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STATEMENT OF SGT. WILLIAM WEBER
I positively identify Gordon Butler as the man who said he was the brother of Mrs. Denston. I first saw Butler about 7:15 p.m. at the intersection of Deals Island Road and the road in front of the jail. I also saw him when the police were forced back in front of the jail. He moved with the crowd. He was yelling, “Come on, you yellow ; follow me, I'll go to the jail.” He would continually break through the line and be pushed back. He was a leader among the mob on the south side of the jail.
I can positively identify McQuay. I first saw him in the crowd about 15 feet from the jail door. He asked where Sergeant Haddaway was. He steadily advanced with the rest of the mob toward the jail door. He kept shouting to the crowd to “Come on, that the police could not shoot." When the crowd forced the police back onto the steps, McQuay was still shoving and pushing in the front ranks. He was no. 1 man at the head of the step and kept shouting, “Let's go get the
Let's go." I can positively identify the man that Judge Duer spoke to and addressed as Mays. Mays was standing in the mob that Judge Duer spoke to on the south side of the jail.
I can positively identify William P. Hearn. I saw him directly in front of the jail, just before the battering rams came up. He was a leader. He shouted, "Let's go get him." He came up to the door and attempted to shove us off the steps. He is very large shouldered, 6 feet 2 inches tall, 180 pounds, light or almost white hair, 28 years old, slouch hat (gray), blue coat and pants.
I can positively identify "Rusty” Heath. I first saw him about 7:15 p.m. at the intersection of Deals Island Road and the jail road. He was the leader of the first mob (about 100 men). I grabbed him and pushed him back. The second time he was standing by the tree where Armwood was being hung. He had hold of the rope and told Judge Duer not to be afraid to tell him your name as they couldn't do anything to you.
I can positively identify the driver of the State roads truck.
STATEMENT OF CORP. J. F. NORRIS
I can positively identify William P. Hearn. I first saw him about 7:30 p.m. on the south side of the jail. At this time he was in 1e mob just pushing forward with the rest of the people. Later I saw him in front of the jail before the main rush. This time he kept shouting, "Let's go_come on," just before the mob rushed. Then he ran to the jail steps, followed by the mob.
STATEMENT OF CORP. J. E. WHEELER
I can positively identify Jack Walloper.
Attorney General LANE. There is one matter of explanation that I think I should present to the committee. Among the individuals named there was the name of Martin Duer. I had the genealogy of the Duer family checked in three counties--Somerset County and the two adjoining counties--and I was unable to find anyone by the name of Martin Duer. My belief is that he gave a fictitious name.
Senator Van Nuys. Senator Dieterich, I believe that you desire to ask the Attorney General some questions.
Senator DIETERICH. Yes; some few years ago there was an ax murder that took place in Maryland.
Attorney General LANE. What kind of murder!
Senator DIETERICH. An ax murder; a murder committed with an ax, where a family was murdered.
Attorney General LANE. I think that possibly the Senator refers ' to what is known as the Euel Lee case.
Senator DIETERICH, What is the Euel Lee case!
Attorney General LANE. It was a murder case in which a man, his wife, and two children were murdered in Dorchester County.
Senator DIETERICH. What has become of that case?
Attorney General LANE. Lee was arrested. He was taken to Baltimore. I do not know how fully the Senator wants me to go through this record.
Senator DIETERICH. Just generally.
Attorney General LANE. It was a case that caused a good deal of comment and, I think, a good deal of feeling in Maryland. The question of removal came up. Under our constitution the State's attorney of the county, in behalf of the prisoner or on behalf of the State, can request a removal. I presume a removal in behalf of the defendant was made in that case. The court then exercises its discretion as to where the case shall be sent. In capital cases removal is granted as a matter of right. There is no discretion on the part of the court, execpt as to what jurisdiction the case will be removed. The court granted the petition for removal, and ordered it removed to Dorchester County, which is two counties removed from the county in which the murder had been committed. The request on the part of the defense had been that the case be removed from the entire Eastern Shore. The court did not grant that request.
