Argument of Reuben Rose Arnold on Behalf of Leo Frank (August & October 1913)

There were two major speeches that Reuben Rose Arnold made on behalf of Leo Frank in 1913 that survived the last century and are available to this date, the first was his closing argument speech given at the end of the Leo M. Frank criminal trial in late August 1913, it is captured in Lawson’s American State Trials Volume X 1918 (which is available online in the Leo Frank bibliography) and the second was the Argument of Reuben Rose Arnold given at a hearing in October 1913 after the murder trial for the purpose of attemping to have the verdict set aside and a new trial issued.

Reuben R. Arnold’s August 1913 and October 1913 speeches are often Confused Even Amongst Prominent Leo Frank Authors

A common mix-up with the 1914 published booklet “Argument of Reuben Rose Arnold” originally delivered to the court in October 1913 is the title is too often mistaken for and confused with the final closing argument and statement Reuben Rose Arnold gave at the end of the criminal trial of Leo M. Frank in late August 1913.

In the October 1913 speech, Reuben Arnold speaks alone this time in an attempt, to have the verdict of guilt rendered against Leo Frank set aside and get new trial issued for Leo Frank by the trial Judge Leonard S. Roan. This attempt failed and was the first step of 2 years of appeals.

Reuben Arnold’s October 1913 speech tends to be a more emotionally compelling speech than his August 1913 closing argument. Leo Frank detractors perceived Arnold’s October speech as desperate and hollow.

Available in PDF Format:

The October 1913, Argument of Reuben Rose Arnold after the Trial of Leo M. Frank. The post-Trial speech on behalf of Leo Frank, Reuben R. Arnold’s Address to the Court on his Behalf in October 1913. Introduction by Alvin V. Sellers. Classic Publishing Co., Baxley GA. Copyright, 1915 by Alvin V. Sellers and The Trow Press, New York. Booklet format, 69 pages and published in 1915. Original booklets are extremely rare and difficult to find in superior condition. Scanned and brought to you by the Leo Frank Research Archive Available here in Adobe PDF. A review of the Final Trial Statement concerning the Leo Frank Trial by Reuben Rose Arnold, October 1913 can be found on Internet Archive

Compare the Two Speeches of Reuben Rose Arnold on Behalf of Leo Frank

We recommend you read the PDF version of the Argument of Reuben Arnold (October 1913) and the closing argument (August 1913) of Reuben Arnold at the Leo M. Frank murder trial (available in Lawson’s American State Trials Volumne X 1918) to compare the two.

We have provided the text versions of the late August 1913 final closing arguments of the Leo Frank criminal trial published below, and then after that the October 1913 Argument of Reuben Rose Arnold at the re-trial request hearing, both speeches are also available in PDF format above and in OCR Text Format below:

August 1913 Speech at the Leo Frank Trial Below, thereafter Oct 1913 speech at the hearing to get Leo Frank a new trial (read both and compare)


Mr. Arnold. Gentlemen of the Jury: We are all to be
congratulated that this case is drawing to a close. We have
all suffered here from trying a long and complicated case at
the heated term of the year. It has been a case that has
taken so much effort and so much concentration and so much
time, and the quarters here are so poor, that it has been par-
ticularly hard on you members of the jury who are prac-
tically in custody while the case is going on. I know it’s
hard on a jury, to be kept confined this way, but it is neces-
sary that they be segregated and set apart where they will
get no impression at home nor on the street. The members of
the jury are in a sense set apart on a mountain, where, far
removed from the passion and heat of the plain, calmness
rules them and they can judge a case on its merits.

My friend Hooper said a funny thing here a while ago.
I don’t think he meant what he said, however. Mr. Hooper
said that the men in the jury box are not different from the
men on the street. Your Honor, I’m learning something
every day, and I certainly learned something today, if that’s

Mr. Hooper: Mr. Arnold evidently mistakes my meaning, which
I thought I made clear. I stated that the men in the jury box were
like they would be on the street in the fact that in making up their
minds about the guilt or innocence of the accused they must use the
same common sense that they would if they were not part of the


[Mr. Arnold next described the horrible crime that had
been committed that afternoon or night in the National Pencil
Company’s dark basement. He dwelt on the effect of the
crime upon the people of Atlanta and of how high feeling
ran and still runs, and of the omnipresent desire for the
death of the man who committed the crime.]

