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Crime and Punishment: Chicago

I came across this wonderful passage in Herbert Asbury's The Gangs of Chicago: An Informal History of Chicago's Underworld, regarding some, ahem, flexible punishment meted out to noted bootleggers Terry Druggan and Frankie Lake.

   In 1924, for refusing to answer questions put to them by Judge James Wilkerson of the United States District Court, Druggan and Lake were sentenced to a year's imprisonment for contempt of court. Several months later a newspaper reporter called at the county jail to see Druggan, but when he asked for the gangster he was told:
   "Mr. Druggan is not in today."
   "Then I'll talk to Frankie Lake," said the reporter.
   "Mr. Lake also had an appointment downtown," the jailer said. "They will be back after dinner."
   The dazed newspaper man returned to his office, and an investigation disclosed that both Druggan and Lake, in return for twenty thousand dollars in bribes, as they testified later, had been given extraordinary privileges. Supposedly incarcerated and treated the same as other prisoners, they had actually spent much more time in Loop restaurants and in their own luxurious apartments than in jail; they had been permitted to come and go as they pleased, and the death cell of the jail had been turned into a private office where they received their gangsters and issued their orders.
   As a result of the exposures, Sheriff Peter Hoffmann and Jailer Wesley Westbrook were each sentenced to three months in jail for contempt of court.
Presumably, Druggan and Lake were each sentenced to serve out the remainder of their terms, only this time as actual prisoners.

November 13, 2005 in Books, Chicago Observations | Permalink


Hence the need for the Martha Stewart ankle bracelet.

Posted by: David Thayer at Nov 13, 2005 9:47:38 AM