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STATEMENT OF HON. WILLIAM PRESTON LANE, JR., ATTORNEY
GENERAL FOR MARYLAND
Senator Van Nuys. I now take pleasure in introducing Hon. W. Preston Lane, Jr., attorney general for Maryland, who is here under subpena. I will say to you, Mr. Attorney General, that the scope of your testimony will be largely determined by yourself, the committee taking judicial notice of certain happenings in your State. We were interested in having you, as a citizen, give your version or views with relation to the bill and any amendments or any suggestions which you care to make.
Will you first state your full name and official position?
Attorney General LANE. My name is William Preston Lane, Jr., attorney general for Maryland.
Senator Van Nuys. Would you rather proceed in your own way or would you rather be questioned !
Attorney General LANE. I should be glad if you would give me an idea or an outline of what the committee would like to have, whether it is a comment with reference to the bill or whether it is with reference to the facts as to the occurrences and lynchings in Maryland.
Senator Van Nuys. We have under consideration Senate bill 1978, with which you are familiar, I take it, introduced by Senators Costigan and Wagner. Are you familiar with the terms of that bill?
Attorney General LANE. I have had only an opportunity to read it over. I have not had an opportunity to make a study of it.
Senator Van Nuys. Are you in a position to give us your observa. tions as to the legality or constitutionality of the bill, and also the question of policy involved in the enactment of this kind of measure?
Attorney General LANE. I would hesitate now to comment on the question of the constitutionality, not because I doubt the question of constitutionality, but only because I have not had sufficient opportunity to make a study of the bill. I did not see a copy of the bill until, I believe, last Friday.
Senator Van Nuys. As to the policy of enacting this sort of measure, are you prepared to give us some suggestions or observations? Getting right down to the point involved, you had some lynchings in Maryland. We understand that you are familiar with the facts and circumstances and that you made a very exhaustive examination of the facts. From that study we would judge that you are in a position to determine whether State legislation is sufficient or whether Federal legislation is necessary. If you care to do so we would be delighted to have your observations.
Attorney General LANE. There are, I suppose, a great many people who are perfectly willing to express their opinions. I hesitate to do that only because I have not had a sufficient opportunity to study the results of laws that have been enacted.
First, I think that any legislative effort to stamp out lynching or any form of mob violence is highly commendable, whether it would be State legislation or national legislation. I believe, however, from the little study I have been able to make outside of the incidents in Maryland, and I believe it for what it is worth, that mob violence in respect to lynchings could better be prevented by action before lynchings than punitive action afterwards. I believe there are 10 States that have enacted antilynching legislation.
I had an opportunity to read a book on the subject published by Professor Chadbourne. As I recall it, the statistics which he submitted from the 10 States for a 5-year period following the enactment of the legislation in the States resulted in an improvement of about five tenths of 1 percent.
It is very difficult in the case of prevented lynchings to get the facts. I think in the year 1930–31 a record of 85 prevented lynchings disclosed that 54 of them were accomplished by the removal of the prisoner. I believe, as the result, that some effective means in affected areas for the prompt removal of prisoners would do more than anything else I can think of from the meagre study I have had time to make.
As I said, the other types of legislation are punitive. I think another thing that would promote it would be more adequate police Protection. It is probably true that you cannot put your finger on any one isolated cause for lynchings. "It often is an accumulation of circumstances. By adequate police protection, I mean a police force not only for the protection of prisoners, but in the policing of areas in which lynchings might occur.
I think statistics show that the large majority of lynchings occur in the sparsely settled sections of the country, perhaps as the result of psychology that because it is a sparsely settled section of the country, the people have to look out more for their own protection.
When I say more adequate police protection, I think the police protection by the State authorities is meant rather than local county authorities. It is largely true in this country, and I know it is true in the State of Maryland, that local police officials are elected locally, and therefor, they are amenable to whatever political influence there might be when questions of the propriety of their actions might arise. Probably through more effective State police rather than local police something could be accomplished.
Specifically with reference to the bill which you have under consideration and again I want to say that I regard myself as hardly qualified to comment, but treating it with the greatest candor that I can, this thought occurs to me.
