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Order for destruction of contrabad property in Criminal Case No. 10839: United States vs. Joe Pasano, Frank B. Mulloy, Ralph Rosenberg, William A. Cacy, Leopold Schwarz, Lawrence Cipolla, William G. Michael, Roy Barrett, Robert Carnahan, Frank Martin, Noxie Barber, Tudia Pasano, George Galbraith, Lawrence Cardella, Joe Toia, Walter A. Porter, Adolph Sutter, Edward S. Alderson, Joe Kleason, Eugene F. Moore, Jimmie Hicks, Ott Holmes, Jimmie LaCapra, Red Oaks, Walter Skinner, Martin Wiseman, Ray Broom, Max Cohen, James Stiff, Carl A. Wahlin, Grant T. Moffatt, D. L.

Date: 
June 1st 1932

Order for Capias for Criminal Case No. 12028: United States vs. John Lazia. This document orders a writ for arrest of defendant John Lazia and that his "bond be fixed in the sum of $1,500.00." Lazia was suspected of being affiliated with the Kansas City Mafia and the Pendergast Machine.

Date: 
March 14th 1933

Order for subpoena duces tecum for Raymond A. Edlund in Criminal Case No. 12028: United States vs. John Lazia. This document orders a writ to order Edlund to appear before court and bring a number of selected documents. These requested documents include records of John Lazia's financial transactions at the Merchants Bank of Kansas City, Missouri.

Date: 
September 13th 1933

Statement Made by the Court When Imposing Sentences for Criminal Case No. 12028: United States vs. John Lazia. In this document, the court affirms its belief that the jury was unbiased, despite the large amount of publicity the case received. The court also explains the decisions made when imposing punishment for Lazia's guilty verdict.

Date: 
February 23rd 1934

Remarks of the court on Thursday, February 25, 1937, before imposing sentences for Criminal Case No. 13650: United States vs. Callie Clark, Lorne E. Wells, Frank H. Adams, Joe R. Wells, Jr., Pearl Sperry, John A. Luteran, and Leo B. Roach, Defendants. This document states that there is no question of the defendants guilt; "The only reliance of defendants is the hope... that perhaps the exact and precise conspiracy charged in the indictment is not amony the several of which unquestionably they are guilty." The document also remarks on civic ethics in elections.

Date: 
February 25th 1937

Judgement and sentence for Criminal Case No. 13676: United States vs. Samuel J. Clark, Marie Ogden, Myrtle E. Middleton, Joseph Maher, Herbert Campbell, and Don Depasco, Defendants. The document states that Ogden, Middleton, Maher, Campbell, and Depasco were found guilty and that Clark had pleaded nolo contendere ("no contest").

Date: 
June 29th 1937

Order for resentencing for Criminal Case No. 13676: United States vs. Samuel J. Clark, Marie Ogden, Myrtle E. Middleton, Joseph Maher, Herbert Campbell, and Don Depasco, Defendants, and related cases. Judge Merrill E. Otis orders the sentences of defendants mentioned therein to be set aside and resentenced so that the fines imposed be paid to the court clerk on July 18, 1938.

Date: 
July 18th 1938

Order modifying sentence of Chester J. McKaughan for Criminal Case No. 14114: United States vs. Joe Lawless, Chester J. McKaughan, Gilbert Hunt, Leo Felix Lippert, Rossen Lowe, alias Ross L. Lowe, Leota Forest Bell, Anna Ruble, Mary Ernest, and Martha J. Baldwin, Defendants. In this document, Judge Merrill E. Otis orders that the sentence of McKaughan be modified from one year and one day in prison to eight months with a $100.00 fine.

Date: 
May 12th 1938

Letter from Judge Merrill E. Otis to Pardon Attorney Daniel M. Lyons concerning Criminal Case No. 14458: United States vs. Thomas J. Pendergast, Defendant. In this reply, Judge Otis denies Lyon's request for T. J. Pendergast's release from probation, despite letters of support by James M. Kemper, Howard Cook, J. C. Nichols, E. F. Swinney, Herbert M. Woolf, Chester C. Smith, Burris Jenkins, Thomas McGee, A. Sophian, Father Thomas B. McDonald, and B. C. Adams.

Date: 
August 13th 1943

Memorandum for Criminal Cases No. 14567: United States vs. Thomas J. Pendergast, Defendant, and No. 14,459: United States vs. Robert Emmet O'Malley, Defendant. In this memorandum, Judge Merrill E. Otis provides insightful, detailed documentation for both cases "for the express purpose of submitting it for publication in the Federal Supplement" as these cases attracted an overwhelming amount of publicity and attracted outrage from machine supporters and from proponents who thought the sentence too lenient.

