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Capone put on trial in play written by Baltimore lawyer

Ronald M. Shapiro portrayed Al ‘Scarface’ Capone. (Photo courtesy of the Maryland State Bar Association)

Ronald M. Shapiro portrayed Al ‘Scarface’ Capone. (Photo courtesy of the Maryland State Bar Association)

Three of the 12 jurors. From left are Donald B. Tobin, dean of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law; Ronald Weich, dean of the University of Baltimore School of Law; and Marvin J. Garbis, retired U.S. District Court judge. (Photo courtesy of the Maryland State Bar Association)

Three of the 12 jurors. From left are Donald B. Tobin, dean of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law; Ronald Weich, dean of the University of Baltimore School of Law; and Marvin J. Garbis, retired U.S. District Court judge. (Photo courtesy of the Maryland State Bar Association)

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh portrayed Capone’s rival, George “Bugs” Moran. (Photo courtesy of the Maryland State Bar Association)

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh portrayed Capone’s rival, George “Bugs” Moran. (Photo courtesy of the Maryland State Bar Association)

Al Capone was suspected of ordering the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, but was never charged. (Photo courtesy of the Maryland State Bar Association)

Al Capone was suspected of ordering the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, but was never charged. (Photo courtesy of the Maryland State Bar Association)

From left, James B. Stradtner, chairman of the board of Stevenson University; Paul Mark Sandler, a partner at Shapiro Sher; and Elliott Hirshman, president of Stevenson University, take a photo during “The Trial of Al Capone.” Stradtner played a juror in the play written by Sandler while Hirshman was assigned the role of Capone underling Frank Nitti. (Photo courtesy of the Maryland State Bar Association)

From left, James B. Stradtner, chairman of the board of Stevenson University; Paul Mark Sandler, a partner at Shapiro Sher; and Elliott Hirshman, president of Stevenson University, take a photo during “The Trial of Al Capone.” Stradtner played a juror in the play written by Sandler while Hirshman was assigned the role of Capone underling Frank Nitti. (Photo courtesy of the Maryland State Bar Association)

The audience at Stevenson University’s Inscape Theatre watch the performance of “The Trial of Al Capone.” (Photo courtesy of the Maryland State Bar Association)

The audience at Stevenson University’s Inscape Theatre watch the performance of “The Trial of Al Capone.” (Photo courtesy of the Maryland State Bar Association)

Shapiro Sher partner Paul Mark Sandler, who wrote “The Trial of Al Capone,” portrayed a lawyer who represented the reputed gangster, who was played by Ronald M. Shapiro. (Photo courtesy of the Maryland State Bar Association)

Shapiro Sher partner Paul Mark Sandler, who wrote “The Trial of Al Capone,” portrayed a lawyer who represented the reputed gangster, who was played by Ronald M. Shapiro. (Photo courtesy of the Maryland State Bar Association)

Robert Hur, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, makes a point in proceedings as he played the chief lawyer for the government in “The Trial of Al Capone.” (Photo courtesy of the Maryland State Bar Association)

Robert Hur, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, makes a point in proceedings as he played the chief lawyer for the government in “The Trial of Al Capone.” (Photo courtesy of the Maryland State Bar Association)

Former Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman filled the role of defense witness Frank T. Farrell. (Photo courtesy of the Maryland State Bar Association)

Former Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman filled the role of defense witness Frank T. Farrell. (Photo courtesy of the Maryland State Bar Association)

Defendant’s lawyer Paul Mark Sandler, left, a partner at Shapiro Sher, sits with his client, Al Capone, played by Ronald M. Shapiro. (Photo courtesy of the Maryland State Bar Association)

Defendant’s lawyer Paul Mark Sandler, left, a partner at Shapiro Sher, sits with his client, Al Capone, played by Ronald M. Shapiro. (Photo courtesy of the Maryland State Bar Association)

A cast of local legal luminaries took part May 18 in a production of “The Murder Trial of Al Capone for the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” before a crowd of 240 people at Stevenson University’s Inscape Theatre.

The play, a benefit for the Maryland Access to Justice Commission, was written by Shapiro Sher partner Paul Mark Sandler and was produced by the Maryland State Bar Association.

On Valentine’s Day 1929 in Chicago, Capone’s gang allegedly accosted the rival gang of George “Bugs” Moran, marched its members into an empty garage and let loose with machine guns, killing seven.

In real life, no indictments or trial followed.

In Sandler’s telling, the lawyers for the government – led by Robert Hur, U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland — fought hard, as did the defense, with Jim Wyda, federal public defender for the District of Maryland, as lead defense counsel.

Judge Keith Truffer, who played the judge, requested the jury foreman, retired U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis, poll the jury. Jurors, who included Ronald Weich, dean of the University of Baltimore School of Law, and Donald Tobin, dean of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, were divided. Larry Gibson, the University of Maryland law professor who narrated the play, polled the audience – which was also divided.

Other stars of the production included Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh as Moran and Stevenson University President Elliot Hirshman as Frank Nitti, a top Capone henchman.

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