Al Capone


Al Capone

Capone leaving court during his 1931
trial for tax evasion.

Capone leaving court during his 1931
trial for tax evasion. (CHS DN-96927)

In 1931, Capone was indicted for income tax evasion for the years 1925-29. He was also charged with the misdemeanor of failing to file tax returns for the years 1928 and 1929. The government charged that Capone owed $215,080.48 in taxes from his gambling profits. A third indictment was added, charging Capone with conspiracy to violate Prohibition laws from 1922-31. Capone pleaded guilty to all three charges in the belief that he would be able to plea bargain. However, the judge who presided over the case, Judge James H. Wilkerson, would not make any deals. Capone changed his pleas to not guilty. Unable to bargain, he tried to bribe the jury but Wilkerson changed the jury panel at the last minute.

The jury that convicted Capone consisted
almost entirely of rural, white men.  Among them, a retired hardware dealer, a country storekeeper and a farmer.  Judge Wilkerson substituted this jury for the original jury to prevent tampering.

The jury that convicted Capone consisted almost
entirely of rural, white men. Among them, a retired
hardware dealer, a country storekeeper and a farmer.
Judge Wilkerson substituted this jury for the original
jury to prevent tampering. (CHS DN 97016)

The jury found Capone not guilty on eighteen of the twenty-three counts. Judge Wilkerson sentenced him to a total of ten years in federal prison and one year in the county jail. In addition, Capone had to serve an earlier six-month contempt of court sentence for failing to appear in court. The fines were a cumulative $50,000 and Capone had to pay the prosecution costs of $7,692.29.





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