Jail cells once occupied the top four floors of downtown’s Hall of Justice. Notorious criminals—among them Bugsy Siegel, Sirhan Sirhan, and Charles Manson—passed through its corridors, along with the occasional celebrity. Robert Mitchum left the building in 1949 (inset), having served most of a 60-day sentence for smoking pot. The actor’s bad-boy image would grow over the years, especially after he led a motorcycle officer on a chase. (When Mitch-um admitted that evading the police was stupid, the judge declared, “Your realization is the best punishment for you.”) The 1925 structure recently underwent a $231 million restoration: The jail is now offices, but one block—which houses Manson’s holding cell—has been kept intact to serve as an interpretive center.
Photographs by Dustin Snipes, Herald Examiner Collection/Los Angeles Public Library