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Essay/Term paper: Al copone

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Political Science

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Alphonse "SCARFACE" Capone



Born in New York City, in 1899, by parents Gabriel and Teresa Capone, Alphonse Capone was blessed with a historical blend of ruthless gangster in his blood. Al Capone's parents immigrated to the United States in 1893, from Naples, Italy. Al Capone came from a huge family. He was the fourth oldest of nine children. At birth, Capone's parents never would have believed that their son, Alphonse Capone, would grow up to be a murderous thug without remorse.

As a child, Al Capone was very wise when it came to living on the streets of New York. He had a clever and somewhat ingenious mind when it came to street smarts. If the act of plotting a crime was in question, Al Capone was as sharp as they come. As far as school goes, Capone was a near illiterate. He came from a poverty stricken neighborhood in Brooklyn, so education was not a top priority. When Capone reached the age of eleven, he became a member of a juvenile gang on his street called "The Bim Booms". While this was taking place, around the year 1900, about eleven percent of all the foreign born population in the United States were Italian. Being a part of the firstborn U.S. generation, Capone was forced to either deal with a miserable low wage job with a hopeless future or make an improvement for himself by committing first petty and then serious crime. Al Capone's philosophy was to the effect that laws only applied to people who had enough money to abide by them.

While in the Bim Booms Gang, Capone was taught how to defend himself by way of a knife, and if needed, by way of a revolver. By the time Capone reached sixth grade he had already become a street brawler. Capone never responded well to authority and for this very reason his schooling would soon come to an end. While attending school, Capone was responsible for beating a female teacher by knocking her to the ground. The principal of the school rushed in and chastised the young Capone and for this very reason he would never return to school again.

After giving up on school, Al Capone took up odd jobs such as working as a pin setter at a bowling alley, and working behind the counter at a candy store. Capone was definitely a night owl. He was a pool shark winning every eightball tournament held in Brooklyn. He also became an expert knife fighter. Although the Bim Booms Gang was the first gang Capone ever entered, The Five Pointers quickly picked him up. The Five Pointers was the most powerful gang in New York City. The gang was headed by Johnny Torrio, and was made up of over 1,500 thugs who specialized in burglary, extortion, robbery, assault, and murder. While working as a strong enforcer under Torrio, Capone learned all the lethal tricks that would propel him from rags to riches in no time at all. Capone was very grateful to Torrio and is quoted as saying: "I looked on Johnny as my adviser and father and the party that made it possible for me to get my start."

In 1925, Capone became boss when Torrio, seriously wounded in an assassination attempt, surrendered control and retiring to Brooklyn. Capone had built a fearsome reputation in the ruthless gang rivalries of the period, struggling to acquire and retain "racketeering rights" to several areas of Chicago. That reputation grew as rival gangs were eliminated or mollified, and the suburb of Cicero became a fiefdom of the Capone mob. Torrio first set Capone out to do all of his dirty work. "Capone was sent to beat up loan shark victims behind on their payments, then a pimp, beating up girls who were holding out on their nightly take." Torrio finally a job as a bouncer at the Harvard Inn. By this time Capone was recognized by his gang as being a vicious fighter with both fists and knives. He also became an excellent marksman with both a revolver and automatic weapons.

Perhaps the St. Valentine's Day Massacre on February 14, 1929,might be regarded as the culminating violence of the Chicago gang era, As seven members or associates of the "Bugs" Moran mob were machine- gunned against a garage wall by rivals posing as police men. The massacre was generally ascribed to the Capone mob, although Al Capone himself was in Florida at that time. The investigative jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the 1920's and the early 1930's was more limited than it is now, and the gang warfare and depredations of the period were not within the FBI's investigative authority. The Bureau's investigation of Al Capone arose from his reluctance to appear before a Federal Grand Jury on March 12, 1929, in response to a subpoena. On March 11, his lawyers formally filed for postponement of his appearance, submitting a physician's affidavit dated March 5, which attested that Capone, in Miami, had been suffering from bronchial pneumonia, had been confined to bed from January 13 to February 23, and that it would be dangerous to Capone's health to travel to Chicago. His appearance date before the grand jury was reset for March 20. One request of the U.S. Attorney's Office, Bureau of Investigation Agents obtained statements to the effect that Capone had attended race tracks in the Miami area, that he had made a new plane trip to Bimini and a cruise to Nassau, and that he has been interviewed at the office of the Dade Country Solictor, and that he had appeared in good health on each of those occasions. Capone appeared before the Federal Grand Jury at Chicago on March 20, 1929, and completed his testimony on March 27. As he left the courtroom, he was arrested by Agents for Contempt of Court, an offense for which the penalty could be one year and a $1,000 fine. He posted the bond and was released. On May 17, 1929, Al Capone and his bodyguard were arrested in Philadelphia for carrying concealed deadly weapons. Within 16 hours of arrest, they had been sentenced to terms of one year each. Capone served his time and was released in nine months for good behavior on March 17, 1930. On February 28, 1936, Capone was found guilty in Federal Court on the Contempt if Court charges and was sentenced to six months in Cook County Jail. His appeal on that charge was subsequently dismissed.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury Department had been developing evidence on tax evasion charges - in addition to Al Capone, his brother Ralph "Bottles" Capone, Jake "Greasy Thumb" Guzik, Frank Nitti, and other mobsters were subject of tax evasion charges.

On June 16, 1931, Al Capone pled guilty to tax evasion and probation charges. He then boasted to the press that he had struck a deal for a two-and-one-half year sentence, but the presiding judge informed him he, the judge, was not bound by any deal. Capone then changed his plea too not guilty. On October 18, 1931, Capone was convicted after trail, and on November 24, was sentenced to eleven years

In Federal prison, fined $50,000 and charged $7,692 for court costs, in addition to a $215,000 plus interest due on back taxes. The six-month Contempt of Court sentence was to be served concurrently. While awaiting the results of appeals, Capone was confined to the Cook County Jail. Upon denial of appeals, he entered the U.S. Penitentiary at Atlanta, serving his sentence there and at Alcatraz, the harsh prison in the San Francisco Bay. On November 16, 1939, Al Capone was released after having served seven years six months and fifteen days and having paid all fines and back taxes. Suffering from paresis derived from syphilis, he had deteriorated greatly during his confinement. Immediately on release he entered a Baltimore hospital for brain treatment, and then went on to his Florida home, an estate on Palm Island in Biscayne Bay near Niami, which he had purchased in 1928. Following his release, he never publicly returned to Chicago. He had become mentally incapable of returning to gangland politics.

In 1946, his physician, after examination, both concluded Al Capone then had the mentality of a twelve-year-old child. Capone resided on Palm Island with his wife and immediate family, in a secluded atmosphere, where semi-retired gangsters such as Jake "Greasy Thumb" Guzik would bring him fictional reports of how his rackets were doing, until his death due to a stroke and pneumonia on January 25, 1947. In 1947, one of his gangsters was quoted as saying: "Al's brain just exploded"(1)

 

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