Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture

Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture
, 10(2) (2003)

Dear Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture readers:

Praeger Publishers will publish a five-volume set on famous American crimes and trials in 2004. As editors of these volumes, we are writing to see whether you would be interested in contributing a chapter.

The intent of the volumes is to provide a thoughtful examination of the intersection of crime, justice, and media in high-profile cases. Although there are many books about individual historical and modern true crimes, there are few edited volumes that can compare to the scope of the proposed five-volume set. Historical and contemporary cases that not only "shocked the nation" but that also became a part of the popular and legal culture of our country will be examined. Although some cases enjoy momentary notoriety because of the victim, the offender, or the nature of the crime, these cases often do not stand the test of time. Other cases – more appropriately described as "famous" – pass into collective memory. Often this is because these cases also have become a part of popular culture. For example, the 1892 Lizzie Borden case has inspired a nursery rhyme, numerous books, a ballet, an Alfred Hitchcock episode, a 1952 pop song, a made-for-TV movie and more recently a scholarly conference on the 100th anniversary of the Borden double homicide. By the same token, the O.J. Simpson case, the equivalent of the Borden case in many ways, from gruesome crime to dream team of lawyers to unsolved mystery, assumed similar status in the late 20th century.

We are seeking historians, journalists, criminologists, and others who have both knowledge of the criminal justice system and the ability to write in a style that is suitable for a general audience. Even though the primary audience for these volumes will be laypersons rather than scholars, emphasis will be placed on careful and accurate research by the contributing authors. Each case in the volume will follow a similar format, with detailed analysis that provides the following information:

  1. the crime, the setting, and the participants
  2. the actions taken by agents of the criminal justice system (i.e., law enforcement, the prosecution, the defense, the judge)
  3. the actions of the media in covering the case (including discussion of issues raised at the time and since about media coverage and possible impact on the case)
  4. an account of the trial (unless otherwise adjudicated or resolved)
  5. the final resolution of the case
  6. discussion of relevant social, political, and legal issues
  7. discussion of the significance of the case and its impact on legal and popular culture
  8. Each chapter should be approximately 8,000 words in length.

The manuscripts for the five volumes must be delivered to the publisher by January 1, 2004. Therefore, contributors will need to submit their chapters to us (the editors) no later than Oct. 1, 2003 so that we will have time to provide feedback if revisions are necessary.

We are attaching a list of unassigned entries for each volume. We hope that you, your colleagues, and your graduate students will consider writing one or more entries. We would like to have all entries assigned by September 1. If you are interested in this project, please contact the editors to check for availability of specific cases. We are pleased to offer each contributing author one complimentary set of the volumes.

We are looking forward to working with you on this project. If you have questions or are interested in being a contributor, please send an e-mail message to both of us (Bailey and Chermak) at the addresses listed below.


Frankie Bailey, Ph.D.
University at Albany (SUNY)
School of Criminal Justice
135 Western Avenue
Albany, New York 12222
(518) 442-5237 (telephone)
(518) 442-5212 (fax)

Steven Chermak, Ph.D.
Indiana University
Department of Criminal Justice
Bloomington, Indiana 47405
812-855-5161 (telephone)
812-855-5522 (fax)

Here is the list of cases to be included in each volume. However, the editors will also consider cases not listed.

Volume I (1607-1865)

  • Bacon’s Rebellion (1676)
  • Salem witchcraft trials (1692)
  • Anne Hutchinson heresy trial (1637)
  • Mary Dyer (Quaker) trial/execution
  • Blackbeard the Pirate
  • Peter Zenger sedition trial (1735)
  • New York slave conspiracy trials (1741)
  • Boston Massacre trial (1770)
  • Bathsheba Spooner murder case (1778)
  • The Whiskey Rebellion (1794)
  • People v. Weeks (Manhattan Well Mystery) (1800)
  • Burr-Hamilton duel (1804)/Aaron Burr Conspiracy Trial (1807)
    (This case has already been assigned)
  • Nat Turner’s rebellion/trial
  • Amistad Trials (1839-1840)
  • Helen Jewett murder case
  • Mary Rogers murder case
  • Celia, a slave, murder trial
  • Shadrack courtroom rescue (1851)
  • John Brown raid on Harper’s Ferry/trial
  • Daniel Sickles (insanity plea) murder trial (1859)
  • New York City draft riots (1863)
  • Assassination of Abraham Lincoln/trial of alleged conspirators
  • Andersonville prison camp trial (1865)

