50 Years Ago- The “cage” is removed
In the last week in May, 1960, Massachusetts Attorney General Edward McCormack oversaw the removal of an iron “cage” from the courtroom in the Norfolk County Superior courthouse. The cage was actually an enclosure where defendants sat during trial. It was the American version of the British prisoner’s dock, which is still in use in Britain and Canada. The unfortunate design and choice of materials for the prisoner’s dock in Massachusetts gave it the appearance of a cage, and this was frequently observed during the Sacco-Vanzetti trial and appeals in the 1920’s. The cage in the Dedham courthouse looked like an elaborate Victorian ski-lift. It was removed from storage and displayed last year during the 150th anniversary celebration of the Massachusetts Superior Court.
The first picture is a postcard from the early twentieth century; the cage can be seen on the left. The second picture shows Irving Millen, Murton Millen, and Abraham Faber in the cage during their 1934 trial for robbery and murder. The complete tale of their crime is documented in my book.