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Amish Murder
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1920 to 1929


1920: After the Volstead Act, 23,000 speakeasies in NYC (15,000 legal bars in 1919)

1920-1933: Third major rise in the U.S. homicide rate

1920-1935: Armed robbery became a common offense in the U.S.

1921: Colt started selling the “Tommy gun.”

1920-1940: Marijuana use in the U.S. was limited to a small deviant culture

1920: U.S. – A study showed that 1 out of 400 persons in U.S. was a morphine addict
------ England – Agatha Christie published her first detective novel

1921: Thompson – Bywaters Case – England – murder
------ Fatty Arbuckle Case – U.S. – rape/murder

1923: Big Jim Colosimo killed in Chicago

1924-1936: A tremendous crime wave in the U.S. – worse than those before

1924: American Edwin H. Sutherland published his text, Criminology

1926: Since 1891, the U.S. population increased 90% while crime had risen 1,200%

1928: 23 Sicilian gang leaders met in Cleveland, Ohio

1929: Al Capone’s criminal empire in Chicago made $60 million a year
------ The Untouchables were formed and headed by Eliot Ness
------ Dasheill Hammett began publishing his detective novels
------ Bootlegging had expanded into U.S.’s single largest industry, employing 800,000 people with an annual revenue of $4 billion

Forensic Science

1920: Sacco-Vanzetti Case – U.S. – ballistics
------ Edmond Locard identified and studied a long list of trace evidence
------ Bernard Spilsbury began teaching at London’s St. Bartholomew’s hospital

1921: American psychiatrist Dr. John A. Larson developed the forerunner to the modern polygraph
------ Dr. Alexander Gettler found a way of telling if a person drowned in fresh or salt water
------ The U.S. Treasury Department established the position of document examiner
------ An Oregon court accepted ballistics testimony concerning cartridge shell markings

1922: The Bureau of Forensic Ballistics was formed in NYC by Calvin H. Goddard, Charles E. Waite, P.O. Gravelle, and John Fischer

1923: The comparison microscope was invented by Goddard and Waite
------ The LAPD started its forensic science laboratory
------ Italian Leone Lattes was the first to solve a crime through the grouping of dried bloodstains
------ U.S. – The first time a court considered polygraph results as evidence – the evidence was not admitted due to the lack of scientific reliability of the technique
------ German criminalist August Bruning published an important work on trace evidence

1924: Leopold and Loeb Case – U.S. – questioned documents
------ Louis Boulay Case – French – trace evidence
------ Lee Stack Case – Egypt – Ballistics
------ Frenchman Edmond Bayle established a crime lab at the Surete. He did pioneer work in fields of spectroanalysis, ultraviolet rays, and spectrophotometry.
------ Europe – the courts recognized Dr. Karl Landsteiner’s blood grouping tests

1925: John N. Thorne Case – England – forensic medicine
------ English forensic pathologist Sydney Smith published, Text-book of Forensic Medicine. Smith was one of the first forensic pathologists to study ballistics, at this time ballistic experts were usually gunsmiths. Smith was one of the most versatile of period

1927: Browne and Kennedy Case – England – ballistics

1928: Helmuth Daube Case – Germany – forensic serology

1929: Erich Tetzner Case – Germany – forensic medicine
------ St. Valentine’s Day Massacre – U.S. – ballistics, forensic medicine
------ William Podmore Case – England – hair clues and photography

Law Enforcement

1920: A large police dog training academy was opened in Germany

1921: William J. Burns was appointed the 4th Director of the Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

1924: J. Edgar Hoover was appointed the 5th Director of the Bureau of Investigation
------ Bureau of Investigation established its fingerprint division

1926-1928: Police radio communications developed during this period

1927: D’Autremont Case – U.S. – police disseminated 3 million photographs to locate 3 fugitives

1928: Cincinnati Police Department created a centralized bureau of criminal records
------ The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) created a new system of crime classification

1929: August Vollmer, on leave from the Berkeley Police Department, taught police administration at the University of Chicago. He returned to Berkeley in 1931
------ By this time, the U.S. was employing 2,836 Special Prohibition Agents to enforce the Volstead Act

1930: August Vollmer and Dean John Wigmore of Northwestern University Law School, helped start the first U.S. college criminal justice program at San Jose State College

Criminal Law

1922: Congress passed an import – export law restricting the import of opium

1924: Congress banned the manufacture of heroin

1927: England – The indicting grand jury was abolished

Crime Prevention and Private Security

1923: Allan Pinkerton’s son, William Pinkerton died. His brother, Robert took over control of the company.

This page was last updated on: Monday, January 14, 2008

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A. James Fisher
Dept. of Political Science & Criminal Justice, 146 Hendricks Hall
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, PA 16444
e-mail: jfisher@edinboro.edu blog: http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com