Woodward Enemy to Society, Says Recorder Broyles

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: Some words in the middle of this article are missing due to scanning blur near a page fold.

Recorder Replies to Mayor’s Charges of “Czar-Like” Police Court and Scores Him Severely


The Judge Says, “Never Argue With an Ignorant Man, for You Can’t Convince Him He’s Wrong”

Recorder Nash R. Broyles, in replying to Mayor James G. Woodward’s criticism of his heavy sentences, quotes the philosopher who says, “Do not argue with an ignorant man, for you can never convince him that he is wrong.”

“While Woodward does not know as much about law as a hog does about political economy,” the recorder remarked between the trial of cases Thursday morning, “I don’t mind making a statement to put the facts before the public.

“This man Griff Freeman, whose sentence the mayor reduced until it was a negligible quantity, is the most notorious blind tiger now plying his trade in Atlanta. I had sentenced him to serve thirty days in the stockade and to pay a fine of $500. The case was carried to both of the higher courts, which sustained me. The evidence of his guilt was absolute.

“After the courts had sustained my sentence, Mayor Woodward comes along and reduces the man’s fine by half, and then removes entirely the sentence of thirty days in the stockade.

“Now, this man, whom the mayor thinks should not serve in the stockade has come before me again, and again the evidence against him is flawless.

“Five white men testified that they purchased whiskey from him, and the man declares that he has been buying liquor from Freeman for the past seven years.

“What are the courts for,” asked the recorder, “if not to deal with men like Freeman, whose only business and occupation is the flagrant violation of the law?

“I must say that a man who blocks the courts in an effort to stop law violations of this and other similar criminals is an enemy to civilization and to society.

“Before Mayor Woodward reduced the Freeman […] he called me over the telephone and […] my advice […] the matter, and after I had given him the facts in the case, he told me that he would not interfere.”

The recorder in commenting upon the mayor’s attitude, cited the case of Dr. Roper, who is again in the toils after having been once pardoned by the mayor.

Wednesday afternoon Judge Broyles bound Griffin over to the state courts under $1,000 bond in each of five cases and in a sixth case he sentenced him to serve twenty-nine days in the stockade. Freeman has stayed the stockade sentence by making a $1,000 certiorari bond. He is now at liberty under a total bond of $6,000.

“I am not going to have the city stockade turned into a modern Siberia if I can help it,” declared Mayor James G. Woodward Wednesday afternoon in commenting on the report that Griff Freeman, a blind tiger, sentenced Wednesday by Judge Broyles, had previously been pardoned by him.

The mayor asserted that he didn’t pardon Freeman, but on the recommendation of two physicians, Dr. Hugh I. Battey and Dr. G.G. Hall, reduced his fine to $250 in order that he might pay it and leave the stockade, since he was physically unable to work.

The mayor, in the course of his statements about the case, characterized the methods of Judge Nash R. Broyles, recorder, as too severe and czarlike.

“Whenever it is proven to me that a prisoner deserves clemency, I will see that he gets it,” the mayor added.

Griff Freeman, the blind tiger whose fine was previously reduced by the mayor, was again before recorder Wednesday and was fined heavily in several cases and bound over to the state courts under bonds aggregating $6,000.

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The Atlanta Georgian, July 17th 1913, “Woodward Enemy to Society, Says Recorder Broyles,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)