Imágenes de páginas

by this in the event of subsequent indictments, the State having disclosed the nature of its evidence, which would give those accused a better opportunity to prepare defenses. To justify this method of procedure, we must necessarily presume that the grand jury will not discharge its duty, and I also refuse to be a party to that. In the second place, I have reached the conclusion that in cases of homicide, where a coroner's inquisition has begun, any writs charging murder must be issued on the findings of that coroner's jury, and that warrants sworn out before a magistrate on information and belief would be void, and any person arrested under such warrants could be promptly released under habeas corpus proceeding.

As to this being the proper procedure, I would refer you to Hochheimer's Criminal Law, second edition, section 210, page 243, which reads in part as follows:

If one is accused by the verdict of murder or manslaughter, either as principal or accessory, the coroner must put in writing the effect of the evidence, bind the witnesses for the prosecution to appear at the next term of court having jurisdiction of the offense charged, certify such evidence and the recog. nizances together with the inquisition to the court and commit the accused for trial. If the accused is at large, the coroner issues his warrant for his arrest and commits him. If he is already in jail, the coroner issues a warrant of detention. The courts of this circuit have held that warrants issued by a magistrate in cases of this kind can be quashed upon motion. The Circuit Court for Wicomico County, in No. 4 Miscellaneous, January Term, 1923, which was a homicide case, quashell two writs issued by a magistrate for that reason. One writ was issued on information and belief and the other was issued on the finding of a coroner's inquest that was legally defective. In view of this decision which sustains the theory I have heretofore advanced, I see no reason why I should change the position that I have assumed from the beginning, and which I think is correct. If you can show me that this position is not sound, I shall be glad to have you do so. Even if a magistrate did have authority to issue such writs, as you wish, I feel that you should be the proper party to swear them out, inasmuch as you have personally examined the witnesses, and I have not had that opportunity, due to the fact that the examination was conducted in Baltimore by you.

You may, on your own initiative, feel free to appear before a magistrate and swear out the warrants. If you do not care to do this, then the State police officers may do it. You all have direct information, apparently, concerning the alleged culprits, and I have none. In the event you do this, I shall give the matter the same careful attention that I would give other warrants sworn out by private citizens, despite the fact that I believe the procedure neither proper nor advisable.

You are reported in the newspapers as saying that the principal reason you advance for the procedure advocated by you, is that the public may know all about the testimony that will be submitted to the grand jury. The natural and logical inference is that you think that if you can broadcast the testimony of he State troopers, the grand jury will be intimidated, and will have no alternative than to find an indictment. This I regard as an unfair aspersion and an undue reflection upon the members of the grand jury. You have no reason at all for assuming that the grand jury will not measure up to its duty and responsibility, and their oath of office. These men, individually and collertively, compare favorably with any 23 men that can be found anywhere. They are intelligent, honest, conscientious and honorable, and they will be true to themselves and to their oath of office. They will not be intimidated, but will consider the evidence calmly, fairly, and thoroughly, and they will act and vote according to their best judgment and the dictates of their conscience. The grand jury is a sovereign body, beyond the reach and control of the court, the State's attorney, and the public, the deliberations of which are secret, and even the State's attorney is not permitted to be present during these deliberations and voting. I am willing to trust a Somerset County grand jury, and for that matter a grand jury of any other county. The reason you give why these pine men should be arrested is an additional reason to me why I should not follow your course of procedure.

Then, again, have you lost sight of, or has it never occurred to you, that the testimony you furnished me is from men who were battling against a mob, in the nighttime, probably under the stress of great excitement, turmoil, and confusion. Has it occurred to you that under such circumstances there may easily be a case of " mistaken identity". There were some people there that night, the sheriff tells me, who were unknown to him, and who instead of inciting people to lynch, were urging them to desist. Is it not possible, even probable, that the State troopers in fighting with their backs to the wall might have mistaken those who were attempting to restrain the mob as being those who were inciting the mob? The sheriff tells me a goodly number of people Wera in the crowd urging the participants to desist. It is possible that the witnesses confused these well-intentioned people with others not so well intentioned, and would you wish to have these men, innocent in law until proven guilty, incarcerated in a felon's cage until such time that the grand jury could hear and determine their cases?

