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Guide to the
Justice Stephen G. Crane Papers
on the Bernhard Goetz Trial and Other Cases
 MS 3152

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Joseph Ditta

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on November 30, 2020
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Scope and Contents

Aside from the trial docket books in Series I, which record proceedings heard by Justice Stephen G. Crane in the Criminal Court of the City of New York (1981–1983) and New York State Supreme Court (1984–2000), the bulk of this collection centers on the criminal trial of "Subway Vigilante" Bernhard Goetz (1985–1987). Series II includes subject files on various aspects of The People v. Goetz, containing such material as handwritten notes, photocopies of laws and precedents, court documents, and scattered correspondence. More focused correspondence—much of it from interested members of the public who offered Crane their opinions both for and against Goetz (in sometimes racially-tinged language)—may be found in Box 6, Folders 1–8. And extensive newspaper clippings on the Goetz case, trial, and sentencing, may be found in Box 5, Folders 8–47. A copy of the official 9,505-page trial transcript fills three record cartons and provides minute coverage of the proceedings; see Box 8, Folder 1 for a detailed table of contents and an index to witness testimony. The collection also includes two unusual, autographed mementos of the Goetz trial (see Series IV). One, a 108-inch-long computer printout, presents the jury's admonition or oath with an inscription "To Justice Stephen G. Crane with respect and admiration" and signatures of the jurors and alternates. The other, a remnant of the jury box from the courtroom at 111 Centre Street, Manhattan, where the Goetz trial took place, is a 99-inch-long wooden plank signed by all the participants (excluding the victims): the judge, the jurors, their alternates, the attorneys, court officers and reporters, and the defendant, Bernhard Goetz, himself. See the note at Series IV for a description of this item's creation.


The collection is organized in four series:

Series I.
 Trial docket books, 1981–2000
Series II.
 Clipping and subject files, 1982–1991
Series III.
 People v. Goetz trial transcript, 1986–1987
Series IV.
 People v. Goetz trial artifacts, 1987