop with intent to seize someone or something: on the factory foremen, bludgeoning him with the boards they had gathered for the fence. John Wijas remained hospitalized for two months before his condition improved enough for him to return home. During this period he engaged an attorney, who sought a warrant for the arrest of the Nesczuks. A local judge, however, refused to issue the warrant. On July 21 Wijas succumbed to his injuries, and the police arrested the Nesczuk brothers, charging them with homicide. (5) A grand jury indicted INDICTED, practice. When a man is accused by a bill of indictment preferred by a grand jury, he is said to be indicted. only one of the brothers, the hammer-wielding Joseph. In the fall of 1907, a criminal court jury found the killer "not guilty" and released him, concluding that Joseph Nesczuk had been provoked into smashing Wijas's skull. (6) According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the Cook County criminal justice system, the Nesczuk brothers had acted lawfully when they beat to death John Wijas in his Pleasant Place garden.
The acquittal The legal and formal certification of the innocence of a person who has been charged with a crime.
Acquittals in fact take place when a jury finds a verdict of not guilty. of Joseph Nesczuk generated scant attention, for this was not an unusual homicide case. Seemingly trivial disputes often fueled lethal violence in the city, and Cook County juries routinely exonerated and acquitted killers. Between 1875 and 1920 fewer than one Chicago killer in four was convicted. (7) True to its reputation, Chicago was a tough town.
The low conviction rate notwithstanding, this was an era of rapid criminal justice reform and legal modernization in the city. Chicago officials created the nation's first juvenile justice system during the final decade of the nineteenth century, and early in the twentieth century they forged specialized courts to adjudicate adjudicate (jōō´dikāt´),
v domestic disputes and morals cases. (8) Similar innovation and specialization transformed local policing during this era, as municipal officials formed a homicide squad, an "Italian [crime] squad," and other units designed to focus the investigative expertise of law enforcers. (9) Reflecting the "sociological jurisprudence jurisprudence (jr'ĭsprd`əns), study of the nature and the origin and development of law. " of the period, Chicago judges and prosecutors were also quick to invite social scientists and other experts into their courtrooms, and psychologists, "alienists," and physicians often testified in homicide cases. Likewise, the police and state's attorneys embraced the latest investigative techniques. Chicago law enforcers pioneered the use of the Bertillon criminal identification system in 1888 and finger printing in 1904. (10) A decade later Chicagoans established a "Psychopathic psy·cho·path·ic
1. Of, relating to, or characterized by psychopathy.
2. Relating to or affected with an antisocial personality disorder that is usually characterized by aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behavior. Laboratory," where defendants were observed, evaluated, poked, and prodded. (11) Legal reformers also demanded more professional training and operating procedures for local law enforcers. (12)
Yet, for all of these innovations and improvements, Chicago killers were rarely punished. Furthermore, despite the increasing momentum and the achievements of Progressive legal and institutional reform, the conviction rate in local homicide cases fell between the 1890s and 1920. A Chicago killer was nearly four times more likely to be convicted in 1895 than his counterpart a quarter century later. Lamenting the trend, a state's attorney in 1903 speculated that lethal violence had become so commonplace in the city that "murders are coming to be regarded with little more importance than fist fights. The jury," Charles S. Deneen Charles Samuel Deneen (May 4, 1863 – February 5, 1940) was a Republican governor of Illinois, serving from 1905 to 1913, and as a U.S. Senator from Illinois, 1925-1931. Deneen also served as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives in 1892. added, "is inclined to say when a man is tried for murder: 'It is his first offense. We might as well let him go.'" (13) Even as twentieth-century practices and institutions blossomed, Chicagoans seemed to cling to Verb 1. cling to - hold firmly, usually with one's hands; "She clutched my arm when she got scared"
hold close, hold tight, clutch
hold, take hold - have or hold in one's hands or grip; "Hold this bowl for a moment, please"; "A crazy idea took hold of nineteenth-century notions of justice.
Chicago's criminal justice system was swift and sure. Cases moved through the legal system at breakneck break·neck
1. Dangerously fast: a breakneck pace.
2. Likely to cause an accident: a breakneck curve. speed, often progressing from the coroner's inquest See under Inquest.
an inquest held by a coroner to determine the cause of any violent, sudden, or mysterious death. See Coroner.
See also: Coroner Inquest , which typically occurred the day after the homicide, to completed trial in a matter of weeks or, at most, months. (14) Between July 25 and November 23, 1907, for example, Joseph Nesczuk was arrested, appeared before a coroner's inquest jury, a grand jury, and a criminal court jury, and was acquitted. The local criminal justice system was as sure as it was swift, seldom convicting killers. Between 1875 and 1920, 7 percent of murderers immediately committed suicide, and almost one-third of killers evaded arrest. Municipal law enforcers made arrests in 61 percent of Chicago homicide cases. Among those arrested for homicide during this period, 42 percent were exonerated by coroner's juries or by grand juries, and the remaining 58 percent went to trial in the Cook County Criminal Court. Thirty-six percent of arrested killers were convicted. Thus, of the total pool of Chicago killers between 1875 and 1920, including those who escaped arrest, 37 percent faced a criminal trial, and 24 percent were convicted. Six percent of convicted killers--and 1.2 percent of all killers in Chicago between 1875 and 1920--were executed. Local law enforcers enjoyed their greatest success in 1885, convicting 48 percent of Chicago killers, and in 1876, 1877, 1879, and 1920, the police and the state's attorneys suffered through particularly bad years, securing convictions in fewer than 13 percent of the city's homicide cases. (15)
Chicagoans were acutely aware of the shortcomings A shortcoming is a character flaw.
Shortcomings may also be:
Daily newspaper published in Chicago. The Tribune is one of the leading U.S. newspapers and long has been the dominant voice of the Midwest. Founded in 1847, it was bought in 1855 by six partners, including Joseph Medill (1823–99), who made the paper , drawing on another four-year slice of crime statistics, echoed this view. "Murders Spread as Police Fail," the newspaper's headline announced. "The chances of a person charged with murder escaping punishment in Chicago are better than four to one in his favor, after the information has been presented to the grand jury." (18) Casting the net more broadly, the Report of the City Council Committee on Crime, chaired by the University of Chicago political scientist and reformer Charles E. Merriam, calculated in 1915 that "on felony charges, there is only one chance in five of a man ever getting to the Criminal Court for trial, and only one chance in thirty of going to the penitentiary penitentiary: see prison. or reformatory." (19)
To the horror of municipal officials, reformers, and other citizens, Chicago's conviction rate fell during the early twentieth century, even as the city's homicide rate soared. The conviction rate in homicide cases fluctuated wildly from the mid-1870s through the mid-1890s, after which it plummeted (see Figure One). Between the late 1890s and 1920, Chicago's homicide rate rose by 104 percent, while its conviction rate in homicide cases fell by 63 percent. (20)
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
Such a record of sustained failure reflected the efforts of law enforcers at every level of Chicago's criminal justice system. "In the protection of its citizens through the swift, sure and severe punishment of their assailants," Dr. W. T. Belfield told a group of physicians and lawyers in 1907, "Chicago compares with London, Berlin or Vienna as does an ox team with an express train for travel." (21) Contemporary observers, however, found particular fault with Chicago's police force. A detective hired by the influential City Club to investigate the local police offered a scathing assessment. "The condition is 'rotten,'" Louis Grossman reported in 1904. "The police of Chicago are piano movers, bums, cripples, janitors, ward heelers--anything but policemen." (22) Blending ridicule with sarcasm, the muckraking muck·rake
intr.v. muck·raked, muck·rak·ing, muck·rakes
To search for and expose misconduct in public life.
[From the man with the muckrake, journalist Lincoln Steffens Noun 1. Lincoln Steffens - United States journalist whose exposes in 1906 started an era of muckraking journalism (1866-1936)
Joseph Lincoln Steffens, Steffens expressed concern for the safety of the police. Chicago's police department, he explained, was "so insufficient (and inefficient) that it cannot protect itself." (23) Another investigation of local law enforcers, this one conducted by New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of policemen, warned Chicagoans that they had "practically no protection." (24) Nor was the situation improving, according to local reformers. A study of Chicago law enforcement during the 1920s concluded that "numerically, our police force may have kept pace with crime, but in matters of efficiency and intelligent methods of crime detection we seem to have learned little and done less." (25) Underfunded un·der·fund
tr.v. un·der·fund·ed, un·der·fund·ing, un·der·funds
To provide insufficient funding for.
underfunded adj → infradotado (económicamente) , understaffed, poorly trained, mired mire
1. An area of wet, soggy, muddy ground; a bog.
2. Deep slimy soil or mud.
3. A disadvantageous or difficult condition or situation: the mire of poverty.
v. in corruption, and shackled to political institutions, Chicago policemen contributed significantly to the bumbling bum·ble 1
v. bum·bled, bum·bling, bum·bles
1. To speak in a faltering manner.
2. To move, act, or proceed clumsily. See Synonyms at blunder.
v.tr. and toothless character of the local criminal justice system.
