According to governor Hoffman, what emergency did New Jersey face in 1935?
In the year 1932, the month of March, the son of Charles Lindbergh an aviator, was kidnapped from Highfields estate in New Jersey. This was established because a homemade ladder was found beneath the window of Charles Lindbergh Junior’s room. However, the child’s body was found in the woods on 12th May, 1932, four miles away from their home and on investigating, the car used for the kidnapping turned out to be Bruno Richard Hauptmann’s from the identification of the license plate number. Hauptmann was identified as a key suspect and was put under surveillance by the New Jersey State Police, the New York City Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Following these events, on the month of September, Hauptmann noticed that he was under surveillance and tried to escape. However, he was captured and during his trial, he was considered the most hated man in the world and his trial dubbed “The Trial of the Century” (Falzini & Davidson, 2012). Evidence found against Hauptmann included a hand drawn sketch of a ladder in his notebooks which resembled the ladder found beneath the child’s room and a testimony claiming similarities of the handwriting and spelling to the ransom notes found. He was identified as the person seen near Lindbergh’s home on the day the child was kidnapped. However, his attorney argued that the evidence was circumstantial and there were no reliable witnesses to place Hauptmann at the crime scene. His fingerprints were also not found on the ransom notes or the ladder.
As a new governor in New Jersey, Harold Hoffman visited the convicted Bruno Hauptmann secretly with a stenographer and fluent speaker of German, Anna Bading, in his death row cell in October 16, 1935. Governor Hoffman pushed the other members of the then state's highest court which was the New Jersey Court of Errors and Appeals, to visit Hauptmann (Falzini &Davidson, 2012). This was because Governor Hoffman doubted that Hauptmann was guilty of kidnapping Lindbergh’s son. However, despite his doubt as regards to Hauptmann's guilt, Hoffman was not able to convince the other court members to re-examine Hauptmann’s case, and therefore, Hauptmann was executed on the 3rd of April in 1936.
Falzini, M. W., & Davidson, J. (2012). New Jersey's Lindbergh Kidnapping and Trial. Arcadia Publishing.