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Clarence Darrow - What Happened Next . . .

leopold death puerto rico

The small, stuffy courtroom holding some two hundred news media members and another seventy spectators had just witnessed what many historians regarded the finest oration by Clarence Darrow in his career though he had long been noted for his oratory skills. On September 19 Judge Caverly announced his decision. He accepted Darrow's arguments. Based on the young age of the defendants, Caverly sentenced them to life in prison and recommended no possibility of future parole.

In 1932 Leopold and Loeb opened a school for prisoners making use of their educations and talents in a constructive way. On January 28, 1936, Loeb's cellmate attacked him with a razor blade slashing him over fifty times. He died from loss of blood at thirty-two years of age. Leopold dedicated himself to learning. He learned twenty-seven languages, raised canaries, worked in the prison library, and volunteered for medical experiments. In 1953 he was given a parole hearing but was denied. A second time, however, was successful.

Leopold was paroled in March 1958 after thirty-three years in prison. Also during that year he published an autobiography titled Life Plus 99 Years. He moved to Puerto Rico where he obtained a master's degree from the University of Puerto Rico, married, and worked at various jobs. Leopold published a book titled The Birds of Puerto Rico. He died of a heart attack in 1971 at the age of sixty-six.

Despite Darrow's pleas against use of the death penalty, capital punishment continued in the United States even though almost all other developed countries had banned capital punishment by the late twentieth century. Over seven thousand executions occurred in the United States during the twentieth century. Some six hundred took place after 1977 with over 80 percent in southern states and 35 percent in Texas alone.

By 2000 two-thirds of all executions were in three states—Texas, Oklahoma, and Virginia. To guarantee fairness, an extensive system of court reviews is provided making the execution process long and complex. Supporters of the death penalty are as dissatisfied with it as opponents; because of the lengthy process inmates sentenced to die sit for years on death row. For this reason the number of death row inmates grew from 220 in 1960 to 3,500 in 2000.


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