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The Trial
In January, 1935, in Flemington, NJ, Bruno Richard Hauptmann went on trial for kidnapping and murdering the 20 month-old, first-born son of American hero Charles Lindbergh. Hauptmann was found guilty and sentenced to the death penalty. Because of the influence of the media, the uncertainty of the evidence in the case, Hauptmann’s persistent claim of innocence, and the celebrity status of Lindbergh, this case continues to be one of the most controversial and debated court cases in our country’s history.

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What is your opinion about the jury’s decision that Bruno Richard Hauptmann was guilty of murdering the baby of Charles Lindbergh? After reading The Trial, and supporting texts from the Hunterdon County Democrat (nj.com), write an essay that addresses the question and support your position with evidence from the text(s). Be sure to acknowledge competing views. Give examples from past or current events or issues to illustrate and clarify your position.



Lizzie Borden Was Accused of Axe Murders of Her Father and His Wife

The Case of Lizzie Borden Was a Sensation And Became an Enduring Legend
By Robert McNamara, About.com Guide

izzie borden at her trial

One of the great media sensations of the late 1800s was the arrest and trial of Lizzie Borden, a woman in Fall River, Massachusetts accused of the gruesome axe murder of her father and stepmother.

Major newspapers followed every development in the case, and the public was fascinated.

Borden’s 1893 trial, which featured considerable legal talent, expert witnesses, and forensic testimony, in some ways resembled a trial a cable television audience today would find riveting. When she was acquitted of the murders, decades of speculation began.

To this day the case is debated, and a great many people believe that Lizzie Borden got away with murder.

And in an odd twist, Lizzie Borden and the gruesome crime were kept in the public mind thanks to a rhyme that generations of American children learned on the playground.

The rhyme went as follows: "Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother 40 whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41."
Life of Lizzie Borden

Lizzie Borden was born in 1860 to a prosperous family in Fall River, Massachusetts, the second daughter of a businessman and investor. When Lizzie was two years old her mother died, and her father, Andrew Borden, remarried.

By most accounts, Lizzie and her older sister Emma despised their father’s new wife, Abby. As the girls grew older there were many conflicts in the household, some of them rooted in the fact that Lizzie’s father, while fairly well off, was a notorious miser.

After attending public high schools, Lizzie lived at home and was involved in a number of pursuits typical for an unmarried woman who did not have to work. She was active in church groups and charitable organizations.

Despite the tensions in the Borden household which often focused on how Lizzie’s father dispensed money, Lizzie seemed sociable and quite ordinary to people in the community.
The Murder of Lizzie Borden’s Father and Stepmother

On August 4, 1892, Andrew Borden, Lizzie’s father, left the house in the morning and attended to some business. He returned home about 10:45 a.m.

Shortly after, Lizzie Borden called out to the family’s maid, “Come quick, father’s dead!”

Andrew Borden was on a couch in a parlor, the victim of a brutal attack. He had been struck numerous times, apparently with an axe or hatchet. The blows were strong enough to shatter bones and teeth, and it was obvious that he had been struck repeatedly after he was dead.

A neighbor, searching the house, discovered Borden’s wife upstairs. She had also been brutally murdered.

The Arrest of Lizzie Borden

The original suspect in the murder case was a Portugese workman with whom Andrew Borden had a business dispute. But he was cleared and attention became focused on Lizzie. She was arrested a week after the murders.

A police investigation found the head of a hatchet in the basement of the Borden house, and that was assumed to be the murder weapon. But there was also a lack of other physical evidence, such as bloodstained clothing the perpetrator of such a bloody crime must have worn.

Lizzie Borden was indicted for the two murders in December 1892, and her trial began the following June.

The Trial of Lizzie Borden

Lizzie Borden’s murder trial probably would not be terribly out of place in today’s atmosphere of tabloid headlines and cable news marathons. The trial was held in New Bedford, Massachusetts, but was covered extensively by the major newspapers in New York City.

The trial was noteworthy for the legal talent involved. One of the prosecutors, Frank Moody, later became the Attorney General of the United States and also served as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. And Borden’s defense attorney, George Robinson, was the former governor of Massachusetts.

A Harvard professor appeared as an expert witness, an early instances of an expert witness being used in a major trial.

Borden’s lawyer succeeded in getting damaging evidence, such as the fact that she had tried to purchase poison in the weeks leading up to the murder, excluded as inadmissible. And Borden’s defense focused on the lack of physical evidence tying her to the murders.

Lizzie Borden was acquitted of murder on June 20, 1893, after the jury deliberated for less than two hours.

Later Life of Lizzie Borden

Following her trial, Borden and her sister moved into another house, where they lived for many years. Though the respectable citizens of Fall River tended to shun Lizzie and her sister, traveling actors and musicians frequented their house, leading to various rumors about the lifestyle of the sisters.

Lizzie Borden eventually died on June 1, 1927.
Legacy of the Lizzie Borden Axe Murder Case

Articles and books about the Lizzie Borden case have appeared since the early 1890s, and any number of theories have been advanced about the murders. Lizzie's father had a son, and some believe he may have been the real culprit. And as Andrew Borden was known to be a miserly and unpopular character, it's very likely he had other enemies.

The Lizzie Borden case was a landmark in the sense that it provided a template for later tabloid stories: the case involved a very bloody crime, an unlikely defendant, rumors of family strife, and a verdict that left the question of who committed the murders unanswered.

