Roy Olmstead Case

606 Words3 Pages

During the eighteenth amendment the court had to deal with many court cases due to criminal activity. One of the cases had to deal with Roy Olmstead (Hamm). Olmstead ran a large bootlegging operation, importing liquor from Canada and selling it throughout Seattle, Washington(Hamm). His business was illegal but was protected by the local police and employed a workforce three times the size of the federal unit responsible for enforcing Prohibition in the area (Hamm). Police Lieutenant Roy Olmstead first became a bootlegger, but he was arrested for smuggling liquor in March 1920, when national prohibition was just weeks old. He was fired from the police force(Hamm). He later pled guilty and paid a $500 fine. From the time of his arrest he was …show more content…

Olmstead send liquor from Mexico to the United States by small boatloads then they were stored in various locations awaiting distribution(Hamm). To get the liquor customers would call Olmstead’s phone and place orders then cars delivered the liquor (Hamm). Olmstead’s business delivered over 200 cases of liquor daily to Seattle, residents, hotels an restaurants (Hamm). He bribed the Seattle police and sheriffs of King County to ignore his operations(Hamm). Olmsteads brother stayed on the police force and one of his former associates because head of the local enforcement unit so state and local authorities never threatened him (Hamm). Beginning in June 1924, Federal prohibition agents listened on the phone conversation of Roy Olmstead and other members of the bootlegging gang(Hamm). The number of overheard conversations made for over 700 pages of transcripts (Hamm). The indictment charged the individuals with two counts of conspiring to import and sell prohibited alcoholic beverages in violation of the National Prohibition act and with two counts of conspiring to defraud the national revenue and to import prohibited merchandise in violation of the Tariff Act of …show more content…

By the end of the trial in February 1926 charges against five more defendants were dismissed leaving only twenty nine defendants(Hamm). The jury deliberated for six hours over two days and found twenty one of the defendants guilty. Amount those convicted were Roy Olmstead and Jerry Finch (Hamm). Before the sentencing in march, judge Neterer carefully reviewed the records of those convicted and levied heavier sentence for those who were repeat offenders or whom the evidence showed were the leaders of the ring(Hamm). Olmstead received the heaviest penalties: four years of prison and $8,000 in fines (Hamm). In sentencing him, Neterer said:”The operation of this conspiracy, as disclosed by the testimony was scandalous and of calculable damage to society and the organization of government... If the same energy and organization had been directed along legitimate line... great good might have been obtained.”(Hamm). Jerry Finch was sentenced to two years and was fined $500, he received the lowest fine, while the least prison time. At the same time, Neterer rejected all the defense motions for arrest of judgment saying “I think all the points raised were ruled upon during the trial... the defendants were given every legal

More about Roy Olmstead Case

Open Document