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Clarence Darrow.

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Clarence Darrow's closing argument.


It follows the full text transcript of Clarence Darrow's closing argument in the case Illinois versus Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, delivered at Chicago, Illinois - August 22, 1924.

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Clarence Darrow - Speech Your Honor, it has been almost three months since the great responsibility of this case was assumed by my associates and myself.

It has been three months of great anxiety. A burden which I gladly would have been spared excepting for my feelings of affection toward some of the members of one of these unfortunate families.

Our anxiety over this case has not been due to the facts that are connected with this most unfortunate affair, but to the almost unheard of publicity it has received; to the fact that newspapers all over this country have been giving it space such as they have almost never before given to any case. The fact that day after day the people of Chicago have been regaled with stories of all sorts about it, until almost every person has formed an opinion. And when the public is interested and demands a punishment, no matter what the offense, great or small, it thinks of only one punishment, and that is death. It may not be a question that involves the taking of human life; it may be a question of pure prejudice alone; but when the public speaks as one man, it thinks only of killing.

It was announced that there were millions of dollars to be spent on this case. Wild and extravagant stories were freely published as though they were facts. Here was to be an effort to save the lives of two boys by the use of money in fabulous amounts. We announced to the public that no excessive use of money would be made in this case, neither for lawyers nor for psychiatrists, or in any other way. We have faithfully kept that promise. The psychiatrists are receiving a per diem, and only a per diem, which is the same as is paid by the state. The attorneys, at their own request, have agreed to take such amount as the officers of the Chicago Bar Association may think proper in this case. If we fail in this defense it will not be for lack of money. It will be on account of money. Money has been the most serious handicap that we have met. There are times when poverty is fortunate.

I insist, Your Honor, that had this been the case of two boys of these defendants' age, unconnected with families of great wealth, there is not a state's attorney in Illinois who could not have consented at once to a plea of guilty and a punishment in the penitentiary for life. Not one. No lawyer could have justified any other attitude. No prosecution could have justified it.

We are here with the lives of two boys imperiled, with the public aroused. For what? Because, unfortunately, the parents have money. Nothing else.

I have heard in the last six weeks nothing but the cry for blood. I have heard from the office of the state's attorney only ugly hate. I have heard precedents quoted which would be a disgrace to a savage race. I have seen a court urged almost to the point of threats to hang two boys, in the face of science, in the face of philosophy, in the face of humanity, in the face of experience, in the face of all the better and more humane thought of the age.

Why, Mr. Savage [one of the prosecutors] says age makes no difference, and that if this court should do what every other court in Illinois has done since its foundation, and refuse to sentence these boys to death, none else would ever be hanged in Illinois.

Well, I can imagine some results worse than that. So long as this terrible tool is to be used for a plaything, without thought or consideration, we ought to get rid of it for the protection of human life.

Now, Your Honor, Mr. Savage, in as cruel a speech as he knew how to make, said to this court that we pled guilty because we are afraid to do anything else.

Your Honor, that is true.

It was not correct that we would have defended these boys in this court; we believe we have been fair to the public. Anyhow, we have tried, and we have tried under terribly hard conditions.

We have said to the public and to this court that neither the parents, nor the friends, nor the attorneys would want these boys released. Unfortunate though it be, it is true, and those the closest to them know perfectly well that they should not be released, and that they should be permanently isolated from society. We are asking this court to save their lives, which is the least and the most that a judge can do.

We did plead guilty before Your Honor because we were afraid to submit our cause to a jury.

I can tell Your Honor why. I have found that years and experience with life tempers one's emotions and makes him more understanding of his fellowman. When my friend Savage is my age, or even yours, he will read his address to this court with horror. I am aware that as one grows older he is less critical. He is not so sure. He is inclined to make some allowance for his fellowman. I am aware that a court has more experience, more judgment, and more kindliness than a jury.

Your Honor, it may be hardly fair to the court, I am aware that I have helped to place a serious burden upon your shoulders. And at that, I have always meant to be your friend, but this was not an act of friendship. I know perfectly well that where responsibility is divided by twelve, it is easy to say: "Away with him."

But, Your Honor, if these boys hang, you must do it. There can be no division of responsibility here. You can never explain that the rest overpowered you. It must be by your deliberate, cool, premeditated act, without a chance to shift responsibility. It was not a kindness to you. We placed this responsibility on your shoulders because we were mindful of the rights of our clients, and we were mindful of the unhappy families who have done no wrong.

Your Honor will never thank me for unloading this responsibility upon you, but you know that I would have been untrue to my clients if had not concluded to take this chance before court, instead of submitting it to a poisoned jury in the city of Chicago. I did it knowing that it would be an unheard of thing for any court, no matter who, to sentence these boys to death. Your Honor, I must for a moment criticize the arguments that have preceded me. I can sum up the prosecutor's arguments in a minute: cruelly, dastardly, premeditated, fiendish, abandoned, and malignant heart.