Your plan of procedure is indirect, circuitous and inconclusive. My plan is direc and final. Under my plan the majesty and supremacy of the law will be continued and maintained without undue publicity and excitement.

In conclusion, I again decline to make the arrests that you demand. I shall ask the court to recall the grand jury immediately. If you wish to join me in this endeavor, I shall be glad to have your services. If you refuse, I will proceed alone. I await your further advices. Sincerely yours,


State's Attorney for Somerset County. Senator COSTIGAN. By whom was that letter signed?

Attorney General LANE. It was signed by John B. Robins, State's attorney for Somerset County.

I did not reply to that letter, but instead I wrote a letter to the judges of the judicial circuit on November 21, reading as follows:

NOVEMBER 21, 1933. Hon. John R. PATTISON,

Cambridge, Md. DEAR JUDGE PATTE: ON: L. COI!" (ction with the respondence that I forwarded to you last, and your conference to try to work out some procedure, I am enclosing herewith copy of letter of November 20, that I have just received from State's Attorney Robins.

It seems hardly necessary for me to comment upon the right of the sheriff or any other peace officer of the county to make arrests without a warrant when he has reasonable grounds to suspect that a felony has been committed. In this case a felony has been actually committed. It is wholly immaterial whether the suspicion arises out of information imparted to the officer by someone else, or whether it was founded on the officer's own knowledge.

In the fourth and fifth paragraphs of my letter to Mr. Robins of November 15, I stated the reason why the procedure of arrests should be followed, and I reiterated that opinion in the fourth and fifth paragraphs of my letter of November 17. The only aspersion upon the grand jury is the one that Mr. Robins himself casts by the inference in his enclosed letter.

It is unnecessary for the State's attorney to raise the defensive question of mistaken identity. If arrested, I assume that each of the accused persons will be ably defended. Mr. Robins' duty is that of a prosecuting officer.

When we met at Annapolis I explained the legal difficulty about personally appearing before the grand jury. I would not do anything that would either provide an opportunity for an appeal or the slightest chance of voiding the indictments on a technicality.

I am not replying to Mr. Robins' last letter, because I felt that a continuance of that correspondence is not only ridiculous but rather disgraceful, Respectfully.


Attorney General. Senator WAGNER. Is Mr. Robins holding an elective office? Attorney General LANE. Yes; State's attorney of Somerset County.

Senator Van Nuys. Did you have any other correspondence or exhibits which you care to submit to the committee at this time?

Attorney General Laxe. None other than some notes of conferences that took place, and telephone conversations.

Senator Van Nuys. Will you proceed with those, please?

Attorney General LANE. I do not know whether the committee wants the names of all the 24 State policemen who were defending the jail on the night of the lynching or not.

Senator VAN NUYS. I think that would be helpful, if you have it there, General.

Attorney General LANE. This is a report by the captain of State Police, giving the names of the officers who were on duty at the jail at Princess Anne on October 18, 1933; and this is a report of the officers who were summoned before the grand jury in January 1934.

Senator Van Nuys. They may be marked as exhibits and made a part of the record.

The report of the commanding officer of the Maryland State Police, giving the names of officers defending the Princess Anne jail on October 18, 1933, was marked “Exhibit T”; and the report giving the names of officers summoned before the grand jury was marked " Exhibit U", and read as follows:)


JANUARY 18, 1934.