Volume II (1866-1919)

  • Bridget Durgan (1867)
  • The Molly Maguires
  • Little Charley Ross kidnapping case (1874)
  • Rev. Henry Ward Beecher "alienation of affections" trial (1874)
  • Billy the Kid/Lincoln County War (1878)
  • Haymarket riot (1886)
  • Gunfight at O.K. Corral shoot-out and trial (1881)
  • Crow Dog’s case
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  • Lizzie Borden trial (1892)
  • H. H. Holmes (serial killer)
  • Maria Barbella (1895)
  • The Brownville, Texas soldiers’ riot
  • Harry Thaw-Stanford White murder trial
  • Chester Gillette-Grace Brown murder case ("An American Tragedy")
  • Triangle Factory fire case (1911)
  • Leo Frank case (1915)
  • Belle Gunness case (1908)

Volume III (1920-1959)

  • "Fatty" Arbuckle trials (1921-22)
  • Murder of Hollywood director William Desmond Taylor (1922)
  • "Black Sox" (1919 world series) trial (1921)
  • Sacco and Vanzetti trial (1921)
  • Leopold and Loeb trial (1924)
  • Scopes "Monkey" trial (1925)
  • Ruth Snyder-Judd Gray murder trial (1927)
  • St. Valentine’s Day massacre (1929)
  • Scottsboro Boys trials (1931-1937)
  • Bonnie and Clyde (1932-1934)
  • Lindbergh baby kidnapping trial (1935)
  • Murder of Senator Huey "Kingfish" Long (1933)
  • Dutch Schultz murder (1935)
  • Albert Fish serial killer case
  • Murder of Bugsy Siegel (1947)
  • Sleepy Lagoon murder case/Zoot Suit Riots (1942/43)
  • The "Lonely Hearts Killers" (Beck and Fernandez)
  • The Great Brinks Robbery (1950)
  • Ethel and Julius Rosenberg espionage case (1951)
  • Sam Sheppard case (1954)
  • Barbara Graham trial/execution
  • Emmett Till case (1955)
  • Cutter family murders ("In Cold Blood")
  • Charles Starkweather/Caril Fugate spree killings (1958)

Volume IV (1960-1979)

  • Kennedy assassination case (1963)
  • The Boston Strangler (1964)
  • Lenny Bruce obscenity trial (1964)
  • Assassination Malcolm X
  • Assassination Martin Luther King
  • Chicago Seven (riot conspiracy) (1969)
  • Killing of Black Panther Fred Hampton (1969)
  • Vincent Chin hate crime trial
  • Jim Jones/Jonestown cult case
  • Watergate break-in
  • Gary Gilmore trial/execution
  • Angela Davis trial (1972)
  • Katherine Cleary ("Mr. Goodbar") murder case (1973)
  • Patricia Hearst kidnapping (1974)
  • Ted Bundy (1974)
  • Joan Little trial (killing of jailer)
  • Francine Hughes ("burning bed") case
  • My Lai court martial trial
  • Charles Manson cult murders
  • Jeffrey McDonald murder case (1979)

Volume V (1980-present)

  • John Lennon shooting case (1980)
  • Jack Abbott murder case (1981) ("In the Belly of the Beast")
  • Ivan Boesky insider trading case (1986)
  • John Hinckley trial (Ronald Reagan) (1981)
  • Exxon Valdez oil spill case (1989)
  • Manuel Noriega drug trafficking case (1990)
  • The McMartin Preschool trials (1990)
  • Polly Klaas (1993)
  • Rodney King beating trial (1992)
  • O.J. Simpson trial (1994)
  • John Gotti trials
  • Tupac Shukar shooting (1996)
  • Susan Smith case
  • Karla Faye Tucker case
  • Timothy McVeigh case
  • Unabomber case
  • World Trade Center explosion (1993)
  • Columbine school shooting
  • Central Park Jogger case