White Sox: Time To Revisit HOF Consideration for “Shoeless Joe”
In less than a century’s time since, no one, including Jackson himself, has successfully pointed out that he may have very well been innocent of any wrongdoing in the said scandal, either directly or indirectly.
Unbeknown to Jackson at the time he was questioned about the alleged scandal, he had the right afforded to him, as we all do as U.S. citizens, against statements of self-incrimination by way of the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution. There is no documentation to support that he was ever advised of such by anyone.
Some have argued that had Jackson been read his “Miranda Rights”, he may not have talked to anyone about the incident at all. But, there are two problems with that claim.
The first one is obvious in that Miranda Rights were not mandated by federal law until after the 1966 landmark US Supreme Court decision, “Miranda v. Arizona”; 384 U.S. 436. Roughly 55 years after the 1921 Black Sox trial.
The second is that Miranda would not have applied to Jackson while discussing any information or potential evidence with attorneys and investigators originally hired by Chicago White Sox owner Charles Comiskey himself.
In a 5-4 majority ruling, the Court made it clear that both inculpatory and exculpatory statements made by a defendant in a criminal investigation that were given during any interrogation while in law enforcement custody will be admissible at trial in a court of law only if the prosecution can show that the defendant was informed of the right to consult with an attorney before and during questioning and of the defendant’s right against self-incrimination before such questioning and/or interrogation. Additionally, the defendant must not only have understood these rights but must have waived them voluntarily, without coercion.
The Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution, however, has been around since 1789. That’s a good 132 years before any possible so-called written and signed confession by Jackson. Add on the fact that Jackson couldn’t read or write and you clearly get the picture as to the validity issues any signed confession would face in a court of law.