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1 Monthly Bull. Int'l Jurid. Ass'n 1 (1932-1933)

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VOL.  I, No. I,


MAY   I~ 1932                                         ~33

  On  March   24, 1932, the Supreme Court  of Alabama
affirmed the convictions of seven of the eight Scottsboro
defendants who had been convicted of rape. On April 9th
a rehearing was denied.  The  jury had disagreed at the
trial of Roy Wright,  the ninth defendant, a boy of 14
years of age, not as to his guilt, but as to whether he should
receive a life sentence or capital punishment. The con-
viction of the boy Eugene Williams, the eighth defendant,
was reversed because the Supreme Court held, in accordance
with Alabama  statutes, that the trial court did not have
jurisdiction over a juvenile under 16. His proof showed
him  to be under that age, and this was not discredited.
  In three separate opinions written by different members
of the court the three trials at which these Negroes were
found  guilty were sustained. The evidence was regarded
as sufficient. The following points raised by counsel for
the defendants, most of  which were not  raised at their
trials, were discussed in detail and were found not to war-
rant reversal:
  Lack  of time accorded the defendants to prepare for
trial; lack of opportunity to retain counsel, and inadequate
representation; circumstances surrounding the trial, especi-
ally the presence of militia, the crowds surrounding the
court and jail, stories carried by the press, and the applause
at the close of the first trial; indefiniteness of the indict-
ment; severance on the application of the state of the trial
of the eight defendants (Weems and Norris were tried to-
gether; Patterson, separately, and the other five together);
manner  of the selection of the jury, and failure to accord
a special venire at each trial for a capital offense, the ex-
clusion of Negroes from the jury, and the failure to in-
terrogate white jurors on the question of race prejudice.
  Chief Judge  Anderson dissented in all three cases. In
his opinion, rendered in the Powell case he said in part:
  While  the  Constitution guarantees to the accused a
speedy trial, it is of greater importance that it should be
by a fair and impartial jury, ex vi termini, a jury free from
bias or prejudice, and, above all, from coercion and intimi-
  Whether   or not these defendants should  have  been
granted a change  of venue may  be  questionable for, as
was stated by the sheriff, when a witness, they could prob-
ably get as fair a trial in Jackson as any nearby county
and there is no reason why this was not true. None of the
                  (Continued on page 3)

  The  following is a summary of some of the more impor-
tant situations which come within the scope of our interests:
Rights of Negroes
  Scottsboro. Convictions of seven of the eight defendants
affirmed.  (See page 1 for detailed consideration of the
opinions). Walter  H. Pollak, a member  of the I. J. A.
and  a constitutional lawyer of national reputation, has
been added to the staff of defense attorneys as chief coun-
sel to ask review by the United States Supreme Court.
  White  Primaries. The question whether political parties
can bar Negroes  from the primaries has been argued and
reargued before the United States Supreme Court.  The
District Court of Texas and the Circuit Court of Appeals
have held that such bar did not constitute state action and
consequently was not forbidden by the federal constitution.
(Nixon  v. Condon, 34 Fed. (2d) 464; 49 Fed. (2d) 1012).
  Orphan  Jones.  This Negro  charged with murder  ap-
pealed from a change of venue which moved  the place of
his trial only from one county to the next. The Court of
Appeals of Maryland,  although it had no jurisdiction to
pass upon the question before the trial, stated, nevertheless,
in unmistakable terms, that a trial in any of the counties
of the eastern shore of Maryland would be improper be-
cause of the hostility there to the defendant and his at-
torney (Lee v. State, 157 Atl. 273).  Consequently the
place of the trial was moved to Baltimore County. Orphan
Jones was tried there and convicted. His appeal will bring
up, among  other questions, whether a Negro can be tried
by an exclusively white jury from which Negroes have been
excluded as a matter of custom.
  Salisbury Lynching.  A  Maryland  grand  jury has re-
ported itself unable to determine guilt in the recent Salis-
bury lynching.
Criminal Syndicalism
  Communist   Party Membership  Illegal. The  Supreme
Court of Oregon  has held a member   of the Communist
Party guilty of a violation of the Oregon Criminal Syndi-
calism Act solely because of such membership. (State vs.
Boloff, 4 Pac. (2d) 326, rehearing denied 7 Pac.  (2d)
775, see page 4 for detailed consideration).
  Ohio  Criminal Syndicalism Act Unconstitutional. The
decision of the Ohio State Court of Appeals holding the
Ohio  criminal syndicalism law unconstitutional has been

MAY   1, 1932

AS 33

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