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Wife-beater whipped

with 7 comments

In 1926, a Baltimore judge invoked an ancient punishment rarely enforced to sentence James H. Kingsmore to five lashes with a cat-o’-nine-tails for wife-beating. It was conducted in the main corridor of the City Jail and became both a public spectacle and a media circus. The next day a grisly picture of Kingsmore, tied spread-eageled with the cat-o’-nine-tails lying beside his bare back, appeared in The Baltimore Sun.

The judge was furious. In 1931, the same judge, Eugene O’Dunne, sent another wife-beater Charles Lamley to the whipping post but banned the newspapers to take pictures. But Joseph Costa of the New York Daily News, sneaked a camera into the jail and shocked readers with his above sneaked picture of Lamley being whipped.

Member of the New York Morning World, The Daily News and King Features Syndicate, Costa later become the first president of the National Press Photographers Association and edited its official magazine for 20 years. His career spanned 60 years and he taught photojournalism at universities. The NPPA’s Joseph Costa Award and its Joseph Costa Award for Courtroom Photography are named in his honor.

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

April 21, 2010 at 11:03 pm

Posted in Society

Tagged with ,

7 Responses

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  1. WHOA…


    April 24, 2010 at 3:09 pm

  2. Violence does not cure violence.


    July 3, 2010 at 9:11 pm

  3. And who was the jock who said wife beating was legal in the old days?


    September 23, 2011 at 1:06 am

  4. I think we protected women way better back then in the old days when Chivalry was law. Now a days men think they have the right to hit women if women attack them “FIRST” and wife beaters get to go to jail with out being whipped first. It’s not fair anymore. There is no such thing as justice anymore.


    September 23, 2011 at 1:10 am

  5. i think if you break the law you should be whiped, not with a cat o nine tails, but yes whiped. you knew the law and were stupid enough to break them. why should we have to pay to have you sit in jail and get a free ride and three hot meals when you are likely to get out and not think twice about doing it again. if you are whipped for it you will think twice before ever doing it again.


    November 19, 2011 at 4:35 am

  6. It is a strange photograph though – why do blurry and why does the guards head look so tiny compared to the rest of his frame?

    Re: “violence does not cure violence” – I think the recidivism levels after being caned in Singapore (under 4%) compared with the 70+% figure for the UK / US would suggest you may be in error there.

    Re: “whipped but not with a cat” – Rope cats, codline cats and leather cats (rarely used in correctional institutions) do not do the damage to the skin you might imagine from sea-fairing tales and depictions of a roman scourge (tipped with glass / metal / bone).

    A naval / army / prison cat in the UK or US was felt VERY keenly but did not result in “flesh hanging off in ribbons”. The nine tails spreads the impact over a wide area – and the total weight of the cat’s “tails” for a prison (codline) cat are in the order of 2-3 ounces.

    If you look at historical accounts of actual prison floggings, “blood loss” was usually in the order of “shaving nicks” which might weep a little – and often there was no blood at all.

    A single tail (bullwhip etc), can lacerate at the first stroke – cats VERY rarely do.


    December 5, 2011 at 3:42 am

  7. I am fully in support for state sanctioned whippings for wife and child beaters. But the wife and children concrned must agee to witness protection beause a beaten husband will feel humiliation and he will seek to to avenge his ordeal, you can bet on it.

    T W Morrison

    December 12, 2012 at 12:30 am

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