From 1921 through 1926, the defense filed numerous motions for a new trial. Several are reviewed here. Judge Thayer rejected all defense motions for a new trial.

New Defense Team

In 1923, Sacco fired defense attorney Moore. Sacco and Vanzetti were subsequently represented by William G. Thompson, a respected Boston attorney, and his associate, Herbert B. Ehrmann.

The Ripley - Daly Motion

The defense submitted an affidavit of William Daly, a friend of jury foreman Walter Ripley. Daly stated that he had conversed with Ripley after he was selected to serve on the jury and before the trial began. When Daly volunteered that he believed Sacco and Vanzetti were innocent, Ripley replied: "Damn them, they ought to hang anyway." The defense claimed that Ripley had formed an opinion as to guilt before the trial.

The Proctor Motion

In October 1923, State Police Captain Proctor signed an affidavit swearing that:

  • he believed that Bullet III was fired by a Colt .32 pistol, but that he was unable to conclude that it was fired by Sacco's pistol;
  • he told this to District Attorney Katzmann prior to trial;
  • consequently, Proctor testified only that Bullet III was consistent with being fired from Sacco's pistol;
  • and explained in his affidavit that "I did not intend by that answer to imply that I had found any evidence that the so-called mortal bullet had passed through this particular Colt automatic pistol and the District Attorney well knew and framed his question accordingly."