There are fellows like that street car man, Kendley, the one
who vilified this defendant here and cried for him to be
lynched, and shouted that he was guilty until he made him-
self a nuisance on the cars he ran. Why, I can hardly realize
that a man holding a position as responsible as that of a mo-
torman and a man – with certain police powers and the discre-
tion necessary to guide a car through the crowded city streets
would give way to passion and prejudice like that. It was
a type of man like Kendley who said he did not know for sure
whether those negroes hanged in Decatur for the shooting of
the street car men were guilty, but he was glad they were
hung, as some negroes ought to be hanged for the crime. He’s
the same sort of a man who believes that there ought to be
a hanging because that innocent little girl was murdered,
and who would like to see this Jew here hang because some-
body ought to hang for it.

I’ll tell you right now, if Frank hadn’t been a Jew there
would never have been any prosecution against him. I’m
asking my own people to turn him loose, asking them to do
justice to a Jew, and I’m not a Jew, but I would rather die
before doing injustice to a Jew.

This case has just been built up by degrees; they have a
monstrous perjurer here in the form of this Jim Conley
against Frank. You know what sort of a man Conley is, and
you know that up to the time the murder was committed no
one ever heard a word against Frank. Villainy like this
charged to him does not crop out in a day. There are long
mutterings of it for years before. There are only a few who
have ever said anything against Frank. I want to call your
attention later to the class of their witnesses and the class of
ours. A few floaters around the factory, out of the hundreds

264 LEO M. FRANK. 265

who have worked there in the plant three or four years, have
been induced to come up here and swear that Frank has not
a good character, but the decent employees down there have
sworn to his good character. Look at the jail birds they
brought up here, the very dregs of humanity, men and
women – who have disgraced themselves and who now have
come and tried to swear away the life of an innocent man.

I know that you members of the jury are impartial. That’s
the only reason why you are here, and I’m going to strip the
state’s case bare for you, if I have the strength to last to do
it. They have got to show Frank guilty of one thing before
you can convict him; they’ve got to show that he is guilty
of the murder, no matter what else they show about him.

You are trying him solely for the murder, and there must be
no chance that anyone else could just as likely be guilty. If
the jury sees that there is just as good a chance that Conley
can be guilty, then they must turn Frank loose
Now, you can see how in this case the detectives were put
to it to lay the crime on somebody. First, it was Lee, and
then it was Gantt, and various people came in and declared
they had seen the girl alive late Saturday night and at other
times, and no one knew what to do. Well, suspicion turned
away from Gantt, and in a little while it turned away from

Now, I don’t believe that Lee is guilty of the crime,
but I do believe that he knows a lot more about the crime
than he told. He knows about those letters and he found
that body a lot sooner than he said he did.

Oh, well, the whole case is a mystery, a deep mystery, but
there is one thing pretty plain, and that is that whoever wrote
those notes committed the crime. Those notes certainly had
some connection with the murder, and whoever wrote those
notes committed the crime.

Well, they put Newt Lee through the third degree and the
fourth degree, and maybe a few others. That’s the way, you
know, they got this affidavit from the poor negro woman,
Minola MecKnight. Why, just the other day the supreme
court handed down a decision in which it referred to the third


degree methods of the police and detectives in words that

Well, they used those methods with Jim Conley. My
friend, Hooper, said nothing held Conley to the witness chair
here but the truth, but I tell you that the fear of a broken
neck held him there. I think this decision about the third
degree was handed down with Conley’s case in mind. I’m
going to show this Conley business up before I get through.

I’m going to show that this entire case is the greatest frame-
up in the history of the state.