Yet, for all of their well-documented problems, local policemen made arrests in an increasing proportion of Chicago homicide cases (see Figure Two). During the late 1870s and the 1880s, the city's law enforcers apprehended suspects in 44 percent of homicide cases. Between 1890 and 1910, the figure jumped to 66 percent, and during the 1910s the police secured arrests in almost 70 percent of local homicide cases. Their investigative skills may not have kept pace with their arrest rates, and therefore the increasing proportion of arrests did not necessarily indicate more effective police work. Nonetheless, the trend suggests that the police alone were not responsible for Chicago's low conviction rate in homicide cases.
At least according to contemporary legal reformers, coroners and state's attorneys also contributed to the ineptitude Ineptitude
See also Awkwardness.
meek hero unable to kick a football, fly a kite, or win a baseball game. [Comics: “Peanuts” in Horn, 543]
incompetent commander of the minesweeper Caine. of the city's criminal justice system. Coroners remained elected officials in Illinois during this era. They typically lacked medical or scientific training and were bound up with the rough-and-tumble world of local politics. Peter M. Hoffman, a store clerk-turned-politician, served as the Cook County coroner from 1904 until 1922. Though he faced many charges of corruption and would be convicted for contempt of court during the mid-1920s, when he served as the county sheriff, Hoffman prosecuted particular kinds of homicide cases aggressively, staking his political fortunes on crusades to protect the innocent. He also established the county's "chemical laboratory," appointed experienced chemists and pathologists to help investigate potential homicides, and spearheaded the expansion of homicide charges to include automobile accidents in which the reckless behavior of the driver caused the fatality fa·tal·i·ty
1. A death resulting from an accident or disaster.
2. One that is killed as a result of such an occurrence. . (26) Hoffman even stacked inquest inquest, in law, a body of men appointed by law to inquire into certain matters. The term also refers to the inquiry itself as well as to the findings of the inquiry. juries with the "right" men to increase the likelihood that particular suspects would be charged with homicide, selecting ministers, high school principals, or others he believed would be unsympathetic to suspected killers. (27) But if Hoffman and his colleagues pursued many cases zealously zeal·ous
Filled with or motivated by zeal; fervent.
zeal , the inquest process remained haphazard. The jurors in coroners' inquests, for example, were often "political hanger-ons" and "Fridays"--individuals who served repeatedly in order to collect the one-dollar-per-hearing stipend sti·pend
A fixed and regular payment, such as a salary for services rendered or an allowance.
[Middle English stipendie, from Old French, from Latin st paid to jurors. (28)
[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]
Also elected officials, state's attorneys remained tethered Attached to a data or power source by wire or fiber. Contrast with untethered. to partisan politics, pursued cases selectively, and proved, at best, inefficient. Furthermore, the assistant state's attorneys who handled homicide cases tended to be young and inexperienced. (29) According to John Healy This article is about the American entrepreneur. For other uses, see John Healy (disambiguation).
John Healy was an American entrepreneur in the late 19th century. Originally from Montana, he and Alfred B. , who had served as the Cook County State's Attorney from 1904 until 1907, "the prosecution of felony cases in preliminary hearing in the municipal court of Chicago is mainly in the hands of incompetent and indifferent assistant state's attorneys [italics in original], who know nothing about the facts in the cases and are not prepared to and do not render efficient service." (30)
Although coroners and state's attorneys played important roles in the turn-of-the-century criminal justice system, jurors determined the fate of most suspects in homicide cases--at the coroner's inquest, at the grand jury hearing, and at the criminal court trial. And Cook County jurors were quick to exonerate, "no bill" (that is, not return a bill of indictment A formal written document that is drawn up by a government prosecutor accusing a designated person of having committed a felony or misdemeanor and which is presented to a Grand Jury so that it may take action upon it.
BILL OF INDICTMENT. at the grand jury proceeding), and acquit To set free, release or discharge as from an obligation, burden or accusation. To absolve one from an
obligation or a liability; or to legally certify the innocence of one charged with a crime.
acquit v. killers, even those found glowering glow·er
intr.v. glow·ered, glow·er·ing, glow·ers
To look or stare angrily or sullenly. See Synonyms at frown.
An angry or sullen look or stare. over their victims, gun--or hammer--in hand. In 1827 the Illinois legislature added a statutory provision to state's criminal code making jurors the "judges of the law and the fact." (31) The legislature repeatedly re-affirmed the provision, and the state's Supreme Court upheld it until 1931. (32) Illinois's highest court held that jurors "are not bound by the law, as given to them by the court, but can assume the responsibility of deciding, each juror juror n. any person who actually serves on a jury. Lists of potential jurors are chosen from various sources such as registered voters, automobile registration or telephone directories. for himself, what the law is ... according to their [sic] own notions of the law." (33) In effect, the Illinois criminal code sanctioned jury nullification A sanctioned doctrine of trial proceedings wherein members of a jury disregard either the evidence presented or the instructions of the judge in order to reach a verdict based upon their own consciences. It espouses the concept that jurors should be the judges of both law and fact. , permitting jurors to define for themselves complex legal terms, such as self defense, provocation, criminal intent, and culpable negligence Noun 1. culpable negligence - (law) recklessly acting without reasonable caution and putting another person at risk of injury or death (or failing to do something with the same consequences)
criminal negligence . Armed with the authority to determine both matters of law and matters of fact in criminal cases, Cook County jurors consistently favored defendants. Even as residents clamored for greater protection from murderers, Chicago jurors exonerated and acquitted, concluding that killers had acted lawfully when they employed lethal violence to resolve petty disputes. In short, more than the "piano movers" and "bums" who patrolled local streets, more than the crassly political coroners who oversaw inquests, and more than the "incompetent and indifferent" prosecutors who presented cases to grand juries and who conducted trials, Chicago jurors freed homicide suspects.
Local jurors often concluded that killers had acted in self defense, embracing an expansive, malleable malleable /mal·le·a·ble/ (mal´e-ah-b'l) susceptible of being beaten out into a thin plate.
1. Capable of being shaped or formed, as by hammering or pressure. definition of the phrase and then stretching it even further to meet ideals of popular justice. If jurors judged a fight to have been "fair," regardless of the level of brutality or who initiated the conflict, they typically found in favor of the defendant. Thus, prosecutors usually failed in homicide cases arising from drunken brawls, only one-fourth of which yielded convictions, even though these killings most often occurred in full view of witnesses and the suspects were easily identified and quickly apprehended.
Some commentators speculated that class and ethnic biases fueled exonerations and acquittals, with jurors caring little about the sorts of residents involved in most deadly affrays. In many instances, the stodgy stodg·y
adj. stodg·i·er, stodg·i·est
a. Dull, unimaginative, and commonplace.
b. Prim or pompous; stuffy: Chicago Tribune speculated, jurors believed "the victim to have deserved his fate." (34) According to a local crime-beat reporter, jurors often concluded that "both parties belong to the lowest of the low and the loss of life would not have been any detriment to other people." (35) Legal reformers more frequently focused on the "weak sentimentality Sentimentality
dog given as gift to Nixon; used in his defense of political contributions during presidential campaign (1952). [Am. Hist.: Wallechinsky, 126]
comic strip in which sentimentality is the main motif. " of jurors. "Our hereditary sympathies are for the under-dog, for the man who is down and out, and the criminal is too frequently pictured as being only the victim of hard luck or a bad environment, fighting for his life or freedom against the powerfully organized, impersonal forces of the commonwealth." (36)
More visceral, more basic, and more gendered notions of fairness and justice, however, produced predictable jury decisions in barroom fights, street brawls, and other scuffles in which both the killer and his victim were active, willing participants. Men, jurors reasoned, must be permitted to stand their ground; Chicagoans typically rejected the view that they should back down from conflict or retreat from an aggressor AGGRESSOR, crim. law. He who begins, a quarrel or dispute, either by threatening or striking another. No man may strike another because he has threatened, or in consequence of the use of any words. , the niceties ni·ce·ty
n. pl. ni·ce·ties
1. The quality of showing or requiring careful, precise treatment: the nicety of a diplomatic exchange.
2. of the law and the instructions of judges notwithstanding. (37) If all Chicago men, because they were men, were entitled to resist challenges, yield no ground, brook no disrespect, and stand up to threats, virtually any violent behavior in a rough-hewn saloon or working-class neighborhood could be viewed as an act of self defense.
