Fight Expected Over Effort to Defer Frank Case

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

Atlanta Journal
July 23, 1913

No Witnesses for Defense Have Been Called for Monday, and Indications Are They Will Not Be


Attorney R. R. Arnold May Go to Covington to Request Judge L. S. Roan to Postpone Case

While the position of the defense of Leo M. Frank has not been announced, Attorney Luther Z. Rosser and Reuben R. Arnold have indicated clearly that they desire to postpone the trial of case from next Monday, when it is set. Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey, on the other hand, has announced the state’s position. He will fight any and every move to postpone the case.

The solicitor general objected, when the case was postponed from June 30, the date he first fixed, and fought to have a date earlier than July 28 when he then saw that postponement was inevitable. Now he is again preparing to fight against further delay.

Deputy Sheriff Plennie Minor was instructed by Judge L. S. Roan, to bring the jury box to Judge John T. Pendleton with the request that he draw the venire for the trial on Thursday morning before the trial judge left to hold court this week in Covington.

Attorneys for the state and for the defense will then be present and it is possible that a definite understanding may be reached. The venire will consist of about 150 men, and if it can be definitely known Thursday that the trial will not come up, the veniremen will not be served by the court attaches.


It is said that Attorney Arnold, for the defense, is considering going to Covington Wednesday night to confer with Judge Roan over the advisability of holding such a tedious trial, and one which thousands will try to hear, during the present hot weather. It is argued that the trial at this season will prove dangerous to the health of those forced to participate.

An indication that the defense does not expect the trial to actually commence Monday in that it has not [text illegible from original newspaper] of its witnesses, although subpenas have been served already on practically every one of the state’s many witnesses. While it is true that it will be some days after the trial opens before witnesses for the defense will be place on the stand, the natural supposition is that the defense would have at least placed the witnesses who live some distance from Atlanta under subpena if it expected the trial to commence Monday.


When the hearing before Auditor James N. Anderson, of the Crawford will case, was called Wednesday morning it was postpone at the instance of Attorney Arnold, who declared that practically all of his time was occupied in the preparation of the Frank case. He asked that the case be checked until Monday, and it will be again checked if the Frank trial is commenced.

Attorneys not connected with the case are freely predicting that the state will win the first clash of attorneys if the defense asks that the venire for this trial be drawn from the grand jury box. While no law against it has been advanced there is no precedent at least in this county for such procedure, and it is said that the Frank venire, like all others, will be drawn from the petit jury box.

It was learned Wednesday that there is no probability of Judge Roan continuing or postponing the trial of his own volition, as was done on the date first set. Judge Roan is expected to return to Atlanta from Covington Friday night.


Solicitor Dorsey, Attorney Hooper, his special assistant in the Frank case; and Detectives Starnes and Campbell called at the jail Wednesday morning and talked for a while with Newt Lee, the negro nightwatchman, who is held there as a witness. Remembering that Newt had complained recently that July was “most gone an’ I ain’t no watermelon yet, the solicitor gave the jailers the price of a “Georgia rattlesnake’ with the request that one be purchased and turned to the negro for his exclusive delectation.


“The reported find of any club or bludgeon with which Mary Phagan is supposed to have been killed was not reported to this headquarters by any credible authority,” said Chief of Detectives Lanford Wednesday morning anent the find of such a weapon weeks ago at the National Pencil factory. “And if the Pinkerton detectives found it, they concealed the find from us and violated the pact between them and the city detectives.”

Chief Lanford characterized as “absurd” the theory that the club was used in the murder of Mary Phagan by Jim Conley, the negro sweeper at the factory, or by any one else.

“As it is described to me,” said he, “the stick is not heavy enough to have formed a deadly weapon in the hands of anybody, even if it had been found under circumstances indicating its connection with the case.

“I doubt exceedingly that it has that connection. It is said to have been found on May 10. The very spot where the report says it was found had been gone over by members of the detective force very thoroughly. Boxes had been cleared away, and every detail examined. They saw no bludgeon or anything like a bludgeon there immediately after the murder. I am skeptical of a find said to have been made there fourteen days after the murder was committed.”

Chief Lanford said that he heard rumors of a club having been found at a time when thousands of other rumors were in circulation, but he heard no authority for the rumor, and did not attach sufficient importance to it to ask the Pinkertons about it, assuming that they would report any material development as readily as they were supposed to do.