The Appeals of Leo Frank 1913, 1914, and 1915

Leo Frank Appeals: Majority and Unanimous Decisions during the Appeals Process Affirm the Murder Conviction Given by the Trial Jury by Not Disturbing It

After the Leo Frank murder trial ended August 21, closing arguments began and then ended on August 25 at noon. The jury rendered its decision on August 25 at 4 p.m., and August 26 at 10:00 a.m., the trial judge Leonard Strickland Roan affirmed the jury’s decision. Frank’s lawyers immediately appealed on August 27, 1913. Leo Frank, backed by a swollen legal defense fund treasury, commenced with the most expensive two-year legal circus of embarrassing, poorly concocted, and frivolous appeals, tinged with black-handed tactics. The Georgia Supreme Court case file would reveal the biggest and most expensive criminal conspiracy in the history of early 20th century United States legal history. Frank’s lawyers and defense team, financed by an overinflated treasury of Jewish money, used every sordid method of criminal activity on behalf of Leo Frank to manufacture evidence and coerce witnesses, with the intention of succeeding in Leo Frank’s exoneration. The defense put together a team of thugs to bribe people and threatened other witnesses who wouldn’t comply. One of the most popular methods to trick people into recanting their trial testimony was the old switcheroo technique, when getting people to sign false affidavits, but it backfired and caused an avalanche of fraudulent documents supporting Leo Frank to fail in his appeals.

The appellate process slowly wended its way through the Fulton County Superior Court, Georgia Supreme Court, United States District Court, and United States Supreme Court, more than once. Every court meticulously sifted the murder trial testimony and evidence, and every court affirmed the trial was fair and the jury was not mob terrorized, with only four dissenting judges out of more than a dozen affirming judges. The verdict rendered by Leo Frank’s trial jury was not disturbed at the conclusion of the appeals.

August 27 to October 31, 1913

As a result of normal procedure during the appeals process, Leo Frank’s execution date set for October 10, 1913, was stayed, pending a retrial hearing. On Friday, October 31, 1913, Judge Leonard Strickland Roan denied the motion by Leo M. Frank’s council for a new trial.

Another motion for a new trial was denied by the Georgia Supreme Court in February 1914 after careful review.

On Tuesday, February 17, 1914, the Supreme Court of Georgia affirmed the verdict of the lower court by a vote of 4 to 2.

On Wednesday, February 25, 1914, the Supreme Court of Georgia unanimously overruled a motion for rehearing the Leo Frank case.

The Presiding Judge Leonard Strickland Roan of the Leo Frank Trial Accused of Strangling Mary Anne Phagan on Saturday, April 26, 1913
No Doubting Judge Sentences One to Die on His Birthday: On the 7th day of March 1914, Leo Frank was resentenced to death by hanging with the execution date set on Friday, April 17, 1914, Leo M. Frank’s 30th birthday. True or False?

Leo Frank partisans are forever claiming Judge Leonard Strickland Roan doubted Leo Frank’s conviction, but Leonard Roan the attorney was a former law partner of Luther Rosser and was really just appeasing his powerful associate when he gave him false hope by orally saying he doubted the verdict. Judge Leonard S. Roan denied attempts by the defense to get Leo Frank a new trial. Leo M. Frank was to be hanged on his 30th birthday April 17, 1914, putting infinite doubt in the suggestion of the defense’s claim of the judge’s doubts. And in response, the defense backed up their position with a forged document signed by Roan suggesting he had doubted the verdict, and they published it after Leonard S. Roan died. No real scholar incapable of self-deception could ever seriously consider the possibility that Judge Roan doubted Leo Frank’s guilt (which is always claimed by Leo Frank partisans), because no genuine doubting judge would do something so profoundly cruel as to sentence someone they thought might be innocent to be hanged on his birthday unless they, openly or secretly, believed the individual was absolutely guilty.

Hanging Someone on His Birthday

One’s birthday only happens once every 365 days (barring leap year), and as an execution date, it is only reserved for individuals who are absolutely and without question guilty of the most heinous crimes.

April 16, 1914: At the eleventh hour, an extraordinary motion for a new trial was filed, and the death sentence on Leo M. Frank’s 30th birthday was stayed.

April 22, 1914: Judge B. H Hill, former chief justice of the Court of Appeals, who had succeeded to the Judgeship of Fulton Superior Court, denied the extraordinary motion for a new trial.

April 25, 1914: The day before the anniversary of Mary Phagan’s death, Frank’s sanity was examined and he was declared sane.

Motion to Set the Verdict Aside as a Nullity

Beginning in June 1914, Frank’s defense appealed to the Fulton County Superior Court to set aside the guilty verdict. Fulton County Superior Court denied the appeal, as did the Georgia Supreme Court (December 1914).

