Rep. Birmingham was one of only six representatives to vote in favor of a resolution asking Gov. Alvan Fuller to appoint a commission to review evidence in the Sacco-Vanzetti case, the Boston Globe reported (April 15, 1927, p 1, 17).
The House Rules Committee had recommended against suspending the rules to admit the resolution. Birmingham, along with five other legislators, voted to suspend the rules so the resolution could be considered. The House vote was 146 to 6 against suspending the rules.
The representatives joining Birmingham were the resolution’s sponsor, Rep. Roland D. Sawyer of Ware, along with Reps. Tony Garofano of Lynn, C. F. Nelson Pratt of Saugus, Lewis R. Sullivan of Boston, and Charles A. Kelley of Worcester.
Birmingham, Sullivan, and Pratt said they voted in favor of suspending the rules because they were opposed to capital punishment.
Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were Italian-born American anarchists who were convicted of first-degree murder in the killing of a guard and a paymaster during a 1920 robbery of the Slater and Morrill Shoe Company in Braintree.
They were sentenced to death by the trial judge Webster Thayer. After a series of appeals and a lot of public controversy, they were executed on Aug. 23, 1927.
The governor did end up appointing a three-man commission to review the case, which decided that the verdict and death sentence were justified.