Al Capone Trial (1931)
  Excerpts from the Trial Transcript: Summation of Michael J. Ahern (for defense)

The Government has sought by inference, by presentation and by circumstantial evidence to prove this defendant guilty. It has sought to free itself from the law, to convict merely because his name is Alphonse Capone.
Why does it seek to convict him on such meager evidence? Because Capone has grown into a mythical Robin Hood, whose name is bandied all over the nation.
In Rome during the Punic Wars there lived a Sergeant named Cato. Cato passed upon the morals of the peasants and he decided what they should eat, what they should drink and what they should think. Carthage fell twice, but Carthage grew again and was once more powerful.  Cato concluded every speech he read in the Senate building by thundering, "Carthage must be destroyed. These censors of ours, these prosecutors, the newspapers all cry, "Capone must be destroyed!"
The evidence in this case shows only one thing against Capone - that he was a spendthrift. The Government, is guilty of profligacy by bringing these witnesses here to recite their inferences. It is spending thousands of dollars for that purpose, and in these depressed times this money could be better spent on soup kitchens.
A witness came from Florida to tell of a conversation he had with Capone wherein Capone said he began work as a bartender at Coney Island.  This was done so that it might prejudice you gentlemen, but Grossman said, when we objected, that he sought to show the "humble beginnings" of the defendant.
Actually he wished to show that Capone had not inherited money.
If you convict on this sort of evidence, every spendthrift in the country should be imprisoned....

Be careful of taking liberty from this defendant, Alphonse Capone. You, gentlemen, are the last barrier between the defendant and the encroachment and perversion of the government and the law in this case....

By the same token, when the United States Government reaches to all parts of the country for witnesses, spending large sums in this manner, the government is guilty of acts of profligacy. Far better for the government in these hard times to spend this money for soup kitchens!