Now, that is what I have listened to for three days against two minors, two children, who have no right to sign a note or take a deed. Cowardly? Well, I don't know. Let me tell you something that I think is cowardly, whether their acts were or not. Here is Dickie Loeb, and Nathan Leopold, and the state objects to anybody calling one "Dickie" and the other "Babe" although everybody does, but they think they can hang them easier if their names are Richard and Nathan, so, we will call them Richard and Nathan. Eighteen and nineteen years old at the time of the homicide. Here are three officers watching them. They are led out and in [to] this jail and across the bridge waiting to be hanged. Not a chance to get away. Handcuffed when they get out of this room. Not a chance. Penned like rats in a trap; and for a lawyer with physiological eloquence to wave his fist in front of their faces and shout "Cowardly!" does not appeal to me as a brave act.

Cold-blooded? Why? Because they planned, and schemed. Yes. But here are the officers of justice, so-called, with all the power of the state, and he said they played for five cents a point. Now, I trust Your Honor knows better than I do how much of a game that would be. At poker I might guess, but I know little about bridge. But what else? He said that in a game one of them lost $90 to the other one. They were playing again each other, and one of them lost $90? Ninety dollars! Their joint money was just the same; and there is not another word of evidence in this case to sustain the statement of Mr. Crowe, who pleads to hang these boys. Your Honor, is it not trifling?

It would be trifling, excepting, Your Honor, that we are dealing in human life. And we are dealing in more than that; we are dealing in the future fate of two families. We are talking of placing a blot upon two houses that do not deserve it. And all that they can get out of their imagination is that there was a game of bridge and one lost $90 to the other, and therefore they went out and committed murder. Your Honor knows that it is utterly absurd. The evidence was absolutely worthless. The statement was made out of whole cloth, and Mr. Crowe felt like that policeman who came in here and perjured himself, as I will show you later on, who said that when he was talking with Nathan Leopold Jr., he told him the public was not satisfied with the motive. I wonder if the public is satisfied with the motive? If there is any person in Chicago who; under the evidence in this case would believe that this was the motive, then he is stupid. That is all I have to say for him, just plain stupid.

But let us go further than that. Who were these two boys? And how did it happen?

On a certain day they killed poor little Robert Franks. They were not to get $10,000; they were to get $5,000 if it worked; that is, $5,000 each. Neither one could get more than five, and either one was risking his; neck in the job. So each one of my clients was risking his neck for $5,000, if it had anything to do with it, which it did not.

Did they need the money? Why at this very time, and a few months before, Dickie Loeb had $3,000 [in his] checking account in the bank. Your Honor, I would be ashamed to talk about this except that in all apparent seriousness they are asking to kill these two boys on the strength of this flimsy foolishness. At that time, Richard Loeb had a three-thousand-dollar checking account in the bank. He had three Liberty Bonds, one of which was past due, and the interest on each of them had not been collected for three years. And yet they would ask to hang him on the theory that he committed this murder because he needed money.

How about Leopold? Leopold was in regular receipt of $125 a month; he had an automobile; paid nothing for board and clothes, and expenses; he got money whenever he wanted it, and he had arranged to go to Europe and had bought his ticket and was going to leave about the time he was arrested in this case. He passed his examination for the Harvard Law School, and was going to take a short trip to Europe before it was time for him to attend the fall term. His ticket had been bought, and his father was to give him $3,000 to make the trip. Your Honor, jurors sometimes make mistakes, and courts do, too. If on this evidence the court is to construe a motive out of this case, then I insist that a motive could be construed out of any set of circumstances and facts that might be imagined.

The boys had been reared in luxury, they had never been denied anything; no want or desire left unsatisfied; no debts; no need of money; nothing. And yet they murdered a little boy, against whom they had nothing in the world, without malice, without reason, to get $5,000 each. All right. All right, Your Honor, if the court believes it, if anyone believes it, I can't help it. That is what this case rests on. It could not stand up a minute without motive. without it, it was the senseless act of immature and diseased children, as it was; a senseless act of children, wandering around in the dark and moved by some motion, that we still perhaps have not the knowledge or the insight into life to thoroughly understand.

Now, let me go on with it. What else do they claim?

It has been argued to this court that you can do no such thing as to grant the almost divine favor of saving the lives of two boys, that it is against the law, that the penalty for murder is death; and this court, who, in the fiction of the lawyers and the judges, forgets that he is a human being and becomes a court, pulseless, emotionless, devoid of those common feelings which alone make men; that this court as a human machine must hang them because they killed.

Now, let us see. I do not need to ask mercy from this court for these clients, nor for anybody else, nor for myself; though I have never yet found a person who did not need it. But I do not ask mercy for these boys. Your Honor may be as strict in the enforcement of the law as you please and you cannot hang these boys. You can only hang them because back of the law and back of justice and back of the common instincts of man, and back of the human feeling for the young, is the hoarse voice of the mob which says, "Kill." I need ask nothing. What is the law of Illinois? If one is found guilty of murder in the first degree by a jury, or if he pleads guilty before a court, the court or jury may do one of three things: he may hang, he may imprison for life, or he may imprison for a term of not less than fourteen years. Now, why is that the law? Does it follow from the statute that a court is bound to ascertain the impossible, and must necessarily measure the degrees of guilt? Not at all. He may not be able to do it. A court may act from any reason or , from no reason. A jury may fix anyone of these penalties as they separate. Why was this law passed? Undoubtedly in recognition of the growing feeling in all the forward-thinking people of the United States against capital punishment. Undoubtedly, through the deep reluctance of courts and juries to take human life.

