Oh for the life of a court beat reporter in 1957: Confidential magazine, an appeal by convicted killer Caryl Chessman and the murder trial of L. Ewing Scott, not to mention the daily grind of the court calendar. There are so many wonderful cases, but alas, only one Larry Harnisch, and I worry that I won't be able to do justice to all the details. (The Confidential magazine case, if you were wondering, resulted in a hung jury and promises of a retrial).
The Scott case is particularly significant because of its unusual challenge: The prosecution had to persuade a jury that the defendant was guilty even though police were never able to find the (alleged) victim's body. I was fortunate to be given access to the district attorney's files on the Scott case and they are massive, but far too extensive for the purposes of a blog.
So for today, let me introduce a few of the main characters as jury selection begins.
Ray Graham / Los Angeles Times
For the prosecution, Deputy Dist. Atty. J. Miller Leavy, shown in 1953 during the trial of Barbara Graham.
Howard W. Maxwell / Los Angeles Times
And the defendant, Leonard Ewing Scott, caught off-guard by Times photographer Howard W. Maxwell with a miniature camera, joking with reporters in his jail cell, April 26, 1956.
And Scott in his 1956 mug shot.