Overview

Five of the seven justices of the Supreme Judicial Court in 1925.
Five of the seven justices of the Supreme Judicial Court in 1925.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court considered and denied all defense appeals for a new trial. In its opinion of May 12, 1926, the Supreme Judicial Court reviewed several issues, including whether the Proctor affidavit required a new trial and whether the many questions regarding the defendants' patriotism and character were unduly prejudicial. The Supreme Judicial Court found no error in any of Judge Thayer's legal rulings, and concluded that he did not abuse his judicial discretion in refusing to grant a new trial.

 

Appeals

The second appeal, decided on April 5, 1927, affirmed Judge Thayer's denial of a new trial based on the Madeiros confession. The Supreme Judicial Court concluded that it would not disturb the trial judge's ruling, as it was not "vitiated by errors of law, or abuse of discretion." 

Appeals

In the above photo are pictured five of the seven justices of the Supreme Judicial Court in 1925. From left to right: Justice Edward Pierce; Justice Henry Braley; Chief Justice Arthur Rugg; Justice John Crosby; and Justice George Sanderson.

Death sentences

Sacco and Vanzetti outside the courthouse on April 9, 1927
Sacco and Vanzetti outside the courthouse on April 9, 1927

On April 9, 1927, Judge Thayer sentenced Sacco and Vanzetti to death by electrocution. Judge Thayer scheduled the executions for the week of July 10, 1927. However, Governor Alvan T. Fuller delayed the executions until later that summer. 

Sacco's Death Sentence

Vanzetti's Death Sentence

Excerpt from Vanzetti's statement in court on April 9, 1927

What I say is that I am innocent. . . . I am suffering because I am a radical and indeed I am a radical; I have suffered because I was an Italian, and indeed I am an Italian . . . .

Clemency

Vanzetti wrote an appeal for clemency (Part 2) to Governor Alvan T. Fuller on May 3, 1927.  Sacco refused to sign the appeal. 

Clemency appeal part 1

Clemency appeal part 2

Contact

Phone

Supreme Judicial Court main phone: 617-557-1000

Hours: Mon. - Fri., 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Appeals Court main phone: 617-725-8106

Hours: Mon. - Fri., 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Social Law Library main phone: 617-226-1500

Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.- 8 p.m.

For information on emergency or weather-related closures and delays call: 617-557-1000

Address

1 Pemberton Square
Boston , MA 02108
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