Date of Crime


Cook County, IL Majczek & Marcinkiewicz Dec 9, 1932

Joseph Majczek and Theodore Marcinkiewicz were convicted in 1933 of murdering Chicago police officer William D. Lundy.  The case came to the attention of a Chicago Times reporter in 1944 after Majczek's mother placed a classified ad offering a $5,000 reward for information on Lundy's killers.  The Times did a front-page human-interest story on how the mother scrubbed floors on her hands and knees six nights a week for over a decade to raise the money.

A Times researcher got a statement from Joseph Majczek that said his trial judge met privately with him and promised him a new trial.  Normally the researcher would dismiss as preposterous a claim that a judge would host a private conversation with a convicted cop-killer, but the story reporter wondered aloud to him why Majczek was not sent to the electric chair, the usual sentence for a cop-killer.  Further research produced a compelling case for innocence.  The judge had not carried through on his promise because prosecutors had threatened him that granting new trials would end his career in politics.

The Times crusaded for Majczek's exoneration and he was pardoned in 1945.  Marcinkiewicz was seemingly forgotten, but in 1950, he was legally exonerated through a state habeas corpus proceeding.  The legislature later awarded $24,000 to Majczek and $35,000 to Marcinkiewicz.  Chapter 1 of Not Guilty covers the case in more detail including why the two were convicted.  The case was the subject of the movie Call Northside 777 (1948) starring Jimmy Stewart.  (CWC)  [12/05]



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