50 Years Ago- The “cage” is removed


Dedham Transcript/May 26, 1960

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.

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One Comment on “50 Years Ago- The “cage” is removed”

  1. james horrigan Says:

    former Mass. AG eddie mccormack was the nephew of US speaker john mccormack, who died in dedham at the eastwood nursing home, a year or so after it opened.

    at the time he oversaw removal of the cage from the dedham courthouse mccormack was two years from a storied run against ted kennedy for the u.s. senate, in which he declared that if his opponent’s name was “edward moore” instead of “edward moore kennedy” his candidacy would be a joke.


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