Dillinger Question #8 ~ Piquett & O'Leary

by G.Russell Giradin & William J. Helmer

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Dillinger Question #8 ~ Piquett & O'Leary

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:37 am

What was your take on Piquett and O’Leary? What did you think about their frequent and relatively easy access to Dillinger?
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Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Dillinger Question #8 ~ Piquet & O'Leary

Unread postby ladylinn » Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:26 am

Dillinger needed a lawyer - one with enough dirt on judges, politicans, and law enforcement - to help him get information and get him out of scrapes. Piquett used O'Leary as the go-between to keep himself from direct contact (strictly lawyer/client he claimed) with Dillinger. In the end when O'Leary turned on Piquett he shouted "I've been framed".(pg.238) Bottom line - I think they both enjoyed the notoriety and excitement of being connected with Dillinger. Dillinger seemed to always owe Piquett money - but I think Piquett believed that some day he would receive lots of money from Dillinger after a big bank job.

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Re: Dillinger Question #8 ~ Piquet & O'Leary

Unread postby nebraska » Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:38 am

I thought Piquet was a bit of a shady character himself, he seemed to be well-connected in the circles of pay-offs and illegal activity, while walking a thin line keeping himself more or less legal. I agree that he liked the notoriety and maybe he saw his position as Dillinger's lawyer like advertising for future cases. O'Leary seemed less of a showman and more of Piquet's errand boy. Somehow, in spite of being a major player in the story, I never got a really strong "feel' for his character. Of course, one needs to remember that Girardin wrote what Piquet and O'Leary told him was truth -- some of it probably was true, some of it might have been false but they believed it to be true, and some of it may have been outright fabrication. But it may be as close to the real Dillinger story as anyone will ever come.

It was good for Dillinger to have a "home base" in the real world. If he had not had these two men to help him out, he might have been captured for good much sooner.

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Re: Dillinger Question #8 ~ Piquett & O'Leary

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:36 pm

I agree these connections definitely allowed Dillinger to last longer in the real world than he might have otherwise. I also think Piquett was looking for a payoff, either in reputation or financially. What I don't get is why the cops didn't just tail O'Leary or Piquett for that matter?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Dillinger Question #8 ~ Piquett & O'Leary

Unread postby nebraska » Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:48 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:I agree these connections definitely allowed Dillinger to last longer in the real world than he might have otherwise. I also think Piquett was looking for a payoff, either in reputation or financially. What I don't get is why the cops didn't just tail O'Leary or Piquett for that matter?


And then we may be back to how many cops were crooked ...... and how much of Dillinger's crime spree was the pre-arranged kind to cover bank losses. His story is more complicated than a simple cop and robber tale.

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Re: Dillinger Question #8 ~ Piquett & O'Leary

Unread postby deppaura » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:09 pm

Boy, exposing and explaining those relationships...the intertwining complexities. THAT would make for an interesting movie!! And make us move towards being a more savvy society..

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Re: Dillinger Question #8 ~ Piquett & O'Leary

Unread postby trygirl » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:11 pm

You have to wonder the reason Piquett and O'Leary continued to "help" Johnnie. They certainly didn't attain great wealth. Dillinger really only ever paid them peanuts, so why did they continue to put their life in danger? But these men were the voice of reason for the gang more than once. I guess he was lucky to have such tricksters around.
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Re: Dillinger Question #8 ~ Piquett & O'Leary

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:51 pm

I think there was definitely more to Piquett than we know. His clients seemed to be slightly to the left of the law more often than not. My guess would be that he was betting on the notoriety he would gain if Dillinger ever went to trial. He seemed to be quite the showman. I'm sure his story would make an interesting tale!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Dillinger Question #8 ~ Piquett & O'Leary

Unread postby gemini » Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:33 pm

I didn't think much of Piquett. Funny how some of you mention that Dillinger always owed him money but it seems that whenever he gave Piquett money to deliver to his friends or for their legal fees it always ended up short. I think he knew Piquett was stealing what he could and played the same game with giving him bits of payment at a time. One thing I had to keep in mind while reading, the amounts of money seemed small, but at the time it was a lot of money.

O'Leary seemed to me more of a friend to Dillinger and he was truly the one sticking his neck out doing all the meetings. He took the risks, but in doing so I think he became friends with Dillinger. Remember JD wanted him to stick around while he had surgery because he trusted him. In the end when Probasco told Dillinger that Piquett was going to get rid of O'Leary and turn Dillinger in , Johnny went to warn O'Leary to get out of town.

I think Piquett wanted the reputation of being a law abiding lawyer, and the money to be had in being a crooked lawyer, so he used O'Leary to do what favors he could to keep Dillinger as a client. In the end he let O'Leary go to the wolves and tried to protect himself.

And as Nebraka mentioned, there were a lot of crooked cops. Zarkovich is thought to have stolen Dillingers money from his pockets at his death. He supposedly had a lot of money on hand and none was found at his apartment.
I read somewhere that the two cops who shot Van Meter did so because they heard he was carrying a large amout of money which wasn't found on his body later. On pg 261-2 part of JD's statement on how bad his life turned out included this sentence, " What pleasure do I get out of my money? Every cent I got I have to hand out just to be allowed to keep on liviing...."
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

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