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Clarence Darrow and the JFK Case

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If I could choose any lawyer to investigate the assassination of JFK I would opt for Clarence Darrow:


Why choose a lawyer to INVESTIGATE the case?

Darrow might be a good choice to DEFEND OSWALD, but not necessarily the best for investigation.

I would look for qualifications other than legal for an investigation.

Darrow was a great ADVOCATE for his clients. The only "client" in the JFK case is TRUTH...not one

side or the other.


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Darrow comes out of the Progressive strain of American thought, at its most competitive in politics in the early part of the decade that JFK was born, until subverted by Woodrow Wilson, and lost in WW I, the "Return to Normalcy" under Harding-Coolidge, the stock market swindle, and the Depression.

So there's a certain epistemological justice in the thought, assuming Darrow wouldn't go for a similar defense, socially-minded but decidedly last-ditch, as he did for Leopold and Loeb. That would have buried LHO's identity and involvements for all time, like Percy Foreman did for James Earl Ray's.

Would Darrow have lived up to his reputation as the Mencken of the bar? Or would he have made a sentimental, anti-Nietzschean lone nut out of Oswald, just to save his life? That would have put Oswald, or "Oswald," into Sirhan's shoes: on ice for further study that somehow is never allowed.

Edited by David Andrews
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Leopold and Loeb.

Besides the JFK case I have studied the Leopold and Loeb case more then any other

More so because I am completly obsessed with and believe in Nietzsche

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  • 3 years later...

The following probably contains a factoid not known to most persons......

Small world, eh.......

Attorney Elmer Gertz Dies At 93
April 27, 2000|By Jill Blackman and Lisa B. Song, Tribune Staff Writers. Tribune files contributed to this report.
Elmer Gertz, a highly respected Chicago trial attorney, died this morning at age 93.
"In spite of his age, he always looked to the future," said Mr. Gertz's daughter, Margery Hechtman. She said, "I think part of the reason he lived so long was because, he said to me not so long ago, 'I have no malice.'"
Hechtman said her father never harbored resentment or anger and was incredibly adaptable.
"He loved to talk about himself, but he was a very humble man with the purest values," she said.
Mr. Gertz's whole life was characterized by his courage and his willingness to stand up for what he believed in, said his son, Ted Gertz. He described his father as devoted to his family.
"Nothing gave him pleasure like his children and grandchildren," he said. "No matter how prominent he became or how much success he had, that (his family) was by far his real priority."
Mr. Gertz's mother died when he was 8 years old, Ted Gertz said, and Mr. Gertz and his two youngest brothers were put in an orphanage. "The three of them maintained this relationship that was just incredible," he said. "I think his values were shaped at that time."
John Marshall Law School Professor Ann Lousin, who worked with Mr. Gertz for 30 years, said, "He was a remarkable person and he truly had a passion for justice -- it was really amazing. He realized what one lawyer could do by taking on popular causes such as anti-censorship issues."
She said he retired from teaching full time at the law school in 1976, when he turned 70, but since then has taught a seminar every fall semester, including last year, on either the 1st Amendment or civil rights.
U.S. Sen. Paul Simon once praised Mr. Gertz for "standing like the Rock of Gibraltar on behalf of civil rights and civil liberties."
Mr. Gertz, who practiced law for nearly 70 years, was a participant in several of the nation's more famous cases.
In 1958, he secured the parole of Nathan Leopold, of the 1924 Leopold-Loeb thrill killing of 14-year-old Bobby Franks. He gained full freedom for Leopold in 1963.
The Leopold and Loeb case may have been the first 20th Century murder to have been labeled the "Crime of the Century." In 1924, Leopold, 19, and Richard Loeb, 18, both University of Chicago graduate students, thought it would be exciting to commit the "perfect" murder.
On May 21, the two kidnapped Franks. The next day Frank's naked body was found near in a ditch near the Illinois-Indiana border. Leopold and Loeb confessed to the slaying on May 31. Famed attorney Clarence Darrow persuaded a judge to spare their lives. Loeb was murdered in prison. Leopold died of natural causes in 1971.
Mr. Gertz once related that he got involved in that case because "Leopold's oldest brother was a member of a group I helped found, the Civil War Round Table."
Mr. Gertz also was successful in gaining the overturn of the conviction in Dallas of former Chicagoan Jack Ruby, who had been sentenced to death for the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald after the assassination of President John Kennedy. But Mr. Gertz said he "never got paid" for his defense of Ruby, who died of natural causes while in jail in 1967 before his retrial.
Mr. Gertz also is known for fighting cases involving obscenity, including helping Henry Miller with "Tropic of Cancer."
In 1983, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a lower-court award to Mr. Gertz, made after American Opinion magazine, an organ of the John Birch Society, called Mr. Gertz "a communist fronter" involved in a conspiracy to undermine police.
"This was at a time when I was public relations director for the Illinois Police Association," scoffed Mr. Gertz, who sued for libel, asked for $1 million and got $500,000.
Mr. Gertz, a Democrat, was quoted as saying, "I ran for office only once -- for the Illinois Constitutional Convention (of 1970). I was chairman of the Bill of Rights Committee. We all worked together in those days -- Democrats and Republicans."
Mr. Gertz, also was a founding member of the Auditorium Theatre Council.
"He's been a great spirit here since 1960," said Auditorium Theatre Council Executive Director Jan Kallish. "He believed in the importance of the Auditorium Theatre both architecturally and culturally. He was a great friend and we're going to miss him terribly."
Gertz was the author of more than 20 books, including his autobiography, "To Life;" "Moment of Madness" on the Ruby case; and "For the First Hours of Tomorrow" on the Illinois Bill of Rights.
In a review of "To Life," which was published in 1974, Willard J. Lassers wrote:
"After finishing the book, I realized that it is not the cases or the events that are of ultimate significance, but the life itself."
Mr. Gertz's second wife, Mamie, a retired teacher and community activist, died in 1998. His first wife, Ceretta, died in 1958.

Edited by Robert Howard
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