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Closing Arguments

  • David L. Shapiro
  • Charles Golden
  • Sara Ferguson
Chapter
  • 128 Downloads
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Psychology book series (BRIEFSPSYCHOL)

Abstract

The State, in its closing argument stressed the fact that the crime of Leopold and Loeb was deliberate, premeditated, and extreme. If these two defendants were not executed, according to the State, capital punishment would cease to have any meaning and should be abolished. They stressed the greatness of the turpitude, the months of planning, the alibis and false identities, the precise carrying out of every detail, the absence of impulsivity, a money motive, a kidnapping for ransom, the deliberateness of the murder, “the cruel blows of a sharp steel chisel”, the gagging, the death, and the hiding of the body all took the crime out of the scale of lesser penalties and demanded the death penalty. The State contrasted Leopold and Loeb to two other defendants who had grown up in extreme poverty, in broken homes, and were illiterate and yet were sentenced to death. These two defendants, on the other hand, came from a privileged background and were well educated. The State addressed Darrow’s contention that the mental conditions of these defendants should spare them from execution. The State’s Attorney pointed out that Leopold and Loeb had pled guilty, therefore admitting responsibility. Responsibility for criminal acts was not divisible: a defendant either was responsible or not responsible; (partial responsibility, or what is sometimes now called diminished capacity, was not a part of the law at that time in the State of Illinois). In fact, the State argued that it was the severity of the offense, not “weak mind, fantasy, delusion, or mental disease” that should determine the punishment. Again, the State described the offense as flagrantly willful, deliberate, and premeditated, and that if the Judge, even with discretion, were to follow the law, he would have to sentence them to death. The fact that the crime was an intellectual exercise rather than a crime of passion made it especially horrifying.

References

  1. Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48. (2010).Google Scholar
  2. Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460. (2012).Google Scholar
  3. Roper v. Simmons 543 U.S. 551. (2005).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • David L. Shapiro
    • 1
  • Charles Golden
    • 2
  • Sara Ferguson
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Psychology, Nova Southeastern University Center for Psychological StudiesFort LauderdaleUSA
  2. 2.Nova Southeastern UniversityFort LauderdaleUSA

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