Leopold and Loeb - New World Encyclopedia
the following year exceeded the Leopold and Loeb case in terms of .. Realizing that each benefited from the relationship, they patched things up have “very considerably super-normal general intelligence” based on tests. Nathan Freudenthal Leopold Jr. (November 19, – August 29, ) and Richard Albert an intelligence quotient of , though test results from that era are not directly comparable to scores on modern IQ tests. . for the crime, dominating and leading an infatuated Leopold in a kind of master/slave relationship. Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were exceptionally wealthy, intelligent, and teenagers who developed an intense, exclusive relationship.
I do not know. I will be honest with this court as I have tried to be from the beginning. I know that these boys are not fit to be at large. I believe they will not be until they pass through the next stage of life, at forty-five or fifty.Leopold & Loeb: "The Perfect Murder" - Great Crimes & Trials
Whether they will then, I cannot tell. I am sure of this; that I will not be here to help them. So far as I am concerned, it is over.
I would not tell this court that I do not hope that some time, when life and age have changed their bodies, as they do, and have changed their emotions, as they do—that they may once more return to life. I would be the last person on earth to close the door of hope to any human being that lives, and least of all to my clients.
But what have they to look forward to? And I think here of the stanza of Housman: I care not, your Honor, whether the march begins at the gallows or when the gates of Joliet close upon them, there is nothing but the night, and that is little for any human being to expect.
But there are others to consider. Here are these two families, who have led honest lives, who will bear the name that they bear, and future generations must carry it on.
Here is Leopold's father—and this boy was the pride of his life. He watched him, he cared for him, he worked for him; the boy was brilliant and accomplished, he educated him, and he thought that fame and position awaited him, as it should have awaited. It is a hard thing for a father to see his life's hopes crumble into dust.
Should he be considered?
66 best Leopold and Loeb images on Pinterest | Crime, Bobby and Clarence darrow
Should his brothers be considered? Will it do society any good or make your life safer, or any human being's life safer, if it should be handled down from generation to generation, that this boy, their kin, died upon the scaffold?
And Loeb's the same. Here are the faithful uncle and brother, who have watched here day by day, while Dickie's father and his mother are too ill to stand this terrific strain, and shall be waiting for a message which means more to them than it can mean to you or me. Shall these be taken into account in this general bereavement?
Have they any rights? Is there any reason, your Honor, why their proud names and all the future generations that bear them shall have this bar sinister written across them?
How many boys and girls, how many unborn children will feel it? It is bad enough as it is, God knows. It is bad enough, however it is. But it's not yet death on the scaffold. And I ask your Honor, in addition to all that I have said to save two honorable families from a disgrace that never ends, and which could be of no avail to help any human being that lives.
Now, I must say a word more and then I will leave this with you where I should have left it long ago. None of us are unmindful of the public; courts are not, and juries are not.
We placed our fate in the hands of a trained court, thinking that he would be more mindful and considerate than a jury. I cannot say how people feel. I have stood here for three months as one might stand at the ocean trying to sweep back the tide. I hope the seas are subsiding and the wind is falling, and I believe they are, but I wish to make no false pretense to this court.
The easy thing and the popular thing to do is to hang my clients. Men and women who do not think will applaud. The cruel and thoughtless will approve.
It will be easy today; but in Chicago, and reaching out over the length and breadth of the land, more and more fathers and mothers, the humane, the kind and the hopeful, who are gaining an understanding and asking questions not only about these poor boys, but about their own—these will join in no acclaim at the death of my clients.
These would ask that the shedding of blood be stopped, and that the normal feelings of man resume their sway. And as the days and the months and the years go on, they will ask it more and more. But, your Honor, what they shall ask may not count. I know the easy way.
I know the future is with me, and what I stand for here; not merely for the lives of these two unfortunate lads, but for all boys and all girls; for all of the young, and as far as possible, for all of the old. I am pleading for life, understanding, charity, kindness, and the infinite mercy that considers all.
I am pleading that we overcome cruelty with kindness and hatred with love. I know the future is on my side. Your Honor stands between the past and the future. You may hang these boys; you may hang them by the neck until they are dead. But in doing it you will turn your face toward the past. In doing it you are making it harder for every other boy who in ignorance and darkness must grope his way through the mazes which only childhood knows. In doing it you will make it harder for unborn children.
You may save them and make it easier for every child that sometime may stand where these boys stand. You will make it easier for every human being with an aspiration and a vision and a hope and a fate. I am pleading for the future; I am pleading for a time when hatred and cruelty will not control the hearts of men. When we can learn by reason and judgment and understanding and faith that all life is worth saving, and that mercy is the highest attribute of man.
