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The Leopold & Loeb Trial

"No client of mine had ever been put to death, and I felt that it would almost, if not quite, kill me if it should ever happen."

– Clarence Darrow, discussing the Leopold and Loeb case in his autobiography, The Story of My Life (1932).

"I have a hanging case."

– Prosecutor Robert E. Crowe after securing the confessions of Leopold and Loeb.

"The act which created a stir far beyond this country is so frightful, psychologically so incomprehensible, so singular in its unfoldment that, if a Poe or a writer of detective stories wished to unnerve his readers, no better tale could be invented, no knot harder to unravel; no events could follow each other more effectively than life, or rather disease, has here woven them together."

– Maurice Urstein, Leopold and Loeb: A Psychiatric—Psychological Study 1 (1924).

More Info - Leopold and Loeb Case Photos - Leopold and Loeb Case Searchable Database of Darrow Cases
Witness List (1924).

Trial Transcript 1: July 23 & 25 1924.

Begins with witness lists. Includes Leopold and Loeb reaffirming their guilty pleas. Used with permission from HeinOnline.

Trial Transcript 2: July 26 - July 30, 1924.

Used with permission from HeinOnline.

Trial Transcript 3: July 31 - August 5, 1924.

Used with permission from HeinOnline.

Trial Transcript 4: August 6 - August 11, 1924.

Used with permission from HeinOnline.

Trial Transcript 5: August 12 - August 14, 1924.

Used with permission from HeinOnline.

Trial Transcript 6: August 15 and September 9, 1924.

Note: Pages 3937 to 4115 are missing because after the hearing Clarence Darrow borrowed the part of transcripts that contained his closing argument from the court clerk but he never returned these pages. No library or archive appears to have these missing pages. Used with permission from HeinOnline.

Clarence Darrow's Plea for Mercy and Prosecutor Crowe's Demand for the Death Penalty.

The plea for mercy by Clarence Darrow followed by Prosecutor Robert Crowe's demand for the death penalty. Also contains Judge Caverly's decision and pronouncement of sentence on September 10, 1924 and a short description of the facts of the case.

Sentencing Document.

The Loeb-Leopold Case by Alvin V. Sellers (1926).

"with excerpts from the evidence of the alienists and including the arguments to the court by counsel for the people and the defense." Includes closing arguments from Thomas Marshall, Joseph P. Savage, Walter Bachrach, Clarence Darrow, Benjamin C. Bachrach and Robert E. Crowe.

Leopold v. Levin, 45 Ill.2d 434, 259 N.E.2d 250 (Ill. 1970).

Nathan F. Leopold, Jr. brought an action for violation of the right of privacy against the author, publishers and several local distributors of a novel and a play, entitled "Compulsion," and the producer, distributor and Chicago area exhibitors of a related motion picture of the same name. The novel was written by the defendant Meyer Levin, who had been a fellow student of Leopold and Loeb at the University of Chicago. Levin also served as a reporter for a Chicago newspaper at the time of the crime. It was first published in hardcover in October 1956. Leopold won in the trial court which granted his motion for a summary judgment on the question of liability and reserved the issue of damages. On appeal the case was remanded back to the trial court where a succeeding judge vacated the summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff and granted the defendants' motion summary judgment and judgment on the pleadings. Leopold appealed this ruling to the Supreme Court of Illinois which ruled against him stating that "the core of the novel and film and their dominating subjects were a part of the plaintiff's life which he had caused to be placed in public view. The novel and film were derived from the notorious crime, a matter of public record and interest, in which the plaintiff had been a central figure." Furthermore, "The plaintiff became and remained a public figure because of his criminal conduct in 1924. No right of privacy attached to matters associated with his participation in that completely publicized crime."

Chapter 38, Sec. 732. Plea of guilty explained (1923).

Section 732 of the Illinois Criminal Code required the judge to examine witnesses in regard to aggravating and mitigating circumstances. The judge interpreted the statute to allow in the defense alienists' psychiatric testimony.

