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Samuel Simon Leibowitz

LEIBOWITZ, SAMUEL SIMON (Samuel S. Lebeau; 1893–1978), U.S. lawyer and jurist. Leibowitz was taken from Jassy, Romania, to New York at the age of four. In 1917 he began a brilliant career as a criminal lawyer. Of the 140 capital cases that Leibowitz defended, he saved the lives of all but one client, and attained national renown in his 1933–35 defense without fee of nine black youths charged with the rape of a white woman in Scottsboro, Alabama. Although the nine "Scottsboro Boys" were originally convicted and sentenced to death, Leibowitz secured acquittals for four of them at a retrial in 1937. A flamboyant attorney who defended the gangster Al Capone four times, Leibowitz became an impassioned jurist who imposed extraordinarily severe sentences on criminals, and extirpated corrupt officials. Leibowitz served on the King's County Court of Brooklyn from 1949 to 1961, when he was appointed to the New York State Supreme Court. Leibowitz was president of the United Organization for Israel Pioneers and a member of the New York Federation of Jewish Philanthropies.


Q. Reynolds, Courtroom (1950). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: R. Leibowitz, The Life and Career of Samuel S. Leibowitz, 18931933, (1981); F. Pasley, Not Guilty! The Story of Samuel S. Leibowitz (1933).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.