November 14, 1914: The Georgia Supreme Court again denied a new trial.

November 18, 1914: The Georgia Supreme Court refused a writ of error.

November 23, 1914: Mr. Justice Lamar of the Supreme Court of the United States refused a writ of error.

November 25, 1914: Mr. Justice Holmes of the United States Supreme Court also refused a writ.

December 7, 1914: The full bench of the United States Supreme Court refused a writ of error.

December 9, 1914: Frank was resentenced to death to hang on January 22, 1915.

December 21, 1914: United States District Judge W. T. Newman of Georgia refused a writ of habeas corpus.

December 28, 1914: Mr. Justice Lamar granted an appeal and certificate of reasonable doubt to the United States Supreme Court.

April 15, 1915: The Supreme Court of the United States voted 4 to 2, with Mr. Justices Holmes and Hughes dissenting, and dismissed the appeal.

Ultimately, Leo M. Frank had completely exhausted every possible court appeals process concerning every level of the United States Federal and State Appellate Tribunal System.

There was only one option left: Executive clemency from the gubernatorial level of the Great Georgia State, but before that could happen, the Georgia Prison Commission would have to review the case.

Georgia Prison Commission Division

As five courts upheld the original decision of the jury in Leo Frank’s case by not disturbing their verdict, Frank then applied for clemency with the Georgia Prison Commission to commute his sentence from death to life in prison.

June 9, 1915: The State Prison Commission submitted a “divided” 2 to 1 report to Governor Slaton, Commissioners Davison and Rainey voting against commutation and Paterson voted for commutation. Leo Frank’s application for recommending clemency by the Prison Commission was denied.

During the Two-Year Appeals Process, The National Letter Writing Campaign and Emotional Appeals Process Was in Full Force

With every possible court appeal fully exhausted, Leo M. Frank’s last hope was utilizing the full extent of his two-year-old and growing flush bankroll from his legal defense fund, which was made possible in part by advertising magnate Albert D. Lasker and newspaper mogul Adolph S. Ochs, the owner of the New York Times powerhouse. With a swollen treasury of hundreds of thousands of dollars, the culmination of a vast two-year political bribery and manipulation machine reaching its crescendo, it had penetrated every major city across the United States and even some major cities throughout Europe. As a result, the Governor of Georgia had been flooded with more than 100,000 letters in support of Frank from people who never actually read the official trial record of the Leo Frank case, which included all the material facts, testimony, and evidence. Even less in number of these 100,000 emotional appeal writers were individuals who had read the Georgia Supreme Court case file on Leo Frank.

Criminal Governor

Lastly, with no more court appeal options left for Leo Frank and the Prison Commission denying his request for clemency, there was only one last option, a commutation by the corrupt Governor of Georgia, John M. Slaton. Frank applied to Governor John M. Slaton for Executive Clemency for the ultimate betrayal of the law and people.

Last Hope: May 31, 1915

Because Frank’s plea for commutation of sentence to life imprisonment was heard before the State Prison Commission and denied, Frank had one last hope with the Governor of the State of Georgia, John Marshall Slaton, who was in office from June 28, 1913, to June 26, 1915. Slaton would save the life of Leo Frank at the eleventh hour, as Frank was on death row registered to be lynched on June 22, 1915, by Sheriff Mangum.

Reraising All in with a Diamond Royal Flush

Flash back to well before the dramatic soap opera of the eleventh hour on the infamous day of June 21, 1915, the treacherous and criminal Governor of Georgia, John M. Slaton, was made a senior law partner in the very firm representing and defending Leo M. Frank at his July 28, 1913, to August 26 murder trial and appeals in 1913 and 1914. The law firm was called: Rosser, Brandon, Slaton & Phillips. This firm was a legal and political powerhouse for its time making an unheard of six figures a year. Rosser was the invincible truth that money talks and bullshit walks when he engineered with the Jewish Elites Treasury and political network, the clemency of Leo Frank. John Marshall Slaton sold out clemency likely for a hefty sum of greenbacks on top of being made senior law partner with Rosser and Brandon’s powerful legal-political borg. When you put together a team of powerful lawyers and politicians, you have the ultimate machine for getting things done.

John Marshall Slaton, Clemency, Commuted Leo M. Frank’s Death Sentence to Life in Prison June 21, 1915, the Eleventh Hour

On June 21, 1915, one day before Frank was to be hanged to death, John M. Slaton, when at the exit as an outgoing Governor of Georgia on June 25, 1913, in a gross conflict of interest, commuted the death sentence of Leo M. Frank to life in prison. The clemency was based on a half-baked hokey commutation order that insulted the intelligence of the elite of Georgia, Southerners, legal scholars, judges, lawyers, and the people of the United States of America and all of Western Civilization, when the commutation was compared against the dry leaves of the 1913 Brief of Evidence. John M. Slaton, Governor of the State of Georgia, betrays the people.