Grand Jury Material.

From the files of the Criminal Court of Cook County.

To Abolish Partisanship of Expert Witnesses, as Illustrated in the Loeb - Leopold Case, by John H. Wigmore (1925).

Professor Wigmore strongly criticizes the use of expert witnesses in the Leopold and Loeb trial and in trials in general. He was particularly disturbed by the defense's use of the nicknames "Dickie" and "Babe" in referring to the defendants because it was calculated to influence the judge. To Wigmore this reflected very badly on the medical experts and "The whole evil of expert partisanship is exemplified in this action of these eminent gentlemen." He believed that experts called by each party are obviously biased in favor of that party. The solution is to have the court call the experts to testify. Wigmore was the dean of Northwestern Law School from 1901 to 1929 and the author of the very influential "Wigmore on Evidence" treatise. Reprinted by special permission of Northwestern University School of Law, The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (volume 15, pp. pp. 341-43 (1924)).

The Loeb-Leopold Murder Of Franks In Chicago, May 21, 1924.

Article detailing murder of Bobby Franks and subsequent investigation. Reprinted by special permission of Northwestern University School of Law, The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (volume 15, pp. pp. 347-405 (1924)).

Reassessing the Individualization Mandate in Capital Sentencing: Darrow's Defense of Leopold and Loeb by Scott W. Howe, 79 IOWA L. REV. 989 (1994).

Detailed examination of Clarence Darrow's efforts to prevent Leopold and Loeb from being executed and the continuing relevance of the individualization mandate in capital punishment decisions. Reprinted with permission from the Iowa Law Review.

Resolved: That Capital Punishment is a Wise Public Policy (1924).

Debate with Clarence Darrow - Negative and Judge Alfred J. Talley - Affirmative. Judge Talley was on the New York Court of General Sessions. Foreword by Warden Lewis E. Lawes of Sing Sing Prison. The debate came about because Judge Talley sharply criticized Darrow for making excuses for crime.

The Kirtland's Warbler in its Summer Home by Nathan Leopold, Jr. (1924).

Nathan Leopold's article about a rare bird published in January 1924 in The Auk, the prestigious quarterly journal of the American Ornithologists' Union. Leopold's article is often cited in bibliographies about the Kirtland''s Warbler which is a federal endangered species.

The Century Magazine

This exchange in the March 1925 edition of The Century Magazine highlights differing views on individual criminal culpability. Bridges presents an argument for moral responsibility; Darrow replies with his own view that individuals are subject to structural and environmental influences. Darrow concludes: "Those of us who believe that all conduct is the result of law, and that all men are controlled by their heredity and environment, are as anxious as the rest that crime should disappear. We, however, believe that it can be diminished, if not finally obliterated, only by finding the causes and intelligently treating these causes rather than rending and destroying in anger and hate." (Page 625).

Glands as Cause of Many Crimes (1921).

New York Times article about endocrinology and crime. Clarence Darrow was a strong believer that endocrinology also referred to as the study of glandular activity could explain the causes of crime. Endocrine tests done on Leopold and Loeb were introduced into the sentencing hearing.

I Ragionamenti by Pietro Aretino.

Pietro Aretino (April 20, 1492 - October 21, 1556) was an Italian author, playwright, poet and satirist. Leopold and a friend began work on translating this book but never finished it.

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (translated by Edward Fitzgerald).

Clarence Darrow quoted from Omar Khayyam twice during his plea for mercy on behalf of Leopold and Loeb. "The beauty of the Rubaiyat is Edward Fitzgerald's. . . . under the magic touch of Fitzgerald, it is not only one of the wisest and most profound pieces of literature in the world, but one of the most beautiful productions that the world has ever known. . . . Neither Omar nor Fitzgerald believed in human responsibility." Clarence Darrow, Facing Life Fearlessly.

The Ductless Glands by D. J. Cunningham.

Chapter from Text Book of Anatomy.