I should think that the States would divide themselves into two classes, first, those States in which the public psychology is that they are ready and would be anxious and willing to enact legislation or do anything that was necessary to stamp out lynching or mob violence; and, second, those in which the public psychology might be dilatory or in which it might be found to be antagonistic.
I cannot help feeling that insofar as the first class of States is concerned it may be a slower evolution, but those States would accomplish some progress. As to those in which the public psychology was dilatory or possibly antagonistic, I do not know how effective Federal legislation might be in respect to those States.
As to the various penalties in the bill, I do not know that I could comment on them or upon any penalty that is proposed to be imposed. As a matter of practice it would probably have some effect. I do not know how effective the penalties proposed in this bill would be.
Senator Van Nuys. Mr. Attorney General, we are recognizing your official position and I hope you understand that. We did not bring you before the committee with a subpena duces tecum. I am leaving that matter to you. Are you in possession of the names of people, several in number, against whom you think you have sufficient evidence to convict of the lynching of George Armwood ?
Attorney General LANE. I am.
Senator Van Nuys. Do you care to leave that information with the subcommittee or not? I am leaving that wholly with you.
Attorney General LANE. If the committee asks for it I will be very glad to give the committee anything that I have in my possession.
Senator Van Nuys. Would you leave it with the committee as a privileged bit of evidence or as a part of the open hearing?
Attorney General LANE. I doubt whether I would have the right to label it when I gave it to the committee. I would not attempt to restrict the committee. I would give it as any other information or opinion that I might express to the committee.
Senator Van Nuys. Would you leave it to the committee as to the privileged or nonprivileged character of the evidence ?
Attorney General LANE. Entirely so.
Senator Van Nuys. Will you submit that to the committee at this time?
Attorney General LANE. I would like to make this statement to the committee: The information that I have obtained has been obtained in such form as to facilitate cross-examination. It is not in a chronological form or in the form of a statement as a matter of information.
In the case of the lynching of George Armwood there were 24 State policemen who were present protecting the jail, not as State policemen, but as deputy sheriffs of Somerset County. Under our State law the State police jurisdiction is limited to motor-vehicle cases and violations of the traffic laws. I have no further jurisdiction in Maryland and the State police must be sworn in in the particular county by the sheriff as deputy sheriffs. On this occasion, I think all of the 24 had been sworn in the day of the lynching.
I examined the 24 State policemen and the information that I have to turn over to the committee is comprised of statements gotten from them. There is also correspondence that I had with State's Attorney Robins, of Somerset County, in one letter of which the names of the different individuals that I thought should be arrested are included. Would the committee care to have that too?
Senator Van Nuys. I think the committee would like to have that, Mr. Attorney General.
Attorney General LANE. Very well; I hand the papers to the committee now. The first stenographic report which I have handed you is the result of the first examination I made of the State police. Following that and after obtaining that information, I got more condensed statements from them that bear directly upon the question that I wanted to investigate, and they are contained in the two volumes which I now hand the committee.
Senator Van Nuys. I will ask our official reporter to mark these four manuscripts as exhibits A, B, C, and D, and the committee
will determine in executive session whether they shall be printed as a part of the public hearings or not.
(The four documents referred to were marked, respectively, “ Exhibit A". " Exhibit B ", " Exhibit C", and " Exhibit D”, and filed with the committee.)
Senator Van Nuys. By Senator Dieterich, a member of the subcommittee, it has been suggested that it would appear that the exhibits just filed are so voluminous that it is almost prohibitive to print them as a part of the record. Would you be willing to state concisely, Mr. Attorney General, what they contain, or are you in a position to do that?
Attorney General LANE. If I may go a little further, I think I have some other things that I will turn over to the committee, and this matter may work itself out.
Senator Las Nuys. Very well; proceed in your own way.
Attorney General LANE. In addition to the first stenographic reports which I have handed the committee, there were additional statements taken from the various police. These should go with the first report. The first statement is by the captain of State police, Captain Johnson, and the second is by Lieutenant Ridgely, of the State police. These contain a description of what occurred from the tinie Armwood was arrested on Monday, October 16
Senator COSTIGAX. 1933 ?
Attorney General LANE. Yes; Monday, October 16, 1933, until after the lynching on Wednesday, October 18.