Without any reason whatever, without any facts whatever, Your Honor must make the choice, and you have the same right to make one choice as another. It is Your Honor's province; you may do it, and I need ask nothing in order to have you do it. There is the statute. But there is more than that in this case.

We have sought to tell this court why he should not hang these boys. We have sought to tell this court, and to make this court believe, that they were diseased of mind, and that they were of tender age. However, before I discuss that, I ought to say another word in reference to the question of motive in this case. If there was no motive, except the senseless act of immature boys, then of course there is taken from this case all of the feeling of deep guilt upon the part of these defendants.

There was neither cruelty to the deceased, beyond taking his life, nor was there any depth of guilt and depravity on the part of the defendants, for it was a truly motiveless act, without the slightest feeling of hatred or revenge, done by a couple of children for no sane reason.

But, Your Honor, we have gone further than that, and we have sought to show you, as I think we have, the condition of these boys' minds. Of course it is not an easy task to find out the condition of another person's mind. Now, I was about to say that it needs no expert, it needs nothing but a bare recitation of these facts, and a fair consideration of them, to convince any human being that this was the act of diseased brains.

But let's get to something stronger than that. Were these boys in their right minds? Here were two boys with good intellect, one eighteen and one nineteen. They had all the prospects that life could hold out for any of the young; one a graduate of Chicago and another of Ann Arbor; one who had passed his examination for the Harvard Law School and was about to take a trip in Europe, another who had passed at Ann Arbor, the youngest in his class, with $3,000 in the bank. Boys who never knew what it was to want a dollar; boys who could reach any position that was given to boys of that kind to reach; boys of distinguished and honorable families, families of wealth and position, with all the world before them. And they gave it all up for nothing, for nothing! They took a little companion of one of them, on a crowded street, and killed him, for nothing, and sacrificed everything that could be of value in human life upon the crazy scheme of a couple of immature lads.

Now, Your Honor, you have been a boy; I have been a boy. And we have known other boys. The best way to understand somebody else is to put yourself in his place. Is it within the realm of your imagination that a boy who was right, with all the prospects of life before him, who could choose what he wanted, without the slightest reason in the world would lure a young companion to his death, and take his place in the shadow of the gallows?

How insane they are I care not, whether medically or legally. They did not reason; they could not reason; they committed the most foolish, most unprovoked, most purposeless, most causeless act that any two boys ever committed, and they put themselves where the rope is dangling above their heads.

There are not physicians enough in the world to convince any thoughtful, fair-minded man that these boys are right. Was their act one of deliberation, of intellect, or were they driven by some force such as Dr. White and Dr. Glueck and Dr. Healy have told this court?

There are only two theories; one is that their diseased brains drove them to it; the other is the old theory of possession by devils, and my friend Marshall could have read you books on that, too, but it has been pretty well given up in Illinois. That they were intelligent, sane, sound, and reasoning is unthinkable. Let me call Your Honor's attention to another thing.

Why did they kill little Bobby Franks? Not for money, not for spite; not for hate. They killed him as they might kill a spider or a fly, for the experience. They killed him because they were made that way. Because somewhere in the infinite processes that go to the making up of the boy or the man something slipped, and those unfortunate lads sit here hated, despised, outcasts, with the community shouting for their blood. Mr. Savage, with the immaturity of youth and inexperience, says that if we hang them there will be no more killing. This world has been one long slaughterhouse from the beginning until today, and killing goes on and on and on, and will forever. Why not read something, why not study something, why not think instead of blindly shouting for death?

Kill them. Will that prevent other senseless boys or other vicious men or vicious women from killing? No! It will simply call upon every weak-minded person to do as they have done. I know how easy it is to I talk about mothers when you want to do something cruel. But I am thinking of the others, too. I know that any mother might be the mother of little Bobby Franks, who left his home and went to his school, and who never came back. I know that any mother might be the mother of Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, just the same. The trouble is this, that if she is the mother of a Nathan Leopold or of a Richard Loeb, she has to ask herself the question: "How come my children came to be what they are? From what ancestry did they get this strain? How far removed was the poison that destroyed their lives? Was I the bearer of the seed that brings them to death?" Any mother might be the mother of any of them. But these two are the victims.

No one knows what will be the fate of the child he gets or the child she bears; the fate of the child is the last thing they consider.

I am sorry for the fathers as well as the mothers, for the fathers who give their strength and their lives for educating and protecting and creating a fortune for the boys that they love; for the mothers who go down into the shadow of death for their children, who nourish them and care for them, and risk their lives, that they may live, who watch them with tenderness and fondness and longing, and who go down into dishonor and disgrace for the children that they love.

