Statement on the Nicholas Viana Case, December 1, 1920 (excerpt)



Last Effort of Friends to Save Youth from Noose.

Gov. Lowden in person will pass on the appeal for executive clemency to be made in behalf of Nicholas Viana, sentenced to be hanged on Dec. 19. The governor will hear pleas at 9:30 a.m. today at the Blackstone Hotel.

Members of the Italian colony, friends of Viana's family, will head the delegation which will ask the governor to commute the death sentence to imprisonment for life. They will contend that "Viana got into bad company and never had a chance."

A number of clergymen, whose names have not been made public, will urge the commutation because they are opposed to capital punishment.

Jane Addams Asks Mercy.

Miss Jane Addams of Hull House will add her appeal to those of the others, because, she said last night, she is opposed to the hanging of a minor.

"In most states where they have capital punishment," Miss Addams explained, "it is the custom not to inflict the extreme penalty on minors. I do not believe that a boy who cannot vote should suffer the extreme penalty. I know nothing of the merits of the Viana case. I understand his record is pretty bad, but he was a good boy, I'm told, until he was 16 years old. Then he got into bad company. But I'm not interested in the case itself. I shall urge a commutation on the ground that capital punishment should not be visited on minors."

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