Applause Sweeps Courtroom When Dorsey Scores a Point

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Constitution
August 7th, 1913

Following Conley’s departure from the stand the jury was allowed a five minute recess and on their return Solicitor Dorsey tendered in evidence a picture of the pencil factory basement which was taken by Francis B. Price, The Constitution staff photographer on the morning that the body was found a [1 word illegible] of which appeared in The Constitution. He also tendered a scratch pad sample of one of those around the factory the murder notes and the pad found near the body.

There were no objections from the defense.

“Bring in C. B. Dalton,” called out the solicitor. Dalton is the man named by Conley as having gone into the factory with Frank when the latter chatted with women and had Conley act as lookout. Dalton took his place on the stand but was excused because the judge had not made his final decision with reference to the protested Conley testimony and Mrs. John Arthur White was called in.

Conley was brought back and Mrs. White was asked if he was the negro she claimed to have seen on April 26 concealed behind some boxes on the first floor of the factory.

She could not say that he was or was not but declared that he looked more like the man than anyone else she had seen and that he was about the same statue. The defense entered frequent objections while this was being brought out.

“Mrs. White,” the solicitor then asked, “on April 28 didn’t you tell your brother Wade Campbell, an employee of the pencil company that you had seen a negro there on the previous Saturday?”

Mr. Rosser objected.

“Your honor,” said Mr. Dorsey, “I’m going to show that this woman, wife of one employee of the National Pencil company and sister and daughter of two others, did tell that to her brother but on the same day concealed it from detectives working for the state. We can show that although Frank knew this and told Scott of the Pinkertons employed by the National Pencil company about it that he concealed it from the detectives working for the state when he was telling what he knew about the people there that day and at other times too.

Record Proves Dorsey Correct.

“How can you prove that Frank knew it or that he told Scott?” thundered Attorney Rosser.

“It’s in the record as part of Scott’s testimony,” said the solicitor.

“It is not,” replied Rosser.

On Mr. Dorsey’s motion the court stenographer produced his official record of Scott’s testimony. Mr. Rosser took it from him and began to search through it for the statement. It had already been transcribed to typewritten form and while Mr. Dorsey entered objection after objection of Mr. Rosser’s keeping it while the latter calmly searched for it while his colleague, Mr. Arnold, stated in answer to Mr. Dorsey that they would give it to the state in a few minutes.

“Well, Mr. Dorsey’s right for one,” Mr. Rosser then said quietly.

The record showed that Harry Scott of the Pinkertons had sworn to being told by Frank on April 28 of what Mrs. White had disclosed about the presence of a negro.

Applause Sweeps Courtroom.

It was at this moment that some thing occurred that had never occurred before during the progress of the trial. A burst of applause swept through the courtroom and several people clapped their hands loudly as though applauding at the theater something that met their approval. The deputies immediately began rapping for order and Judge Roan announced from the bench that such actions would not be tolerated. When order was restored Mr. Rosser objected to another phase of the subject.

“Now Mr. Dorsey wants to show that this didn’t get to the police authorities until May 27 and I claim this part is immaterial.”

“We’ve shown that Frank knew of this disclosure on April 28 and now we expect to show that although Detective Bass Rosser questioned this woman here on that same day that she refused to disclose this information to him or to any detective working for the state,” said Mr. Dorsey, “and that the state never knew of it until May 2.”

“Scott had been told by Frank,” snapped Mr. Rosser, “and he had declared that he was working in conjunction with the police.”

“I want to show that this woman closoly [sic] connected with employees of the National Pencil factory concealed this important evidence from the detectives representing the state,” answered the solicitor. By this time Mrs. White was swelling up and almost crying as she sat on the witness stand and listened to implications that she had tried to conceal evidence from the state and had not told the whole truth to the authorities.

“Did you ever try to conceal anything, Mrs. White?” Mr. Rosser inquired of her.

“No, sir, I never did,” she replied. She was then allowed to leave the stand.

Sheriff Mangum on Stand.

Sheriff G. Wheeler Mangum was then sworn in and put upon the stand by the solicitor.

“Were you at the jail when Conley went there and asked to see Frank?” the solicitor asked.

“Yes, sir.”

“Did you talk to Frank about his seeing Conley?”

“Yes, sir.”

Mr. Rosser then objected declaring that it was inadmissible to show whether or not Frank wanted to see anyone.

“Your honor,” said Mr. Dorsey, “I want to show that for the first time in the history of the white race, a white man claiming innocence, refused to confront his accuser and particularly that this accuser was only an ignorant negro.”

Judge Roan sustained the state.

“I told Mr. Frank that Chief Beavers and Detectives Lanford, Scott and Black were out there with Conley and wanted to know if he would talk to the negro,” said the sheriff.

“What did he say?”
“He said he did not, that none of his lawyers were there and no one to defend—“ Here the sheriff paused.

“Did you say he said he had no one there to defend him?” Mr. Dorsey asked quickly.

Sheriff Mangum paused and then said, “He said he had none of his lawyers there to listen to what might be said.”

“Did he use the word ‘defend’?” questioned the solicitor.

“No, he said he didn’t want anybody to see him unless his lawyers were there.”

The name of Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of Mary Phagan, and of George Epps, the little newsie with whom she is said to have ridden to town that day were then called but neither answered.

Jury Sent Out of Courtroom.

“Your Honor,” Mr. Dorsey then announced, “we want to put these witnesses up and they are practically all with the exception of Dr. Roy Harris, whom I can’t reach until 2 o’clock. I want to ask that the jury be sent out as I have something to say to the court which might better be said in their absence.”

When the jury retired the solicitor announced that he wanted to make three points.

“First, we want to protest against ruling out that part of Conley’s testimony which refers to Frank’s previous misconduct at the times the negro acted as his lookout.

“Second, we want to introduce witnesses to sustain what Conley said about this.

“And third, we want to put George Epps back on the stand to let him testify that Mary Phagan told him that morning on the car as she was on her way to the factory that Frank had punched her and made eyes at her and that she was afraid of him.”

“As to the boy’s testimony,” said Mr. Arnold, “we would have to hear him testify before we could talk about that; we don’t know that he would say exactly what our friend Dorsey, has just stated.”

Mr. Arnold then entered into his reasons for holding that that part of Conley’s testimony about Frank’s alleged misconduct on previous occasions was not admissible.

The matter was argued by both sides. Mr Arnold claiming that in no English speaking countries was a man’s past conduct ever put up against him and Mr. Dorsey declaring that such evidence in this case was admissible to show his tendency to this particular crime.

It was not 12:45 o’clock and Mr. Arnold stated that he was so weak and hot that he could go no further. He was given a glass of water and allowed to remain seated while he addressed the judge and went on.

A few minutes later court adjourned.

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Atlanta Constitution, August 7th 1913, “Applause Sweeps Courtroom When Dorsey Scores a Point,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)