I feel that I should apologize for the length of time I have taken. This case may not be as important as I think it is, and I am sure I do not need to tell this court, or to tell my friends that I would fight just as hard for the poor as for the rich. If I should succeed, my greatest reward and my greatest hope will be that for the countless unfortunates who must tread the same road in blind childhood that these poor boys have trod—that I have done something to help human understanding, to temper justice with mercy, to overcome hate with love.
I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar Khayyam. It appealed to me as the highest that I can vision. I wish it was in my heart, and I wish it was in the hearts of all: Erase my name or write it as you will, So I be written in the Book of Love. The judge was persuaded, though according to his ruling, his decision was based on precedent and the youth of the accused; after 12 days on September 10, he sentenced both men to life imprisonment for the murder, and an additional 99 years for the kidnapping.
Although they were kept apart as much as possible, the two managed to maintain their relationship. Leopold was later transferred to Stateville Penitentiaryand Loeb was eventually transferred there as well. Once reunited, the two expanded the current prison school system, adding a high school and junior college curriculum. The money was used to purchase goods such as cigarettes from the prison store.
Leopold and Loeb
Other prisoners were not aware that Leopold and Loeb were no longer receiving larger amounts of money. They were both seen as rich snobs, which made them targets for other prisoners. One day in the prison yard, Leopold was threatened at knife point for money. After trying to explain that he did not have any, he was saved when Loeb and some of his other friends intervened. Some of Loeb's money went to a former cell-mate of his, James E.
Day, as a bribe not to hurt him. On January 28,Leopold and Loeb were working on assignment at the prison school. While they were working, Day passed them and reportedly said "I'll see you later" referring to Loeb. Loeb was later attacked by Day with a straight razor in a shower room. He was taken directly to the prison hospital where doctors tried to save his life. Leopold went to the hospital to find his friend barely conscious and slashed all over.
"Thrill Me" explores the relationship of Leopold and Loeb
Leopold offered to have his blood tested for a transfusion but was denied by the doctors, who knew there was no hope. Loeb's last words to Leopold were "I think I'm going to make it. Day claimed afterward that Loeb had attempted to assault him, but it may have been the other way around. Many doubted that Day's story was true.
It was not likely that he acted in self-defense. Day emerged unharmed from the attack, while Loeb sustained more than 50 wounds, including numerous defensive wounds on his arms and hands. Loeb's throat had also been slashed from behind, suggesting that he was taken by surprise. Nevertheless, an inquiry accepted Day's testimony. The prison authorities, perhaps embarrassed by publicity sensationalizing alleged decadent behavior in the prison, ruled that Day's attack on Loeb was self-defense.
Day was later tried and acquitted of Loeb's murder. A sexual motive for the murder has been suggested. There is no evidence that Loeb was a sexual predator while in prison, but Day was later caught at least once in a sexual act with a fellow inmate.
This is echoed in an interview with the Catholic chaplain at the prison, Father Eligius Weir, who had been a personal confidant of Loeb's. Weir stated that James Day had been the sexual predator and had gone after Loeb because Loeb refused to have sexual relations with him.
Leopold composed books for the prison school. On the cover of these books he wrote Ratione autem liberamur Latin, "by reason, however, we are set free". Although Leopold continued with his work in prison after Loeb's death, he suffered from depression.
He reportedly screamed for hours in his cell before being moved to the prison psychologists. This was meant to help him, but according to Leopold it was a punishment because Day was also among the patients. Leopold's prison life[ edit ] Leopold in Stateville Penitentiary, Leopold became a model prisoner. He reportedly mastered 12 languages—in addition to the 15 he already spoke  —and made multiple significant contributions to improving conditions at Stateville Penitentiary.
These included reorganizing the prison library, revamping the schooling system and teaching its students, and volunteer work in the prison hospital.
Loeb's mother was Catholic and his father was Jewish. Bobby Franks' parents, while ethnically Jewish, were converts to Christian Science. Leopold and Loeb both admitted to the press that they had a homosexual relationship, and this increased the lurid aspects of the crime considerably.
This was especially scandalous for that time period. The issues of their youth and of the crime both made the death penalty a major topic of discussion. Trial The trial proved to be a media spectacle; it was one of the first cases in the U. While the media expected them to plead not guilty by reason of insanityDarrow surprised everyone by having them both plead guilty. In this way, Darrow avoided a jury trial which, due to the strong public sentiment against his clients, would most certainly have resulted in a conviction and perhaps even the death penalty.
