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Before the “Snatch Racket”

Posted by on Nov 24, 2010 in 1920s | Comments Off on Before the “Snatch Racket”

Kidnapping is an ancient crime, mentioned in the Bible, but for millennia largely associated with war, piracy, and slavery. False imprisonment was recognized as a felony under English common law in the early 13th century but soon fell into the class of “minor felony.” While the United States “without doubt” experienced hundreds of cases before the 1920s, the instances were isolated and ransom was rarely the motive. With rare exception, little attention was paid beyond the place the crime was committed.  ( For discussions of the origins and development of kidnapping and kidnapping law, see Hugh A. Fisher and Matthew F. McGuire, “Kidnapping and the So-called Lindbergh Law,” 12 N.Y.U. L.Q. Review 646 (1934-1935); K. A. Aickin, “Kidnapping at Common Law,” 1 Res Judicatae 130 (1935-1938), both at On July 1, 1874, four-year-old Charles Ross, the son of...

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