Postmortem: New Evidence in the Case of Sacco and Vanzetti

By William Young; David E. Kaiser | Go to book overview
Save to active project


The Alibis

Both Sacco and Vanzetti presented substantial alibis for 15 April when the defense put on its case. Alibi evidence is of course extremely difficult to evaluate. If a defendant has a documented alibi, like Orciani's work records at the foundry he worked in, he will not be charged with the crime in question. Otherwise his alibi is bound to depend on his own and others' recollections, and the other witnesses are likely to be friends and acquaintances whose testimony the prosecution can easily impugn. Sacco and Vanzetti's alibis were about as strong as they could possibly be, given the circumstances of their lives, although a notable proportion of Sacco's alibi witnesses were fellow anarchists whose motives are inevitably suspect. 1

At the trial Vanzetti stuck by his statement to Katzmann on 5 May that he had been peddling fish on 15 April. He added that he had met one Joseph Rosen, a salesman who had offered him a piece of cloth, at about II:30; that he had brought the cloth over to the home of Alfonsina Brini, with whom he had formerly boarded, to ask her opinion of it; that he later sold fish to a factory worker, Angel Guidobone; and that he spent over an hour between 2:00 and 3:30 talking to a fisherman, Melvin Corl, and that they spoke to a boatbuilder, Frank Jesse, during that time as well. All these witnesses corroborated what Vanzetti had said. As Katzmann naturally stressed, the issue of whether these incidents had actually taken place on 15 April was cloudier. The witnesses fixed the date in various ways. The most effective was Rosen, who testified that he had gone to Whitman, near South Braintree, late that afternoon and rented a room at a rooming house there for the night. A rooming house clerk confirmed that she had rented a room for that night. 2 Most of Vanzetti's alibi witnesses, then, were neither anarchists nor Italians.

Sacco's alibi was much more detailed. Having told Katzmann on 6 May that he might have been in Boston to check on his passport on I5 April, he confirmed this at the trial. Nine defense witnesses corroborated his account of his movements on that day. Dominic Ricci, a carpenter, saw Sacco at the railroad station in Stoughton and testified that Sacco said he was going to Boston. A contractor, Angelo Monello, testified to meeting Sacco at II:00 A. M. on Hanover Street in the North End of Boston. Albert Bosco, editor of the Italian daily La Notizia, re

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Postmortem: New Evidence in the Case of Sacco and Vanzetti


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 188

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?