Spontaneous Applause Greets Dorsey’s Victory

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 7th, 1913


Reuben Arnold Threatens to Call for Mistrial if There Should Be Recurrence of Applause Which Marked Reception of the Decision. Judge Announces That the Court Room Would Be Cleared if There Was Any More Disorder.


Dr. Roy Harris Testifies in Afternoon, Declaring That Death Was Caused by Strangulation—Tells of Experiments With Four Men in Digestion of Cabbage Cooked by Mrs. Coleman, Mother of Girl Who Was Murdered—C. B. Dalton Testifies Today.

When, shortly after the noon recess Wednesday, after he had heard lengthy argument on both sides, Judge Roan reversed his decision of the day previous thereby admitting as evidence the statements of Jim Conley that on numerous occasions he had acted as “lookout” for Leo M. Frank while he was engaged with women on the second floor of the National Pencil factory, the state and Solicitor Dorsey won a victory which was perfectly patent to every one in the court room, and the news was quick to reach the street and to be circulated by word of mouth all over the city.

As soon as Judge Roan announced his decision spontaneous applause broke out in the court room and Reuben Arnold jumped to his feet, exclaiming:

“If that happens again I shall move for a mistrial.”

Judge Roan announced that he would have to clear the room if there was a recurrence of the disorder.

Interest at Keen Pitch.

At no single stage of the long drawn-out trial has interest been so keen as when Judge Roan announced on Tuesday that he would reverse his decision on the admissibility of this evidence until Wednesday morning. The evidence was of such an important nature and its introduction came as such a complete surprise that it was the sole topic of conversation all day Monday and Tuesday. When Conley had blandly told of the occurrences which would seem to indicate a course of conduct on the part of the defendant which would throw light on the crime, and stamp him as apart from other men, there was profound surprise in the court room that the astute attorneys for the defense did not strenuously object.

But on second thought the impression seemed to be that Mr. Rosser and Mr. Arnold, confident they could break the negro down, were opening wide the bars and were giving Conley all the rope necessary to hang himself.

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Conley’s Status in Phagan Case May Be Changed Wednesday

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

The Atlanta Journal

June 11, 1913

Petition Will Be Presented to Judge Roan by Solicitor Dorsey but Its Nature Is Not Made Known


Negro May Be Put Back in the Tower – Solicitor Dorsey Says: “I Am Trying to Run State’s Case Myself”

The report became current Wednesday afternoon shortly after 3 o’clock that the new development in the Phagan case would be a withdrawal by the state of its petition in court whereunder James Conley, the negro, is held as a material witness.

Shortly before 3 o’clock, William Smith, attorney for the negro, and Solicitor Dorsey appeared at the court house together, for this purpose, it was said.

Attorney Smith does not want the negro confined in the Fulton county jail, where he declares he was menaced during the one night that he spent there after his affidavit became public. There has been no insistence from Attorney Smith. It is said, that any damage whatever be made in the status of the negro.

As the result of the clash between the prosecution and the defense of Leo M. Frank, over James Conely, it is expected that the negro’s legal status will be changed in some way, probably Wednesday afternoon.

It is also barely possible that Conley will be indicted Thursday by the grand jury as an accessory after the fact of Mary Phagan’s murder, but this is not considered probable.

Conley is now at police headquarters, held by authority of an order from Judge L. S. Roan, of the criminal division of the superior court. Conley is held as a material witness in the case against Frank.

The negro sweeper was transferred soon after he made his sensational confession, charging Frank with being the principal in the Phagan murder, from police headquarters to the Tower, where he remained about twenty-four hours.

Then he was transferred again, on a superior court order, to police headquarters, his attorney, William M. Smith, consenting to the move.

The obvious reason for the transfer was to prevent the negro’s talking to interviewers, who are allowed into the jail if the prisoner has no objection to talking to them.

At police headquarters only the detective and sometimes the prisoners lawyer, is allowed to see him.

Conley’s attorney, William M. Smith, stated Wednesday that he would prefer for the negro to be incerated at police headquarters rather than at the tower. Continue Reading →