My friend Hooper remarked something about circumstan-
tial evidence, and how powerful it frequently was. He forgot
to say that the circumstances, in every case, must invariably
be proved by witnesses. History contains a long record of
circumstantial evidence, and I once had a book on the sub-
ject which dwelt on such cases, most all of which sickens the
man who reads them. Horrible mistakes have been made by
circumstantial evidence-more so than by any other kind.1
Hooper says, “Suppose Frank didn’t kill the girl, and Jim
Conley did, wasn’t it Frank’s duty to protect her” He was
taking the position that if Jim went back there and killed
her, Frank could not help but know about the murder.
Which position, I think, is quite absurd. Take this hypo-
thesis, then, of Mr. Hooper’s. If Jim saw the girl go up and
went back and killed her, would he have taken the body down
the elevator at that time? Wouldn’t he have waited until
Frank and White and Denham, and Mrs. White and all
others were out of the building? I think so. But there’s not
a possibility of the girl having been killed on the second floor.
Hooper smells a plot, and says Frank has his eye on the little
girl who was killed. The crime isn’t an act of a civilized

1 Here Mr. Arnold cited the Durant case in San Francisco, the
Hampton case in England, and the Dreyfus case in France as in-
stances of mistakes of circumstantial evidence. In the Dreyfus
case he declared it was purely persecution of the Jew. The hide-
ousness of the murder itself was not as savage, he asserted, as the
feeling to convict this man. But the savagery and- venom is there
just the same, and it is a case very much on the order of Dreyfus.


man-it’s the crime of a cannibal, a man-eater. Hooper is
hard-pressed and wants to get up a plot-he sees he has to
get up something. He forms his plot from Jim Conley’s

They say that on Friday, Frank knew he was going to
make an attack of some sort on Mary Phagan. The plot
thickens. Of all the wild things I have ever heard, that is the
wildest. It is ridiculous. Mary Phagan worked in the pencil
factory for months, and all the evidence they have produced
that Frank ever associated with her-ever knew her-is the
story of weasley little Willie Turner, who can’t even describe
the little girl who was killed.

A little further on in his story, Jim is beginning the plot.
They used him to corroborate everything as they advised.
Jim is laying the foundation for the plot. What is it-this
plot? Only that on Friday Frank was planning to commit
some kind of assault upon Mary Phagan. Jim was their tool.

Even Scott swears that when he told Jim that Jim’s story
didn’t fit, Jim very obligingly adapted it to suit his defense.
He was scrupulous about things like that. He was quite con-
siderate. Certainly. He had his own neck to save.

Jim undertook to show that Frank had an engagement with
some woman at the pencil factory that Saturday morning.
There is no pretense that another woman is mixed up in the
case. No one would argue that he planned to meet and
assault this innocent little girl who was killed. Who but God
would know whether she was coming for her pay that Friday
afternoon or the next Saturday? Are we stark idiots? Can’t
we divine some things?

They’s got a girl named Ferguson, who says she went for
Mary Phagan’s pay on the Friday before she was killed, and
that Frank wouldn’t give it to her. It is the wildest theory
on earth, and it fits nothing. It is a strained conspiracy.

Frank, to show you I am correct, had nothing whatever to do
with paying off on Friday. Schiff did it all. And little Mag-
nolia Kennedy, Helen Ferguson’s best friend, says she was
with Helen when Helen -went to draw her pay, and that Helen


never said a word about Mary’s envelope. There’s your con-
spiracy, with Jim Conley’s story as its foundation. It’s too
thin. It’s preposterous.

Then my friend Hooper says Frank discharged Gantt be-
cause he saw Gantt talking to Mary Phagan. If you con-
vict men on such distorted evidence as this, why you’d be
hanging men perpetually. Gantt, in the first place, doesn’t
come into this case in any good light. It is ridiculously ab-
surd to bring his discharge into this plot of the defense.
Why, even Grace Hicks, who worked with Mary Phagan, and
who is a sister-in-law of Boots Rogers, says that Frank did
not know the little girl.

