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How the Sacco and Vanzetti Trial Worked

2009-08-05 | 🔗

When Sacco and Vanzetti were charged with murder, the Italian-born anarchists didn't receive a fair trial because of their political views and foreign birth. Learn more about the trial -- and its repercussions -- in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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podcast will you accept this rose which is new to the eye heart radio broadcasts network we re cap every season at the bachelor franchise including the bachelor the bachelor at an bachelor in paradise we bring in bachelor super funds including last bass nicky glaser debbie ryan and more listen to will you accept this rose on the iheart radio app apple pocket wherever you get your part cast welcome to stuff you missed in history class from housetop look stockholm hello and welcome to the past be big warm welcome to my new co host sarah daddy and sarah just came back from boston and had an interesting tale to tell i did everything boston a little while ago and i was walking around the north then kind of can only tore i bet a plaque attention
and it was commemorating the site where the sakhalin venza he defends committee functioned from nineteen twenty five twenty seven seems like kind of operating as maybe a yoga studio now by the number of people with matt added end by it looks like it was the site of an important historical event it wasn't me have actually got a lotta reader requests for these second on trials i'm glad we're doing us today but were to italian emigrants accused of or back in the nineteen twenty used but to give a little background maybe we should talk about their lives before their caught here yeah nicholas that going bartolommeo von sadie both emigrated nineteen oh eight echo was an edge tremor at issue factory she sets of wednesday fish peddler and plymouth so pretty are basic guys and
they were involved in a lot of anarchist activities which is sort of where the trouble starts they had written for these the costs of air sea bass area from not pronouncing that correctly but it was tell you an anarchist newsletter and their names were already on the list of people to watch at the time and they both belong to the group bo autonomy very again an anarchist sow and east past and that was really in violent overthrew the government so probably not to be involved and now let's have discovered bomb plots with that particular group so to go back to what their actually accused of unequal fifteenth and nineteen twenty these two men were outside a shoe factory and they had the payroll something about fifteen thousand dollars and they were shot and killed by a group of men
and the day that the robbers looked italian and that stuff we re the tough so there had i believe scene buick that the men had gone away and so the police started with that one particular clue they were going to look for a buick and they found one in a nearby town at a garage and i think they talked to the mechanic and said that you know if anyone came to call on it let them know so when sancho and bends eddie showed up to carry on their pistols original nothing for now for the various showed up to pick up the car and of course the mechanic gave a call into the police and told circumvents eddie that they didn't want to pick up the car than it had the wrong plates so they should come back and when they did return the police are waiting for them and they also happened to lie to the police which later
trial was used as a consciousness of guilt excuse you over the course the trial there were a lot of different stories that came out from both of them then sadie later said he was kind of trying to protect his friends and fellow anarchists by right not really gonna fly in accord but the trial in general ended up being a real mass judge what is there of the massachusetts superior court who tried the case here's a little longer morning coming up call them anarchist bastards so is opinion was clearly from the start a lot of other problems that are really incompetent lawyer even though he was very invested in the case you it's just not up to up to par later i don't think he was a local and he wasn't really familiar with how things went in that part of the country and the jury was also very very
ashley hand packed in a way that wasn't impartial i've here in the witnesses were kind of brown people who sort of new now there's something about their alibis they tie in with witnesses were especially pressured is just all a big mouth and adding to the confusion circumvents eddied didn't speak great english and therein but her it's there possible wasn't even answer wasn't giving them the question it out they weren't getting the right questions and he may or may not have been relaying the correct answers they eventually replaced the first translator with someone else but when there's a way barrier that's a big deal it is so second and thirty were found guilty by the jury and july fourteenth and dissent to do that but the tree went on for another
seven years six years afterwards the debate went on for sure people kept on calling for a retrial and why this cases so famous and why people are still talking about it is the effect after the trial intellectuals and left us really took up took up the of getting these guys any trial at funding because it had been so unfair but also a lot of people felt that they had been dead even tried on their anarchists police not exactly and for the time when some of it didn't even makes sense to go to the specifics of the trial they are talking about identifying man you know as the people who came to commit the murder and one of their witnesses with someone who originally had said that no she couldn't tell where from where she was it was because
she had seen him from a distance of sixty to eighty feet away and eighty feet away and that no she can recognize him but then we give really detailed disk dozens of say his hand and there their people who again at the time said maybe they were even there they weren't looking or when they saw guns they'd hidden and then later said no they could identify these man there never was a strong identification actually in the beginning many of them these officers had said that they thought it was a gang of professional criminals and not you know to immigrants who had absolutely nothing on their records other than these anarchist activities here in that actually the gang of professionals kind of seemed even plausible when i'm thirsty now madeira who is already under a sentence for murder this is a bit after after the trial actually confess to the crime said he did it with their joe morelli gang so in our group of
criminals not a fishmonger monger in factory tremor land i've been about the trail they never even tried to trace where the money would have gone from this robbery where did that fifteen thousand dollars girl because neither sacco nor venza he had it and our bank accounts nor had they changing about their lifestyles nor did the people in their lives seem to have any more money so if we can i fight them and they don't have the money you know where is it what was coming lamb what happened except the project and the court and the judge who over and over again gave these nicholas i mean you can read his summary is one of them i think at near the end of the court is twenty five thousand words about how what david was fair and they don't need a retrial but its clearly not even remotely i will check to see if you give it a red and just to show you now