Date: 
August 19th 1939

Order and memorandum touching conditions of probation for Pendergast in Criminal Case No. 14567: United States vs. Thomas J. Pendergast, Defendant. After restating the defendant's sentence, the document provides twelve detailed conditions for Pendergast's probation, one of which effectively bars him from all political activity.

Date: 
May 24th 1940

Order detailing Pendergast's probation for Criminal Case No. 14567: United States vs. Thomas J. Pendergast, Defendant. In this document, Judge Merrill E. Otis clarifies custody and parole conditions of the defendant.

Date: 
May 24th 1940

Order enlarging period fixed by conditions of probation within which to pay remaining unpaid interest on tax liabilities in Criminal Case No. 14567: United States vs. Thomas J. Pendergast, Defendant. In this document, Judge Merrill E. Otis allows Pendergast an additional ninety days be given to pay the U.S. $10,457.12, the remaining interest on his tax liabilities.

Date: 
August 26th 1941

Memorandum and order on the filing of affidavits of bias and prejudice for Criminal Case No. 14912: United States vs. Thomas J. Pendergast, Robert Emmet O'Malley, and A. L. McCormack, Defendant. In this document, Judge Merrill E. Otis provides his response to Pendergast's affidavit that Otis has prejudice against the defendant. Otis denies any such prejudice or bias, but acknowledges a loophole that the attorneys of Pendergast used to file the affidavit on the defendant's behalf. As such, Otis is forced to order his replacement Judge Archibald K. Gardner to the case.

Date: 
August 22nd 1940

Order in Criminal Case No. 8902: United States vs. Frank DeLuna and Ben Danzo, defendants. The document states that Frank Deluna entered a plea of guilty to the charge that he unlawfully transported "intoxicating liquor" in a motor car, and orders that the Peerless Touring Car be forfeited to the goverment "for use in the enforcement of the National Prohibition Act."

Date: 
December 13th 1928

Order in Criminal Case No. 12392: United States vs. Frank Balestrere, defendant. The order, signed by Judge Merrill E. Otis, orders Balestrere's release from the Johnson County Jail on January 6, 1934. Otis cites Balestrere's lack of previous criminal record and letters from doctors attesting to Balestrere's poor health. The order states that upon his release, Balestrere will be subject to two years of probation.

Date: 
January 6th 1934

Memorandum and orders from District Judge Merrill E. Otis on pleas in abatement, demurrers and motions to quash, and motions to squash petit jury panel in Criminal Cases No. 13682 and 13684. The document states that the reasons for overruling similar pleas in other cases are laid out in Case No. 13646, and then addresses the motion to quash the petit grand jury panel, and in doing so describes the process wherein letters of recommendation for suitable jurors were sought from prominent members of the community, and then those individuals would be randomly selected.

Date: 
April 1st 1937

Memorandum from District Judge Merrill E. Otis ruling on affidavits of prejudice filed by defendants in Criminal Case No. 13646, and also addresses case numbers 13648, 13676, 13678, 13682, and 13684. Otis writes that he believes there is "no merit whatever in these affidavits" and rejects he has any prejudice in these cases.

Memorandum opinion and orders dealing with demurrers and motions to squash, pleas in abatement and motions to strike such pleas in abatement in Criminal Cases Nos. 13646, 13648, and 13650. Due to the similarities of the cases, only No. 13646 is addressed in detail. The demurrers and motions to squash argue about what and how voters' rights are violated when counts are switched from the intended candidate to another vs.

Date: 
February 10th 1937

Remarks of the court before imposing sentences in Criminal Case No. 13648: United States vs. Edson M. Walker, Loretta McEntee, Chloe G. Albright, Elijah Burke, Anna V. O'Laughlin, Tessie Mears, and John L. Drummond, defendants. District Judge Merrill Otis discusses the harm done by election fraud, and states that "there is no pretense that the defendants are not guilty of almost every conceivable ballot box crime." He hopes these convictions convince the public to not be discouraged from voting in the future.

Date: 
February 25th 1937

Pages

KANSAS CITY PUBLIC LIBRARY | DIGITAL HISTORY
Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict,1855-1865.
The Pendergast Years, Kansas City in the Jazz Age & Great Depression.
KC History, Missouri Valley Special Collections at the Kansas City Public Library.