Hooper also says that bad things are going on in the pen-
cil factory, and that it is natural for men to cast about for
girls in such environments. We are not trying this case on
whether you or I or Frank had been perfect in the past. This
is a case of murder. Let him who is without sin cast the first
I say this much, and that is that there has been as
little evidence of such conditions in this plant as any other
of its kind you can find in the city. They have produced
some, of course, but it is an easy matter to locate some ten
or twelve disgruntled ex-employees who are vengeful enough
to swear against their former superintendent, even though
they don’t know him except by sight.

I want to ask this much: Could Frank have remained at
the head of this concern if he had been as loose morally as
the state has striven to show. If he had carried on with the
girls of the place as my friend alleged, wouldn’t the entire
working force have been demoralized, ruined? He may have
looked into this dressing room, as the little Jackson girl says,
but, if he did, it was done to see that the girls weren’t loiter-
ing. There were no lavatories, no toilets, no baths in these
dressing rooms. The girls only changed their top garments.

He wouldn’t have seen much if he had peered into the place.
You can go to Piedmont park any day and see girls and
women with a whole lot less on their persons. And to the
shows any night you can see the actresses with almost nothing


on. Everything brought against Frank was some act he did
openly and in broad daylight, and an act against which no
kick was made.

The trouble with Hooper is that he sees a bear in every
bush. He sees a plot in this because Frank told Jim Conley
to come back Saturday morning. The office that day was
filled with persons throughout the day. How could he know
when Mary Phagan was coming or how many persons would
be in the place when she arrived?

This crime is the hideous act of a negro who would ravish
a ten-year-old girl the same as he would ravish a woman of
years. It isn’t a white man’s crime. It’s the crime of a
beast-a low, savage beast!

Now, back to the case. There is an explorer in the pencil
factory by the name of Barrett-I call him Christopher Co-
lumbus Barrett purely for his penchant for finding things.

Mr. Barrett discovered the blood spots in the place where
Chief Beavers, Chief Lanford and Mr. Black and Air. Starnes
had searched on the Sunday of the discovery. They found
nothing of the sort. Barrett discovered the stains after he
had proclaimed to the whole second floor that he was going
to get the $4,000 reward if Mr. Frank was convicted. Now,
you talk about plants! If this doesn’t look mighty funny
that a man expecting a reward would find blood spots in a
place that has been scoured by detectives, I don’t know what
does. Four chips of this flooring were chiseled from this
flooring -where these spots were found. The floor was an inch
deep in dirt and grease. Victims of accidents had passed by
the spot with bleeding fingers and hands. If a drop of blood
had ever fallen there, a chemist could find it four years later.

Their contention is that all the big spots were undiluted blood.
Yet, let’s see how much blood Dr. Claude Smith found on the
chips. Probably five corpuscles, that’s all, and that’s -what
he testified here at the trial. My recollection is that one sin-
gle drop of blood contains 8,000 corpuscles. And, he found
these corpuscles on only one chip. I say that half of the
blood had been on the floor two or three years. The stain on


all chips but one were not blood. Dorsey’s own doctors have
put him where he can’t wriggle-his own evidence hampers
him! They found blood spots on a certain spot and then had
Jim adapt his story accordingly. They had him put the find-
ing of the body near the blood spots, and had him drop it
right where the spots were found.

It stands to reason that if a girl had been wounded on the
lathing machine, there would have been blood in the vicinity
of the machine. Yet, there was no blood in that place, and
neither was there any where the body was said to have been
found by Conley. The case doesn’t fit. It’s flimsy. And,
this white machine oil that they’ve raised such a rumpus over.
It was put on the floor as a cheap, common plant, to make it ap-
pear as though someone had put it there in an effort to hide the
blood spots. The two spots of blood and the strands of hair
are the only evidence that the prosecution has that the girl
was killed on the second floor.

Now, about these strands of hair. Barrett, the explorer,
says he found four or five strands on the lathing machine. I
don’t know whether he did or not. They’ve never been pro-
duced. I’ve never seen them. But, it’s probable, for just
beyond the lathing machine, right in the path of a draft that
blows in from the window, is a gas jet used by the girls in
curling and primping their hair. It’s very probable that
strands of hair have been blown from this jet to the lathing

The detectives say that Frank is a crafty, cunning crimi-
nal, when deep down in their heart of hearts they know good
and well that their case is built against him purely because
he was honest enough to admit having seen her that day.

