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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 157920 Find in a Library
Title: Fighting Organized Crime: Politics, Justice, and the Legacy of Thomas E. Dewey
Author(s): M M Stolberg
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 327
Sponsoring Agency: Northeastern University Press
Boston, MA 02115
Publication Number: ISBN 1-55553-245-4
Sale Source: Northeastern University Press
Managing Manager
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States of America
Type: Historical Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This book describes the dramatic interplay between organized crime and politics in New York City during the 1930's and shows how politicians manipulated the criminal justice system for their own ends.
Abstract: The author traces the beginnings of New York City's obsession with crime to Fiorello La Guardia's unsuccessful 1929 mayoral campaign. During this campaign, he claimed that the 1928 murder of Arnold Rothstein, New York City's most famous gambling kingpin, remained unsolved because Rothstein had financial links to the Tammany Hall political machine. According to the author, the Rothstein case set the stage for partisan political maneuvering that led to Mayor Jimmy Walker's resignation and gave credibility to the presidential candidacy of Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt who gained national attention for taking on the Tammany Hall political machine. The author then details how moderate Republicans seized the issue of crime fighting after Roosevelt's election, forcing Governor Herbert Lehman to appoint little known Thomas E. Dewey as a special prosecutor. She closely examines three highly publicized cases prosecuted by Dewey that furthered his political ambitions, cemented his national reputation, and led to his meteoric rise from obscure lawyer to three-time presidential candidate. She indicates that Dewey's first racketeering case and his prosecutions of Lucky Luciano and Tammany boss Jimmy Hines reveal a disturbing pattern of poor judgment and mistakes overlooked by an accepting public and press. Against the background of hysterical headlines and charged political rhetoric, the author concludes that real advances were nevertheless made in organized crime fighting during the 1930's. References, notes, photographs, and illustrations
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Corruption of public officials; History of criminal justice; New York; Organized crime prevention; Political influences
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