Dorsey Blocked Indictment of Conley

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Thursday, July 17, 1913

*Editor’s Note: This article ran in other editions of the Georgian with slight variations in the headline.


Solicitor Bitterly Opposes Plan of New Body to Reconsider Slaying Case.

That the most strenuous opposition of Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey was all that prevented the last Grand Jury from reopening its investigation of the Phagan mystery with a view of indicting the negro Jim Conley became known Thursday.

It was admitted by persons acquainted with the events in the Grand Jury room that the Solicitor’s determined stand only blocked a consideration of the negro’s connection with the crime. Well-substantiated report also has it that Solicitor Dorsey before he would venture on his vacation took the precaution of insisting on some sort of a guarantee from the jurors that they would take no action in his absence.

Acceding to his request, the Grand Jury of that time passed resolutions pledging itself to waive all consideration of the Phagan mystery until the Solicitor’s return.

Hot Fight Certain.

The agitation, however, has been revived, as was forecast in The Georgian when the new Grand Jury was called. The Solicitor has declared that he will not retreat one step and preliminary skirmishes to a hot fight already are taking place.

The fight has resolved itself into a contest to determine whether Conley shall go on the stand in the trial of Leo Frank as a reputable, trustworthy and free citizen, the status in which the Solicitor wishes to maintain him, or as a prisoner with the shadow of an indictment hanging over him.

In the latter aspect, several of the members of the Grand Jury are said to contend that he should appear, inasmuch as he is a confessed accessory and a possible principal.

Defense for Action.

The defense is said not to be opposed to the review of the case by the Grand Jury at this time nor to the indictment of Conley. Luther Z. Rosser, chief counsel for Frank, has charged from the first that Conley was the man guilty of the slaying of Mary Phagan, and it is presumed that he would be willing to enjoy the tactical advantage that the indictment of Conley probably would give the defense.

W.D. Beattie, foreman of the Grand Jury, intimated Thursday morning that the matter of calling the body together to consider a Conley indictment was under consideration by some of the members, but he said that no formal request had as yet been made for him to convene them. He said that he would issue the call when he had received a sufficient number of requests.

It is understood that the requests will be submitted to the foreman Thursday, on the ground that the evidence connecting Jim Conley directly with the crime is infinitely stronger than the evidence on which Leo Frank was indicted about two months ago, and that for this reason Conley should not be permitted to go before a jury as a free and unsuspected man and testify against Frank.

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The Atlanta Georgian, July 17th 1913, “Dorsey Blocked Indictment of Conley,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)