Had he been a criminal, he never would have told about see-
ing her and would have replaced her envelope in the desk,
saying she had never called for her pay.

I believe that a majority of women are good. The state
jumped on poor Daisy Hopkins. I don’t contend, now, mind
you, that she is a paragon of virtue. But there are men who
were put up by the state who are no better than she. For in-

270 LEO M. FRANK. 271

stance, this Dalton, who says openly that he went into the
basement with Daisy. I don’t believe he ever did, but, in
such a ease, he slipped in: There are some fallen women who
can tell the truth. They have characteristics like all other
types. We put her on the stand to prove Dalton a liar, and
she did it. Now, gentlemen, don’t you think the prosecution
is hard pressed when they put up such a character as Dalton?
They say he has reformed. A man with thievery in his soul
never reforms. Drunkards do, and men with bad habits, but
thieves? No. Would you convict a man like Frank on the
word of a perjurer like Dalton?

Now, I’m coming back to Jim Conley. The whole case cen-
ters around him. Mr. Hooper argues well on that part. At
the outset of the case, the suspicion pointed to Frank merely
because he was the only man in the building. It never
cropped out for weeks that anyone else was on the flrst floor.

The detectives put their efforts on Frank because he admitted
having seen the girl. They have let their zeal run away with
them in this case, and it is tragic. They are proud whenever
they get a prisoner who will tell something. The humbler the
victim the worse is the case. Such evidence comes with the
stamp of untruth on its face.

Jim Conley was telling his story to save his neck, and the
detectives were happy listeners. If there is one thing for
which a negro is capable it is for telling a story in detail.
It is the same with children. Both have vivid imaginations.
And a negro is also the best mimic in the world. He can
imitate anybody. Jim Conley, as he lay in his cell and read
the papers and talked with the detectives, conjured up his
wonderful story, and laid the crime on Frank, because the
detectives had laid it there and were helping him do the

Now, Brother Hooper waves the bloody shirt in our face. It
was found, Monday or Tuesday, in Newt Lee’s house, while
Detectives Black and Scott were giving Cain to poor old man
Newt Lee. I don’t doubt for a minute that they knew it
was out there when they started out after it. I can’t say


they planted it, but it does look suspicious. Don’t ask us
about a planted shirt. Ask Scott and Black.

The first thing that points to Conley’s guilt is his original
denial that he could write. Why did he deny it? Why? I
don’t suppose much was thought of it when Jim said he
couldn’t write, because there are plenty of negroes who are in
the same fix. But later, when they found he could, and
found that his script compared perfectly with the murder
notes, they went right on accusing Frank. Not in criminal
annals was there a better chance to lay at the door of another
man a crime than Jim Conley .had.

You see, there is a reason to all things. The detective de-
partment had many reasons to push the case against Frank.
He was a man of position and culture. They were afraid
that someone, unless they pushed the case to the jumping off
place, would accuse them of trying to shield him. They are
afraid of public and sentiment, and do not want to combat it,
so, in such cases, they invariably follow the line of least

[Reading Conley’s statement, Mr. Arnold pointed out the use of
words, which he declared no negro would naturally have used. These
were long words with many syllables in them. They said that Conley
used so much detail in his statements that he could not have been
lying! He then read parts of statements which Conley had repudi-
ated as willful lies and, pointed out the wealth of detail with which
they were filled. And yet they say he couldn’t fabricate so much
detail! Oh, *he is smart! He then read the statement of May 24,
in which Conley admitted writing the notes. In this he shows three
different times at which Conley stated ‘he wrote the notes, these
being early in the morning, at 12:04 and at 3 p. m.]

The statements were not genuinely Conley’s. Take the
word “negro.” The first word that a nigger learns to spell
correctly is negro, and he always takes particular pains to
spell it n-e-g-r-o. He knows how to spell it. Listen to the
statement. He says that at first he spelled the word “ne-
gros,” but that Frank did not want the “s” on it and told
him to rub it out, which he did. Then he says that he wrote
the word over.