The Endocrine Organs: An Introduction to the Study of Internal Secretion by Sir Edward A. Schäfer

Schäfer was one of the first modern leaders in experimental endocrinology. He was the first to discover the use the adrenal glands to change the blood pressure in an animal with a damaged endocrine system. In 1916, he became the first to propose the existence of a pancreas hormone to regulate body glucose, which he named insuline, from the Latin word for island, since he believed it originated in the islet (island) of Langerhans cells. Other scientists isolated this hormone and shortened the name to insulin. He was also an outspoken supporter of medical education for women. Schäfer had named one of his two sons Sharpey after his anatomy teacher, William Sharpey, at University College whom he greatly admired. Tragically, both of his sons were killed in World War I and Schäfer changed his own name to the hyphenated Sharpey-Schäfer.

A Shopshire Lad by A.E. Housman

A collection of poems written by the British poet, A. E. Housman and first published in 1896. Darrow quoted A Shopshire Lad in his plea to save Leopold and Loeb before Judge Caverly.

Foundations of Psychiatry by William Alanson White (1921).

An attempt to formulate a "Philosophy of Psychiatry" written about three years before the Leopold and Loeb case. White was one of the main alienists for the defense.

Mechanisms of Character Formation: An Introduction to Psychoanalysis by William Alanson White

William Alanson White was one of the main alienists for the defense.

The Glands Regulating Personality: A Study of the Glands of Internal Secretion in Relation to the Types of Human Nature by Louis Berman (1921).

Berman was a prominent visionary of early endocrinology and a renowned physician and researcher at Columbia University.

Book review of Crime: Its Cause and Treatment by Clarence S. Darrow (1922).

A critical review of Clarence Darrow's book. The reviewer refers to Darrow's theory about the causes of crime as the "mechanistic theory" and states "[t]he mechanistic theory is a dreary gospel."

Crime: Its Cause and Treatment by Clarence Darrow.

Clarence Darrow's book setting forth his beliefs about crime and punishment. It was written about two years before the Leopold and Loeb case. Darrow was a proponent of the new field of endocrinology which focused on the function of the glandular system as an important factor in human behavior - including crime. Darrow refers to this new science in his book.

Criminology and Penology by John Lewis Gillin.

Excerpt from 1926 book which briefly discusses Dean John Wigmore's criticism of the defense in the Leopold and Loeb case. Wigmore related the story of two eighteen year old girls who were arrested in Chicago for helping to murder an elderly lady. They were arrested after the defense's argument in the Leopold and Loeb case was published. The girls said to the police, "A cop told me they would hang Tony, but they can't; there had never been a minor hanging in Cook County. Loeb and Leopold probably won't hang; they are our age. Why should we?"

Mental Disorder and the Criminal Law: A Study in Medico-Sociological Jurisprudence by S. Sheldon Glueck (1927).

S. Sheldon Glueck is the brother of Bernard Glueck, one of the defense alienists in the Leopold and Loeb case. He was a pioneer in criminology and a Harvard Law School professor for over 40 years. In this excerpt from his book, Sheldon Glueck is critical of Clarence Darrow's deterministic views about crime as expressed in Darrow's book Crime: Its Cause and Treatment. He says of Darrow "With commendable consistency, but absurd results, he there concludes that 'the criminal' is morally blameless." At one point professor Glueck asks, "What does Mr. Darrow propose to do with all these criminals?"

William Otterbein Krohn (1913).

Short bio of Dr. Krohn, an alienist for the defense. Dr. Krohn was a target of Darrow's wrath during his closing argument.

John R. Caverly (1908).

Short bio of John Caverly in 1908 when he was a city attorney for Chicago.

John Richard Caverly (1920).

Short bio of John Richard Caverly who would later sentence Leopold and Loeb.

Robert E. Crowe (1920).

Short bio of Robert Crowe from The Bench and Bar of Illinois.


