Judge Crater

Jurist / Missing Person

Born: 1889
Died: 6 August 1930(?)
Birthplace: Easton, Pennsylvania
Best known as: The New York judge who vanished in 1930

Name at birth: Joseph Force Crater

On 6 August 1930, New York Supreme Court justice Joseph Crater made plans to attend the Broadway play Dancing Partner -- or so he told friends. In fact he went to his office and removed various papers from his files, then cashed two large checks. Later that day he stepped into a taxi and vanished without a trace. His disappearance created a public sensation. Some speculated that Judge Crater was involved in illegal activities or had been murdered by organized crime, but no firm evidence was ever found; nearly a decade later he was finally declared legally dead. Judge Crater never reappeared and his name became a pop culture synonym for mysterious disappearances.

Extra credit:

Judge Crater was the inspiration for the 1947 film The Judge Steps Out, starring Alexander Knox as a distinguished jurist who drops everything for a road trip.

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