In 1926, a Baltimore judge invoked an ancient punishment rarely enforced to sentence James H. Kingsmore to five lashes with a cat-o’-nine-tails for wife-beating. It was conducted in the main corridor of the City Jail and became both a public spectacle and a media circus. The next day a grisly picture of Kingsmore, tied spread-eageled with the cat-o’-nine-tails lying beside his bare back, appeared in The Baltimore Sun.
The judge was furious. In 1931, the same judge, Eugene O’Dunne, sent another wife-beater Charles Lamley to the whipping post but banned the newspapers to take pictures. But Joseph Costa of the New York Daily News, sneaked a camera into the jail and shocked readers with his above sneaked picture of Lamley being whipped.
Member of the New York Morning World, The Daily News and King Features Syndicate, Costa later become the first president of the National Press Photographers Association and edited its official magazine for 20 years. His career spanned 60 years and he taught photojournalism at universities. The NPPA’s Joseph Costa Award and its Joseph Costa Award for Courtroom Photography are named in his honor.