All of these are helpless. We are all helpless. But when you are pitying the father and the mother of poor Bobby Franks, what about the fathers and mothers of these two unfortunate boys, and what about the, unfortunate boys themselves, and what about all the fathers and all the mothers and all the boys and all the girls who tread a dangerous maze in darkness from birth to death?

Do you think you can cure the hatreds and the maladjustments of the world by hanging them? You simply show your ignorance and your hate when you say it. You may here and there cure hatred with love and understanding, but you can only add fuel to the flames by cruelty and hate.

Your Honor, that no human being could have done what these boys did, excepting through the operation of a diseased brain. I do not propose to go through each step of the terrible deed, it would take too long. But I do want to call the attention of this court to some of the other acts of these two boys, in this distressing and weird homicide; acts which show conclusively that there could be no reason for their conduct.

I want to come down now to the actions on the afternoon of the tragedy.

Without any excuse, without the slightest motive, not moved by money, not moved by passion or hatred, by nothing except the vague wanderings of children, about four o'clock in the afternoon they started out to find somebody to kill. For nothing.

They went over to the Harvard School. Dick's little brother was there, on the playground. Dick went there himself in open daylight, known by all of them; he had been a pupil there himself, the school was near his home, and he looked over the little boys. They first picked out a little boy named Levinson, and Dick trailed him around. Now, of course, that is a hard story. It is a story that shocks one. A boy bent on killing, not knowing where he would go or who he would get, but seeking some victim. Here is a little boy, but the circumstances are not opportune, and so he fails to get him. Dick abandons that lead; Dick and Nathan are in the car, and they see Bobby Franks on the street, and they call to him to get into the car. It is about five o'clock in the afternoon, in the long summer days, on a thickly settled street, built up with homes, the houses of their friends and their companions known to everybody, automobiles appearing and disappearing, and they take him in the car.

If there had been a question of revenge, yes; if there had been a question of hate, where no one cares for his own fate, intent only on accomplishing his end, yes. But without any motive or any reason they picked up this little boy right in sight of their own homes, and surrounded by their neighbors. They hit him over the head with a chisel and killed him, and go on about their business, driving this car within half a block of Loeb's home, within the same distance of the Franks's home, drive it past the neighbors that they knew, in the open highway, in broad daylight. And still men will say that they have a bright intellect.

I say again, whatever madness and hate and frenzy may do to the human mind, there is not a single person who reasons who can believe that one of these acts was the act of men, of brains that were not diseased. There is no other explanation for it. And had it not been for the wealth and the weirdness and the notoriety, they would have been sent to the psychopathic hospital for examination, and been taken care of, instead of the state demanding that this court take the last pound of flesh and the last drop of blood from two irresponsible lads.

They pull the dead boy into the backseat, and wrap him in a blanket, and this funeral car starts on its route. If ever any death car went over the same route or the same kind of a route driven by sane people, I have never heard of it, and I fancy no one else has ever heard of it.

This car is driven for twenty miles. The slightest accident, the slightest misfortune, a bit of curiosity, an arrest for speeding, anything would bring destruction. They go down the Midway, through the park, meeting hundreds of machines, in sight of thousands of eyes, with this dead boy. They go down a thickly populated street through South Chicago, and then for three miles take the longest street to go through this city; built solid with business, buildings, filled with automobiles backed upon the street, with streetcars on the track, with thousands of peering eyes; one boy driving and the other on the backseat, with the corpse of little Bobby Franks, the blood streaming from him, wetting everything in the car.

And yet they tell me that this is sanity; they tell me that the brains of these boys are not diseased. Their conduct shows exactly what it was, and shows that this court has before him two young men who should be examined in a psychopathic hospital and treated kindly and with care. They get through South Chicago, and they take the regular automobile road down toward Hammond. They stop at the forks of the road, and leave little Bobby Franks, soaked with blood, in the machine, and get their dinner, and eat it without an emotion or a qualm.

I repeat, you may search the annals of crime, and you can find no parallel. It is utterly at variance with every motive, and every act and every part of conduct that influences normal people in the commission of crime. There is not a sane thing in all of this from the beginning to the end. There was not a normal act in any of it, from its inception in a diseased brain, until today, when they sit here awaiting their doom.
But we are told that they planned. Well, what does that mean? A maniac plans, an idiot plans, an animal plans; any brain that functions may plan. But their plans were the diseased plans of the diseased mind. Is there any man with an air of intellect and a decent regard for human life, and the slightest bit of heart that does not understand this situation? And still, Your Honor, on account of its weirdness and its strangeness, and its advertising, we are forced to fight. For what? Forced to plead to this court that two boys, one eighteen and the other nineteen, may be permitted to live in silence and solitude and disgrace and spend all their days in the penitentiary. Asking this court and the state's attorney to be merciful enough to let these two boys be locked up in a prison until they die.

I sometimes wonder if I am dreaming. If in the first quarter of the twentieth century there has come back into the hearts of men the hate and feeling and the lust for blood which possesses the primitive savage of barbarous lands. What do they want? Tell me, is a lifetime for the young boys spent behind prison bars, is that not enough for this mad act? And is there any reason why this great public should be regaled by a hanging? I cannot understand it, Your Honor. It would be past belief, excepting that to the four corners of the earth the news of this weird act has been carried and men have been stirred, and the primitive has come back, and the intellect has been stifled, and men have been controlled by feelings and passions and hatred which should have died centuries ago.

