A Wrongful Conviction, a Story in Several Parts

Part 4:

Touhy and the others were held in a jail in Wisconsin after the car accident, until an FBI agent from Chicago came up, took them into custody, and drove them to Minnesota.

Touhy later complained that they were taken to Minnesota without an extradition order. That was true enough, but there were other problems. Neither Hamm, nor another witness to the kidnapping, were able to identify Touhy or his friends.

With no identification or evidence to connect Touhy and the others to the crime, the FBI took them back to Wisconsin and held them on weapons charges, and, apparently, while they continued to investigate the Hamm kidnappin

Touhy claimed that while he was in custody in Wisconsin he was tortured to try to make him confess to the Hamm kidnapping:

“I went into jail in excellent physical shape. When I came out I was twenty-five pounds lighter, three vertebrae in my upper spine were fractured, and seven of my teeth had been knocked out. … They questioned me day and night, abused me, beat me up, and demanded that I confess the Hamm kidnapping. Never was I allowed to rest for more than half an hour. If I was asleep when a team of interrogators arrived at my cell, they would slug me around and bang me against the wall.” (Touhy, The Stolen Years, p. 122)

Touhy continued to insist he didn’t kidnap Hamm, didn’t know Hamm, hadn’t been to Minnesota in years.

To no avail. August 13, a grand jury in St Paul, Minnesota indicted Touhy and his companions for kidnapping, based on the claims is the FBI and Chicago police officers.


Writer. Formerly civil rights attorney. Currently professor. Working on new book about mental disability and criminal law in the 20th century.

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