Cook County jurors also freed men who killed in defense of manly honor. Chicagoans, like other Americans during this era, frequently invoked a plastic concept known as the "unwritten law Unwritten rules, principles, and norms that have the effect and force of law though they have not been formally enacted by the government.
Most laws in America are written. The U.S. ." In its purest form, the unwritten law permitted--indeed required--a man to kill the scoundrel SCOUNDREL. An opprobrious title given to a person of bad character. General damages will not lie for calling a man a scoundrel, but special damages may be recovered when there has been an actual loss. 2 Bouv: Inst. n. 2250; 1 Chit. Pr. 44. who "attacked" or "dishonored dis·hon·or
1. Loss of honor, respect, or reputation.
2. The condition of having lost honor or good repute.
3. A cause of loss of honor: was a dishonor to the club.
4. " his wife, daughter, or sister. (38) On October 16, 1913, for example, William Keith William Keith may refer to:
Likewise, Greek immigrant Achilles Pantarakas, upon discovering that his friend George Barbaresos had "made love to my wife," determined that killing him "was a justifiable execution of the unwritten law." (41) Pantarakas explained that "I took my ax in my hand and with the ax split his skull. He deserved death. In my country death alone answers for his crime." (42) Not content with killing the thirty-year-old Barbaresos, Pantarakas hacked off his friend's head, arms, and legs. "If they hang me the American law is queer," Pantarakas told the police. "In Greece we protect our women and no one shall have my wife." (43) Chicago jurors found the argument compelling and acquitted Pantarakas. In many similar homicides, defendants also invoked the unwritten law and were exonerated or acquitted. (44)
Other Chicagoans insisted that the unwritten law "justified" the killing of anyone who disrupted their homes. On August 17, 1918, Italian immigrants Joseph Tamprullo and Earlerogo Piro declared "it is not wrong to kill a man who speaks ill of one's wife," and they shot and stabbed Piro's cousin, Pasquale, for "traducing" their wives. Although the killers proclaimed "we do not repent re·pent 1
v. re·pent·ed, re·pent·ing, re·pents
1. To feel remorse, contrition, or self-reproach for what one has done or failed to do; be contrite.
2. ," a Cook County jury acquitted them. (45) While not specifically invoking the unwritten law, Joseph Manne relied on a similar explanation and justification for his violence. On April 7, 1920, a coroner's inquest jury exonerated Manne for the beating death of Travers Walsh, a twenty-nine-year-old soda clerk. Walsh and two friends, all of whom were "intoxicated in·tox·i·cate
v. in·tox·i·cat·ed, in·tox·i·cat·ing, in·tox·i·cates
1. To stupefy or excite by the action of a chemical substance such as alcohol.
2. on Jamaica ginger a variety of ginger, called also white ginger, prepared in Jamaica from the best roots, which are deprived of their epidermis and dried separately.
See also: Jamaica ," loitered on a downtown street corner, flirting with women and occasionally insulting those who rebuffed or ignored them. Enraged en·rage
tr.v. en·raged, en·rag·ing, en·rag·es
To put into a rage; infuriate.
[Middle English *enragen, from Old French enrager : en-, causative pref. that his wife had been subjected to such behavior, Joseph Manne attacked Walsh and beat him to death. Accurately gauging public opinion and then pandering to it, Coroner Peter M. Hoffman decried the "menace" posed by "habitual flirts" and announced that the case determined that "a killing is justified for an alleged flirtation or insult to another man's wife." (46)
Again and again, local judges and prosecutors instructed jurors "not to consider the 'unwritten law' and to rely only upon the facts." (47) During one trial, the Cook County state's attorney issued a public statement on the topic, warning that his office "does not recognize the unwritten law" and reminding the defendant that "his lawyers would have to present some facts." (48) Jurors disagreed and consistently endorsed, and in some cases applauded, the use of aggressive self help to resolve affairs of honor. (49)
Chicago women embraced their own version of the unwritten law during the early twentieth century. According to defendants and their attorneys, a "'new' unwritten law" gave a woman the "right" to kill any man who betrayed or abused her, even if she used the violence in a pre-emptive pre·emp·tive or pre-emp·tive
1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of preemption.
2. Having or granted by the right of preemption.
a. way. (50) Grace Doyle termed her use of deadly force An amount of force that is likely to cause either serious bodily injury or death to another person.
Police officers may use deadly force in specific circumstances when they are trying to enforce the law. against her abusive husband, Timothy, "self defense in advance" and explained that the shooting was a "morally justifiable killing." (51) Relying on such arguments, more 90 percent of white husband killers were exonerated or acquitted, prompting the assistant state's attorney in one trial to warn that "if this jury sets the precedent that any woman who is attacked or is beaten by her husband can shoot him, there won't be many husbands left in Chicago six months from now." (52) Even while exasperated judges and other legal observers dismissed the new unwritten law as "a mock sense of chivalry chivalry (shĭv`əlrē), system of ethical ideals that arose from feudalism and had its highest development in the 12th and 13th cent. " or "mere sentimentality," Cook County jurors freed the killers. (53)
Simply put, Chicagoans believed that some behavior was so despicable that lethal violence represented a reasonable or at a least justifiable response. Pauline Plotka's killing of her former lover, on February 15, 1918, focused public scrutiny on this notion--and commanded national attention. A twenty-five-year-old dress designer, Plotka had been sexually involved with Anton Jindra, a twenty-five-year-old physician. Plotka charged that the young doctor had "wronged" her and then had reneged on his promise to marry her. (54) "He brought me to shame and then spurned spurn
v. spurned, spurn·ing, spurns
1. To reject disdainfully or contemptuously; scorn. See Synonyms at refuse1.
2. To kick at or tread on disdainfully.
v. me." (55) At the coroner's inquest, she revealed that "three different times he performed operations [i.e., abortions] on me." (56) When Jindra jilted jilt
tr.v. jilt·ed, jilt·ing, jilts
To deceive or drop (a lover) suddenly or callously.
One who discards a lover. Plotka, she secured a gun, proceeded to the Cook County Hospital where he worked, sneaked into the interns' quarters, and fired three bullet's into the doctor's body. On his deathbed, Jindra denied that he had dishonored Plotka. "She shot me [because] she wanted me to marry her," he stated moments before dying. (57) Plotka immediately announced that she would defend herself "on the ground of [sic] unwritten law," and, after deliberating for ten minutes, the jury at the coroner's inquest exonerated her, returning a verdict of "justifiable homicide justifiable homicide n. a killing without evil or criminal intent, for which there can be no blame, such as self-defense to protect oneself or to protect another, or the shooting by a law enforcement officer in fulfilling his/her duties. ." (58) "The evidence showed that Anton Jindra's treatment of her [Plotka] was most tantalizing tan·ta·lize
tr.v. tan·ta·lized, tan·ta·liz·ing, tan·ta·liz·es
To excite (another) by exposing something desirable while keeping it out of reach. , annoying, and brutal," the jury wrote, "and because of this we believe the said Pauline Plotka should be given the benefit of the doubt." (59) National observers lampooned the verdict and, with it, Chicago's criminal justice system. The New York Times averred that "the law, as so interpreted, is that it is a capital crime to be 'tantalizing, annoying and brutal' toward a woman, and that the penalty of death may legally be inflicted on the spot by the person aggrieved." (60) In an unusual legal maneuver, State's Attorney Maclay Hoyne rejected the inquest jury's verdict and brought the case to a grand jury and to a criminal court jury. On June 27, 1918, the criminal court jury accepted Plotka's explanation, affirmed the authority of the unwritten law, and freed the young dress designer. (61) Like William Keith and Achilles Pantarakas, Pauline Plotka had every right to seek personal vengeance, while the state of Illinois had no right to prevent a resident from defending his or her honor, according to local jurors.
