Watson’s Magazine - Volume 21 Number 4


Author : Watson’s Magazine
Title : Volume 21 Number 4
Year : 1915

Link download : Watson_s_Magazine_-_Volume_21_Number_4.zip

The Celebrated Case of The State of Georgia vs. Leo Frank. Watson’s Magazine, Volume 21 Number 4, August 1915. The laws of Georgia are extraordinarily favorable to a person accused of crime. He is not only protected in all of his rights under the Constitution of the United States, but he enjoys privileges far beyond those limits. No indictment against him will stand, if it can be shown that a single grand juror was disqualified, or failed to take an oath on that particular case. Therefore, our grand juries are bound in each case by a special oath, in addition to the usual general oath; and they examine the witnesses in each case, separately, behind closed doors, having the right to call in other witnesses besides those named by the State’s Attorney. The law authorizes the Judge to remove the case to another jurisdiction, himself, whenever the circumstances satisfy him that the ends of justice require it. If the Judge does not act upon his own initiative, the defendant’s counsel can move for a change of venue; and support it by affidavits tending to prove that the feeling in the community is so excited against the accused, that it is impossible for him to therein have a fair trial. Our Code is also exceedingly lenient in the matter of continuances. The absence of a material witness; the illness of leading counsel, or of the defendant; the want of sufficient time to procure important testimony, are among the grounds upon which accused persons gain time; and these motions are continually being made for no other purpose than to allow for the passing away of whatever local prejudice may have been aroused by the first rumors and exaggerations incident to most crimes of violence. If the defense is ready for trial, and makes no motion to change venue, each juror of a legally qualified panel is subjected to a rigid examination, as to his freedom from bias and prejudice in that particular case; and the defendant can put each juror, separately, on trial—the Judge being the trior—and offer against the juror such evidence as will prove that he is not, in the eyes of the law, a fair juror to try that case. During the trial, the defendant may act, wholly or in part, as his own lawyer; he may interrogate the witnesses, and he may address the Court. If he does not choose to make a statement in his own defense, to the jury, he may remain silent; and the law does not permit the State’s Attorney to comment upon that silence. He may write out a statement in his own defense and read it to the jury, or he may tell his story in the usual way of verbal narrative; he can cover almost any ground he pleases, and he can talk as long as he likes; and if he omits any fact, or explanation which his lawyers consider material, they are privileged to direct his attention to his failure to cover that particular point. After the defendant has finished his statement—of ten minutes, or ten hours—and has been aided by the vigilance of his lawyers, he can say to the State’s Attorney: “I am willing for you to ask me about the case.” But if the defendant does not voluntarily make this offer, the State is not allowed to interrogate him at all. ...

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