Defense Asks Ruling on Delaying Frank Trial

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

Atlanta Georgian
July 22, 1913

Hearing of Crawford Case May Conflict

Conference Planned to Decide Which Shall Take Precedence. Ready to Draw Venire.

Reuben R. Arnold, of counsel for Leo M. Frank, announced Tuesday that he proposed to seek a conference of the attorneys in the Frank case and in the Crawford will hearing to determine which case should be postponed next Monday, the date set for the beginning of the trial of Frank on the charge of slaying Mary Phagan.

Mr. Arnold, Luther Z. Rosser, chief of counsel for Frank, both also are attorneys in the Crawford will case, and it would be impossible on this account to conduct the two cases simultaneously. The Crawford hearing will resume Wednesday before a special auditor in a branch of the Superior Court, and undoubtedly will be in progress next week if it is not stopped by a postponement.

The will hearing, because of the fact that it already is under way, would have a natural precedence over the Frank trial. This may be waived, however, in order to take up the Phagan mystery.

None of the attorneys for the defense will say that they intend to ask for a postponement of the Frank trial, but the hot weather and the fact that the Crawford case is in progress at this time appear to be combining to bring about such a consummation.

Judge Roan has stated that the case would be called Monday, but he probably will accede to the request for a conference some day this week to discuss the matter.

Court Likely to Accede.

Attorney Arnold will ask that the jurymen be not summoned until a definite decision is reached as to which of the cases is to take precedence.

When Deputy Sheriff Plennie Miner arranged to install twelve large electric fans in the courtroom for the Frank trial Tuesday morning, he said there would be no excuse for a postponement on the grounds of the room being too warm.

“Spectators will not be allowed to crowd into the court,” he said. “The fans will keep it much cooler than the average office building in the city. There are plenty of windows, and the place is always well shaded.”

Despite the reported repudiation of her sensational affidavit that eLo [sic] M. Frank had tried repeatedly on the night of the Mary Phagan murder to secure a room in which to bring a girl, Mrs. Nina Formby declared in Chattanooga Tuesday that she would be in Atlanta on July 28 to testify to her statements when the trial of the pencil factory superintendent opens.

Denies She Retracted.

According to a dispatch from Chattanooga, where the woman has been for several weeks, Mrs. Formby denies having ever retracted from her original declarations which she made to the police, and further stated that she would repeat them on the witness stand.

The police have asserted that Mrs. Formby has been eliminated from the case.

Superior Judge John T. Pendleton prepared Tuesday to draw the 150 veniremen for the trial. This venire will be called next Monday morning unless the weather is unusually warm.

The jury, in all probability, will be selected and served before Wednesday[…]

Preparations Are Made to Begin Trial Monday Despite Talk of Delay.

[…] night, according to Judge Pendleton.

Attorney Reuben R. Arnold stated Tuesday morning that he probably would ask Judge Pendleton to draw the venire from the Grand Jury box and that he felt confident he could cite enough law on the subject to sustain his point.

Solicitor to Fight Move.

Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey stated that the procedure was altogether irregular, if not illegal, and that he would oppose such a move as strongly as he fought the attempt on the part of the Grand Jury to indict Jim Conley over his protest.

The attorneys on both sides will be notified by telephone when Judge Pendleton begins to draw the venire, and he will allow them to be heard.

Judge L. S. Roan, who will preside at the Frank trial, will not return to Atlanta from Covington until Friday. He announced to a correspondent of The Georgian in Covington that the Frank trial would be called next Monday sure, but he would not commit himself as to whether he would consider any move for postponement after the case was called.

Before leaving for Covington he remarked that if the weather was as hot next Monday as it was last week he would welcome some sufficient ground for postponement.

Both Sides Are Ready.

Attorneys Arnold and Rosser admit they would like to se[e] the trial postponed to escape the ordeal of a hard fight in torrid weather, but state they will be reluctant to ask for delay unless there is some very excellent reason why the case should not go to trial.

Both sides are ready. All the witnesses who will be used are within the jurisdiction of the court and able to attend. The inability of any one of the more than 100 to be in court on the day the case is called would sustain a request for postponement, but the attorneys for the defense made it clear that if any move for postponement for any other reason than the absence of a witness was made, it would come from the other side, or the judge.

Attorney Arnold stated that the failure of the Grand Jury to indict Conley had made little difference to their case, because it had been built before any known move was made to bring about the indictment.

“It made absolutely no difference to us,” he said. “It was purely a technical point in the trial that would have been in our favor. As to the negro’s character and standing, it would make little difference to a fair-minded jury whether he were indicted.”