In homicide cases that did not revolve around Verb 1. revolve around - center upon; "Her entire attention centered on her children"; "Our day revolved around our work"
center, center on, concentrate on, focus on, revolve about issues of honor, local jurors typically focused on the intent of the killer. According to Illinois law, questions of intent distinguished manslaughter from murder. But local jurors, as "judges of the law," often interpreted the state's law of homicide more loosely and determined that killers who lacked the intent to kill should be exonerated or acquitted.
Though hundreds of killers between 1875 and 1920 were freed as a consequence of this interpretation of the law of homicide, few cases illustrated jurors' "notions of the law" as clearly as William E. Doherty's trial. After a long evening of Christmas revelry Revelry
Revenge (See VENGEANCE.)
Reward (See PRIZE.)
in honor of Bacchus, god of wine. [Rom. Religion: NCE, 203]
Boar’s Head Tavern
scene of Falstaff’s carousals. [Br. Lit. in a Thirty-Fifth Street saloon in 1904, Doherty and his friends began "arguing over the respective marksmanship Marksmanship
(1846–1917) famed sharpshooter in Wild West show. [Am. Hist.: Flexner, 67]
son of Pan, companion to Muses; skilled in archery. [Gk. Myth. of the soldiers in the Russian-Japanese war." Happily besotted be·sot
tr.v. be·sot·ted, be·sot·ting, be·sots
To muddle or stupefy, as with alcoholic liquor or infatuation.
[be- + sot, to stupefy (from sot, fool , Doherty asked his drinking buddies "you fellows ever hear of William Tell? Well, I'll show you how he did the trick. I'm the greatest shot ever." (62) Just then, Elmer Hunt, the saloon's nineteen-year-old African-American porter, began his shift. "Here, Elmer, stand back there and hold a spittoon on your head," the brash brash (brash) heartburn.
water brash heartburn with regurgitation of sour fluid or almost tasteless saliva into the mouth. marksman commanded. "Without much persuasion," according to a crime-beat reporter, "Hunt was induced to stand with the cuspidor cuspidor (kus´pdor),
n a fixture provided on some dental operating units into which patients can expectorate. on his head." (63) Doherty lifted his revolver, but paused, and instructed Hunt to move backward. "Why, I can drive nails at this distance," Doherty crowed. (64) When Hunt had reached the far wall of the saloon, Doherty aimed, fired, and missed, causing his friends to erupt in laughter. Anxious and embarrassed, Doherty quickly raised his weapon and squeezed off another round. The bullet hit Elmer Hunt "squarely between the eyes." (65)
The coroner's jury ruled Hunt's death an unfortunate accident and exonerated Doherty. No doubt, both the race of the victim and the intent of the shooter influenced the verdict. But this decision was more than even Peter M. Hoffman could abide, and the Coroner set aside the verdict, re-arrested the would-be William Tell, and sent the case forward to the state's attorney's office. A criminal court jury, however, concurred with the coroner's jury and acquitted William E. Doherty. (66)
Similarly, a Cook County jury acquitted Thomas Chat, a bartender, for the 1911 shooting death of Michael Heinen. A seventeen-year-old teamster TEAMSTER. One who drives horses in a wagon for the purpose of carrying goods for hire he is liable as a common carrier. Story, Bailm. Sec. 496. , Heinen "scratched matches on top of the bar," even after Chat had asked him to stop. When Heinen kicked Chat's dog, the bartender had had enough. He grabbed his revolver and shot the "boisterous" patron in the head, killing him. "Heinen wouldn't behave," Chat explained, "and I fired several shots at the ceiling to frighten him. It was an accident." (67) Sympathizing with the bartender, understanding his frustration, and accepting the argument that a bullet fired into the ceiling had struck Heinen in the head, the jury ordered Chat to be released.
When local law enforcers attempted to expand the scope of the law and criminalize crim·i·nal·ize
tr.v. crim·i·nal·ized, crim·i·nal·iz·ing, crim·i·nal·iz·es
1. To impose a criminal penalty on or for; outlaw.
2. To treat as a criminal. reckless behavior that caused deaths, jurors would have none of it, rejecting the effort and relying on their own interpretations of state law. Hoffman championed the use of homicide law to punish drunken and negligent drivers who killed pedestrians, though local jurors eschewed Hoffman's legal theory and exonerated 80 percent of the defendants during the coroner's inquest. Of the remaining 20 percent, who were tried in criminal courts, nearly 70 percent were acquitted, even when vehicle operators were intoxicated or drove on sidewalks. Law enforcers secured convictions on 6 percent of the automobile drivers charged with homicide between 1905 and 1920. Likewise, the early twentieth-century crusade by coroners and prosecutors to treat botched botch
tr.v. botched, botch·ing, botch·es
1. To ruin through clumsiness.
2. To make or perform clumsily; bungle.
3. To repair or mend clumsily.
1. abortions resulting in deaths as homicides passed legal muster but failed to persuade Cook County jurors, who exonerated or acquitted 89 percent of the defendants brought before them. (68) Despite the campaigns of Progressive legal and social reformers, Chicago jurors believed that citizens assumed certain risks when they worked in saloons, walked on sidewalks, or visited midwives, and killers should not be held legally responsible for accidental or unintentional deaths. (69)
If jurors exonerated or acquitted killers such as Joseph Nesczuk, Joseph Manne, and William E. Doherty, who was convicted of homicide in turn-of-the-century Chicago? What elements or behaviors made Chicagoans, in the eyes their peers, culpable Blameworthy; involving the commission of a fault or the breach of a duty imposed by law.
Culpability generally implies that an act performed is wrong but does not involve any evil intent by the wrongdoer. for killing? Nearly one killer in four, after all, was convicted between 1875 and 1920.
In most respects, convicted killers differed little from those who were exonerated and acquitted. The backgrounds of Chicagoans who were punished for committing homicide, for example, were virtually identical to those who were arrested and charged but not convicted. Eighty-three percent of those convicted, 81 percent of those exonerated, and 80 percent of those acquitted held unskilled or semiskilled sem·i·skilled
1. Possessing some skills but not enough to do specialized work: semiskilled dockworkers.
2. Requiring limited skills: a semiskilled job. positions. Similarly, the mean age of those convicted was thirty one, while the mean age of those acquitted in homicide cases was thirty. The crucial difference between the groups was typically bound up in the nature of the crime. Residents charged with particular kinds of homicides tended to be convicted.
Chicago jurors reserved guilty verdicts for cowardly killers or for cold-blooded killers. Four kinds of homicide cases fell into these categories and disproportionately produced convictions. Local jurors convicted wife killers at the highest rate of any group of homicide defendants. Between 1875 and 1920, nearly 40 percent of Chicago wife killers immediately committed suicide. An additional 12 percent of these men evaded arrest. Thus, slightly more than half of wife killers, one way or another, were not brought before local juries. But Chicago jurors convicted 73 percent of the murderous husbands who were arrested. Especially during the late nineteenth century, wife killers often defended their violence, insisting either that the murders had been accidental or that their drunken or disrespectful dis·re·spect·ful
Having or exhibiting a lack of respect; rude and discourteous.
disre·spect wives had needed to be "disciplined." For example, Thomas Walsh Thomas Walsh may refer to:
Jurors typically rejected honor-based justifications for uxoricide ux·o·ri·cide
1. The killing of a wife by her husband.
2. A man who kills his wife.
[Medieval Latin ux , for not even evidence of their wives' infidelity protected Chicago men from conviction. "Wayward" Ella Kurtz, for instance, died at the hands of her husband on March 24, 1894. (72) Ella had left her spouse and moved to a hotel, where she had "entertained other men," according to Frank Kurtz Col. Frank Allen Kurtz (September 9, 1911 – October 31, 1996) is known as an Olympic diver, as an aviator, the United States Army Air Force's most decorated pilot of World War II being awarded the Croix de Guerre, 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 3 Silver Stars, 3 Air Medals, . When confronted, she told her husband that this was "none of [his] business," and the angry, cuckold shot his wife four times. (73) Despite Ella's purported infidelity, a Cook County jury convicted Frank Kurtz, and a judge sentenced him to a life term at Joliet Penitentiary. (74) In short, murderous husbands unsuccessfully employed defense strategies than nearly always succeeded in other contexts. Between 1890 and 1910, Chicago's uxoricide rate surged, and local jurors, all of whom were men, proved unforgiving toward wife killers and convicted 80 percent of the husbands who were arrested.