A commutation hearing was held in Atlanta on June 12-16, 1915. Representing Leo Frank were William M. Howard of Augusta, Manning J. Yeomans of Dawson, “Harry” (Pierre Van Paasen, 1964) Henry A. Alexander, and Leonard Haas of Atlanta, speaking for the defense. On June 21, 1915, just six days before Nathaniel Edwin Harris, the newly elected governor, was to take office, and one day before Frank was scheduled to hang (June 22, 1915), Slaton commuted Frank’s death sentence to life in prison. There was public outrage, primarily because John M. Slaton was a law partner and business associate in the firm hired by Leo Frank, making Frank Slaton’s client and because Slaton in a gross conflict of interest had betrayed the constitution and his oath of office.

The Southern population ascended to boiling crescendos of rage and were furious to a fevered pitch at the insolence of the clemency decision made on behalf of Leo M. Frank, especially after every level of the United States Legal System had meticulously reviewed the trial and upheld the evidence supporting the conviction, stating Leo Frank had a fair trial and the evidence was sufficient to convict him.

“More than 13 Judges Affirmed 13 Petite Jurors”

More than a dozen judges had affirmed the legitimacy of the murder conviction by the evidence, and they certainly didn’t miss the fact Leo Frank had made a near confession on August 18, 1913, between 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., when he told the jury he made an unconscious bathroom visit inside the metal room during the time Phagan was murdered there.

John M. Slaton, feigned moral and emotional consternation, saying: “I can endure misconstruction, abuse and condemnation,” Slaton said, “but I cannot stand the constant companionship of an accusing conscience which would remind me that I, as governor of Georgia, failed to do what I thought to be right…. [F]eeling as I do about this case, I would be a murderer if I allowed this man to hang. It may mean that I must live in obscurity the rest of my days, but I would rather be plowing in a field for the rest of my life than to feel that I had that blood on my hands.”[1]

Slaton’s commutation disregarded volumes of trial evidence and testimony against Frank, but Slaton also chose to not disturb the jury’s verdict and in a sly and underhanded sort of way affirmed the murder conviction by saying he sustained the jury and appellate tribunals.

The Jewish Smear, Defamation, Blood Libel, and Slander: Anti-Semitism

Slaton also suggested that the Jewish community’s charge of race hatred as being the reason Frank was convicted was unfair, as it was certainly not true, because numerous other legal tribunals reviewed the evidence and testimony and felt it was strong enough to convict Leo M. Frank. None of the appeals courts could be falsely accused of being mob terrorized or anti-Semitic, as the Jewish community put such false accusations and slander against the murder trial jury. In order to protect Leo Frank, he was transferred from Fulton Tower in Atlanta to the prison farm outside Milledgeville.

The Subsequent History of the Leo M. Frank Case, the Appeals to the Courts, the Commutation by the Governor, and the Lynching of the Prisoner

October 31, 1913: Judge Roan denied the motion for a new trial.

Leo Frank Case files from the Georgia Supreme Court, Adobe PDF format: http://www.leofrank.org/library/georgia-archives/

February 17, 1914: The Supreme Court of Georgia affirmed the verdict of the lower court by a vote of 4 to 2.

February 25, 1914: The Supreme Court of Georgia unanimously overruled a motion for rehearing.

March 7, 1914: Frank was sentenced by Judge Leonard S. Roan for the second time to death by hanging on April 17, Leo M. Frank’s 30th birthday. It put doubt in the claim of the Frank legal defense team and Jewish contemporary writers that Judge Leonard S. Roan doubted the guilty verdict of the jury. No judge who doubts a guilty verdict would so cruelly sentence someone to die on his birthday.

April 16, 1914: At the eleventh hour, an extraordinary motion for a new trial was filed, and the death sentence on Leo M. Frank’s 30th birthday again stayed.

April 22, 1914: Judge B. H Hill, former chief justice of the Court of Appeals, who had succeeded to the Judgeship of Fulton Superior Court, denied the extraordinary motion for a new trial.

April 25, 1914: The day before the anniversary of Mary Phagan’s death, Frank’s sanity was examined, and he was declared sane.

November 14, 1914: The Georgia Supreme Court again denied a new trial.

November 18, 1914: The Georgia Supreme Court refused a writ of error.

November 23, 1914: Mr. Justice Lamar of the Supreme Court of the United States refused a writ of error.

November 25, 1914: Mr. Justice Holmes of the United States Supreme Court also refused a writ.

December 7, 1914: The full bench of the United States Supreme Court refused a writ of error.

December 9, 1914: Frank was resentenced to death to hang on January 22, 1915.