My friend Savage pictured to you the putting of this dead boy in this culvert. Well, no one can minutely describe any killing and not make it shocking. It is shocking. It is shocking because we love life and because we instinctively draw back from death. It is shocking wherever it is and however it is, and perhaps all death is almost equally shocking.

But here is the picture of a dead boy, past pain, when no harm can come to him, put in a culvert, after taking off his clothes so that the evidence would be destroyed; and that is pictured to this court as a reason for hanging. Well, Your Honor, that does not appeal to me as strongly as the hitting over the head of little Robert Franks with a chisel. The boy was dead.

I could say something about the death penalty that, for some mysterious reason, the state wants in this case. Why do they want it? To vindicate the law? Oh, no. The law can be vindicated without killing anyone else. It might shock the fine sensibilities of the state's counsel that this boy was put into a culvert and left after he was dead, but, Your Honor, I can think of a scene that makes this pale into insignificance. I can think, and only think, Your Honor, of taking two boys, one eighteen and the other nineteen, irresponsible, weak, diseased, penning them in a cell, checking off the days and the hours and the minutes, until they will be taken out and hanged. Wouldn't it be a glorious day for Chicago?

Wouldn't it be a glorious triumph for the state's attorney? Wouldn't it be a great triumph for justice in this land? Wouldn't it be a glorious illustration of Christianity and kindness and charity? I can picture them, wakened in the gray light of morning, furnished [with a] suit of clothes' by the state, led to the scaffold, their feet tied, black caps drawn over their heads, stood on a trapdoor, the hangman pressing a spring, so that it gives way under them; can see them fall through space and stopped by the rope around their necks.

I am always suspicious of righteous indignation. Nothing is more cruel than righteous indignation. To hear young men talk glibly of justice.
Who knows what it is? Does Mr. Savage know? Does Mr. Crowe know? Do I know? Does Your Honor know? Is there any human machinery for finding it out? Is there any man can weigh me and say what I deserve?

Can Your Honor? Let us be honest. Can Your Honor appraise yourself and say what you deserve? Can Your Honor appraise these two young men and say what they deserve? Justice must take account of infinite circumstances which a human being cannot understand.

These boys left this body down in the culvert and they came back telephoned home that they would be too late for supper. Here, surely, was an act of consideration on the part of Leopold, telephoning home that he would be late for supper. Dr. Krohn says he must be able to think and act because he could do this. But the boy who through habit would telephone his home that he would be late for supper had not a tremor or a thought or a shudder at taking the life of little Bobby Franks for nothing, and he has not had one yet. He was in the habit of doing what he did when he telephoned, that was all; but in the presence of life and death, and a cruel death, he had no tremor, and no thought.

They came back. They got their dinner. They parked the bloody automobile in front of Leopold's house. They cleaned it to some extent that night and left it standing in the street in front of their home. They took it into the garage the next day and washed it, and the poor little Dickie Loeb-I shouldn't call him Dickie, and I shouldn't call him poor, because that might be playing for sympathy, and you have no right to ask for sympathy in this world: you should ask for justice, whatever that may be; and only the state's attorneys know.

And then in a day or so we find Dick Loeb with his pockets stuffed with newspapers telling of the Franks's tragedy. We find him consulting with his friends in the club, with the newspaper reporters; and my experience is that the last person that a conscious criminal associates with is a reporter. He even shuns them more than he does a detective, because they are smarter and less merciful. But he picks up a reporter, and he tells him he has read a great many detective stories, and he knows just how this would happen and that the fellow who telephoned must have been down on Sixty-third Street, and the way to find him is to go down on Sixty-third Street and visit the drugstores, and he would go with him.

And Dick Loeb pilots reporters around the drugstores where the telephoning was done, and he talks about it, and he takes the newspapers, and takes them with him, and he is having a glorious time. And yet he is "perfectly oriented," in the language of Dr. Krohn. "Perfectly oriented." Is there any question about the condition of his mind? Why was he doing it? He liked to hear about it. He had done something that he could not boast of directly, but he did want to hear other people talk about it, and he looked around there, and helped them find the place where the telephone message was sent out.

Does not the man who knows what he is doing, who for some reason has been overpowered and commits what is called a crime, keep as far away from it as he can? Does he go to the reporters and help them hunt it out? There is not a single act in this case that is not the act of a diseased mind, not one.

Talk about scheming. Yes, it is the scheme of disease; it is the scheme of infancy; it is the scheme of fools; it is the scheme of irresponsibility from the time it was conceived until the last act in the tragedy.