A cluster of overlapping factors contributed to this high conviction rate, transforming otherwise incompetent cops, indifferent prosecutors, and inattentive in·at·ten·tive
Exhibiting a lack of attention; not attentive.
inat·ten , gullible gul·li·ble
Easily deceived or duped.
gul jurors, into hard-edged, unyielding defenders of social order and moral propriety. First, the identity of the killers was seldom in doubt. Wife killers typically planned their violence. They often announced their intentions to friends and frequently contemplated or even attempted suicide and composed letters to relatives explaining their acts. (75) Similarly, they rarely tried to escape. Those who did not attempt suicide usually waited for law enforcers to arrive, either because they were despondent de·spon·dent
Feeling or expressing despondency; dejected.
de·spondent·ly adv. or because they were certain that their spouses had needed to be beaten and hence believed the violence was entirely appropriate. Likewise, while wife killing occurred in private, the violence unfolded in ways well known to relatives and neighbors. In many instances, a history of domestic violence preceded the final, fatal act of patriarchal authority. More often, particularly after the 1890s, the murders took place as the women tried to dissolve marriages, usually by separating from their husbands. The killer frequently begged his wife to return, and relatives, neighbors, and other witnesses often heard the husband scream, as William Arf ARF
see a-r-f sequence. did on October 7, 1908, "you won't [return home], won't you? Then I'll kill you" an instant before the lethal shot was fired. (76) But this explanation fails to account for the high rate of conviction, since most Chicago killers during this period remained at the scene of the crime until the police arrived. In other kinds of cases, juries typically freed killers on the grounds of justifiable homicide or self defense--rather than because of questions regarding the identity of the assailant.
More important, wife killing violated popular notions of fairness. Uxoricides were not honorable, fair fights between equals. Instead, bigger, stronger men, most often using firearms, slaughtered smaller, weaker women. Nor were the victims perceived to have been willing participants in the one-sided battles. In contrast to using a hammer to crush the skull of an unharmed man or shooting a porter with a spittoon of his head during a drinking binge, wife killing was, in the eyes of turn-of-the-century Chicagoans, "cowardly" and unfair. (77) While respectable men could ignore barroom brawls, deadly neighborhood affrays, or even a bit of wife beating, wife killing was another matter altogether.
Class identity infused this perspective. Despite the use of "Fridays," jurors in homicide cases tended to belong to the city's middle class. According to a 1920s study, "tradesmen" comprised the largest single occupational category of jurors in Cook County felony trials, though white-collar workers white-collar workers, broad occupational grouping of workers engaged in nonmanual labor; frequently contrasted with blue-collar (manual) employees. American in origin, the term has close analogues in other industrial countries. dominated the jury pools, with salesmen, clerks, superintendents/managers, accountants, and retailers comprising the next largest categories. For every laborer or "railroad man" serving on a jury, there were ten salesmen, eight clerks, and four accountants. (78) These jurors celebrated the rugged masculinity that spawned loose definitions of self defense (even as their own lives became more regimented and sedentary), and they were relatively unbothered when local toughs mauled one another. But middle-class jurors stridently embraced older notions of chivalry and masculine respectability. (79) Since wife killers tended to be clustered in the upper tier of the city's working class, convicting and punishing murderous husbands fortified fortified (fôrt´fīd),
adj containing additives more potent than the principal ingredient. the boundary between rough and respectable, tamping tamp
tr.v. tamped, tamp·ing, tamps
1. To pack down tightly by a succession of blows or taps.
2. To pack clay, sand, or dirt into (a drill hole) above an explosive. down the ill-behaved ruffians who tried to rise above their station. (80) At the same time, punishing these wife killers re-established men, especially respectable men, as the protectors of women, even if the protection proved to be posthumous post·hu·mous
1. Occurring or continuing after one's death: a posthumous award.
2. Published after the writer's death: a posthumous book.
3. . In short, in the eyes of turn-of-the-century Chicago jurors, wife killing was an unmanly, cowardly act, and wife killers deserved to be punished. Although murderous husbands made up 7 percent of all Chicago killers, they comprised more than 14 percent of those executed between 1875 and 1920.
Cook County jurors also convicted murderous robbers at a very high rate. Prosecutors won convictions in 64 percent of the robbery-homicide cases for which the police made an arrest. No group of Chicago killers elicited greater fear and anxiety. If a sense of justice and chivalry undergirded convictions in uxoricide trials, feelings of terror and vulnerability fueled convictions in robbery-homicide cases. Chicago experienced a surge in robbery and robbery-homicide during the early twentieth century, and respectable Chicagoans panicked. (81) Although the identity of robber-murderers was often in doubt, jurors not only convicted nearly two-thirds of those arrested, but law enforcers executed these killers at an extraordinarily high rate. More than one-eighth of the men arrested for robbery-homicide were executed, seven times the overall rate. Put differently Adv. 1. put differently - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
in other words , robber-murderers made up 7.5 percent of Chicago killers from 1875 to 1920 and comprised 43.5 percent of those executed for murder.
During trials and again during pardon and commutation hearings, prosecutors described robber-murderers as "cold-blooded" killers.82 They were predators who preyed on the respectable and the innocent. Crime-beat writers, as well as prosecutors, focused on the social distance that separated robbers from their victims. "Fish-blooded" criminals targeted residents with money or goods--successful, hard-working Chicagoans, like the jurors themselves. (83) In one trial, which ended with a conviction and an execution, an assistant state's attorney asked the jurors "if you think society should be allowed to protect itself against these birds of prey who slink slink
v. slunk also slinked, slink·ing, slinks
To move in a quiet furtive manner; sneak: slunk away ashamed; a cat slinking through the grass toward its prey. out into the night with guns in their pockets and potential murder in their hearts." (84)
Like wife killers, murderous robbers were considered unmanly. They skulked in the night and ambushed citizens of means and substance, transforming strong, solid men into helpless, terrified ter·ri·fy
tr.v. ter·ri·fied, ter·ri·fy·ing, ter·ri·fies
1. To fill with terror; make deeply afraid. See Synonyms at frighten.
2. To menace or threaten; intimidate. , feminized victims. If Chicagoans could abide honor-based violence, if they maintained a curious reverence for fair fights, and if they even believed that residents assumed certain risks when they ventured in public, local jurors expressed only loathing for killers who struck without giving their victims a fighting chance one dependent upon the issue of a struggle.
See also: Fighting , particularly when the attackers belonged to the working class and the victims belonged to the middle class. Robbery-homicide, according to one prosecutor, was "cowardly, deliberate, wanton Grossly careless or negligent; reckless; malicious.
The term wanton implies a reckless disregard for the consequences of one's behavior. A wanton act is one done in heedless disregard for the life, limbs, health, safety, reputation, or property rights of murder." (85)
African Americans comprised the third group of Chicagoans disproportionately convicted in homicide cases. In the age of lynching and Jim Crow Jim Crow
Negro stereotype popularized by 19th-century minstrel shows. [Am. Hist.: Van Doren, 138]
See : Bigotry , the city's African-American population skyrocketed, rising from 4,784 in 1875 to 109,458 in 1920. During the late 1910s alone, Chicago received more than fifty thousand African-American migrants, most of whom were from the Deep South and were young. (86) As white Chicagoans, natives as well as immigrants, competed with the newcomers for work and for housing, racial conflict exploded, sparking many violent exchanges and culminating in the Race Riot of 1919, which resulted in thirty-eight deaths and more than five hundred injuries. Again and again, gangs of whites, often masquerading 1. (networking) masquerading - "NAT" (Linux kernel name).
2. (messaging) masquerading - Hiding the names of internal e-mail client and gateway machines from the outside world by rewriting the "From" address and other headers as the message leaves the as "athletic clubs," attacked African-American Chicagoans during the early twentieth century. Local law enforcers often watched passively as the violence erupted and then arrested every African American in the vicinity of the battle. As a consequence, the arrest rate in homicide cases with African-American suspects was nearly 40 percent higher than the corresponding figures for white suspects. (87) Despite the policy of indiscriminately arresting and charging African-American residents (or, perhaps, as a result of the beliefs that motivated such a law enforcement strategy), African Americans were convicted at more than double the rate of white Chicagoans; 45 percent of cases with African-American suspects produced a conviction, compared with 21 percent of cases with white suspects. In homicides in which the police made an arrest, 60 percent of African-American defendants were convicted, nearly double proportion of convictions in cases with white defendants.
