A plea for mercy.docx

A plea for mercy.docx - Closing Argument Plea for Mercy...

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Closing Argument “Plea for Mercy” Against Capital Punishment delivered by Clarence Darrow in the trial of Leopold & Loeb in 1924 Your Honor, I have heard in the last six weeks nothing but the cry for blood. I have heard from the office of the state's attorney only ugly hate. I have seen a court urged almost to the point of threats to hang two boys. I’m aware that I have helped to place a serious burden upon your shoulders. I know perfectly well that where responsibility is divided by twelve, it is easy to say “Away with him.” But, Your Honor, if these boys hang, you must do it. There can be no division of responsibility here. You can never explain that the rest overpowered you. It must be by your deliberate, cool, premeditated act; without a chance to shift responsibility. Break for Intro Thomas Jefferson once said, "The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only good object of good government" And in 1924, Clarence Darrow appealed to the Cook County’s court to spare the lives of two young boys accused of murder. A "Plea for Mercy" by Clarence Darrow. Your Honor, I am sorry for poor Bobby Franks. On the twenty-first day of May, Bobby Franks, stripped naked, was left in a culvert down near the Indiana line. I know it came through the mad act of mad boys. Why did they kill little Bobby Franks? Not for money, not for spite; not for hate. They killed him as they might kill a spider or a fly, for the experience. They killed him because they were made that way. Because somewhere in the infinite processes that go to the making up of the boy or the man…something slipped, and those unfortunate boys sit here hated, despised, outcasts, with the community shouting for their blood. The state says that if we hang them there will be no more killing. This world has been one long slaughterhouse from the beginning until today, and killing goes on and on and on, and will forever.
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  • Fall '14
  • Clarence Darrow, boys, Leopold and Loeb, Bobby Franks

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