Now, Your Honor, let me go a little further with this. I have gone over some of the high spots in this tragedy. This tragedy has not claimed all the attention it has had on account of its atrocity. There are two reasons, and only two that I can see. First is the reputed extreme wealth of these families; not only the Loeb and Leopold families, but the Franks family, and of course it is unusual. And next is the fact [that] it is weird and uncanny and motiveless. That is what attracted the attention of the world. Many may say now that they want to hang these boys. But I know that giving the people blood is something like giving them their dinner: when they get it they go to sleep. They may for the time being have an emotion, but they will bitterly regret it. And I undertake to say that if these two boys are sentenced to death, and are hanged on that day, there will be a pall settle over the people of this land that will be dark and deep, and at least cover every humane and intelligent person with its gloom. I wonder if it will do good. I marveled when I heard Mr. Savage talk. Mr. Savage tells this court that if these boys are hanged, there will be no more murder. Mr. Savage is an optimist. He says that if the defendants are hanged there will be no more boys like these. I could give him a sketch of punishment, punishment beginning with the brute which killed something because something hurt it; the punishment the savage; if a person is injured in the tribe, they must injure somebody in the other tribe; it makes no difference who it is, but somebody. If one is killed his friends or family must kill in return.

You can trace it all down through the history of man. You can trace the burnings, the boilings, the drawings and quarterings, the hangings of people in England at the crossroads, carving them up and hanging them, as examples for all to see.

We can come down to the last century when nearly two hundred crimes were punishable by death, and by death in every form; not only hanging that was too humane, but burning, boiling, cutting into pieces, torturing in all conceivable forms.

I know that every step in the progress of humanity has been met and opposed by prosecutors, and many times by courts. I know that when poaching and petty larceny was punishable by death in England, juries refused to convict. They were too humane to obey the law; and judges refused to sentence. I know that when the delusion of witchcraft was spreading over Europe, claiming its victims by the millions, many a judge so shaped his cases that no crime of witchcraft could be punished in his court. I know that these trials were stopped in America because juries would no longer convict.

Gradually the laws have been changed and modified, and men look back with horror at the hangings and the killings of the past. What did they find in England? That as they got rid of these barbarous statutes, crimes decreased instead of increased; as the criminal law was modified and humanized, there was less crime instead of more. I will undertake to say, Your Honor, that you can scarcely find a single book written by a student, and I will include all the works on criminology of the past, that has not made the statement over and over again that as the penal code was made less terrible, crimes grew less frequent.

If these two boys die on the scaffold, which I can never bring myself to imagine, If they do die on the scaffold, the details of this will be spread over the world. Every newspaper in the United States will carry a full account. Every newspaper of Chicago will be filled with the gruesome details. It will enter every home and every family. Will it make men better or make men worse? I would like to put that to the intelligence of man, at least such intelligence as they have. I would like to appeal to the feelings of human beings so far as they have fee lings-- would it make the human heart softer or would it make hearts harder?

What influence would it have upon the millions of men who will read it? What influence would it have upon the millions of women who will read it, more sensitive, more impressionable, more imaginative than men? Would it help them if Your Honor should do what the state begs you to do? What influence would it have upon the infinite number of children who will devour its details as Dickie Loeb has enjoyed reading detective stories? Would it make them better or would it make them worse? The question needs no answer. You can answer it from the human heart. What influence, let me ask you, will it have for the unborn babes still sleeping in their mother's womb? Do I need to argue to Your Honor that cruelty only breeds cruelty? That hatred only causes hatred; that if there is any way to soften this human heart which is hard enough at its best, if there is any way to kill evil and hatred and all that goes with it, it is not through evil and hatred and cruelty; it is through charity, and love, and understanding.

I am not pleading so much for these boys as I am for the infinite number of others to follow, those who perhaps cannot be as well defended as these have been, those who may go down in the storm, and the tempest, without aid. It is of them I am thinking, and for them I am begging of this court not to turn backward toward the barbarous and cruel past.

Now, Your Honor, who are these two boys?

Leopold, with a wonderfully brilliant mind; Loeb, with an unusual intelligence; both from their very youth, crowded like hothouse plants, to learn more and more and more. Dr. Krohn says that they are intelligent. But it takes something besides brains to make a human being who can adjust himself to life.

In fact, as Dr. Church and as Dr. Singer regretfully admitted, brains are not the chief essential in human conduct. There is no question about it. The emotions are the urge that make us live; the urge that makes us work or play, or move along the pathways of life. They are the instinctive things. In fact, intellect is a late development of life. Long before it was evolved, the emotional life kept the organism in existence until death. Whatever our action is, it comes from the emotions, and nobody is balanced without them.

The intellect does not count so much. The state put on three alienists and Dr. Krohn. Two of them, Dr. Patrick and Dr. Church, are undoubtedly able men. One of them, Dr. Church, is a man whom I have known for thirty years, and for whom I have the highest regard.

On Sunday, June 1, before any of the friends of these boys or their counsel could see them, while they were in the care of the state's attorney's office, they brought them in to be examined by these alienists. I am not going to discuss that in detail as I may later on. Dr. Patrick Sail the only thing unnatural he noted about it was that they had no emotional reactions. Dr. Church said the same. These are their alienists, not ours. These boys could tell this gruesome story without a change of countenance, without the slightest feelings. There were no emotional reactions to it. What was the reason? I do not know. How can I tell why? I know what causes the emotional life. I know it comes from the nerves, the muscles, the endocrine glands, the vegetative system. I know it is the most important part of life. I know it is practically left out of some. I know that without it men cannot live. I know that without it they cannot act with the rest. I know they cannot feel what you feel and what I feel; that they cannot feel the moral shocks which come to men who are educated and who have not been deprived of an emotional system or emotional feelings. I know it, and every person who has honestly studied this subject knows it as well.

