Wordy War Over, Says Woodward

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Friday, July 18, 1913

In Final Fling at Broyles the Mayor Declares He Is Through With Controversies With City Officials.

The word war raging between Mayor James G. Woodward and Judge Nash R. Broyles, police magistrate, which grew out of the mayor’s use of the pardon prerogative, grew tense yesterday, when both sides hurled bitter excoriations at the other.

Mayor Woodward took a final fling at Recorder Broyles in a statement last night.

“I sympathize with Broyles,” Mayor Woodward said. “He is, in my opinion, a political accident. No one takes him seriously. He is mad with the courts for reversing him, and he is trying to take it all out on me. Really, I am sorry for the fellow.”

The mayor announced that he is through with controversies with any city officer. He stated that in the future he will welcome criticism when it is made to him, face to face.

“And when I have anything to say to Judge Broyles I’ll tell it to him.”

What Each Thinks of Other.

Both Mayor Woodward and Recorder Broyles burned up a choice collection of adjectives in their debates in the newspapers Thursday.

“He’s ignorant.

“He knows about as much of law as a hog does of political economy.

“He’s a menace to civilization.”

Those are some of the harsh things Recorder Broyles said about the mayor.


Mayor Woodward shot these over the plate at the recorder:

“He’s a petty czar—a political accident.

“He never was much of a lawyer in his lawyer days, and I don’t see any improvement since he has been recorder.

“He’s trying to be a little iron king—a Bismarck among the poor creatures of the underworld.

“He’s a joke.”

Freeman Still in Stockade.

And through it all, Griff Freeman, the blind tiger, who was the cause of all the rough stuff between the mayor and the recorder, lanquishes in the stockade. And the chances are that he will remain there. His only chance of freedom lies in his ability to get a bondsman to sign up about $6,500 in bonds.

Mayor Woodward’s statement in reply to Recorder Broyles’ criticism of his pardoning Freeman brought forth a hot reply Thursday morning from the recorder. In addition to the statements quoted, Recorder Broyles denied the statement of the mayor that he was frequently reversed by the court of appeals. “I have been sustained ten times to every one time I have been reversed,” he said.

Mayor Woodward dug up records in the comptroller’s office, Thursday, and then made the following statement in contradiction:

“The record of May 23, 1913, shows that the court of appeals reversed, on that day, ten cases which were decided by Judge Broyles. On that same day the court affirmed seven of his decisions. Two of the affirmed cases were against the same man. The fines ranged from $25 to $500. That’s some record coming from a judge who accuses me of being ignorant of the law.

Discussion is Distasteful.

“This entire discussion has been distasteful to me. I am trying to keep down friction in the city administration, but it appears that some people are determined not to let me. Judge Broyles has brought this all on himself, all because of his desire to act the little czar. The mayor’s office has been the place for dispensing clemency since Atlanta was Marthasville. The charter gives the executive of the city the right. Recorder Broyles through his littleness, desires that those who come before him must appeal to him for mercy. He has dealt with those poor unfortunates of the underworld so long that he is beginning to imagine himself supreme.

“He resorts to the little method of imposing fines of $49 and sentences of 29 days in order to prevent me interfering. I am satisfied. If he can go to bed with a conscience clear that he is doing justice to those he deals with, I am satisfied.

“In reply to his charge that I am as ignorant of the law as a hog is about political economy, I must plead the right to appeal to a more competent judge. I don’t think Judge Broyles is the right one to decide. As to the charge that I am a menace to civilization, I return the insult as gratuitously as it wa given. His remarks about my lack of knowledge may or may not be timely, as I never heard of Broyles being much of a lawyer in his lawyer days, and I don’t think he has improved any.

“From the bottom of my heart I am sorry for him. If it is possible for him to get a little free advertising by roasting me and exploiting his own ability as a fly trainer, I have no kick to offer.

“However, I do think Judge Broyles should practice what he preaches. I understand he plays golf on Sunday and on Monday will fine a youngster who is picked up on the street for playing baseball. Verily, he deserves the sympathy of the people.”

Recorder Broyles charges the mayor with having pardoned Freeman after making a promise that he would not interfere. Mayor Woodward, in reply, said that he did not know that Freeman was sick and could not work. He asserts that he issued the pardon only upon representations made to him by Drs. Batty and Hall that Freeman was seriously ill.

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The Atlanta Constitution, July 18th 1913, “Wordy War Over, Says Woodward,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)