For more on this case see: The Alimony Racket and “Petticoat Justice”: The Martyrdom of Umberto Politano - 1930-1933
FULL TEXT: Umberto Politano is a free man.
He stepped forth today from the alimony jail on Raymond St., took a deep breath and observed it was a bit cooler than the day he went in , in July, 1930.
His release was ordered by Justice Paul Bonynge in matrimonial branch of Brooklyn Supreme Court after a cross-fire of legal artillery on his behalf has raised the contention that his detention since then was without legal justification.
The point was not judicially decided, however, for while Justice John B. Johnson was considering it in a habeus corpus proceeding. Justice Bonynge ordered Politano’s release on the humane ground that he could not possibly comply with the provision that he post a bond for $1,000 to guarantee future alimony.
That clause, it was contended by Charles Rothenberg and Burton B. Turkus, Politano’s new attorneys, should never have been inserted in the last commitment order. When Justice Bonynge freed the prisoner the habeas corpus proceeding was withdrawn.
~ Had 11 Months Married Life
But now that he is free, $12 will begin to pile up against him and accumulate every week, unless, of course, his wife, Mary, who had him jailed, decides not to prosecute him further for alimony arrears. Politano is going to try to get some work at his trade, bricklaying, he said.
He regards his matrimonial experiences rather grimly. He lived with his wife 11 months. Then she sued for separation, saying he was a tyrant and peeved because she learned she didn’t have a fortune. He says three days after he set up a home for his wife in a house he bought at 2422 West St., near Avenue Z, her mother and sister moved in and assumed complete command of the household. After that, he said, he just couldn’t make his wife listen to him at all. He ordered the in-laws out. They moved to a house nearby and Mrs. Politano moved with them.
~ Enters Alimony Jail
Late in 1928 she got an award of $12 a week “temporary” alimony. He served three terms of three months each on contempt adjudications and then along came that order with the clause he should post a bond. His real estate ventures had gone to smash by that time and he was entirely without funds.
Politano’s numerous appeals for freedom have attracted wide attention and several orgalizations have spoken for his release.
During his long stay in the alimony bastile Politano has polished up on his English reading and writing. Late in January he wrote a letter to The Eagle, protesting against his situation.
For the time being he will stay with his sister, who lives at 274 ½ 22d St.
[“Out of Alimony Jail After 2 Yrs. And 7 Mos. – World Seems Bright Again to Umberto Politano, Set Free by Justice Bonynge – Couldn’t Post $1,000 While in Jail,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle (N.Y.), Mar. 1, 1933, p. 1]
For more revelations of this suppressed history, see The Alimony Racket: Checklist of Posts