Many Records Are Badly Broken by State’s Most Expensive Trial

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 24th, 1913

By Britt Craig.

Besides costing Fulton county a small-sized fortune, the trial of Leo Frank has broken many records which at one time seemed likely to stand for all time.

It has been Georgia’s longest trial.

It has sent to court record a half-million more words than any other.

It has been the state’s most expensive.

It brought to court more witnesses than any two criminal trials.

It fostered more widespread Interest.

It brought more sentiment into play.

And that’s not all!

Worked Papers Hard.

It worked the newspapers harder than they worked that eventful night when Daisy Grace held herself from the Jail of Luton and journeyed to Philadelphia. If all the white paper that has been devoted to the Frank trial were stretched in a string. It would reach all the way from Rabun gap to Tybee Light.

If anyone were to tell you that the state would expend 10,000 perfectly good dollars in this expensive cost of living era just to hang a man, you’d either think the state was very vindictive or that your friend was a liar. But that will be just about what the state will have to pay when the verdict is in and the jury has gone home.

Longest of All.

There are only two criminal trials in Georgia’s history that can compare in time with the present case. The famous Ed Cox trial, thirty-five years ago lasted more than two weeks. He was convicted for killing Colonel Robert Alston in the old capitol building.

The Flannigan trial in DeKalb county, which lasted three weeks, is the next rival. Flannigan was sentenced for the slaying of a family in the county which he was tried.

Tomorrow the Leo Frank trial enters into its fifth week.

The speech made by Solicitor Dorsey—which, by the way, is not yet completed—is the longest in Southern criminal annals. It already has lasted six hours, with prospects for an additional two or three—maybe more.

The next longest speech was four or five hours. That was in the halcyon days of Solicitor Charley Hill, who brought tears and smiles and anger whenever he spoke. Some have said that that grand old man never made a better speech than Dorsey’s argument. Some say not so. They haven’t heard Dorsey.

Dorsey’s Speech.

Dorsey’s speech was a masterly argument, with the stamp of genius in every line, and, in expression of esteem, Atlanta—or a part of Atlanta—did something it never did before: Cheered a solicitor as he came from the courtroom.

The defense has examined approximately 175 witnesses. The prosecution has examined in the neighborhood of 75, thereby hoisting the Frank trial flag several odd inches above another record. Most of the witnesses for the defense were character witnesses. The prosecution produced but very few of this nature.

Word Record Cracked.

And, there’s another record gone, a record for words: Judge Harvey L. Parry, official stenographer, stated last night that he and his men had noted 1,016,040 words, which is a little more than a half-million over the number of words taken from any other criminal trial in Georgia’s career.

The expenses in the case will be attributed to such sources as these; evidence, court attachés, jurymen, stenographers, salary of Judge and solicitor, attachés to solicitor’s staff, and various other necessities to modern justice. Probably the biggest item will be contributed to the gathering of evidence.

It is rapidly nearing its end. The courthouse soon will be empty, and the jury will he home. The public will take a rest, and the morbidly curious will turn to other fields. The Frank trial will go to its inevitable havens, memory and history.

And, nobody will weep thereover.

Especially the state of Georgia.

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Atlanta Constitution, August 24th 1913, “Many Records Are Badly Broken by State’s Most Expensive Trial,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)