The best argument that could have been made for Hauptmann on appeal was that he was denied effective assistance of counsel--not at trial but by the ineptness of Fawcett as explained in the new Dekle-Dedman book. Bryan could not sue Fawcett in 1983 because he was dead and because in 1934-34 the federal courts (where Bryan brought his civil rights suit), the right to effective assistance of counsel was not recognized under the Sixth Amendment in state court proceedings. Fawcett's bungling of Hauptmann's case in New York substantially tied the hands of Hauptmann's entire New Jersey defense team. The New Jersey Hauptmann defense team did not raise this issue on appeal.
While the federal courts in 1983 pointed out that ineffective assistance of counsel in state court proceedings was not a federally recognized right, the court indicated that it might be sympathetic to such a claim. "Although the Supreme Court, at the time of the Hauptmann trial, did not recognize a sixth amendment right to the effective assistance of counsel in state court proceedings, it did recognize a right to counsel under the fourteenth amendment in some situations. See Powell v. Alabama, 287 U.S. 45, 55, 77 L.Ed 158 (1932)" (Hauptmann v. Wilentz, 570 F. Supp 351 (1983)). However, Wilentz did not "deprive" Hauptmann of ineffecive assistance in New York, since Hauptmann voluntarily hired Fawcett, although it may have been Fawcett who deprived Hauptmann of effective assistance. Also there was no allegation in Hauptmann's appeal of the denial of Fawcett's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in New York because of Fawcett's mishandling of the extradition proceedings. Of course, Fawcett in the appeal of the extradition proceedings would not have claimed that he, himself, was ineffective.
Robert Bryan represented the late Anna Hauptmann for the last 15 years of her life. She was the widow of Bruno Richard Hauptmann, also a German immigrant, who was executed in 1936 in New Jersey for... more
And given the weight of the evidence, how Hauptmann managed to keep silent and frustrate investigators is beyond me. At the same time, I think Schoenfeld and Condon were right when they stated the... more
The insanity defense is a "I did it, but..." defense which concedes guilt but attempts to deflect it by showing that the defendant did not have the requisite mental state to be guilty. The insanity... more