Electric Chair, 'Old Smokey'
"I dreaded this assignment more than any other...I wondered whether justice would be served by snuffing out the life on this man."
                                -Robert Elliot, executioner
Executioner: Robert G. Elliot

"Hauptmann...Remains Silent To The End"

                                       -The New York Times headline, April 4, 1936.
                                             the morning after Hauptmann's execution

Executed in April 1936, Hauptmann claimed innocence to the end. His trial, and the media frenzy which surrounded it, set a precedent, making kidnapping a federal crime under the jurisdiction of the FBI.

by Doug Fuhrmann

Lindbergh Law

The American Bar Association (ABA) viewed the trial as a media circus and called for reform. In 1937 the ABA included a prohibition on courtroom photography in its Canons of Professional and Judicial Ethics. All but two states adopted the ban, and the U.S. Congress amended the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to ban cameras and broadcasting from federal courts. The ban on photography in courtrooms prompted by the trial would last nearly four decades.

Another important result of the kidnapping was the passage of the 1932 Federal Kidnapping Act (U.S.C.A. §§ 1201–1202 [1988 & Supp. 1992]), popularly called the Lindbergh Law. This statute made it a federal offense to kidnap someone with the intent to seek a ransom or reward. The law has since been modified several times not only to increase penalties but to make the investigative work of federal agents easier.