Sunday, August 23, 2009

sacco and vanzetti put to death in the electric chair 82 years ago today

on august 23, 1927, 82 years ago today, nicola sacco and bartolomeo vanzetti were put to death, via the electric chair, for a 1920 armed robbery and double murder in braintree, massachusetts. sacco and vanzetti were members of a militant italian-american anarchist group, the galleanists which was suspected of numerous bombings. some believed the infamous september 1920 wall street bombing that resulted in 38 deaths and 400 injured was a direct reprisal for the arrest and indictment of sacco and vanzetti.

to this day, the trial and conviction of sacco and vanzetti continues to spark controversy on both sides of the issue. many continue to believe that they were denied, at the very least, a fair trial and were, more ominously, the victims of a biased judge intent on their convictions at any cost. on august 23, 1977, 50 years after their execution, the then-governor of massachusetts, michael dukakis, issued the following proclamation:

"Any stigma and disgrace should be forever removed from the names of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. We are not here to say whether these men are guilty or innocent. We are here to say that the high standards of justice, which we in Massachusetts take such pride in, failed Sacco and Vanzetti."

i'm convinced that sacco did commit the murders. as his accomplice, vanzetti, then is guilty of felony murder. my admittedly completely subjective view was bolstered in 2005, with the release of upton sinclair's 1929 correspondence. in a letter to his own attorney, sinclair admitted that learned "both of them were guilty" from sacco and vanzetti's lawyer, fred moore.

while that certainly isn't dispositive, it's unlikely we'll ever find out the truth of what happened in baintree more than 89 years ago.

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