Rohini S. Singh
University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign
Abstract: When teenagers Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb went to trial after killing an acquaintance “for the thrill of it,” their lawyer, Clarence Darrow, delivered a twelve hour summation over three days to save his clients from the hangman’s noose. Darrow used three strategies of transformation to invert prevailing concepts of justice and crime.
Through such reversals, he deflected criminal culpability from his clients to their upbringing, the prosecutors, and the legal system itself.
Keywords: Clarence Darrow, Leopold‐Loeb trial, death penalty, homo‐ phobia, anti‐Semitism, justice.