While waiting for their trials, eight of the nine defendants were held in. She had had surgery in New York, and at one point Leibowitz requested that her deposition be taken as a. The rest of the defendants either eventually escaped or were released from jail. Last, he argued that African Americans were systematically excluded from jury duty contrary to the Fourteenth Amendment. Within two weeks the accused were put on trial in Scottsboro, Alabama, and eight of the nine were convicted and sentenced to death for rape.
The decision of Judge James Horton to set aside the conviction of Haywood Patterson, despite the dire consequences that decision would have for his own career, was heroism, pure and simple. He had testified in the first Decatur trial that Price and Bates had had sex with him and Gilley in the hobo jungle in Chattanooga prior to the alleged rapes, which could account for the semen found in the women. From these beginnings, the Scottsboro case would become the most celebrated legal battle of the 1930s and would focus the attention of the nation and the world on racial prejudice in America. Lee defended Frank and Brown Ezell, a black father and son accused of murder, but they were found guilty and executed by hanging. I was actually typing the same thing when you posted that. The second day after the arrests the sheriff tried to get the girls to say they had been raped by the youths, and both refused.
He cut off all defense inquiry into Price's chastity, character, or reputation. The trials are conducted in front of an all-white audience and it takes just three days for the jury to reach a conclusion. The train was crowded with youths, both white and Black, aimlessly wandering about. Their trial began just a few days later. I feel like jumping up and down and rejoicing for them, because this is something they wanted in their lifetimes but it never happened. What was surprising, however, was that the jury sentenced him to seventy-five years in prison rather than giving him the death sentence the prosecution requested.
At the second trial one of the women recanted her previous testimony. Six of the accused testified, including , who testified that on the day of the alleged rape he was suffering from a serious case of venereal disease and was so weak that he could not walk without a cane, let alone leap from boxcar to boxcar as Price had claimed. Scottsboro Case On April 9, 1931, an Alabama judge sentenced eight black teenagers to death: Haywood Patterson, Olen Montgomery, Clarence Norris, Willie Roberson, Andrew Wright, Ozie Powell, Eugene Williams, and Charley Weems. Alabama 1935 , 294 U. Did brother Hill frame them? This shift gave Alabama officials —by now embarrassed over the continuing judicial rebukes —an opportunity to compromise. Carter, Scottsboro: A Tragedy of the American South 1969 ; J.
George Chamlee, a Chattanooga attorney, testified that his investigation could turn up no evidence of a Callie Brochie or the boardinghouse that Price said she owned, and in which Price and Bates allegedly spent the night prior to her return train trip to Alabama. His case went to the jury at nine that evening. Close this pop-up window to remain on this page Famous American Trials. This court intends to protect these prisoners and any other persons engaged in this trial. Haywood Patterson managed a dramatic escape in 1948. The interviews, however, could hardly have gone worse. Patterson trial spectators The prosecution's only eyewitness to the crime was a farmer named Ory Dobbins who said he saw the defendants grab Price and Bates as they were about to leap from the train.
The prosecution had asked the jury to give him life imprisonment, but eleven jurors voted for death, and it was declared a mistrial. The charge of raping white women had been traditionally used to justify the lynching of in , with white men being cast in the role of protectors of southern white women. He told the jury that the night the four were together in the hobo jungle, and while he began making love to Ruby Bates while Price did the same with Tiller. In the fourth trial, the sentences were reduced to life imprisonment. But the presence of the white girls added a new dimension to the arrest. Attorneys Samuel Leibowitz, Walter H.
She was a person of low repute, a prostitute. Over the course of the next three days, four separate all-white juries, trying the defendants in groups of two or three at a time, found all nine of the Scottsboro Boys guilty as charged, and all but one was sentenced to death. He was paroled, but returned to prison after violating parole. A mistrial was declared in the case of twelve-year old Roy Wright, when eleven of the jurors held out for death despite the request of the prosecution for only a life sentence in view of his tender age. The defense offered only the defendants themselves as witnesses, and their testimony was rambling, sometimes incoherent, and riddled with obvious misstatements. But others believed they were victims of justice, and the case was covered by numerous national newspapers. While the defendants in the Scottsboro case were being held in jail a lynch mob demanded the teens be turned over to them; the sheriff called the Alabama National Guard to protect the jail and moved the teens to a new location.
Moments later, Ozie Powell was brought into court and the new prosecutor, Thomas Lawson, announced that the state was dropping rape charges against Powell and that he was pleading guilty to assaulting a deputy. The celebration was so loud that it was most likely heard by the second jury waiting inside. Two escaped, were later charged with other crimes, convicted, and sent back to prison. Woodall testified that he had found a knife on one of the defendants, though he couldn't remember which one. Wright was traveling with his younger brother, Roy, on the train that day. Ruby Bates was not asked about contradictions between her testimony and that of Price.
But the irony is that neither Price nor Bates actually fit the ideal of the proper southern lady. When Leibowitz persisted with questioning designed to suggest Price might have had sex with someone other than a Scottsboro Boy around March 25, 1931, Callahan sternly reprimanded him. In January 1918 he was jailed for a maximum of 30 years after killing a man in a fight over a woman. To avoid arrest, the women claimed that they had been gang raped by the nine black youths being detained. In a landmark case, Powell v. On July 26, 1937, Haywood Patterson was sent to Atmore State Prison Farm. The role of the Communists in the case confirmed my conviction that I had been right in joining up with them.