The Legendary Wyoming Rancher Who Helped Prosecute Al Capone
Courtney Davis is remembered as the former owner of the Y Cross Ranch, a 60,000 acre parcel of land that was later donated to the University of Wyoming, and then sold against against the family's wishes.
The case was ultimately decided in a controversial ruling by the Supreme Court of Wyoming.
Before Davis came to Wyoming, he was part of another high profile court case; the trial of refuted mafia boss Al Capone.
Davis was a Chicago-based lawyer for the U.S. Attorney's Office. In 1931, he was assigned to a team prosecuting the infamous gangster on federal tax evasion charges.
After several unsuccesful attempts to bribe the jury, Capone was convicted on three counts of felony tax evasion and sentenced to eleven years in prison.
Following the trial, Davis opened up his own law practice in suburban Chicago, In the early 1940s, Davis moved to Wyoming and purchased the Y Cross Ranch.
Davis ran the ranch, along with several other businesses, until his death in 1995.
In 1997, Coutney's daughter Amy Davis donated the property was donated to the University of Wyoming and Colorado State University, insisting that both universities use the land as a resource for agriculture and ranching studies.
Following her death in 2014, the University of Wyoming and Colorado State University announced plans to sell the land. The move drew criticism from many who believed the proposed sale violated the terms of the dontation.
The case made it all the way to The Supreme Court of Wyoming, who approved the eventual sale to Pine Bluffs-based businessman Toby Kimzey. Although terms of the sale were undisclosed, the selling price was believed to be near $25 million.