The American society is undeniably beset by several harmful attributes or circumstances and these were notably manifested during the twentieth century. As such, it is unfortunate to consider that various depictions of discrimination and fault smeared what is supposed to be an ideal community in the United States in that time. Such kind of negative features are clear traces of significant and controversial incidents such as the Leo Frank case.
The said incident disclosed that alarming manifestations of prejudice and blunder in the criminal justice system existed within the culture during a time when American society is supposed to adhere to and uphold equality and justice. Cases involving murder and sexual molestation of minor victims are sure to incite views and sentiments among people. This holds true if the crime is supposed to also include and concern racial and religious differences as well as commitment of blunders within the structure of criminal justice.
This is because in crimes such as the Leo Frank case, which concerned a Jew and a 13-year-old girl, it is inevitable that ill feelings and uproars are manifested. Beyond however the controversies and brutalities that resulted from the said murder and rape case, it is the manifestations of prejudice and the occurrence of blunders within criminal justice system that sparked arguments. This is because the Leo Frank case did not only inform the public of the story and details of the deaths of the victim and alleged criminal.
Ultimately, the gruesome fate of Phagan and the eventual lynching of Frank served as significant disclosure of the glaring prejudice in the American society and manifestation of the flaws in the justice system during the twentieth century under the framework of a hurriedly transforming southern community. Leo Frank Case, an Overview The details and underlying issues of the controversial Leo Frank case were explicitly provided by American history professor Leonard Dinnerstein (1999) in his book “The Leo Frank Case.
” The said work was prompted by the fact that doubts still hound the murder of Phagan as well as conviction and eventual lynching of Frank even if the incident occurred almost a century ago. Going back to the facts of the case, Dinnerstein wrote the circumstances of the death and reported rape of Mary Phagan, a minor who went to a pencil factory in Atlanta to get her last salary but unfortunately never returned home and later discovered cruelly killed. Several suspects were arrested and investigated until the case was finally pinpointed or attributed to be as a work done Frank.
The Leo Frank case was tried for two years and most significantly, highlighted by media sensationalism. Through scandalous media coverage, widespread madness and legal clashes, Frank was eventually sentenced to death for the rape and murder of Phagan. Frank and his defense counsels appealed the case asserting his innocence thus the decision was later reduced. The commutation of Frank’s sentence to just life imprisonment was opposed by the people hence while inside the jail, he was kidnapped and later lynched near the hometown of his supposed victim.
Beyond these circumstances however, the incident was notable not just because of what happened to Phagan and later to Frank. The case specifically gained prominence and attention due to its underlying issues. This is because while Frank’s guilt was not conclusively established, he was convicted and meted with life imprisonment, a decision which was eventually opposed by anti-Jews of the American society that time. Such turn of events clearly showed how prejudice towards race and religion was done as well as how the court and prosecution bungled in their respective functions.
The Leo Frank case therefore established the existence of failures within the American society in the twentieth century thereby depriving both Phagan and Frank of justice. Leo Frank Case, an Analysis At the onset, it was very clear that Frank is not guilty of killing and raping the teen-age girl. In fact, his arrest, court trial and eventual conviction were just subjected to sensationalism, legal tussles and intense social discrimination.
It opposed the reality that Frank was definitely not the one who molested and killed Phagan thereby making the case as a classic example of miscarriage and blunder within the American criminal justice and the twentieth century society in general. The guilt of Phagan was not proven beyond reasonable doubt. As Dinnerstein signified in his book, Frank was unjustly convicted regardless of unconvincing or doubtful circumstances and proof of his alleged guilt.
Specifically, Frank just fall prey to the questionable system of criminal justice. The circumstantial evidence hurled against him was not proven making him also a victim of the incident (Dinnerstein 162). In fact, the Leo Frank case remained to be suspicious after almost a century. Judging from the circumstances of the case, it was clear that charges against Frank were not substantiated and proven. Even if the case is re-opened in today’s setting of the society, the case will not stand in court.
This is because Frank was subjected to the errors of the justice system and that nobody will be even sentenced nowadays based from similar presentation and carrying-out of evidence (Dinnerstein 162). The decision on Leo Frank case is a clear example of a criminal justice blunder where the judge left the fate of Frank to the hands of the public. Hence, the decision to sentence Frank to life imprisonment rather than death caused chaos among people. Despite his composed dignity and innocence, Frank suffered a tragic fate when a mob of anti-Jews abducted and later lynched him.
Aside from the apparent criminal justice blunder, another underlying factor that resulted to the murder or lynching of Frank was the issue of him being a Jew. The Leo Frank case is a renowned manifestation of the outbreak of anti-Semitism in the American society during the twentieth century. This issue of people during that time being anti-Jews was relevantly attested with what happened to Frank. Despite being an American, the reality of Frank also being a Jew paved the way for his tragic fate in the hands of American mob.
In fact, if not for demeaning factors such as the mistake within the system of criminal justice as well as the evident racial and religious prejudice to Frank, he should have surely acquitted of the case. It was unfortunate then that Frank lived in an American society and during the twentieth century, two factors that unfortunately led to his tragedy or downfall. The Leo Frank case was depicted in an environment of intense anti-Semitism. This was significantly confirmed from the false testimony of another suspect, Jim Conley.
This is because almost seven decades after the Leo Frank case, a witness confirmed that it was Conley who really killed Phagan and carried her body to the basement of the factory. The witness’ contradiction of Conley’s statement was used by several Jewish organizations to correct the mistake done by the criminal justice system in the early 1900s. Thus, in a 300-page petition, Frank was eventually granted a pardon in 1986 due to very obvious violation of Frank’s right to due process.
Conclusion It is unfortunate to note that the American society during the twentieth century turned blind despite the apparent innocence of Frank to the murder and rape of Phagan. The belated pardon only affirmed that prejudice and justice blunder were the issues hurled to him, two factors that resulted to his lynching and ironically, paved the way for Phangan’s injustice. Work Cited Dinnerstein, Leonard. The Leo Frank Case. Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 1999.