Wife-beater whipped

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.

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10 thoughts on “Wife-beater whipped

  1. I could not agree more! I personally hold the opinion, that males convicted of domestic violence should be publicly whipped.

  2. 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.

    1. If a man who has been punished for beating (punching, beating so as to injure) his wife, girlfriend, child does it again then prison is called for.
      A few years of coddling criminals has resulted in an overloaded prison system. Once this gets started it is difficult to catch up. Those inclined to crime see a lesser and lesser likelihood of being punished, leading to more criminals committing more crime.
      The current regime has opened the floodgates to large numbers of criminals from other countries. While the majority of immigrants are escaping desperate conditions, seeking a better life, many are actual criminals escaping justice or being released who come to the USA to continue their criminal careers.

  3. 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.

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