Introduction

The murder trial of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb was considered the ‘Crime of the Century’ in 1924 Chicago. Their attempt at a ‘Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity’ was not expected by the public to be used by two young, intelligent, rich, white boys. In the 1920’s, Chicago courts saw many attempts at a successful insanity plea; only eight did end up succeeding. Despite this precedence, Leopold and Loeb changed their plea to Guilty, mostly through Clarence Darrow’s outspoken opposition of the Death Penalty and not wanting to risk having the angered public have the chance to take revenge for their victim if they were chosen as jury members. When Judge Caverly gave them the Guilty verdict, both young men rejoiced and were simply taken to prison where Leopold was released over 30 years later.1Hannon, Michael. “Leopold and Loeb Case (1924).” University of Minnesota Law Library. Accessed September 15, 2017. http://moses.law.umn.edu/darrow/trialpdfs/LEOPOLD_LOEB.pdf.

Were Leopold and Loeb actually insane to the degree they were claiming at the beginning of their trial? Or were they following the example of other white men who successfully received a Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity verdict?

References   [ + ]

1. Hannon, Michael. “Leopold and Loeb Case (1924).” University of Minnesota Law Library. Accessed September 15, 2017. http://moses.law.umn.edu/darrow/trialpdfs/LEOPOLD_LOEB.pdf.