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Liewellyn and Edith Banks Trial: 1933

A Millionaire Before The Depression, Banks Supporters Bully County Officials, Banks Flees To Avoid Arrest

Defendants: Llewellyn and Edith Banks
Crime Charge: Murder
Chief Defense Lawyers: Thomas J.
Enright, William Phipps, Frank J. Lonergan, Charles A. Hardy, Joseph L. Hammersly
Chief Prosecutors: William S. Levens, Ralph P. Moody, George Codding, George W. Neilson
Judge: George F. Skipworth
Place: Eugene, Oregon
Date of Trial: May 1-21, 1933
Verdict: Llewellyn Banks: Guilty of second-degree murder; Edith Banks: not guilty
Sentence: Life Imprisonment

SIGNIFICANCE: The Great Depression sprouted many fringe and radical political leaders. Llewellyn Banks was one such person. Banks felt so strongly about his beliefs that it eventually led to murder.

With the onset of the Great Depression, the number of unemployed in the United States increased from 1.5 million in 1929 to 15 million in 1933. Millions more were underemployed, thousands of banks and businesses closed, prices and wages plummeted, savings were lost, and many were forced from their homes into breadlines. Malnutrition was common and, in some parts of the country, starvation began to appear.

During these frightful times, dozens of extremist groups emerged and many people feared that a revolution would occur. Several charismatic demagogues appeared who drew thousands of followers by appealing to various fears and prejudices. U.S. Senator Huey Long of Louisiana was the most famous of these, but there were many others. However, only one ended his days in prison: Llewellyn A. Banks of Medford, Jackson County, Oregon.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940