Is Dickey Loeb to blame because out of the infinite forces that conspired to form him, the infinite forces that were at work producing him ages before he was born, that because out of these infinite combinations he was born without it? If he is, then there should be a new definition for justice. Is he to blame for what he did not have and never had? Is he to blame that his machine is imperfect? Who is to blame? I do not know. I have never in my life been interested so much in fixing blame as I have in relieving people from blame. I am not wise enough to fix it. I know that somewhere in the past that entered into him something missed. It may be defective nerves. It may be a defective heart or liver. It may be defective endocrine glands. I know it is something. I know that nothing happens in this world without a cause.

There are at least two theories of man's responsibility. There may be more. There is the old theory that if a man does something it is because he willfully, purposely, maliciously, and with a malignant heart sees fit to do it. And that goes back to the possession of man by devils. The old indictments used to read that a man being possessed of a devil did so and so. But why was he possessed with the devil? Did he invite him in? Could he help it? Very few half-civilized people believe that doctrine anymore. Science has been at work, humanity has been at work, scholarship has been at work, and intelligent people now know that every human being is the product of the endless heredity back of him and the infinite environment around him. He is made as he is and he is the sport of all that goes before him and is applied to him, and under the same stress and storm, you would act one way and I act another, and poor Dickey Loeb another.

Dr. Church said so and Dr. Singer said so, and it is the truth. Take a normal boy, Your Honor. Do you suppose he could have taken a boy into an automobile without any reason and hit him over the head and killed him? I might just as well ask you whether you thought the sun could shine at midnight in this latitude. It is not a part of normality. Something was wrong. I am asking Your Honor not to visit the grave and dire and terrible misfortunes of Dickey Loeb and Nathan Leopold upon these two boys. I do not know where to place it. I know it is somewhere in the infinite economy of nature, and if I were wise enough I could find it. I know it is there, and to say that because they are as they are you should hang them, is brutality and cruelty, and savors of the fang and claw.

Now, Your Honor is familiar with Chicago the same as I am, and I am willing to admit right here and now that the two ablest alienists in Chicago are Dr. Church and Dr. Patrick. There may be abler ones, but we lawyers do not know them.

And I will go further: if my friend Crowe had not got to them first, I would have tried to get them. There is no question about it at all. And I say that, Your Honor, without casting the slightest reflection on either of them, for I really have a high regard for them, and aside from that a deep friendship for Dr. Church. And I have considerable regard for Dr. Singer.

We could not get them, and Mr. Crowe was very wise, and he deserves a great deal of credit for the industry, the research, and the thoroughness that he and his staff have used in detecting this terrible crime. He worked with intelligence and rapidity. If here and there he trampled on the edges of the Constitution I am not going to talk about it here. If he did it, he is not the first one in that office and probably will not be the last who will do it, so let that go. A great many people in this world believe the end justifies the means. I don't know but that I do myself And that is the reason I never want to take the side of the prosecution, because I might harm an individual. I am sure the state will live anyhow.

On that Sunday afternoon before we had a chance, he got in two alienists, Church and Patrick, and also called Dr. Krohn, and they around hearing these boys tell their stories, and that is all. Your Honor they were not holding an examination. They were holding an inquest and nothing else. It has not the slightest reference to, or earmarks of an examination for sanity. It was just an inquest; a little premature, but still an inquest.

What is the truth about it? What did Patrick say? He said that it was not a good opportunity for examination. What did Church say? I read from his own book what was necessary for an examination, and he said that it was not a good opportunity for an examination. What did Krohn say? "It was a fine opportunity for an examination," the best he had ever heard of, or that ever anybody had, because their souls were stripped naked. Krohn is not an alienist. He is an orator. He said, because their souls were naked to them. Well, if Krohn's was naked, there would not be much to show. But Patrick and Church said that the conditions were unfavorable for an examination, that they never would choose it, that their opportunities were poor. And yet Krohn states the contrary. Krohn, who by his own admissions, for sixteen years has not been a physician, but has used a license for the sake of haunting these courts, civil and criminal, and going up and down the land peddling perjury. He has told Your Honor what he has done, and there is scarcely a child on the street who does not know it, there is not a judge in the court who does not know it; there is not a lawyer at the bar who does not know it; there is not a physician in Chicago who does not know it; and I am willing to stake the lives of these two boys on the court knowing it, and I will throw my own in for good measure. What else did he say, in which the state's alienists dispute him?

