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The kidnapping and murder of Charles A. Lindbergh Jr. touched off one of the most massive manhunts in the history of American crime detection and generated so much publicity at home and abroad that it was touted as the "Crime of the Century." The arrest of Bruno Richard Hauptmann in connection with the kidnapping inevitably led to the "Trial of the Century." Although Hauptmann was almost universally detested at the time of the trial, the tide of public opinion began to change with his conviction. In the decades following Hauptmann's execution, writers have advanced one theory after another seeking to pin the blame upon various members of the Lindbergh household and others. Almost every aspect of the crime and the investigation has been examined and critiqued—with one exception. No one has written a critical analysis of the trial itself. This book seeks to remedy that omission by investigating with an investigation and evaluation of the marshalling, presentation, and arguing of the evidence, as well as and a study of the post-conviction litigation.


A fascinating and original account of the Lindbergh kidnapping case that doubles as a primer for prosecuting or defending murder cases. Drawing upon their decades of criminal trial experience, Dedman and Dekle dissect the performance of the lawyers on each side and explain what they would have done differently, offering tighter theories of the case, alternative opening statements, and strategies for better managing direct and cross examinations. Their analysis of the proceedings before, during, and after this famous trial is a must-read for trial advocacy students and all other trial enthusiasts.--LAURA ROSENBURY, Dean, University of Florida Levin College of Law

Jim Dedman and George Dekle, two experienced trial lawyers and prosecutors, microscopically examine in “The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case” one of the 20th Century’s most notorious murder trials. The book is an invaluable guide for history buffs, trial lawyers and law students. Rather than just revisit what happened at the infamous trial and conviction of Bruno Hauptmann for the crime, the book comprehensively looks at the strategies, arguments and evidence of both the prosecution and defense and then effectively critiques each phase of the historic case. These insightful critiques are what set “The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case” apart from other books of the genre.--HON. MICHAEL MARCUS, ADR Services, Inc., Judge of the California State Bar Court (Retired)

A fascinating, scholarly review that lawyers and non-lawyers will enjoy, it is also an essential how-to book for prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys. Dedman and Dekle, who developed and refined numerous trial tools throughout their remarkable careers, demonstrate how these indispensable tools could have assisted the trial lawyers in the murder trial of the man accused of murdering the Lindbergh baby. The authors have crafted a methodology which, if utilized by trial lawyers, would significantly improve their preparations and presentations.--MARSHA MITCHELL, Justice Sector Consultants LLC; former UN International Prosecutor in Kosovo; Justice Advisor, Afghanistan & Liberia; and Tennessee Prosecutor

Although the Lindbergh Kidnapping Case has been written about innumerable times, never before has the trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann been meticulously researched and analyzed. Veteran trial lawyers Dekle and Dedman have done just that. "The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case" is the perfect read for anyone interested in the Lindbergh case, an insightful telling of the story of the Hauptman trial, and a superb tutorial on trial strategies and techniques with illustrations from this famous case.--RONALD H. CLARK, Distinguished Practitioner in Residence, Seattle University Law School

In The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case, Dedman and Dekle present the reader with a compelling, multi-faceted examination of one of the last century’s most notorious criminal investigations and trials. For those of a purely historical bent, this “crime of the century” stem-winder explores facets of the justice system’s often hidden workings. Courtroom drama aficionados will appreciate the ego-driven actors, their skills or lack thereof, and the sheer dedication of most participants in the arena. For the professional aspiring to excel in fields of complex litigation, the authors’ analysis of courtroom strategy is a must.--T. MICHAEL CONLON, Esq., Retired Suffolk County, NY, Assistant District Attorney

The authors, Dekle and Dedman, provide a fascinating read of one of the most famous trials in U.S. history. With fresh insight based on an exhaustive investigation, the authors have created a gripping page-turner that analyzes the attorneys, witnesses, and presentation of the evidence at the Lindbergh kidnapping trial. This book is captivating and a must read for trial lawyers and all those interested in the pursuit of justice in the courtroom.--SHANE READ, Author of "Turning Points at Trial: Great Lawyers Share Secrets, Strategies, and Skills"

It is time to clear the table of the glut of books written on the Lindbergh kidnapping case! With rigor and introspection as prosecutors, Dedman and Dekle have with a clear singular purpose focused their analysis on the one area not covered by other writers—Bruno Hauptmann’s trial. For the novice true crime reader or a Lindbergh expert, this is the definitive “jury box seat” view where the reader can examine the details of what really was going on in the trial. They push the envelope to get the real story of the trial.--MARK SAFARIK, Director, Forensic Behavioral Services International, FBI Criminal Profiler (Retired)


INTRODUCTION, page ix—Sets the parameters of the book, sets its objects, and describes our methodology.

DRAMATIS PERSONAE, page xiii—Introduces the main actors in the case.

CHAPTER 1: THE KIDNAPPING, page 1—Describes the circumstances of the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh Jr., the ensuing investigation, and the arrest of Bruno Richard Hauptmann

CHAPTER 2: EXTRADITING HAUPTMANN, page 11—Describes Hauptmann’s extradition hearing in the Bronx and critiques the performance of the lawyers.

CHAPTER 3: PREPARING THE PROSECUTION CASE, page 33—Analyzes the evidence available to the prosecution, describes how it was marshalled, and discusses the problems confronting the prosecution team. Introduces a modular system for evidentiary analysis and presentation.

CHAPTER 4: PREPARING THE DEFENSE, page 69—Analyzes the evidence available to the defense, decribes how it was marshalled, and discusses the problems confronting the defense team.

CHAPTER 5: THE PROSECUTION CASE, page 77—Describes and critiques how the prosecution case was presented.

CHAPTER 6: THE DEFENSE CASE, PART 1: HAUPTMANN TESTIFIES, page 135—Discusses the wisdom of calling Hauptmann as a witness, discusses strategies for handling his testimony on both direct and cross-examination, and describes how his testimony was delivered in court.

CHAPTER 7: THE DEFENSE CASE, PART 2: REASONABLE DOUBTS, page 177—Critiques the various theories of innocence presented by the defense, dividing the defense into modules, and discussing how they may have been better presented.

CHAPTER 8: SUMMING UP THE CASE, page 239—Discusses and critiques the final arguments delivered by the prosecution and defense.

CHAPTER 9: VERDICT AND AFTERMATH, page 291—Describes the post-conviction litigation of the case up to and including Hauptmann’s execution.

APPENDIX A: TIMELINE, page 331—Fits the various facts presented by the prosecution and defense into a timeline demonstrating the conflicts between the two theories presented at trial.

APPENDIX B: PROOF MODULES, page 351—Lists the prosecution proof modules in alphabetical order with a listing of the supporting witnesses and a summary of their testimony.

APPENDIX C: POINTS ON APPEAL, page 367—Sets out the points raised in Hauptmann’s appeal and the Court’s ruling on those points.

TABLE OF CASES, page 373


INDEX, page 379