Norfolk, MA: Superior Court, Criminal Session, 1923. Typed court carbon copy, signed and sworn at the end in ink by Hamilton, before a Justice of the Peace on October 15, 1923. 48pp, each page typed on recto only. Caption title, as issued. Light dusting and light folds, bound and docketed in blue legal backing with original paper clips. Very Good. With: a second affidavit, same text, unsigned.
In one of the most controversial cases of the 20th century, alleged anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti were convicted and sentenced to death in July 1921 for the murder of a guard and paymaster in Braintree, Massachusetts. Charges of political bias, anti-Italian and anti-immigrant sentiment rendered the trial a cause celebre. Felix Frankfurter, other prominent civil libertarians and citizens vigorously protested for years, until the defendants were finally executed in 1927. Albert Hamilton was one such citizen. We offer a carbon copy, executed in ink before a Justice of the Peace in 1923, of his court affidavit.
Hamilton was a renowned "Micro-chemical investigator and criminologist in connection with the investigation of crimes and persons suspected of crimes ... He has been called as such an expert in one hundred and sixty five homicide cases and a very large number of lesser crimes throughout the United States from Maine to Canada." Specializing in gunshot cases, he is an expert in "the peculiarities of manufacture that give individuality to a gun or cartridge."
In a letter to the presiding judge during the course of the Sacco-Vanzetti trial, Hamilton volunteered his services to determine whether "the fatal bullet [had] passed through the disputed gun of the defendant Sacco." Though Hamilton received no response, others -- including defense counsel-- sought his opinion after the trial. Having been engaged by the defense, Hamilton conducted a thorough examination, described in minute detail in this affidavit, in the presence of counsel for the State and defense.
From pages 10 to the end, Hamilton describes the extraordinarily elaborate procedures and tests undertaken to form his "unqualified opinion that the mortal bullet was manufactured at a time different from the manufacture of the six Winchester cartridges found in Sacco's pocket, and that, in due and regular course of manufacture the mortal bullet would not, having been manufactured at a different time, be placed in the same carton as that which contained the six Sacco Winchester cartridges." Item #38469