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Leopold and Loeb Trial: 1924

"i Have A Hanging Case"

Now State's Attorney Robert E. Crowe tackled Leopold, surprising him with facts that could have come only from Loeb. Nathan Leopold confessed. Before noon, the confessions of each were read to them, admitting they had killed Bobby Franks for the thrill of it. Said Crowe, "I have a hanging case. The state is ready to go to trial immediately."

Clarence Darrow was already the nation's foremost criminal lawyer. (Tennessee's famous Monkey Trial, which would bring him worldwide fame, was still a year away.) He had saved some 50 accused murderers, many of whom were guilty beyond the shadow of a doubt, from execution. He told the Leopold and Loeb families he would take the case for a $100,000 fee.

Darrow threw his energy, and that of a battery of assistants, into researching the minds of his clients. Since State's Attorney Crowe had already lined up Chicago's best-known psychiatrists to examine the accused, Darrow turned to such national figures as the president of the American Psychiatric Association and the supervisor of the psychiatric clinic at Sing Sing Prison. Prominent psychiatrists Karl Bowman and Harold S. Hulbert developed profiles that revealed the defendants' mental instability and confused personalities. The doctors' extensive report came to several thousand pages and was supplemented by thousands more from the other psychiatrists.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940Leopold and Loeb Trial: 1924 - The Perfect Murder… For Its Thrill, "i Have A Hanging Case", "they Should Be Permanently Isolated From Society"