Clarence S. Darrow.
Clarence Darrow from cover of pamphlet containing his final plea for mercy and the prosecutor's arguments for the death penalty.

Julius Rosenwald of Chicago, President of Sears, Roebuck and Company.
Armand Deutsch, the eleven-year old grandson of Julius Rosenwald, was considered by Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb as the most promising potential victim on a list they drew up of young boys who they could kidnap and murder. Deutsch later claimed he escaped death because he had been picked up earlier in the day by the family chauffeur to go to a dental appointment. Other sources state that Loeb was reluctant to kidnap and murder Deutsch because his father Albert Loeb was vice-president of Sears, Roebuck. Deutsch would later work as a motion picture producer with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Warner Brothers and would be friends with numerous celebrities including Frank Sinatra, Jack Benny, Walter Annenberg and Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-111719.

Robert E. Crowe.
Prosecutor Robert Crowe was astounded that the defense tried to portray eighteen and nineteen year-old murders as children in need of sympathy: "Treat them with kindness and consideration? Call them babes, call them children? Why, from the evidence in this case they are as much entitled to the sympathy and mercy of this court as a couple of rattle snakes, flushed with venom, coiled and ready to strike. They are entitled to as much mercy at the hands of your honor as two mad dogs are entitled to, from the evidence in this case." Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-DIG-ggbain-38189.

Illinois State Penitentiary, Joliet [between 1890 and 1901].
In 1924 Joliet prison was about seventy years old and in a state of disrepair. In May 1925 Leopold was transferred to Stateville Prison, a modern penitentiary about five miles from Joliet prison. Loeb remained at Joliet until he was transferred to Stateville in March 1931. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-D4-5932.

Courthouse Place, also known as the Cook County Criminal Court Building.
The sentencing hearing for Leopold and Loeb was held in his building. Creator: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Historic American Buildings Survey. Source: U.S. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, "Built in America" Collection, reproduction number HABS ILL,16-CHIG,38-1.

Dr. William Allison White, Senator Stanley of Kentucky and Clarence Darrow.
Dr. William Alanson White was one of the defense alienists. White was the Superintendent of St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington D.C. which was the largest mental institution in the country. He was also the president of the American Psychiatric Association. White wrote in his autobiography of the defense alienists' naive attempt to bring the families of the victim and his murders together: "We finally tried to get the three families, each of which had in reality lost a son, to come together in friendly conference and try to reach some constructive conclusion for what otherwise seemed to be a total loss in any direction we could look. The suggestion was made that they found an institution for the special study and understanding of problem children and that over the entrance to this institution the profiles of these three boys be carved." William Alanson White, The Autobiography of a Purpose 186-87 (1938).
Augustus Owsley Stanley served as a Representative and a Senator from Kentucky from May 19, 1919 until March 3, 1925. Photo taken at the Cosmos Club, Washington, D.C. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-DIG-npcc-26880.

Dean John H. Wigmore.
John Wigmore, dean of Northwestern University School of Law, severely criticized the use of psychiatric experts hired by the defense in the Leopold and Loeb case as well as the experts' findings. Dean Wigmore believed that the use of partisan experts in trials was wrong and only the court should appoint experts. Photograph of Dean Wigmore from Northwestern University School of Law--A Short History by James A. Rahl and Kurt Schwerin, from Northwestern University Law Review, Vol. 55, No. 2. Reprinted by special permission of Northwestern University School of Law, Northwestern University Law Review.

Carl Sandburg.
A famous Chicago poet, Sandburg appeared before Leopold's parole board and urged the board to release him on parole. Sandburg was also friends with Clarence Darrow.