Darrow gave a hour speech, which has been called the finest of his career and is perhaps the finest argument against capital punishment ever give. The speech included such arguments as: This terrible crime was inherent in his organism, and it came from some ancestor It may be, in fact, that Darrow accepted the case because it offered a huge public platform for such a speech; he knew that his strong argument against capital punishment would be reprinted in newspapers around the world.
And if he could successfully reason that such heinous murderers should not be executed, perhaps he would make other capital punishment cases more difficult to prosecute. In the end, Darrow was successful in avoiding the sentence of execution. Instead, the judge sentenced Leopold and Loeb each to life in prison for the murderplus 99 years each for the kidnapping.
- Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story review: Dark musical a suspenseful retelling of murder and lust
- Never the Sinner
The judge commented that it was not for mercy, but that the state hesitated to order capital punishment on those who are so young. And that, perhaps, the life sentence would be the most intolerable. Prison and later life In prisonLeopold and Loeb used their educations to good purpose, teaching classes in the prison school.
In January ofat age 30, Loeb was attacked by fellow prisoner James Day with a straight razor in the prison's shower room, and died from his wounds. Day claimed afterward that Loeb had attempted to sexually assault him; an inquiry accepted Day's testimony, and the prison authorities ruled that Day's attack on Loeb was self-defense. That inspired the newsman Ed Lahey to write in the Chicago Daily News, "Richard Loeb, despite his erudition, today ended his sentence with a proposition.
He moved to Puerto Rico to avoid media attention, and married a widowed florist. Leopold died of a heart attack in at the age of Legacy Capital punishment has remained a controversial issue. The case of Leopold and Loeb was significant in that they were young, and it is questionable if the execution of youth is appropriate. The debate surrounding youth is that usually it is argued that they did not fully understand what they were doing and could be reformed in some manner to better repay their debt to society in other ways.
In this case, they did make significant contributions to the prison through providing education to prisoners, in some way repaying debt to society. Whether or not Leopold achieved better understanding of the crime though living longer remains questionable, as Leopold remained eccentric in ways that indicated very different reasoning than most people. The method of sentencing criminals to "life sentences" that are commuted to be simply several years is also still an issue.
The general rationale for release is that they have repaid their debt to society and will not cause further harm. This case shows one criminal did in fact receive life, by his untimely death in prison, but the other gained release. Such release can create distrust in the integrity of the law itself, and disrespect if a sentence is not what it is purported to be. Although Leopold gained early release and contributed to society without being harmful, his release was late in life and he was exceptionally eccentric leading one to speculate that under other circumstances he might have been harmful to others.
One instance of Leopold's eccentricity is how after his release, he tried to sue Meyer Levin for character defamation. It is especially puzzling when it is considered that the book, Compulsion, that Meyer wrote was the very vehicle that helped create public support to have him released.
Such oddities create an atmosphere of distrust in Leopold's sanity, and suspicion that such a bizarre occurrence of crime could in fact be repeated as he was very far from a mentality most people could relate with. So the case remains a puzzling one, both in sentencing and in the perpetrators themselves. The role of Nietzsche 's writings in their crime is also controversial.
Never the Sinner – Variety
Such misinterpretation of his concept of the "superman" is partially because the position remains ambiguous, introduced in a poetic manner in Thus Spake Zarathustra. Darrow argued that the blame should be shifted from the two boys to their teachers and the educational establishment that taught them this misinterpretation. Although the issue of moral responsibility is essential to justice, his argument was primarily based on emotion not facts.
The case is important in the study of legal strategy. It is noteworthy that Clarence Darrow chose not to engage in the areas of their sanity or their responsibility, and focused rather on whether society wanted to have the death of these criminals on its hands, and the irony of punishing the act of murder by having the state itself force another person do this wrong thing in the execution of the criminal.
This complex tragedy continues to be re-analyzed in popular culture. Some of the most notable examples are the novel Compulsion, written in by Meyer Levin who revisited the Leopold and Loeb case in this fictionalized version of the actual events.
Three years later, the novel was made into a film, and the character based on Darrow was played by Orson Welleswhose speech at the film's end adapting Darrow's closing arguments was one of the longest monologues in film history. The crime was also inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock 's film Ropebased on the play by Patrick Hamiltonand Tom Kalin's more openly gay -themed Swoon. Themes from this crime have continued to inspire television, novels, and other forms of entertainment. Retrieved February 14, Grant, Robert and Joseph Katz.
The Great Trials of the Twenties. The Crime of the Century. University of Illinois Press. In the Dark of the Night.