In addition to that, with respect to each of the individuals that I thought should be arrested, there is a brief résumé of the testimony with respect to each one.
Senator DIETERICH. Does the résumé cover the matter set out in detail in the locumentary evidence which you have submitted to the coinmittee?
Attorney General LANE. It does, but it is a very brief résumé. There is more than is contained in these brief statements.
Senator DIETERICH. I understand that that would give a general idea of what the documentary evidence would show?
Attorney General LANE. That is true.
Senator DIETERICH. I would suggest that that be set forth in the record.
Attorney General LANE. I also have, with respect to each individual that I thought should be arrested, a résumé giving his name. the officers who would be witnesses against him, and a brief description of where he was and the part that he took.
Senator Van Nuys. That also will be marked as an exhibit and with the consent of the committee will be set forth in full in the record. However, before that is done it would be well to have the record show the exhibits which have been submitted by the witness and marked up to this time.
(The exhibiis referred to are as follows: Exhibit D, statement of E. Q. Quandt and others: exhibit E, statement of George Armwood: exhibit F, statement of E. S. Haddaway; exhibit G, statement of C. W. Cubbage; exhibit H, statement of G. G. Carlson; exhibit I, statement of J. J. Cassiday: exhibit J, statement of C. B. Durham exhibit K, statement of M. T. Bohler; exhibit L, statement of A. E.
Markley; exhibit M, statement of A. G. McKewen; exhibit N, statement of C. F. Schleuter; exhibit 0, statement of E. C. Langrall.)
Senator Van Nuys. You may proceed, Mr. Attorney General.
Attorney General LANE. I have also one copy of the testimony that had been taken before the coroner at the coroner's inquest, which began on October 24. I have but the one copy of that. I was not present at the coroner's inquest. Does the committee wish that?
Senator Van Nuys. We would be glad to have it.
Attorney General LANE. Very well; here it is [handing document to Senator Van Nuys).
Senator_VAN Nuys. Calling your attention to the document marked " Exhibit P”, entitled" Re George Armwood, résumé and comment on individual cases", will you at this time take that résumé and submit it to the committee in detail, making any comment that you care to make? Have you any objection to doing that?
Attorney General LANE. Not at all if the committee wishes me to do so.
Senator Van Nuys. You may proceed, then.
RE GEORGE ARMWOOD
RÉSUMÉ AND COMMENT ON INDIVIDUAL CASES
Rusty Heath. Full name is believed to be Marby L. Heath. Occupation, unknown, but was formerly jailer at the jail at Salisbury. Address, Princess Anne, formerly Salisbury.
Heath is well known by sight by many of the force who were present at the night of the lynching. He is positively identified by Officers Bradley, Serman. Schleuter, Durham, Corporal Falkenstein, Sergeants Dryden, Haddaway, Weber, and Lieutenant Ridgely.
Senator Costigan. Will you permit an interruption at that point ? Attorney General LANE. Certainly.
Senator COSTIGAN. Is the lynching about which you were testifying known as the “ Princess Anne lynching "?
Attorney General LANE. It has been called that.
Attorney General LANE. Because it took place in the town of Princess Anne.
Senator COSTIGAN. Thank you. You may proceed.
Attorney General LANE. He was seen in front of the hotel at the Deals Island intersection before the jail, at the tree where the Negro was first hung and by Judge Duer's car as he made his speech. He was drunk, was in the front of the crowd shoving, velling, and encouraging the crowd, while in front of the jail he was shoving to get on the steps, and while at the first hanging had the rope in his hand as the Negro's body was lying on the ground. He was also seen pulling on the other end of the rope while the Negro was hung.
William P. Hearn. Occupation, contract houler by truck. Address, Salisbury, Md.
Positively identified by Sergeant Weber, ('orporal Norris. It is believed that he can be identified also by some of the following officers--that is, Corporal Norris, Sergeant Spioch. Officer Miller, Corporal Falkenstein, and Officer Schleuter. He was seen by Officers Weber and Serman shoving, yelling, and pushing in front of the jail and attempting to get on the steps and shoving the policemen off. If identified by the other officers beforementioned, he will