Not surprisingly, the imbalance became still more pronounced when the violence crossed racial lines. As both African-American residents and Progressive reformers recognized, white Chicagoans could attack and kill the newcomers with virtual impunity IMPUNITY. Not being punished for a crime or misdemeanor committed. The impunity of crimes is one of the most prolific sources whence they arise. lmpunitas continuum affectum tribuit delinquenti. 4 Co. 45, a; 5 Co. 109, a. . (88) African-American defendants charged with killing white residents, however, encountered a very different criminal justice system. "Negroes suffer gross injustice in the handling of criminal affairs," the Chicago Commission on Race Relations race relations
the relations between members of two or more races within a single community
race relations npl → relaciones fpl raciales
reported in 1922. (89) In cases in which the police made an arrest, prosecutors won convictions in 62 percent of black-on-white homicides but only 14 percent of white-on-black homicides. Likewise, while no white Chicagoan was executed for murdering an African-American resident during this era, more than 9 percent of African-American defendants charged with murdering white Chicagoans were executed. (90) When homicide suspects were African American, systemic racism outweighed middle-class indifference toward the violent tendencies of the poor, for justice proved to be relative and situational in turn-of-the-century Chicago.
Finally, local jurors did not abide or excuse cop killing. Despite their dissatisfaction with the police, and despite their inclination to exonerate and acquit, Cook County jurors stood squarely with the city's law enforcers. When policemen used deadly force, even when they shot children who were innocent bystanders, jurors supported the police, exonerating or acquitting nearly every cop who killed while on the job. (91) When local ruffians killed local law enforcers, two-thirds of arrested suspects were convicted and 14 percent were executed.
Wife killers, robbers, African Americans, and cop killers represented the proverbial exceptions that proved the rule, demonstrating that the criminal justice system could dispense punishment. Excluding homicide-suicides, Chicago law enforcers secured convictions in 43 percent of these cases--and in 62 percent of those in which they made an arrest. By comparison, between 1875 and 1920 the police and prosecutors won convictions in only 17 percent of all other homicides--and in 27 percent of all other cases in which they arrested a suspect.
Was Chicago unique? Although the explanations for patterns of exoneration The removal of a burden, charge, responsibility, duty, or blame imposed by law. The right of a party who is secondarily liable for a debt, such as a surety, to be reimbursed by the party with primary liability for payment of an obligation that should have been paid by the first party. and acquittal might have been different elsewhere, jurors in other settings during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were also reluctant to convict homicide defendants. (92) In nineteenth-century New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City
City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S. , where homicide rates were lower than in Chicago, the lion's share of homicide cases ended without convictions. (93) Late nineteenth-century New Orleans New Orleans (ôr`lēənz –lənz, ôrlēnz`), city (2006 pop. 187,525), coextensive with Orleans parish, SE La., between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, 107 mi (172 km) by water from the river mouth; founded jurors convicted homicide suspects at similarly low rates, as did jurors in the American southwest, though both areas endured much higher rates of violence than New York or Chicago and had less well developed legal institutions. (94) Likewise, in late nineteenth-century England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales Wales, Welsh Cymru, western peninsula and political division (principality) of Great Britain (1991 pop. 2,798,200), 8,016 sq mi (20,761 sq km), west of England; politically united with England since 1536. The capital is Cardiff. , where levels of violence were far lower than in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. , juries typically convicted only a minority of homicide defendants. (95) Thus, in areas with high rates of violence, as well as in areas with low levels of violence, nineteenth- and early twentieth-century jurors consistently favored defendants in homicide cases, just as they did in places with strong, mature legal institutions and in places with weaker or younger criminal justice systems. (96) Legal institutions and pressures for civility and emotional restraint appear to have exerted only a modest influence on conviction rates. (97) Because Illinois state law forged a kind of democratic jurisprudence and gave jurors unusually free rein to reach verdicts based on their own ideals of fairness and culpability culpability (See: culpable) , Cook County courts were probably distinctive in degree more than in kind.
Legal and institutional reforms, in short, did not immediately alter core notions of justice, manliness, or chivalry. Rather, the machinery of Chicago's criminal justice system changed more rapidly than the sensibilities of local jurors. At least in homicide cases, older attitudes toward fairness, honor, culpability, risk, and popular justice survived well into the twentieth century, even as Progressive reformers and policy makers introduced greater efficiency and professionalism into the criminal justice system and as they extended the reach of the state in order to protect residents from the dangers around them. In fact, the combination of resilient notions of justice and institutional reform produced a falling conviction rate in Chicago homicide cases. Responding both to the city's rising homicide rate and to innovative legal and institutional impulses, law enforcers brought more cases to local juries, investigating deaths and prosecuting cases that would have been overlooked in earlier eras, such as infanticides and abortion-related deaths. But local jurors, emboldened em·bold·en
tr.v. em·bold·ened, em·bold·en·ing, em·bold·ens
To foster boldness or courage in; encourage. See Synonyms at encourage.
Adj. 1. by an anomalous provision in the state's criminal code, relied on popular definitions of self defense, provocation, and negligence to counter these efforts, and they exonerated or acquitted the defendants. Hence, the increasing caseload case·load
The number of cases handled in a given period, as by an attorney or by a clinic or social services agency.
Noun along with unchanging--or slowly changing--standards of culpability produced falling conviction rates.
Despite the efforts of Progressive reformers, Chicago jurors, perhaps like their counterparts elsewhere, demonstrated little inclination to permit the legal system to mediate social relations. Instead, their verdicts in homicide cases, at every level of the criminal justice system, indicated that they believed that men must be allowed to be men, that the law should not interfere in affairs of honors, and that residents assumed risks when they engaged in particular kinds of behavior. At least in Progressive-era Chicago, a blend of gender-, race-, and class-based notions of justice trumped the rule of law, generating low homicide conviction rates during a period of soaring violence. Thus, Chicagoans simultaneously railed about their feckless feck·less
1. Lacking purpose or vitality; feeble or ineffective.
2. Careless and irresponsible.
[Scots feck, effect (alteration of effect) + -less. law enforcers, complained about local violence, and pronounced that Joseph Nesczuk had acted within his rights when he bashed in John Wijas's skull with a hammer on Pleasant Place during the spring of 1907.
Department of History
Gainesville, FL 32611
1. Chicago Tribune, July 22, 1907.
2. Chicago Record-Herald, April 29, 1907.
3. Chicago Tribune, July 22, 1907.
4. Chicago Tribune, July 22, 1907.
5. Chicago Tribune, July 22, 1907.
6. Chicago Police Department The Chicago Police Department, also known as the CPD, is the principal law enforcement agency of Chicago, Illinois, in the United States, under the jurisdiction of the city mayor. , "Homicides and Important Events, 1870-1920," Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL.
7. This figure--and other quantitative evidence in this essay, unless otherwise noted--was calculated using the Chicago Police Department's homicide files, recorded in "Homicides and Important Events, 1870-1920." In these ledger books, the police recorded every homicide occurring in the city and updated the entries as cases worked their way through the legal system. Health Department, coroner's, and newspaper tallies of homicide were consistent with the totals in these police files. I created a data set of 5,645 cases, and, using standard record-linkage techniques, cross-checked, corroborated cor·rob·o·rate
tr.v. cor·rob·o·rat·ed, cor·rob·o·rat·ing, cor·rob·o·rates
To strengthen or support with other evidence; make more certain. See Synonyms at confirm. , and completed each entry by consulting court records, prison records, health department records, and newspaper accounts of individual homicide cases. In calculating conviction rates, I excluded cases in which the killer committed suicide prior to arrest. In addition, I tested my calculations against various newspaper and government investigations of the city's criminal justice system. My case-level data set yielded nearly identical figures to the aggregate-level, sources.
8. See David S. Tanenhaus, Juvenile Justice in the Making (New York, 2004); Victoria Getis, The Juvenile Court juvenile court
Special court handling problems of delinquent, neglected, or abused children. Two types of cases are processed by a juvenile court: civil matters, often concerning care of an abandoned or impoverished child, and criminal matters, arising from antisocial and the Progressives (Urbana, 2000); Michael Willrich, City of Courts (New York, 2003).
9. For the "Italian squad," see Chicago Evening Post, March 15, 1911.
10. Richard C. Lindberg, To Serve and Collect (Carbondale, 1991), 24; Simon A. Cole, Suspect Identities (Cambridge, MA, 2001), 152, 177-81.
11. See Willrich, City of Courts, 241-77.
12. See Report of the City Council Committee on Crime of the City of Chicago (Chicago, 1915); John H. Wigmore, editor, The Illinois Crime Survey (Chicago, 1929); Mark H. Haller, "Historical Roots of Police Behavior: Chicago, 1890-1925," Law and Society Review 10 (Winter 1976): 309.
