Dean Strang's new book, Worse Than The Devil: Anarchists, Clarence Darrow and Justice in a Time of Terror, (University of Wisconsin, 2013), sheds new, and troubling, light on another episode in Darrow's career. Did he conspire with prosecutors to alter an appellate record to provide relief to his clients in a Wisconsin case?
Now, Bonner concentrated on Geraldine dragging her across the floor, his arm wrapped tightly round her neck, all the time roaring in her ear: "I am worse than the Devil. Pray with me." He then slowly slit her across the forehead and threatened to slit her throat.
In 1917 a bomb exploded in a Milwaukee police station, killing nine officers and a civilian. Those responsible never were apprehended, but police, press, and public all assumed that the perpetrators were Italian. Days later, eleven alleged Italian anarchists went to trial on unrelated charges involving a fracas that had occurred two months before. Against the backdrop of World War I, and amidst a prevailing hatred and fear of radical immigrants, the Italians had an unfair trial. The spectre of the larger, uncharged crime of the bombing haunted the proceedings and assured convictions of all eleven. Although Clarence Darrow led an appeal that gained freedom for most of the convicted, the celebrated lawyer's methods themselves were deeply suspect. The entire case left a dark, if hidden, stain on American justice. Largely overlooked for almost a century, the compelling story of this case emerges vividly in this meticulously researched book by Dean A. Strang. In its focus on a moment when patriotism, nativism, and terror swept the nation, the themes in Worse than the Devil still resonate as the United States continues to struggle with administering criminal justice to newcomers and outsiders.
A KNIFE-wielding hostage taker who describes himself as ‘worse than the Devil’ has been found after absconding from a secure unit for the second time in 16 months.