McNamara, Robert. "Lizzie Borden Was Accused of Axe Murders of Her Father and His Wife." About.com. history1800s.about.com. Web. 3/Jan/2013. .DOUBLE SIDED NOTES

Article Title: __________________________________________________________________

This is what I read…

This is what it makes me think…



Casey Anthony Trial Shows the Limits of Forensic Science in Proving How a Child Died

by Aarti Shahani
ProPublica, July 5, 2011, 7:14 p.m.


Casey Anthony reacts to being found not guilty on murder charges at the Orange County Courthouse on July 5, 2011, in Orlando, Fla. (Photo by Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images)

Earlier today, an Orlando, Fla., jury found Casey Anthony not guilty of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, bringing to a stunning end a trial that had fixated the nation for weeks.

The case turned on similar questions of forensic expertise and evidence as those featured in The Child Cases, a joint reporting effort by ProPublica, PBS "Frontline" and NPR.

Pushing for Justice, Sometimes One Case at a Time

Series Partners

In collaboration with the Investigative Reporting Program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

In stories published last week, we found that child deaths pose special technical challenges for forensic pathologists; in cases involving children, prosecutors and police often rely heavily on autopsy findings.

Our reporting showed that these cases have been repeatedly mishandled by medical examiners and coroners, sometimes resulting in innocent people being wrongly accused. In the Anthony case, it's unknown if flawed forensic evidence led to a false accusation or made it impossible to convict a guilty person of a horrible crime.

The verdict shocked a bevy of TV legal analysts as well as the millions of viewers who had slavishly followed the case's lurid twists and turns.

Caylee Anthony disappeared on June 16, 2008. Her decomposed body was discovered six months later—her face wrapped in duct tape and her body covered in plastic and laundry bags—in a wooded area near the Anthony home.

Chief medical examiner Dr. Jan Garavaglia, who appears on the Discovery Health Channel show Dr. G: Medical Examiner, concluded in her autopsy report that the cause of death was "homicide by undetermined means."

Based on Garavaglia's report and other evidence, prosecutors charged that Casey Anthony, 25, drugged her daughter with chloroform, and then put duct tape over her mouth and nose to suffocate her to death. Based on a rancid smell and a single strand of decomposing hair, the state alleged that Anthony hid the child's body in the trunk of her 1978 Pontiac Sunfire before disposing of it.

The defense argued that Caylee accidentally drowned in the family pool and that Casey Anthony and her father, George, covered it up. (George Anthony denied participating in a cover-up.)

Defense experts challenged each element of the prosecution's forensic evidence. Two experts disputed the state's claim that the levels of chloroform in Anthony's car were exceptionally high. One of them, FBI forensic chemist Michael Rickenbach, testified that the child's car seat, a steering wheel cover and doll all tested negative for the presence of chloroform.

Forensic pathologist Dr. Werner Spitz testified that he believed the duct tape was placed on Caylee's body after her flesh decomposed, perhaps to hold the jawbone while moving it. He also criticized Garavaglia for a "shoddy" autopsy because she failed to cut open the child's skull and look inside.

An FBI forensic expert testified for prosecutors that the hair found in the car trunk showed signs of decomposition consistent with coming from a dead body, but admitted on cross-examination that her conclusions were based on a still-evolving area of forensic science.

State Attorney Lawson Lamar acknowledged after the verdict was announced that doubts about the forensic evidence may have added up to reasonable doubt for jurors. "This was a dry bones case, very, very difficult to prove," he told Reuters "The delay in recovering little Caylee's remains worked to our considerable disadvantage."

Though the jury found Casey Anthony innocent of murder and child neglect, she was found guilty of providing false information to police. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday.

Shahani, Aarti. "Casey Anthony Trial Shows the Limits of Forensic Science in Proving How a Child Died." ProPublica. 5 2011: n. page. Print. .


Article Title: __________________________________________________________________

This is what I read…

This is what it makes me think…


How are these court case similar to/different than the Lindbergh kidnapping/murder case?

In what ways did the media and propaganda influence these trials?
What conclusions can you reach about “justice” based on the court cases you researched?
How will you incorporate what you learned about these cases in your argumentative piece about the Lindbergh baby kidnapping/murder trial?IN-TEXT CITATIONS (MLA)

How to cite information from the online articles included in this writer’s notebook extension:
Include examples here if different from examples in Writer’s Notebook; otherwise delete this page.WORKS CITED

Bryant, Jen. The Trial. New York City: Random House, 2004. Print.

“The Crime of the Century.” Lindbergh Trial. Hunterdon County Democrat,

2012. Web. 31 Dec. 2012.

“The Evidence Against Hauptmann.” Lindbergh Trial. Hunterdon County

Democrat, 2012. Web. 31 Dec. 2012.

“The Trial of the Century.” Lindbergh Trial. Hunterdon County Democrat,

2012. Web. 31 Dec. 2012.

“Trial Timeline.” Lindbergh Trial. Hunterdon County Democrat, 2012. Web. 31 Dec. 2012.
"History of the Lizzie Borden Case and Trial." The Lizzie Borden Collection. N.p.. Web. .
Shahani, Aarti. "Casey Anthony Trial Shows the Limits of Forensic Science in Proving How a Child Died." ProPublica. 5 2011: n. page. Print. .

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