An appeal was taken to the court of appeals in December of 1931. The murder occurred, I think, in October of 1931. The court of appeals, passing upon the question of abuse of discretion, decided that the lower court had not abused its discretion; but, nevertheless, they added to their opinion a comment that the case should be removed, and indicated that if it came to them on final appeal and was not removed they might reverse it. Following that, the case was removed to Baltimore County, which is contiguous to Baltimore city.
In January of 1932 it was tried. There was a verdict of guilty and a sentence to be hanged. An appeal was taken to the court of appeals of Maryland, and the court of appeals reversed the case and sent it back for a new trial on the question of the selection of a jury. It was again tried in Baltimore County. It was again appealed to the court of appeals of Maryland.
Senator DIETERICH. What was the result of the second trial in Baltimore County?
Attorney General LANE. A verdict of guilty and a sentence to be hanged. It was again appealed to the Court of Appeals of Maryland. Again the sentence was sustained. There was an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States, on a petition for a writ of certiorari, and that was denied. Again there was an appeal to the Federal district at Baltimore on a writ of habeas corpus. That was denied. Also, a request was made of the Federal district court for a certificate of probable cause, in order to obtain an appeal from that division. That was denied by the Federal district court, and application was made to the circuit court of appeals in Richmond for a certificate of probable cause. That was denied, and I understand that application was also made to Chief Justice Hughes for a certificate of probable cause, because he acted ex officio as a member of the circuit court of appeals for that circuit, and it was also denied, and the accused was hanged.
Senator DIETERICH. Is there any connection between that case and this case ?
Attorney General Lane. Do you mean as a matter of public sentiment?
Senator DIETERICH. Yes; were they linked together in any way as a matter of public sentiment !
Attorney General LANE. I would not say that they were, except as a matter of public sentiment in that particular section of the State. There is evidence in some of the statements that I have given to the committee that some of the crowd that night at the jail when Armwood was lynched mentioned the Lee case. I think there was one comment in response to Judge Duer's speech to the crowd that night, when some of the members of the crowd commented on the Lee case.
Senator DIETERICH. Lee was the surname?
Senator Van Nuys. I have one or two questions. Did you find the collection of evidence against these lynchers more difficult to obtain than would ordinarily have been the case in relation to other crimes of violence?
Attorney General LANE. I have not had much experience, Senator, in the investigation of criminal matters, either in the matter of private practice before I became a State official or as a State official. The duty of the attorney general with reference to criminal matters is confined to the court of appeals, not to the nisi prius court.
Senator Van Nuys. On that question you would not be in a position to express an opinion?
Attorney General LANE. I do not think I could express a very adequate opinion on that.
Senator Vax Nuys. Do you think the evidence which your office collected was sufficient to have warranted the grand jury in returning indictments against all or some of the men named as lynchers here this morning?
Attorney General LANE. I expressed that opinion in my letters of November 15 and 17.
Senator Van Nuys. And you are still of the same opinion?
Attorney General LANE. I think so. I have not changed the opinJon I expressed in those letters.
Senator Van Nuys. Were these police officers heard by the grand jury in that local county?
Attorney General LANE. That I do not know. I have given the committee a list that was sent to me of the police officers that were summoned, and I know from a press report that quite a number of them were heard. I understood from the press that there were 42 witnesses heard, and I assume that all the State policemen on that list who were summoned were heard.
Senator Van Nuys. Of course, you have no way of knowing whether that grand jury investigation was merely a perfunctory inVestigation or a bona fide investigation?
Attorney General LANE. I have not.
Attorney General LANE. It is my understanding, again from the press, that the grand jury undertook to investigate several matters. They were in session several days, the exact number I do not know, but 3 or 4 and possibly 5. The proportion of that time they devoted to a consideration of the lynching investigation I do not know.
Senator Van Nuys. Are you familiar with the charge that the judge made when he impaneled the grand jury?
Attorney General LANE. I remember reading it in the paper. The text of it I do not now recall.
Senator Van Nuys. You are not possessed of a copy of that?
Attorney General LANE. No; I do not have a copy of it. I remember its being published in the Baltimore papers where I read it, but the exact text I do not recall. It could be obtained.
Senator Van Nuys. Do you think it would have been possible to impanel a grand jury in that locality which would have returned an indictment against these men?