December 21, 1914: United States District Judge W. T. Newman of Georgia refused a writ of habeas corpus.

December 28, 1914: Mr. Justice Lamar granted an appeal and certificate of reasonable doubt to the United States Supreme Court.

April 15, 1915: The Supreme Court of the United States, with Mr. Justices Holmes and Hughes dissenting, dismissed the appeal.

May 31, 1915: Frank’s plea for commutation of sentence to life imprisonment was heard before the State Prison Commission.

June 9, 1915: The State Prison Commission submitted a divided report to Governor Slaton, Commissioners Davison and Rainey voting against and Commissioner Paterson for commutation.

June 21, 1915: Governor Slaton Commuted Leo M. Frank’s death sentence to life in prison.

July 17, 1915: Frank was attacked by a fellow convict who cut his throat with a butcher knife. He lingered between life and death for several weeks, but finally recovered.

Leo Frank’s Supreme Court Appeal

Introduction to Leo M. Frank 101

Ratified by the Leo M. Frank Defense Team. Georgia Supreme Court Case File on Leo M. Frank, 1,800 pages. Within it is the Brief of Evidence, Leo M. Frank, Plaintiff in Error, vs. State of Georgia, Defendant in Error. In Error from Fulton Superior Court at the July Term 1913

Detailed Information

The Brief of Evidence in the Leo M. Frank 1913 murder trial had been ratified by both the Leo Frank defense and prosecution team. Leo M. Frank, Plaintiff in Error, vs. State of Georgia, Defendant in Error. In Error from Fulton Superior Court at the July Term 1913. Brief of Evidence 1913. This is extremely rare. Only one original exists, and it is at the Georgia State Archive. Numerous copies have been made onto microfilm, and today the digital version comes live to the Internet in the year 2010 after ninety-seven years of elusiveness.

After being turned down for judicial review by the Georgia Supreme Court, Leo Frank and his lawyers appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, only to be refused again. The following shows why they chose not to review the case and related material.

Frank v. Mangum

A typed abridged version is below that contains the brief of the case.

Frank v. Mangum Brief

Georgia Governor John M. Slaton, the senior law partner of the Leo M. Frank legal defense team, chose to commute his clients death sentence to life in prison on June 21, 1915. Leo M. Frank Clemency Decision by John M. Slaton June 21, 1915.

Leo Frank case files from the Georgia Supreme Court, Adobe PDF format: http://www.leofrank.org/library/georgia-archives/

References

http://www.leofrank.org/images/georgia-supreme-court-case-files/

Leo Frank vs. The State of Georgia, Denied February 17, 1914, Rehearing Denied February 25, 1914: http://www.leofrank.org/library/nexus-lexus/141_Ga._243,_80_S.E._1016,_1914_Ga._LEXIS.PDF.

Judge Benjamin Hill overruled defendant’s extraordinary motion for a new trial, Fulton County Superior Court, May 8, 1914, Frank vs. The State, Supreme Court of Georgia, Denied overruled defendant’s extraordinary motion for a new trial, October 14, 1914: http://www.leofrank.org/library/nexus-lexus/142_Ga._617,_83_S.E._2331914_Ga._LEXIS_480,.PDF. The court held that the trial court did not err in denying defendant’s extraordinary motion for a new trial because defendant failed to present newly discovered evidence that was so material that it would probably have produced a different verdict at trial. In light of defendant’s failure to present such evidence, as well as the State’s counter-showing, defendant was not entitled to a new trial on the ground of newly discovered evidence.

Leo M. Frank filed his motion in writing, which was afterward amended, to set aside the verdict of guilty of murder rendered against him in the superior court of Fulton county. Petition to set aside the verdict of guilt, before Judge Hill. Fulton superior court. June 6, 1914. Frank v. State, Set aside the verdict, decided November 1914. http://www.leofrank.org/library/nexus-lexus/142_Ga._741,_83_S.E._645,_1914_Ga._LEXIS_.PDF.

Leo M. Frank in the The Supreme Court of the United States, Writ of Error, Submitted November 30, 1914. December 7, 1914, Decided: http://www.leofrank.org/library/nexus-lexus/235_U.S._69435_S._Ct._20859_L._Ed._4291914_U.PDF

Frank v. Mangum, Sheriff of Fulton County, Georgia. No. 775. Supreme Court of the United States. 237 U.S. 309; 35 S. Ct. 582; 59 L. Ed. 969; 1915 U.S. Lexis 1338. Argued February 25, 26, 1915.

April 12, 1915, Decided. Prior History: Appeal from the District Court of the United States for the Northern District of Georgia: http://www.leofrank.org/library/nexus-lexus/237_U.S._309,_35_S._Ct._582,_59_L._Ed._96.PDF.

Last Updated: January, 2013