Arthur Goldberg.
Arthur Joseph Goldberg (1908 - 1990) served as a United States Supreme Court Justice from October 1, 1962 to July 25, 1965. He also served as U.S. Secretary of Labor and Ambassador to the United Nations.
A tribute to him relates: "In 1926, the eighteen-year-old Goldberg, deeply affected by Clarence Darrow's defense of Loeb and Leopold, entered Northwestern Law School. John Henry Wigmore, Northwestern's dean, picked him out to help on the preparation of the Third Edition of Wigmore's Cases on the Law of Evidence. Proceedings in the Supreme Court of the United States in Memory of Justice Goldberg, Monday, October 15, 1990, volume 498 United States Reports xvii
Photo from: Wikipedia

Hotel La Salle, Chicago.
After the State Attorney Robert Crowe and his investigators had traced the eyeglasses found near Bobby Franks' body back to Nathan Leopold the police brought Leopold in for questioning. No one yet suspected Leopold was involved in the murder so Crowe had Leopold brought to the Hotel La Salle, a luxury hotel in downtown Chicago. Crowe knew rumors would start if any person was seen by reporters going into be questioned by the authorities at the Criminal Court building.

Advertisement for Crime: Its Cause and Treatment by Clarence Darrow.
Just two years before Bobby Franks was murdered, Clarence Darrow had published a 292 page book called Crime: Its Cause and Treatment. In this book, Darrow discussed, more in laymen's terms and without citations to any scholarly or scientific works, new discoveries in different scientific fields that he was convinced explained human behavior. The Leopold and Loeb case gave Darrow the chance to bring his views about crime into the courtroom.

Debate on Capital Punishment.
Cover from pamphlet containing debate between Judge Talley of the New York Court of General Sessions and Clarence Darrow on the topic: "Resolved: That Capital Punishment is a Wise Public Policy" at the Manhattan Opera House in New York on October 26, 1924.

Judge Alfred J. Talley.
After the sentencing hearing Clarence Darrow had expressed the hope that the Leopold and Loeb case would prompt further research into the psychology of crime and maybe lead to the creation of neuropathic hospitals to treat criminals. Judge Talley on the New York Court of General Sessions responded "It is not the criminals, actual or potential, that need a neuropathic hospital, It is the people who slobber over them in an effort to find excuses for their crimes ... There are lots of sick people who concern themselves with crime, but the criminals are not numbered among them." ATTACKS DARROW'S VIEW OF CRIMINALS, New York Times Sep 23, 1924. p. 25. This led to a debate between Darrow and Judge Talley on the topic "Resolved: That Capital Punishment is a Wise Public Policy" at Manhattan Opera House in New York on October 26, 1924.

Advertisement for sale of Clarence Darrow's Plea for Mercy.
Several of Clarence Darrow's closing arguments were published in pamphlet form for sale to the public.

John R. Caverly.
Early picture of Judge John R. Caverly, who would later preside over the sentencing hearing for Leopold and Loeb.

Law School building, University of Chicago.
On May 21, 1924, Nathan Leopold attended law school classes at the University of Chicago before leaving the law school about 11:00 a.m. with Richard Loeb to put their kidnap and murder plan into action. Photo taken between 1900 and 1915. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-D4-39424.

Kirtland's Warbler (Dendroica kirtlandii).
Nathan Leopold was an accomplished ornithologist. He was one of the foremost experts on a rare bird called the Kirtland's Warbler. He gave a presentation about the bird which was turned into an article entitled "The Kirtland's Warbler in its Summer Home" that was published in January 1924 in The Auk the prestigious quarterly journal of the American Ornithologists' Union. The Kirtland's Warbler is a federal endangered species. Photo by USFWS: Joel Trick

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844 - 1900).
Nathan Leopold was influenced by Nietzsche's philosophy including the idea of a "Superman" who is above the rules of society that ordinary people need to follow. A letter that Leopold wrote to Richard Loeb on October 10, 1923 was introduced into the hearing record. Leopold wrote in the letter "A superman . . . is, on account of certain superior qualities inherent in him, exempted from the ordinary laws which govern men. He is not liable for anything he may do."

Ransom Note from "George Johnson".
On Thursday May 22, around 8:00 a.m. the Franks family received a special delivery letter from "George Johnson" with ransom instructions. The Franks family was actually relieved because they believed this was proof that Bobby was still alive. But Bobby Franks had been murdered the evening before.

