Samuel Sheppard (1954)
Medical Malpractice and Dr. Sam
This is a story of two Dr. Sams. The first, Sam Sheppard, holds a unique place in American legal history, being the only person to be convicted, acquitted, and then “convicted” again, all for the same murder. In the eyes of many, this Ohio physician remains a martyr to the dreadful power of runaway media, a tragic example of what can happen when some delusional newspaper editor decides to scrap the Constitution, don the mantle of Torquemada, and hound an innocent man into jail. In the other camp lurks a sizable body of opinion that believes Sheppard was a wife-murdering adulterer who got lucky with his lawyer and ultimately dodged justice. It’s true to say that nobody harbored this opinion more than the other Dr. Sam.
He was Samuel R. Gerber, the Cuyahoga County coroner, a small, fussy man with a hankering for bow ties and an insatiable thirst for publicity. He had first hit the headlines in November 1936, when he was drafted in to help track down the so-called Butcher of Kingsbury Run, a serial killer who had successfully eluded Cleveland’s finest detectives for more than a year. The inquiry leader, Eliot Ness, another law-enforcement hotshot with a prodigious talent for self-promotion, didn’t take kindly to this newcomer’s meddling, and soon both men were snarling at each other’s throat. (They never did catch the Butcher.)
For almost fifty years Gerber ruled the roost as coroner, and in that time
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: A Question of Evidence: A Casebook of Great Forensic Controversies, from Napoleon to O.J. Contributors: Colin Evans - Author. Publisher: Wiley. Place of publication: Hoboken, NJ. Publication year: 2003. Page number: 104.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.