Sacco and Vanzetti Trial

Once I started reading Frankfurter’s account of the Sacco and Vanzetti Trail, there was only one thing that came to my mind: My Cousin Vinny. I would find it hard to believe that movie is not based on this trial. Two young Italians who are accused of committing murder and fleeing into a car, arrested later for driving a similar car. A lawyer from out of town who is unfamiliar with the biased judge. If only Sacco and Vanzetti had Vinny to be their lawyer…

On a more serious note, the handling of what should be regular police matters in the context of the Red Scare seems troubling in today’s context. When they were first arrested, they were asked all kinds of questions, like when Vanzetti was asked by Chief Stewart if he was a radical, anarchist, or Communist, and if he “believe[s] in the government of the United States.” For being arrested for a crime that was initially suspected to be mob-related, this line of questioning is potentially troublesome. While the two were known to be radical, nobody ever thought that there was a connection between that and the murders.

It seems, then, that the two are sentenced to death not actually for committing murder that there was overwhelming evidence that they did not commit, but for just being radical during the Red Scare. The legal system is sort of thrown out the window, with the judge leading a Dedham jury of upper-class non-immigrants to convict the foreign duo of Sacco and Vanzetti to view the evidence in a biased manner. In the same way that Bill and Stan are tried for being young New Yorkers, Sacco and Vanzetti and tried for being young foreigners.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>