1. Attached hereto you will find summonses for members of this department, for their appearance before the grand jury for Somerset County on Tuesday, January 23, 1934, at 10 a.m. Lt. R. M. Ridgley

Corp. N. G. Faulkenstine Corp. J. E. Wheeler

Officer J. R. Miller Officer (1st cl.) J. M. Bradley

Officer J. E. Kuhn Corp. C. W. Cubbage

Sgt. W. H. Weber Officer M. T. Bohler

Corp. J. F. Norris Officer (1st cl.) C. B. Durham

Officer R. H. Tower Officer E. R. Quandt

Officer E. C. Langrall Officer (1st cl.) C. C. Serman

Sgt. A. M. Spioch Sgt. E. D. Dryden

Officer C. F. Schlueter Officer P. J. Randall

EDWARD MCK. JOHNSON, Captain, Maryland State Police.


OCTOBER, 23, 1933. To: The commanding officer, Maryland State Police, headquarters, Baltimore, Md.

Subject: Assignment of officers, Princess Anne, Md., October 18, 1933.

1. The following are the names of officers that were defending the Princess Anne jail on Wednesday night, October 18, 1933. Capt. Edward McK. Johnson

Officer (first class) J. M. Bradley Lieut. Ruxton M. Ridgely

Officer (first class) R. H. Tower Sup. Sgt. M. D. Brubaker

Officer (first class) C. C. Serman Sgt. E. S. Haddaway

Officer (first class) C. B. Durham Sgt. A. M. Spioch

Officer J. R. Miller Sgt Wm. Weber

Officer C. F. Schleuter Sgt. A. E. Markley

Officer M. T. Bohler Sgt. E. D. Dryden

Officer B. J. Cassady Corp. C. W. Cubbage

Officer E. R. Quandt Corp. N. G. Falkenstine

Officer E. C. Langrall Corp. J. F. Norris

Officer A. G. McKewen Corp. J. E. Wheeler

Officer P. J. Randall

RUXTON M. RIDGELY, Lieutenant, Maryland State Police.

Attorney General LANE. I have a copy of the notes that I made at a conference with the Governor and the judges on November 3, 1933.

Senator Van Nuys. That may be marked as an exhibit and made part of the record.

(The document referred to was marked "Exhibit V", and is here set forth in full as follows:)


NOVEMBER 3, 1933. Conference governor's office, 2 p.m. Annapolis.

Present, Governor Ritchie, Chief Judge Pettison, Judges Bailey and Duer, Attorney General Lane, Assistant Attorney General G. C. A. Anderson.

Governor stated that purpose of meeting that I had collected information that would warrant the prosecution of a number of people for participation in the lynching at Princess Anne, and that he wanted to discuss with the judges the best procedure to follow as to making arrests, etc.

I stated that I had information that warranted the arrest of from 8 to 10 individuals as either principals in the second degree or accessories before the fact, but that upon information that I had gotten I did not believe that either the State police or the Baltimore city police could make those arrests without such force as would amount to martial law, and that these conditions pertained to Somerset County.,

Judge Pattison could not conceive that such a situation could be possible. Judge Bailey asked if the individuals to be arrested were residents of the State and if so what counties. I told him mostly from Somerset County, two from Wicomico County, and one or two from Worcester.

I described the situation as reported to me by Lieutenant Itzel, Sergeant Flynn, and Lieutenant Ridgely.

I called in Itzel and Flynn who stated that in their opinion it would take a regiment to make arrests, that he did not think the State's Attorney Robins was interested in prosecution, and doubted if Sheriff Daugherty could make the arrests.

Judge Pattison said there was great resentment against what the people considered outside interference particularly against the state police and Baltimore police. He stated that if 500 militia were used there would be hell to pay, and recommended that local officers be used, if necessary the sheriff getting a posse comitatus. That use of the militia would cause such resentment that indictments would be impossible. That indictments would be hard enough to get anyway.

Judge Duer did not want to express an opinion on the matter because his judgment had been so poor before. Judge Pattison took me aside and told me he would like to have Judge Duer express his opinions because he lived in the county concerned, but that he was sensitive because he had been criticized and would not do so. He told me that the judges had wanted to get me into the investigation because they were doubtful about Robins. I told him that if the sheriff and State's attorney would not do their duties, there was no hope that I could accomplish anything.