Clarence Darrow, Benjamin Bachrach, Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold Jr. and Prosecutor Robert Crowe standing in front of Judge Caverly.
DN-0077051, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago Historical Society.

Bobby Franks.
14-year old kidnapping and murder victim. Courtesy of the Chicago History Museum. DN-0077041, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago Historical Society.

State's Attorney Robert E. Crowe, Richard Loeb, and Nathan Leopold, Jr.
Full-length group portrait of State's Attorney Robert E. Crowe, Richard Loeb, and Nathan Leopold, Jr., sitting in a room in Chicago, Illinois, surrounded by a group of men who are sitting and standing. Text on image reads:" Confessing to State's Atty. Crowe. Nathan Leopold, Jr. and Richard Loeb were both sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Bobby Franks." DN-0077998, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago Historical Society. Courtesy of the Chicago History Museum.

Defense Attorney Benjamin Bachrach, Nathan Leopold, Jr., Richard Loeb, and Clarence Darrow during the Leopold and Loeb Sentencing Hearing.
DN-0078021, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago Historical Society.

I Ragionamenti by Pietro Aretino.
Cover from I Ragionamenti by Pietro Aretino (1492 - 1556) an Italian Renaissance author, playwright, poet and satirist. Aretino is sometimes credited with being the first creator of literary pornography. Nathan Leopold studied Aretino's work and for a time worked with another student to publish a translation of this work but it was never completed. Leopold's interest in I Ragionamenti was mentioned during the sentencing hearing.

A Checklist of Birds of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands by N.F. Leopold.
Cover from a book Nathan Leopold wrote after he was released from prison and living in Puerto Rico.

Harry K. Thaw.
Henry Thaw (1871 - 1947) was a mentally disturbed but very wealthy heir to a multi-million dollar mine and railroad fortune. In one of the most notorious murders of its time, Thaw shot and killed Standford White, a famous architect, in a jealous rage on June 25, 1906. Amongst his many accomplishments, White had designed the original Madison Square Garden. Shaw killed White while White was eating dinner at a restaurant in Madison Square Garden. In what was called the "trial of the century" Thaw was found not guilty by reason of insanity. A prior trial ended in a hung jury. He was sent to a mental institution but after a few years was released. Many viewed the Thaw case as a travesty because Thaw had basically gotten away with murder. Newspapers compared the Thaw case with the upcoming Leopold and Loeb trial. Darrow and the defense had to counter suggestions that the two cases were similar. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-DIG-ggbain-13269.

Daniel Webster.
Daniel Webster (1782 - 1852) was prominent American statesman and lawyer during the Antebellum Period. Clarence Darrow criticized Webster in his autobiography when he was discussing the Leopold and Loeb case: "Loeb is a good-natured, friendly boy. I realize that most people will not be able to understand this, and perhaps will not believe it. Some may remember Daniel Webster's address to a jury in a murder case. He pictured the accused: his low brow, his murderous eye, his every feature loudly proclaimed him a fiend incarnate. One would suppose from Daniel Webster's foolish argument that the defendant would be recognized as a murderer wherever he went. A part of this tirade was published in the old school-reader, and we used to "speak" it on the last day of the term. We youngsters wondered why the Lord needed to put a mark on Cain's brow, for after reading Daniel Webster's recipe we could go out on the street and pick out killers everywhere, for all seemed to be marked. But Daniel Webster was not a psychologist; he was a politician and an orator, and that was enough for one man."
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-15233.

Illinois State Penitentiary, Joliet [between 1880 and 1901].
Judge Caverly sentenced each defendant for the murder of Bobby Franks to "be confined in the penitentiary at Joliet for the term of your natural life," and for the kidnapping he sentenced each defendant to "be confined in the penitentiary at Joliet for the term of ninety-nine years." Just a few hours after they were sentenced, Leopold and Loeb were driven under heavy police security to Joliet prison located about forty miles from Chicago. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-DIG-det-4a05200.