Attorney General LANE. I am not sufficiently familiar with the county to adequately answer that question; but I should think, Senator, that it would be possible to impanel a jury in almost any county, It would be a very unusual case, it seems to me, in which we could not get a grand jury in any county that would indict.
Senator Van Nuys. Is it not your observation that that is true with reference to all classes of crime, practically, except lynching?
Attorney General LANE. I do think that there is a distinction in that respect between lynching and other crimes in that there is no question about the fact that back of lynching there is very often a very intense public feeling which I think has its effect.
Senator VAN Nuys. In the matter of the enforcement of law, a local public officer is just about as good an officer as the public desires him to be? Is that not true?
Attorney General LANE. No; I would not go so far as that. I think, Senator, that sometimes some of the public officers are a little better than that.
Senator Van Nuys. In a very truthful way, I want to say the witness on the stand appears to be one who is doing his duty irrespective of public opinion. I commend you on your testimony and activities, Mr. Attorney General, in this situation. [Applause.)
Are there any other questions?
STATEMENT OF HON. SIMON E. SOBELOFF, UNITED STATES
ATTORNEY FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
Senator Van Nuys. The next witness is Mr. Simon E. Sobeloff, United States District Attorney for the District of Maryland.
Mr. Sobeloff, were you present during the testimony of the Attorney General ?
Mr. SOBELOFF. Yes, sir.
Senator Van Nuys. If you have a prepared statement or any observations to make to the committee pertinent to this inquiry, we shall be pleased to hear you.
Mr. SOBELOFF. I have no prepared statement. I have made a few notes on matters in which I thought the committee might be interested.
Senator Van Nuys. In order to save time, you may proceed in your own way.
Mr. SOBELOFF. I had supposed, when I was notified by the Sergeant at Arms that my testimony was desired, that the committee might be interested to learn whether I had given any consideration to the propriety of proceedings in the Federal court in connection with the Armwood case. I was told that the committee was interested in that phase of the question.
It was quite natural that as a citizen of Maryland, and as the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland I should follow with deep interest the facts in the Armwood case as they were developed in the public press. I have given careful attention and consideration to the propriety of criminal proceedings in the United States court and to my duty in the premises. I examined the Civil Rights Statutes which are codified as sections 51 and 52 of title 18 of the United States Code, and have read the copy furnished me by the Civil Liberties Union of the brief submitted by them to the Attorney General of the United States asking Federal action in the Armwood lynching case, and also in the Tuscaloosa case. After a careful examination of the law, I was forced to the conclusion that in the existing state of the law the Federal court was without jurisdiction to deal with that case.
I might go into some further detail as to that, if the committee is interested.
Senator Van Nuys. If you will, please.
Mr. SOBELOFF. There are several decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States which definitely foreclosed action by the Federal grand jury in the Armwood case. Perhaps the clearest authority on the point is the decision of the Supreme Court in the Powell case (212 U.S.). In that case an Alabama mob took a man from the custody of the sheriff and lynched him. Powell was indicted under the provisions of the Civil Rights Statutes. He challenged_the validity of the indictment, questioning the jurisdiction of the Federal court. The United States District Court in Alabama wrote a careful opinion reviewing the question of jurisdiction, and concluded that Federal jurisdiction did not exist, for the reason that the violation of civil rights which occurred in that case was not the action of the State or of its officials, but was the work of individuals. The case finally reached the Supreme Court on appeal and the lower court's decision was affirmed on the authority of the Hodges case (203 U.S.).
The lower court in Alabama seemed inclined in favor of sustaining its jurisdiction, and the judge sought to escape the apparently binding force of the Hodges case, but felt constrained to follow that case. As I recall his reasoning, he tried to distinguish the Hodges case from the case before him, on the ground that the Hodges case dealt with the thirteenth amendment, whereas the question before him concerned the fourteenth. But the language in the Hodges case was broad enough to seem to him to be conclusive, and when the question was finally determined by the Supreme Court they said that the order denying jurisdiction of the Federal court was correct on the authority of their own holding in the Hodges case.
That decision, and the decision in the Wheeler case, with which, Senator, you are no doubt familiar, convinced me, along with other