Online Collection

Henry Wade's handwritten notes for closing arguments in Ruby trial

Object Number: L2017.1.43
Category: Documents
Type of Object: Notepad
Dimensions: 14 1/16 × 8 1/2 in. (35.7 × 21.6 cm)
Medium: Paper, Cardboard
Yellow legal pad with two pages of Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade's handwritten outline and notes for his closing argument during the Jack Ruby trial.

The full text of the notes is as follows:

"Temporary -
I Insanity - Flimsy defense -- comes from the mind
of defense lawyers - not from doctors. --
Presumed to be sane. - own family doctors. [underlined]
Preponderance of Evidence (?). -

II Defense attorney argument communism lived (?) [handwritten in pencil above argument] lead to anarchy. - Barbarianism - Lynch law - one person decides who should be killed. --

III Malice [handwritten in pencil in margin next to Roman numeral] Pistol - no right to carry gun - Money (?) - Plead (?)
Closed - Home - in car. -

IV - Murdered our Democratic Institution (?) --\ Commission - happy (?) [handwritten in pencil above Democratic]
Bill of Rights. Constitution -- Jury Trial --
Presumption of Innocence. - Insanity as a defense. --

V Ruby Robbed the people of Dallas and
Nation of Determining whether Oswald was
Guilt [sic] --
1 [written inside circle] whether he had helpers -
2 [written inside circle] wh [scratched out] Communist. ? [sic] --
3 [written inside circle] Who Inspired him to Do it. ? [sic] --
4 [written inside circle] If Guilt [sic] - what we thought shot at (?). --

VI - [three lines of handwritten text; all marked through several times with pencil making it illegible]

VII Ruby -- Wasted Glory Seeker, Limelight, Publicity --
Hero - Fame and Fortune. -- Wanting to be Famous -- and capitalize on it --

VIII - What do you want history to say
about you -
1 [written inside circle] Stamp of approval - his assassination
2 [written inside circle] Put him back in Business at Carousel
3 [written inside circle] Hollywood court with Mr. Belli --
4 [written inside circle] Judge -- Jury -- Executioner

[second page]

Claim -
I - Law Enforcement -- no stronger than weakest link (?).

II - Duty and Responsibility = Noble words --
Strong headed (?) Men and Women --

III - Jack Ruby - Judge - Jury - Executioner
of handcuffed and - [illegible] man (?) --
[scribbled through] Now asks your Mercy, Sympathy, Compassion --

Give him the same Mercy, Sympathy
and Compassion that he gave
Lee Harvey Oswald = and your verdict
will be Death

Tell the world that you believe
in Democracy - way of life - Bill
of rights. - Rule of Law -

IV Deterrant [sic] - to others - legality (?) -
assassination. - Fear Justice in the
heart of all -
Let the world know what you think
of the assassination in Dallas --".

The rest of the pad is blank after the first two pages of notes.

This object was originally part of the evidence collected by the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office and specifically prosecutors Henry Wade and Bill Alexander during the investigation leading up to the Jack Ruby trial for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald.
Curator's Notes

In a Museum oral history recorded in 1992, former Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade said, "Jack Ruby would have been better off if he had pled general insanity rather than temporary insanity because I don't think you can find twelve people that would believe that a man could be sane now and, one minute from now, insane. It's not something you can turn on and off." - Stephen Fagin, Curator

In order to ensure its long-term care and preservation and to facilitate public access, the Dallas County District Attorney's Office placed their Jack Ruby Trial Collection (sometimes referred to as "the DA's Jack Ruby file") on long-term loan with The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in 2017. The Museum is working to make the entire collection accessible through this online collections database. To find out more about this collection or to access materials not yet included here, contact the Museum's Reading Room at - Megan Bryant, Director of Collections & Interpretation

This item, along with materials from the DA's Ruby file (which is on loan to the Museum) and from the Museum's permanent collection, briefly appeared in a temporary display on the Museum's seventh floor in 2017. - Lindsey Richardson, Curator of Collections

All requests for permission to reproduce, publish or broadcast materials in this collection must be submitted to the Museum's registrar, using the Rights & Reproductions Request Form. Inquiries may be sent to