Life Plus 99 Years by Nathan F. Leopold Jr.
Title page from Leopold's self-serving autobiography. It was written to help Leopold win parole although he was paroled before it was published.

A. E. Housman c. 1896.
Alfred Edward Housman (1859 - 1936), more commonly referred to as A. E. Housman, was an English poet and classical scholar. His best known work is his collection of poems in A Shropshire Lad first published in 1896. Clarence Darrow liked Housman's work and quoted from A Shopshire Lad during his plea before Judge Caverly to save Leopold and Loeb. Housman later joked that Leopold and Loeb "owe their life sentence partly to me." Darrow gave a published copy of his plea to Housman who was somewhat irritated that Darrow had misquoted two of his poems but was glad the great lawyer had used his work. Brand Whitlock had given Darrow a copy of this work by Housman. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-41250.

Robert E. Crowe, State's Attorney of Cook County.
Prosecutor Crowe was clearly shocked by Clarence Darrow's philosophy about crime and society:
"I want to tell you the real defense in this case, your honor. It is Clarence Darrow's dangerous philosophy of life. He said to your Honor that he was not pleading alone for these two young men. He said he was looking to the future; that he was thinking of the ten thousand young boys who in the future would fill the chairs his clients filled, and he wants to soften the law. He wants them treated not with the severity that the law of this state prescribes, but he wants them treated with kindness and consideration.
I want to tell your Honor that it would be much better if God had not caused this crime to be disclosed; it would be much better if it had gone unsolved, and these men went unwhipped of justice; it would not have done near the harm to this community that will be done if your Honor, as Chief Justice of this great court, puts your official seal of approval upon the doctrines of anarchy preached by Clarence Darrow as a defense in this case.
Society can endure, the law can endure, if criminals escape but if a court such as this courts should say that he believes in the doctrines of Clarence Darrow, that you ought not to hang when the law says you should, a greater blow has been struck to our institutions than by a hundred, aye, a thousand murders."
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-137475.

Thomas Marshall.
Thomas Marshall was an assistant state attorney for Illinois. Marshall began the state's closing arguments before Judge Caverly. Marshall told the court that "There is in this case but one question before the court, and one question only. That is, what punishment is proportionate to the turpitude of the offense, or in other words, what punishment under the law fits the crime committed." Marshall believed this crime warranted the death penalty:
"If this is not a murder of the extreme type on the facts, then, of course, a lesser penalty than death can be invoked; but when months of planning, careful execution of every detail, a money motive, a kidnapping for ransom, the cruel blows of a sharp steel chisel, the gagging, the death, and the hiding of the body all appear, as they do here, the malice and deliberation take the crime out of the scale of lesser penalties and prescribe death."

Berthold A. Cronson.
Berthold Albert Cronson was an assistant to Robert Crowe the State Attorney for Illinois. Several accounts of the investigation state that Crowe assigned Cronson, a nephew of Samuel Ettelson, to help investigate the murder of Bobby Franks. Cronson investigated the typewritten ransom note that was part of the key evidence against Leopold and Loeb. He also gained key information from the Leopold family's chauffeur Sven Englund that broke the alibi Leopold and Loeb had been using to explain their whereabouts on the day of the murder. However later researchers could find no evidence that Cronson played such a key role in the investigation. In 1925 Clarence Darrow formed a law partnership with Cronson and two of the other lawyers who had been on the prosecution team during the Leopold and Loeb case. The firm was titled Darrow, Smith, Cronson & Smith. The firm had its offices in the Chicago Temple Building.

Arguments of State's Attorney Robert B. Crowe (cover).
Arguments of State's Attorney Robert B. Crowe (cover).

Self-published account of Prosecutor Robert B. Crowe's arguments at trial.
Self-published account of Prosecutor Robert B. Crowe's arguments at trial.