Woodward Uses Clemency Again

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Saturday, July 19, 1913

Asserting That He Considers Recorder Mentally Irresponsible, the Mayor Announces Controversy Closed.

With the declaration that no utterance by Recorder Nash R. Broyles will induce him to resort to blackguardism or swerve him in the matter of exercising clemency, Mayor James G. Woodward yesterday reduced the sentence of George Poulas, a Greek retsaurant [sic] keeper, who was fined $100 or thirty days in the stockade for alleged violation of the near beer laws.

The extent of the mayor’s clemency was to reduce the fine assessed against Poulas to $49 or twenty-nine days in jail. Poulas was tried and convicted before W.H. Preston, acting recorder.

Considers Testimony Weak.

Mayor Woodward stated that his reason for pardoning Poulas was because the only witness against him was a 12-year-old negro boy.

“The testimony shows,” said the mayor, “that the negro boy had been in the employ of Poulas, and was discharged. By his own admission his testimony was biased and prejudiced, and hardly worthy of credit against the word of a white man.

V. Mazafladl, Greek consul, and a number of influential men of the Greek colony appeared before the mayor in behalf of Poulas, and made a strong plea for clemency.

Must Be Some Error.

Mayor Woodward said:

“Another motive that impels me in the reduction of this penalty is that it was imposed by the acting recorder, and not the recorder himself, and, therefore, there must be some error connected therewith, as it is the policy of the recorder himself to not exceed $49 fine or twenty-nine days in the stockade.

“In view of this error or oversight on the part of the assistant recorder, I desire not to take advantage, as it seems to be the policy of the recorder’s court at this time to place sentence without the limits of the chief executive of the city. I, therefore, reduce this fine to $49, or serve twenty-nine days on the public works, any time served being counted in this sentence. Upon the payment of $49 the said George Poulas will be released from further confinement or service.

No Love Lost.

Replying to the most recent statement of Recorder Broyles, Mayor Woodward [s]aid:

“The people of Atlanta are not, I believe, interested in any controversy of a personal nature between Nash Broyles and myself. It adds nothing to the dignity of either. As far as Broyles and myself are concerned, there is no love lost. He does not hold his position by my vote; neither do I hold the position I have by his vote, and I care nothing for him, either personally or otherwise, and do not propose to go into any further controversy with him, as I consider him irresponsible from a mental standpoint.

“As regards his apologizing to the hog family, possibly he is more interested in that line than I am.

“As regards the statement about falsehoods in referring to the court of appeals, I herewith give the names of the cases that were reversed and also those that were affirmed. The public can judge for themselves who is a liar in this business.

Gives Record of Reversals.

“On May 23, 1913, Chief Beavers made a report to the comptroller showing action by the higher court on seventeen cases, ten of which were reversed. On that report the city remitted fines as follows: Samuel Hughes, $500.75; George Marshall, thirty days, F. E. A. Smith, $500 and thirty days; Dan Brown. $99.25; Andrew Shanks, $50.75; H. Stone, $25.75; Tom Woolfolk, $500 and thirty days; Dave Fielder, $500.75; Will Lumpkin, $100, and Jack Percy, $25.75.

“The records in the comptroller’s office show that in a great many more cases the higher court sustained Broyles and at the same time reduced the fines of the defendants. In the case of Hub Talley, Judge Pendleton ordered the fine reduced to $75.10, all of which goes to prove my contention that Broyles is too severe.

Apologizes to Hog.

“Apologizing to the public, I want to say now and forever that I am through with Broyles.”

Recorder Broyles issued a warm statement Friday morning in reply to Mayor Woodward’s attack. He declared that he cared nothing for the abuse heaped on him, coming from such a character as the mayor. He asserted that the court of appeals never has passed on seventeen cases in one day, and said that the statement compelled him to “apologize to the hog.” He charged the mayor with uttering falsehoods in regard to the record of cases reversed, and intimated that the mayor was side-stepping the issue.

He reiterated that the mayor is hindering the courts by the use of his pardon power.

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The Atlanta Constitution, July 19th 1913, “Woodward Uses Clemency Again,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)