The judges said that they would get hold of the sheriff and State's attorney and see whether they would do their duties. Judge Bailey wanted to see them the next day, but it was not convenient to Judge Duer, then it was set for Monday.

Attorney General LANE. I also have here the notes of the two telephone conversations with State's Attorney Robins on November 9. I have no copy of that.

Senator Van Nuys. That is the original!
Attorney General LANE. Yes, sir.

Senator Van Nuys. That must be returned to the witness. It may be marked " Exhibit W", and made a part of the record.

(The notes above referred to were marked “Exhibit W-1” and - Exhibit W-2", and will be found set forth in full below.)

Senator Van Nuys. Could you give the committee a statement as to the telephone conversation with Mr. Robins!

Attorney General LANE. After the conference I had with Judge Pattison, on Wednesday, November 8, 1933, in which he asked me to get in touch with Mr. Robins, for the purpose of going over the testimony of the local officers, I had to come to Washington, and I asked one of my assistants, Mr. Anderson, to call Mr. Robins and ask him to come to Baltimore. Mr. Anderson gave me this memorandum of his telephone conversation that day:


NOVEMBER 9, 1933. Called Mr. Robins, State's attorney, on Thursday morning at 10:50 a.m. Gut Robins at his office. Robins informed me it would be impossible for him to come to Baltimore this week ; that he was leaving to see his mother at Kingston, N.Y.; Robins said his mother was 93 years old ; that he had intended to see her before and had put it off when present difficulty arose and had made all arrangements to go to Kingston with his son, Stanley G. Robins, of Salisbury. He will leave Salisbury tomorrow about 5 o'clock. We can get him at his office this afternoon until about 3 o'clock, and at the home of Stanley G. Robins this evening around 6:30. The number of Stanley G. Robins' 'phone is Salisbury 464-M. He will not get back to his office until next Wednesday, November 15, and will not be able to come to Baltimore until the latter part of the week. He will come to Baltimore if it is necessary, but is not allowed traveling expenses, but, if it is necessary, he will come.

G. C. A. ANDERSON. On my return from Washington that day, when I got this memorandum, I called Mr. Robins myself. [Reading:]


Called State's Attorney John B. Robins at Crisfield and told him that Mr. Anderson had advised me about his telephone conversation earlier in the day and for that reason I was calling him back, because the information that I wanted to go over with him in reference to the lynching, in my opinion, warranted the arresting of about eight persons for participation. I wanted to go over that information with him and also the mechanics for accomplishing the arrests. Mr. Robins told me of his contemplated trip to Kingston. N.Y., and I impressed him with the necessity of determining upon pursuing a course of action as promptly as possible. I asked him whether it was possible for him to postpone his trip for a day or two. He told me that it was not possible; that he was leaving this afternoon.

Robins questioned the desirability of making arrests before taking the matter up with the grand jury, but I told him that I did not think that was the proper course to pursue; that I felt that arrests should be made, that then if with respect to any individual that might be arrested they had defenses ehat would warrant them not being held for the action of the grand jury, that could be accomplished without any more ado about it in their particular cases; that I felt that the information that I had was sufficiently definite; that I did not see how the grand jury could very well do witnout bringing in true bills.

Mr. Robins discussed the question of having arrests made by some one other than local authorities, and I told him that I had discussed that situation with the judges of the circuit, and that they were definitely of the opinion that if arrests were to be made, that they should be made by local authorities, because there would be a very definite public reaction against the making of arrests by either the State police or the Baltimore city police; the same being resented outside interference and that fact might mitigate against the obtention of indictments before the grand jury. Mr. Robins discussed with me the question of my going before the grand jury with him and I told him that in view of the decision of the court of appeals in the Coblentz case, I thought there might be some question about it, and that I did not want to do anything which

42640–34-PT 1-9

« AnteriorContinuar »