concerned people were there were demonstrations all around the world after after that trial and especially nearing the execution date which long time after they were tried seven ass they were in jail governor of the state set up in india it advisory committee that had president mit president a former judge trying to be noted out of the trial had been fair one signifier of how can people were about whether this trial was fair is the governor actually felt compelled to make an independent advisory committee consisting of her its president and my teeth president a former judge too we go over everything stead at this would be side if they were going to do a retrial or not or do you know whether he would
the issue clemency he decided to the advisory committees did with them so they are out of luck again and when you look at some things that happen during the trial it seems impossible that they didn't have a retrial at one point i think they had at the listings expert or at least an officer of the law pre arranged with the prosecutor how he wanted to pay and the evidence of the gun sancho had and they re to say goodbye couldn't come in and say that it was shot from sophos gun does it wasn't any said that would be perjury i can't come into a court of law and say that so instead did they arranged the language beforehand so what the prosecutor sad and what the expert answer made it sound like some double
it is going exactly and when the court interpreted it to the jury that of course is how they interpreted at and for some reason the defence attorney didn't pick up that line of questioning fear and so it was just drop youth pretty pathless it seemed and later when the expert came in and told that this happened you would think you would think that that would be grounds for a retrial right in nineteen sixty nine a supreme court justice william douglas actually wrote that someone reading the courtroom transcript would have difficulty believing that the trial in which it deals took place in the united states it was just that backward summit heartbreaking when you are reading the transcript i was reading one little excerpt between from a sakharov wednesday and the lawyer and you can tell but he doesn't understand the questions because they're asking him you are you a bolshevik and he says he doesn't know abortion as a means said are you soviet now he doesn't know soviet means none they sat are you communist and he answered
but yes that he bought some books on astronomy so no the trial didn't go well but do we have any information now that helps the snow did these guys commit the crime because it became it did become as you'd mention quietly and caused the lap of the day their second lawyer had spent quite a bit of money putting out pamphlets on things and very much trying to use the media to their advantage to get a fair trial for these men so do we think they were innocent men involved in this trial unjust condemned before it ever started or was theirs in truth that maybe they had done some things they shouldn't have done well later the ballistics report kind of suggested that sacco probably was guilty than thirty probably not but there's a lot of disagreement on it still i mean in part because all the oven was so shoddy and though witnesses
monies are skewed and unreliable because there was a retrial it's hard to tell even today when some of the evidence was messed with two i think the gun was put together and taken apart so many different times at some point they weren't sure if had been damaged you hunt youth report has to be taken when exactly and there is a hat that was found at the crime scene that they'd they'd made sacco try on and it turned out hole in it someone said arose from a bullet men now actually the police had actually he's very o j is it i mean another thing to keep in mind is just the climate of the country the time it was not these guys tion emigrants and they were known anarchists and that was a good step towards being guilty style it was after world war one unemployment was really high the account this bad
and there was a red scare going on which is not the red scared that we normally think of mccarthy mccarthy it was long before that kind of started by president woodrow wilson attorney general polymer had a bomb exploded outside of his house and then just kind of went on and anti communist anti anarchists crusade krajina gunning for a play and shall bed himself a lot of people die but he was responsible sort of for heating up then the country with others in our red fear and you can see some of that and the trial transcripts again or even from things the judge said there are a lot of examples talking about because sack on were also draft dodgers which did not dear them now harry did not help in massachusetts and so they were asked several questions you know like do you
your country and oh well you ran away from your country and i would you run away from your wife if she needed you into this ridiculous hyperbolic just arguments method judge was talking about the pure light of truth and elevating them on the blindness and patriotism and in general inflaming the jury yan in just a few years before this crime there alone mass arrests and deportations data polymer and the creation of the general intelligence division which was silly headed up by j edgar hoover not a definitely anti communist there and you know immigration quotas started coming into play so there was a lot of ethics year going on to what a lot of people say and second men's eddie letter said that
the reason they lie in the beginning was because of fear because of all these things that were going on and they had recently had a friend a fellow anarchist arrested and put in custody and was allowed to communicate with any one and i think he committed suicide ere he supposedly jumped off fourteenth floor of a building and that's about the time they had decided maybe they should start getting rid of all of their anarchist pamphlets and such right as they got arrest them then said he later sad that's what he was doing he was helping friends clear out their energy literature cannot prepare for meda raids and its suggested that convince eddie were actually on some sort of list that may be this was just this particular charge was trumped up to get them out at any cost damn deported
sakhalin wednesday were actually executed on august twenty third nineteen twenty seven and before they were killed sancho gave a quote but what good is the evidence and what good is the argument their determined to kill us regardless of evidence of law of decency of everything if they give delay tonight will only mean that they will kill us next week finish tonight and weary of waiting seven years to die when they know all the time may they intend to kill us and quote that gives you an idea of what those seven years of appeals and motions were like four sakhalin wednesday when they were sure that they are going to be executed and they were fifty here after their death the she sits governor michael d carcass it proclamation saying that they had not treated justly and that no stigma should be associated with their names kind of a retrial to wait but nevertheless at something here
so whether you believe they're innocent or guilty i think we can say with fairness that their trial should have we done anything have we done and if you'd like to learn more about controversial court cases please check out the website and the sub human history class blog at w w w thou hast upward for more on this and thousands of other topics how stuff works tat come let us know what you think send an email to podcast housetop work stockholm and be sure to check out the stuff you missed in his request blood on the house to flags that come home
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-06.