Veterans for Peace Radio Hour

August 23, 2014

Sacco and Vanzetti 8-23-1927

 

 

 

This story has been told many times and is perfect conveyance for the dissolution of capital punishment.

Here is a link to the actual trial of the time, copyrighted by Felix Franfurter, from The Atlantic at the time, (it takes some time to read)

http://www.theatlantic.com/past/unbound/flashbks/oj/frankff.htm

What seems to be missing from most of the story is that hundreds of thousands of people across the nation felt that Sacco and Vanzetti were being framed for a crime they did not commit. In fact, the more “evidence” for the prosecution that came out, the larger the crowds became for the acquittal of the two men. In fact it became an international  causes célèbres, where just about everyone believes the accused are innocent, but the powers that be have so much invested, they refuse to back down. We see this today when minorities and poor whites are caught up in a system that is rigged against them, (just think of the drug charges brought against some, depending on county, state or jurisdiction, a person can get life for a joint, while others are tossed out of court for lack of merit.

The New York Times printed the story immediately following the executions:

http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/0823.html

For further reading of this situation that brought the two men to their men to their deaths, there is plenty to look around for, I chose the two articled linked because they give an accurate account during the time frame at what people were actually hearing. A loose end appears though, even before Sacco and Vanzetti were executed another man admitted to the robbery/killing, from wikipedia:

Madeiros confession[edit]

In November 1925, Celestino Madeiros, an ex-convict awaiting trial for murder, confessed to committing the Braintree crimes. He absolved Sacco and Vanzetti of participation.[86]In May, once the SJC had denied their appeal and Madeiros was convicted, the defense investigated the details of Madeiros’ story. Police interviews led them to the Morelli gang based in Providence, Rhode Island. They developed an alternative theory of the crime based on the gang’s history of shoe-factory robberies, connections to a car like that used in Braintree, and other details. Gang leader Joe Morelli bore a striking resemblance to Sacco.[87][88][89]

The defense filed a motion for a new trial based on the Madeiros confession on May 26, 1926.[81] In support of their motion they included 64 affidavits. The prosecution countered with 26 affidavits.[90] When Thayer heard arguments from September 13 to 17, 1926,[81] the defense, along with their Madeiros-Morelli theory of the crime, charged that the U.S. Justice Department was aiding the prosecution by withholding information obtained in its own investigation of the case. Attorney William Thompson made an explicitly political attack: “A government which has come to value its own secrets more than it does the lives of its citizens has become a tyranny, whether you call it a republic, a monarchy, or anything else!”[91] Judge Thayer denied this motion for a new trial on October 23, 1926. After arguing against the credibility of Madeiros, he addressed the defense claims against the federal government, saying the defense was suffering from “a new type of disease,…a belief in the existence of something which in fact and truth has no such existence.”[81][92]

Three days later, the Boston Herald responded to Thayer’s decision by reversing its longstanding position and calling for a new trial. Its editorial, “We Submit”, earned its author aPulitzer Prize.[93][94] No other newspapers followed suit.[95]

 

Today, 87 years to the day when two innocent men were sent to the electric chair, some states still feel that capital punishment is the answer. Since 1973, 244 death row inmates have been exonerated or had their charges reduced. How would you feel if you were innocent and were walking that last mile?

Peace,

Bob

 

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