Chicago to Springfield:: Crime and Politics in the 1920s by Jim Ridings

By Jim Ridings

The tale of Chicago gangsters within the Nineteen Twenties is known. much less spoke of is the story of the politicians who allowed these gangsters to thrive. in the course of the heyday of equipped crime within the Prohibition period, Chicago mayor "Big invoice" Thompson and Gov. Len Small have been the 2 strongest political figures in Illinois. Thompson campaigned on making Chicago "a huge open city" for bootleggers. Small bought hundreds of thousands of pardons and paroles to criminals, embezzled $1 million, and was once then acquitted after mobsters bribed the jury. This publication is the tale of these Jazz Age politicians whose careers in govt thrived on and recommended corruption and racketeering, from Chicago to Springfield. It enhances writer Jim Ridings's groundbreaking biography, Len Small: Governors and Gangsters, which used to be praised through critics and positioned Ridings as a trailblazer between Chicago crime authors.

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Joseph Fifer, governor of Illinois from 1889 to 1893, was one of several lawyers representing the governor in 1921. Small’s team of lawyers refused to allow Small to be arrested and advised him to evade the sheriff. They argued that for the judiciary to arrest an executive was a violation of the separation of powers. ) Former congressman James Graham also was on Small’s legal team. He and Fifer argued in court that as governor, Len Small was above the law. Graham cited an old English doctrine that “the king can do no wrong,” meaning the government could not commit a legal crime and thus should be given immunity to prosecution.

She had a stroke and slipped into unconsciousness. She never woke up, and she died on Monday morning. She was buried in the family plot in Mound Grove Cemetery in Kankakee. ) After the trial, eight jurors received state jobs. An investigation showed that gangsters intimidated and paid jurors. Chicago gangsters Eddie Kaufman and Eddie Courtney and juror John Fields went on trial; they were acquitted. Mobster and union boss “Umbrella Mike” Boyle (seen here) and hoodlum Ben Newmark (below) were called to testify about jury tampering.

Carlos Black (above). But Governor Small did not send National Guard troops, as he was on trial for embezzlement at the time. Two days after the Herrin massacre, the jury found Governor Small not guilty. ) When the Ku Klux Klan took over parts of southern Illinois, local officials asked Small for National Guard troops. ” It was taken as carte blanche by the Klan to do as it pleased. The reign of terror by Klansmen vigilantes brought beatings, gun battles, and two dozen murders. Also terrorizing southern Illinois were gangs led by Charlie Birger and the Shelton brothers, which mirrored the vice and violence of gangs in Chicago.

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