Both of them say that these boys showed no adequate emotion. Krohn said they did. One boy fainted. They had been in the hands of the state's attorney for sixty hours. They had been in the hands of policemen, lawyers, detectives, stenographers, inquisitors, and newspapermen for sixty hours, and one of them fainted. Well, the only person who is entirely without emotions is a dead man. You cannot live without breathing and some emotional responses. Krohn says, "Why, Loeb had emotion. He was polite; begged our pardon; got up from his chair"; even Dr. Krohn knows better than that. I fancy If Your Honor goes into an elevator where there is a lady he takes off his hat. Is that out of emotion for the lady or is it habit? You say, "Please," and "thank you," because of habit. Emotions haven't the slightest thing to do with it. Mr. Leopold has good manners. Mr. Loeb has good manners. They have been taught them. They have lived them. That does not mean that they are emotional. It means training. That is all it means. And Dr. Krohn knew it.

Krohn told the story of this interview and he told almost twice as much as the other two men who sat there and heard it. And how he told it, how he told it! When he testified my mind carried me back to the time when I was a kid, which was some years ago, and we used to eat watermelons. I have seen little boys take a rind of watermelon and cover their whole faces with water, eat it, devour it, and have the time of their lives, up to their ears in watermelon. And when I heard Dr. Krohn testify in this case, to take the blood of these two boys, I could see his mouth water with the joy it gave him, and he showed all the delight and pleasure of myself and my young companions when we ate watermelon.

I can imagine a psychiatrist, a real one who knows the mechanism of man, who knows life and its machinery, who knows the misfortunes of youth, who knows the stress and the strain of adolescence which comes to every boy and overpowers so many, who knows the weird fantastic world that hedges around the life of a child; I can imagine a psychiatrist who might honestly think that under the crude definitions of the law the defendants were sane and knew the difference between right and wrong.

Without any consideration of the lives and the trainings of these boys, without any evidence from experts, I have tried to make a plain statement of the facts of this case, and I believe, as I have said repeatedly, that no one can honestly study the facts and conclude that anything but diseased minds was responsible for this terrible act. Let us see how far we can account for it, Your Honor.

The mind, of course, is an illusive thing. Whether it exists or not no one can tell. It cannot be found as you find the brain. Its relation to the brain and the nervous system is uncertain. It simply means the activity of the body, which is coordinated with the brain. But when we do find from human conduct that we believe there is a diseased mind, we naturally speculate on how it came about. And we wish to find always, if possible, the reason why it is so. We may find it, we may not find it; because the unknown is infinitely wider and larger than the known, both as to the human mind and as to almost everything else in the universe.

I have tried to study the lives of these two most unfortunate boys. Three months ago, if their friends and the friends of the family had been asked to pick out the most promising lads of their acquaintance, they probably would have picked these two boys. With every opportunity, with plenty of wealth, they would have said that those two would succeed. In a day, by an act of madness, all this is destroyed, until
best they can hope for now is a life of silence and pain, continuing to end of their years.

How did it happen?

Let us take Dickie Loeb first.

I do not claim to know how it happened; I have sought to find out; I know that something, or some combination of things, is responsible for his mad act. I know that there are no accidents in nature. I know that effect follows cause. I know that if I were wise enough, and knew enough about this case, I could lay my finger on the cause. I will do the best I can, but it is largely speculation. The child, of course, is born without knowledge. Impressions are made upon its mind as it goes along. Dickie Loeb was a child of wealth and opportunity. Over and over in this court Your Honor has been asked, and other courts have been asked, to consider boys who have no chance; they have been asked to consider the poor, whose home had: been the street, with no education and no opportunity in life, and they have done it, and done it rightfully.

But Your Honor, it is just as often a great misfortune to be the child of the rich as it is to be the child of the poor. Wealth has its misfortunes. Too much, too great opportunity and advantage given to a child has its misfortunes. Can I find what was wrong? I think I can. Here was a boy at a tender age, placed in the hands of a governess, intellectual, vigorous, devoted, with a strong ambition for the welfare of this boy. He was, pushed in his studies, as plants are forced in hothouses. He had no pleasures, such as a boy should have, except as they were gained by lying and cheating. Now, I am not criticizing the nurse. I suggest that some day Your Honor look at her picture. It explains her fully. Forceful, brooking no Interference, she loved the boy, and her ambition was that he should reach the highest perfection. No time to pause, no time to stop from one book to another, no time to have those pleasures which a boy ought to have to create a normal life. And what happened?

Your Honor, what would happen? Nothing strange or unusual. This nurse was with him all the time, except when he stole out at night, from two to fourteen years of age, and it is instructive to read her letter to show her attitude. It speaks volumes; tells exactly the relation between these two people. He, scheming and planning as healthy boys would do, to get out from under her restraint. She, putting before him the best books, which children generally do not want; and he, when she was not looking, reading detective stories, which he devoured, story after story, in his young life. Of all of this there can be no question. What is the result? Every story he read was a story of crime. We have a statute in this state, passed only last year, if I recall it, which forbids minors reading stories of crime. Why? There is only one reason. Because the legislature in its wisdom felt that it would produce criminal tendencies in the boys who read them. The legislature of this state has given its opinion, and forbidden boys to read these books. He read them day after day. He never stopped. While he was passing through college at Ann Arbor he was still reading them. When he was a senior he read them, and almost nothing else.

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