13. Chicago Record-Herald, February 21, 1903.
14. William N. Gemmill, "Crime and Its Punishment in Chicago," Journal of the American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology criminology, the study of crime, society's response to it, and its prevention, including examination of the environmental, hereditary, or psychological causes of crime, modes of criminal investigation and conviction, and the efficacy of punishment or correction (see 1 (July 1910): 39.
15. These calculations exclude killers who committed homicide-suicide.
16. Chicago Inter Ocean, September 28, 1910.
17. Chicago Inter Ocean, September 28, 1910; Chicago Tribune, September 28, 1910.
18. Chicago Tribune, January 1, 1913. This figure was based entirely on murder cases. Analyzing data on murders committed in 1919, Edward W. Sims, the president of the Chicago Crime Commission The Chicago Crime Commission, founded in 1919, is a watchdog organization dedicated to educating the public about the dangers of criminal activity, especially organized crime, and its corrupting influence on the police the judicial system, and politicians. , concluded that the conviction rate was even lower. See Sims, "Fighting Crime in Chicago Crime in Chicago has been tracked by the Chicago Police Department's Bureau of Records since the beginning of the 20th century. Overview
Besides its gangland problems, Chicago saw a major rise in violent crime starting in the late 1960s. : The Crime Commission," Journal of the American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology 11 (May 1920): 24.
19. Report of the City Council Committee on Crime of the City of Chicago, 192.
20. These figures are based on the crude homicide rates--that is, both the homicide rate figure and the conviction rate figure are calculated on the basis of all recorded homicides in the city, including infanticide infanticide (ĭnfăn`təsīd) [Lat.,=child murder], the putting to death of the newborn with the consent of the parent, family, or community. Infanticide often occurs among peoples whose food supply is insecure (e.g. cases, abortion-related homicides, and automobile fatalities defined as homicides. To control for annual fluctuations, the rates for the late 1890s are based on five-year averages. Also see Edith Abbott Edith Abbott (September 26, 1876 – July 28, 1957) was a social worker, educator, and author. Abbott was born in Grand Island, Nebraska. Her younger sister was Grace Abbott.
In 1893, Abbott graduated from Brownell Hall, a girls' boarding school in Omaha. , "Recent Statistics Relating to relating to relate prep → concernant
relating to relate prep → bezüglich +gen, mit Bezug auf +acc Crime in Chicago," Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Police Science 13 (November 1922): 337-39; Arthur V. Lashly, "Homicide (in Cook County)," in The Illinois Crime Survey, 637.
21. "Race Suicide 1. The voluntary failure of the members of a race or people to have a number of children sufficient to keep the birth rate equal to the death rate. for Social Parasites," Journal of the American Medical Association JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association is an international peer-reviewed general medical journal, published 48 times per year by the American Medical Association. JAMA is the most widely circulated medical journal in the world. 50 (January 4, 1908): 55.
22. Chicago Tribune, March 2, 1904.
23. Lincoln Steffens, "Half Free and Fighting On," McClure's Magazine 21 (October 1903): 563.
24. George Kibbe Turner, "The City of Chicago: A Study of the Great Immoralities," McClure's Magazine 28 (April 1907): 589. For a similar assessment, see Henry Barrett Chamberlin, "The Chicago Crime Commission--How the Business Men of Chicago are Fighting Crime," Journal of the American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology 11 (November 1920): 391.
25. John J. Healy, "The Prosecutor (in Chicago) in Felony Cases," in The Illinois Crime Survey, 289.
26. Ludvig Hektoen, "The Coroner (in Cook County)," in The Illinois Crime Survey, 377; Jeffrey S. Adler, "'Halting the Slaughter of the Innocents': The Civilizing Process and the Surge in Violence in Turn-of-the-Century Chicago," Social Science History 25 (Spring 2001): 36-38.
27. See Chicago Evening Post, August 24, 1912; Chicago Evening Post, July 17, 1914; Chicago Tribune, December 6, 1918; Chicago Tribune, April 8, 1920.
28. Lashly, "Homicide (in Cook County)," 596-98. Also see David S. Tanenhaus and Steven A. Drizin, "'Owing to the Extreme Youth of the Accused': The Changing Legal Response to Juvenile Homicide," Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 92 (Spring/6Summer 2002): 651-52. Hoffman defended his use of "Fridays," arguing that he chose worthy, solid men who were honest but down on their luck. "I'm proud of helping those old fellows," he explained in 1918, and "I wish I could help more of them." See Chicago Tribune, December 6, 1918.
29. Healy, "The Prosecutor (in Chicago) in Felony Cases," 306; Gustave F Fischer, "The Juries, in Felony Cases, in Cook County," in The Illinois Crime Survey, 226.
30. Healy, "The Prosecutor (in Chicago) in Felony Cases," 329.
31. Schnier v. Illinois 23 Ill. 17, 19 (Illinois, 1859); Fisher v. Illinois 23 Ill. 218, 227, 231 (Illinois, 1859); Illinois v. Bruner 343 Ill. 146, 148, 163, 171 (Illinois, 1931); Healy, "The Prosecutor (in Chicago) in Felony Cases," 285; Fischer, "The Juries, in Felony Cases, in Cook County," 226-28.
32. Illinois v. Bruner 343 Ill. 146, 148, 163; Ossian Cameron, Illinois Criminal Law and Practice (Chicago, 1898), 394-95; R. Waite Joslyn, Criminal Law and Statutory Penalties of Illinois, 2nd edition (Chicago, 1920), 181.
33. Fisher v. Illinois 23 Ill. 218 231.
34. Chicago Tribune, July 10, 1882.
35. Chicago Times The Chicago Times was a newspaper in Chicago from 1854 to 1895 when it merged with the Chicago Herald.
The Times was founded in 1854, by James W. Sheahan, with the backing of Stephen Douglas. In 1861, after the paper was purchased by Wilbur F. , May 19, 1880.
36. Raymond B. Fosdick, American Police Systems (New York, 1920), 43-44. Also see Chicago Tribune, February 21, 1912.
37. For discussions of this issue, see Instructions to the Jury, People v. Patrick Furling, February, 1899, term, Criminal Court of Cook County, Archives of the Criminal Court, Chicago, IL. Also see Richard Maxwell Richard Maxwell is an experimental director and playwright in New York City. He is originally from West Fargo, North Dakota. Productions
Maxwell's plays have been performed in New York at the Ontological-Hysteric Theater at St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery, HERE Arts Center, P.S. Brown, No Duty to Retreat This article or section deals primarily with the United Kingdom and does not represent a worldwide view of the subject.
Please [ improve this article] or discuss the issue on the talk page. (New York, 1991).
38. See Robert M. Ireland, "The Libertine lib·er·tine
1. One who acts without moral restraint; a dissolute person.
2. One who defies established religious precepts; a freethinker.
Morally unrestrained; dissolute. Must Die: Sexual Dishonor To refuse to accept or pay a draft or to pay a promissory note when duly presented. An instrument is dishonored when a necessary or optional presentment is made and due acceptance or payment is refused, or cannot be obtained within the prescribed time, or in case of bank collections, and the Unwritten Law in the Nineteenth-Century United States," Journal of Social History 23 (Fall 1989): 27-44; Hendrik Hartog, Man & Wife in America (Cambridge, MA, 2000), 219-37.
39. Chicago Evening Post, October 16, 1913.
40. Chicago Evening Post, October 16, 1913; Chicago Tribune, October 17, 1913; Chicago Tribune, October 18, 1913.
41. Chicago Inter Ocean, March 30, 1911.
42. Chicago Tribune, March 29, 1911.
43. Chicago Inter Ocean, March 30, 1911.
44. For other examples, see Chicago Tribune, August 16, 1913; Chicago Daily News The Chicago Daily News was an afternoon daily newspaper based in Chicago, Illinois, and published between 1876 and 1978. The paper was founded by Melville E. Stone in 1875 and began publishing early the next year. , July 18, 1917; Chicago Tribune, June 30, 1917.
45. Chicago Tribune, August 19, 1918.
46. Chicago Tribune, April 8, 1920. For an account of a similar case, with the same outcome, see Chicago Inter Ocean, September 6, 1912.
