Justice Thomas Whitaker Trenchard was a sedate and compassionate judge with a propensity for propriety. With over twenty-eight years on the New Jersey Supreme Court bench, Justice Trenchard had a sterling reputation – he was known for both his fairness and the soundness of his decisions. In fact, he had never been reversed by a higher court in a murder trial. Justice Trenchard refused to stay Hauptmann’s scheduled execution when presented with the confession of an inmate who claimed responsibility for the Lindbergh kidnapping. In doing so, he noted that the business of the state could never be carried out if the justice system reversed itself every time an inmate made a jailhouse confession. Justice Trenchard was 71 years old when the trial began.
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