Dade County Courthouse

If you have the time, visit courtroom 6-1 in the Dade County Courthouse (73 W. Flagler St.) in downtown Miami. The courtroom was restored about three years ago and appears the way it did when the building first opened to the public in 1928.

In 1930, Al "Scarface" Capone was tried in 6-1 (then known as courtroom 630) for perjury. Capone beat the rap, but soon found himself in Chicago facing tax evasion charges. The rest is history. 

Courtroom 6-1 in 1933

In February 1933, Guiseppe Zangara attempted to assassinate President-elect Franklin Roosevelt at Miami's Bayfront Part (several blocks East of the courthouse - there is a historic marker in the park). Zangara missed Roosevelt, but shot several other people, including Mayor Anton Cermak of Chicago who later died from his wound. Zangara was brought before Judge E.C. Collins in courtroom 6-1 and pled guilty to four counts of attempted murder, including the one against Roosevelt. He was sentenced to 80 years in prison. Thereafter, Cermak died, and Zanagara again appeared in courtroom 6-1. This time, charged with murder, Zangara pled guilty and was sentenced to death by Judge Uly Thompson. He was executed a week and a half later. It was one of the swiftest legal execution in the 20th century.

In 1935, Judge Collins, who presided over the Capone and Zangara cases, was tired in courtroom 6-1 charged with embezzlement and bribery. The jury deadlocked, and later that day he resigned from office.

Courtroom 6-1 is the most historic courtroom in Miami-Dade County. Once the home of the Criminal Court of Record for Dade County, it hosted nearly every felony case from 1928 until 1962. The courtroom is now fully restored and is an aesthetic eyeopener.

Here is an extra historic tidbit.  Few people know that on the Northwest corner of the courthouse once stood the Dade County jail.  Between 1901 and 1917, eight of the nine men legally executed in Dade County met their demise at that location.  Each man was hanged on the gallows by the Dade County Sheriff.  Their crimes: murder or rape.  You won't find a marker, but it did happen.