47. Chicago Tribune, June 30, 1917.
48. Chicago Tribune, August 16, 1913.
49. See Chicago Tribune, August 6, 1913.
50. Chicago Record-Herald, March 21, 1905; Chicago Inter Ocean, July 22, 1912; Chicago Tribune, April 26, 1919.
51. Chicago Record, July 3, 1899.
52. Chicago Inter Ocean, January 10, 1906. For a fuller discussion, see Jeffrey S. Adler, "'I Loved Joe, But I Had to Shoot Him': Homicide by Women in Turn-of-the-Century Chicago," Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 92 (Spring-Summer 2002): 882-88.
53. Chicago Evening Post, March 16, 1914; Chicago Tribune, August 22, 1920. Also see Frederick L. Hoffman, The Homicide Problem (Newark, 1925), 38.
54. Chicago Daily News, February 16, 1918.
55. Chicago Tribune, February 17, 1918.
56. Chicago Tribune, February 22, 1918.
57. Chicago Daily News, February 16, 1918.
58. Chicago Tribune, February 17, 1918; Chicago Tribune, February 22, 1918.
59. Chicago Tribune, February 22, 1918.
60. New York Times, February 16, 1918; Fosdick, American Police Systems, 45.
61. Chicago Tribune, June 28, 1918.
62. Chicago Record-Herald, December 27, 1904.
63. Chicago Record-Herald, December 27, 1904.
64. Chicago Record-Herald, December 27, 1904.
65. Chicago Record-Herald, December 27, 1904; Chicago Inter Ocean, December 27, 1904; Chicago Tribune, December 27, 1904.
66. Chicago Police Department, "Homicides and Important Events, 1870-1920."
67. Chicago Inter Ocean, February 11, 1911; Chicago Tribune, February 11, 1911.
68. Put differently, the men who served on Cook County juries rejected Hoffman's (and leading physicians') attempts to prosecute and punish those performing abortions--even those who killed their patients. See Leslie J. Reagan, "'About to Meet Her Maker': Women, Doctors, Dying Declarations, and the State's Investigation of Abortion, Chicago, 1867-1940," Journal of American History The Journal of American History (sometimes abbreviated as JAH), is the official journal of the Organization of American Historians. It was first published in 1914 as the Mississippi Valley Historical Review 77 (March 1991): 1248.
69. Adler, "Halting the Slaughter of the Innocents," 29-52.
70. Chicago Times, February 20, 1883.
71. Joliet Convict Registers, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL.
72. Chicago Tribune, March 25, 1894.
73. Chicago Tribune, March 25, 1894; Chicago Record, March 26, 1894.
74. Joliet Convict Registers. For a case with a similar outcome, see Chicago Tribune, August 18, 1896.
75. See Chicago Evening Post, March 26, 1901; Chicago Tribune, July 30, 1906. Also see Jeffrey S. Adler, First in Violence, Deepest in Dirt (Cambridge, MA, 2006), 45-84.
76. Chicago Tribune, October 8, 1908. For other examples, see Benedict J. Short [Assistant State's Attorney] to the Illinois State Board of Pardons Part of the executive branch of state government authorized to grant pardons, and restore civil and political rights, to individuals convicted of crimes. A pardon, in the legal sense, releases an individual from punishment or penalty, but does not necessarily exonerate them of guilt. , October 2, 1908, petition for commutation of the sentence to imprisonment Imprisonment
See also Isolation.
former federal maximum security penitentiary, near San Francisco; “escapeproof.” [Am. Hist.: Flexner, 218]
German prison ship in World War II. [Br. Hist. for life of Andrew Williams, Executive Clemency executive clemency n. the power of a President in federal criminal cases, and the Governor in state convictions, to pardon a person convicted of a crime, commute the sentence (shorten it, often to time already served), or reduce it from death to another lesser Files, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; Chicago Times-Herald, February 5, 1899.
77. Chicago Times-Herald, May 13, 1896.
78. Fischer, "The Juries, in Felony Cases, in Cook County," 231-32.
79. See Gail Bederman, Manliness and Civilization (Chicago, 1995), 5-20.
80. The mean age of wife killers was thirty-eight, and, by comparison with all Chicago killers between 1875 and 1920, they were older and more clustered in skilled occupations.
81. Abbott, "Recent Statistics Relating to Crime in Chicago," 332.
82. Illinois Board of Pardons to Governor Richard Yates There have been several people by the name of Richard Yates:
83. Turner, "The City of Chicago," 590.
84. "Demands Noose for Earl Dear," Unidentified newspaper clipping contained in the Application of Earl Dear for Commutation of Sentence commutation of sentence, in criminal law, reduction of a sentence for a criminal act by action of the executive head of the government. Like pardon, commutation of sentence is a matter of grace, not of right; it is distinguished from pardon, however, in that the , Executive Clemency Files of Governor Frank O. Lowden, Illinois State Archives.
85. Testimony of James C. O'Brien, Assistant State's Attorney, to the Illinois Board of Pardons and Parole, June 19, 1919, Application of Earl Dear for Commutation of Sentence.
86. James R. Grossman, Land of Hope (Chicago, 1989).
87. Eric H. Monkkonen found a similar pattern in his study of homicide in New York City. See Monkkonen, Murder in New York City (Berkeley, 2001), 148.
88. Chicago Commission on Race Relations, The Negro in Chicago: A Study of Race Relations and a Race Riot (Chicago, 1922), 332, 352-53; Chicago Defender The Chicago Defender was the United States’ largest and most influential black weekly newspaper by the beginning of World War I. The Defender was founded on May 5, 1905 by Robert S. , March 18, 1911.
89. Chicago Commission on Race Relations, The Negro in Chicago, 622. Also see Elizabeth Dale, The Rule of Justice (Columbus, 2001).
90. In intra-racial homicides involving African Americans, 2 percent were executed.
91. Chicago Tribune, June 20, 1893; Abbott, "Recent Statistics Relating to Crime in Chicago," 356-57.
92. It is difficult to calculate comparable conviction rates because of differences in extant sources and research methods. Depending on whether scholars rely on police records, coroner's records, indictment reports, criminal court records, newspaper accounts, or some combination of these sources, the denominators in calculating the rates differ.
93. In his study of homicide in nineteenth-century New York City, Eric H. Monkkonen found similar conviction rates. See Monkkonen, "The State From the Bottom Up: Of Homicides and Courts," Law and Society Review 24 (April 1990): 529; Monkkonen, Murder in New York City, 167. Also see William Francis William Francis may refer to:
94. See, for example, Dennis C. Rousey, "Cops and Guns: Police Use of Deadly Force in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans," American Journal of Legal History 28 (January 1984): 64; Clare V. McKanna, Jr., Homicide, Race, and Justice in the American West, 1880-1920 (Tucson, 1997), 62, 96, 150.
95. See Carolyn A. Conley, The Unwritten Law (New York, 1991), 51; Conley, Melancholy Accidents (Lanhan, MD, 1999), 92; Conley, Certain Other Countries: Homicide, Gender and National Identity in Late Victorian England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales (forthcoming; Columbus, 2007); V. A. C. Gatrell, "The Decline of Theft and Violence in Victorian and Edwardian England," in Crime and the Law, edited by V. A. C. Gatrell, Bruce Len-man, and Geoffrey Parker Geoffrey Parker can refer to more than one person:
96. According to Roger Lane's study, Philadelphia prosecutors secured convictions at a somewhat higher rate than their counterparts in New York, Chicago, and New Orleans. See Lane, Violent Death in the City (Cambridge, MA, 1979), 68-69.
97. A number of leading historians of violence have drawn from Norbert Elias's theory of a "civilizing process" and argued that cultural and institutional pressures gradually discouraged impulsive, volatile behavior and thus reduced levels of violence. Such a process, however, does not appear to have redefined the sensibilities of jurors, for convictions rates were low in both high-violence and low-violence settings during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. See Norbert Elias Norbert Elias (June 22, 1897 — August 1, 1990) was a German sociologist of Jewish descent, who later became a British citizen.
His work focused on the relationship between power, behavior, emotion, and knowledge over time. , The Civilizing Process: The History of Manners (1939; reprint edition, New York, 1978); Elias, The Civilizing Process: Power and Civility (1939; reprint edition, New York, 1982). For thoughtful applications of Elias's theory, see Eric A. Johnson and Eric H. Monkkonen, editors, The Civilization of Crime (Urbana, 1996).
By Jeffrey S. Adler
University of Florida University of Florida is the third-largest university in the United States, with 50,912 students (as of Fall 2006) and has the eighth-largest budget (nearly $1.9 billion per year). UF is home to 16 colleges and more than 150 research centers and institutes.