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Amish Murder
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1930 to 1939


1930-1935: The U.S. suffered its second major crime wave

1930-1933: There was an arson-fraud epidemic in Brooklyn, NY

1930: A major arson case at the state penitentiary at Columbus, Ohio

1931: German pyromaniac and mass murder Peter Kurten was beheaded

1932: U.S. – Icar Kreuger pulled off one of the biggest financial swindles in U.S. history

1934: Albert Fish Case – U.S. – mass murder
------ 489 homicides in NYC
------ 280 homicides in England and Wales
------ In new York, 28% of those convicted of a capital offense were executed
------ In Great Britain, 19% of those convicted of a capital offense were executed
------ U.S. – the Maranzano Organized Crime was ended and the Mafia’s first board of directors was formed
------ John Dillinger was killed in Chicago by FBI Agents
------ FBI Agents killed “Pretty Boy” Flloyd in East Liverpool, Ohio
------ FBI Agents killed “Baby Face” Nelson in Niles Center, Illinois

1935: Huey Long Case – U.S. – murder

1939: U.S. – 895 persons convicted of counterfeiting
------ Raymond Chandler published his first detective novel
------ Piccadilly Bomb Case – England – murder

Forensic Science

1930: Germany had the lead in the field of forensic medicine. Most murder cases included the work of a forensic pathologist. The German forensic pathologist, Dr. Richard Kockel, a leader in his field, believed that forensic pathologists should expand into other non-medical, criminalistic fields.
------ A scientific crime detection lab was established in Chicago with Calvin Goddard its first director
------ Harry Battley, head of the criminal records bureau at Scotland Yard, invented a system of classifying and filing single fingerprints
------ Franz Josef Holzer of Innsbruck, developed a simplified procedure of grouping dried bloodstains

1931: Infrared photography could be taken as simply as regular photographs
------ A U.S. court admitted evidence related to Landstiner’s blood grouping tests
------ Vera Page Case – England – textile clue
------ English forensic scientist John Glaister published an enormous study of hair
------ Swiss criminalist Harry Soderman became the head of the Institute of Police Science at the University of Stockholm

1932: The FBI started its crime laboratory
------ Lindbergh Case – U.S. – questioned documents

1933: American criminalist Luke S. May started a crime lab for the Seattle Police Department

1934: Skin specialists from Northwestern University identified the fingerprints of a man who had tried to have them removed
------ Since 1901, Scotland Yard had made 400,000 fingerprint identifications

1935: Dr. Buck Ruxton Case – England – Forensic medicine
------ Thomas A, Gonzales took over as the 2nd chief medical examiner of NYC at the death of Dr. Charles Norris
------ Japanese serologists began looking into the possibility that group O could be subgrouped
------ The Royal Canadian Mounted Police used its first police dog
------ By this time, all U.S. courts admitted testimony concerning the comparison of known and questioned handwriting
------ England – The Metropolitan Police Lab was started in London
------ Russian Mikhaih Gersimov reconstructed a recognizable human face from its skull

1936: Two scientists in Denmark started experimenting with Neutron Activation Analysis

1937: Walter Specht of Jena developed the luminol procedure to detect the presence of blood
------ The Royal Canadian Mounted Police established its first crime laboratory at Regina, Saskatchewan
------ Forensic Pathology was first taught at the Harvard Medical School
------ Arthur Perry Case – England – Forensic serology

1938: New York City’s first serological laboratory was started
------ England – The Home Office added 6 regional crime laboratories

1939: Pamela Coventry Case – England – forensic serology
------ American anthropologist Ernest Hooton refined Lombroso’s theories regarding the physical characteristics of criminals
------ Walter Dinivan Case – England – forensic serology
------ The U.S. Post Office established its questioned documents lab

Law Enforcement

1930: Elmer L. Irey, head of intelligence division, IRS, begins his tax evasion investigation of Al Capone
------ The Federal Bureau of Narcotics established under the directorship of Harry J. Anslinger
------ Detective “Camera-Eye” Sheridan of the NYPD was a the top of his career

1931: The Wickersham Commission studied the American criminal justice system
------ By this time, 31 states had established fingerprint bureaus

1932: August Vollmer retired from the Berkeley Police Department to teach at the University of California
------ The Traffic Safety Institute was started at Northwestern University

1933: Bureau of Investigation started compiling crime statistics for the Uniform Crime Reports

1934: Bureau of Investigation Agents were authorized to carry guns and make arrests
------ The Bureau of Investigation had 4,800,000 fingerprints on file, the largest collection in the world
------ There were 500,000 sworn police officers in the U.S.

1935: The Bureau of Investigation was renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation
------ Thomas E. Dewey was appointed Special Prosecutor and started his organized crime investigation in New York City
------ The FBI National Academy was started
------ O.W. Wilson, Chief of Police, Wichita, Kansas Police Department, started the first police cadet program in the U.S. Wilson became one of the major spokesmen for police professionalism in the U.S.

1936: Michigan State University established a 4-year B.S. program in Police Administration
------ August Vollmer published an important book on police administration
------ Congress authorized funds for vocational training in law enforcement
------ The Metropolitan police in London established its first police dog unit

1938: August Vollmer retired from the University of California.

1939: By this time all U.S. cities over 250,000 had police departments with traffic divisions

Criminal Law

1931: Gambling was legalized in Nevada

1934: Congress passed the National Firearms Act

1936: Brown v. Mississippi

1937: Congress passed the Marihuana Tax Act

Crime Prevention and Private Security

1932: William J. Burns died

1935: Pinkerton Company discontinued doing labor investigations after a Senate Subcommittee investigation showed that 30% of their work involved spying on labor

1936: Brink’s, in the largest single move of private property, used 10 trucks to haul $20 million in jewelry, art objects, stamps, and currency from a home in Dartmouth, Massachusetts to a Boston bank

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