Look at the notes. He was treed about those notes, and he


had to tell a lie and put upon someone the burden of instruct-
ing him to write them. The first statement about them was
a blunt lie-a lie in its incipiency. He said he wrote the
notes on Friday. This was untrue, and unreasonable and
he saw it. Frank could not have known anything of an in-
tended murder on Friday from any viewpoint you might
take, and therefore he could not have made Conley write
them on Friday. Ah, gentlemen of the jury, I tell you these
people had a great find when they got this admission from
Conley! If Conley had stayed over there in the Tower with
Uncle Wheeler Mangum he would have told the truth long
ago. There’s where he should have stayed, with Wheeler

My good friend, Dorsey, is all right. I like him. But he
should not have walked hand in glove with the detectives.
There’s where he went wrong. My good old friend, Charlie
Hill would not have done that. He would have let the nigger
stay in the jail with Uncle Wheeler. I like Dorsey. He sim-
ply made a mistake by joining in the hunt, in becoming a part
of the chase. The solicitor should be little short of as fair as
the judge himself. But he’s young and lacks the experience.

He will probably know better in the future. Dorsey did this:

He went to the judge and got the nigger moved from the jail
to the police station. The judge simply said, “Whatever you
say is all right.”

Now, I’m going to show you how John Black got the state-
ment of Conley changed. I am going to give you a demon-
stration. I have learned some things in this case about get-
ting evidence !

They say that Frank cut Conley loose and he decided to
tell the truth. Conley is a wretch with a long criminal rec-
ord. Gentlemen, how can they expect what he says to be
believed against the statement of Leo M. Frank? They say
Conley can’t lie about detail. Here are four pages, all of
which he himself admits are lies. They are about every
saloon on Peters street, saloons to which he went, his shoot-
ing craps, his buying beer and all the ways in which he spent


a morning. There is detail enough, and he admits that they
are lies. Now, in his third statement, that of May 28, he
changes the time of writing the letters from Friday to Satur-
day. Here are two pages of what he said, all of which he
afterwards said were lies. He says that he made the state-
ment that he wrote the notes on Friday in order to divert sus-
picion from his being connected with the murder which hap-
pened on Saturday. He also says that this is his final and
true statement. God only knows how many statements he
will make. He said he made the statement voluntarily and
truthfully without promise of reward, and that he is telling
the truth and the whole truth. He said in his statement that
he never went to the building on Saturday. Yet we know
that he was lurking in the building all the morning on the day
of the murder. We know that he watched every girl that
walked into that building so closely that he could tell you the
spots on their dresses. We know that he was drunk, or had
enough liquor in him to fire his blood.
I know why he wouldn’t admit being in that building on
Saturday. He had guilt on his soul, and he didn’t want it
to be known that he was here on Saturday. That’s why.
When they pinned him down, what did he do? He says
that he was watching for Frank. My God, wasn’t he a watch-
man! He said that he heard Frank and Mary Phagan walk-
ing upstairs, and that he heard Mary Phagan scream, and that
immediately after hearing the scream he let Monteen Stover
into the building.
Why, they even have him saying that he watched for
Frank, when another concern was using the very floor space
in which Frank’s office was located, and you know they
wouldn’t submit to anything like that. Look again! He says
that Mr. Frank said, “Jim, can you write?” What a lie! He
admitted that he had been writing for Frank for two years.
It’s awful to have to argue about a thing like this, gentlemen!
You will remember Hooper said, “How foolish of Conley to
write these notes!” How much more foolish, I say, of Frank
to do it!



I don’t think that Newt killed the girl, but I believe he dis-
covered the body some time before he notified the police.
Newt’s a good nigge�.
Scott said that it took Conley six minutes to write a part
of one note. Conley said that he wrote the notes three times.
They say that nigger couldn’t lie. Gentlemen, if there is
any one thing that nigger can do, it is to lie. As my good old
friend, Charlie Hill, would say, “Put him in a hopper and
he’ll drip lye!”
He was trying to prove an alibi for himself when he said
that he was not in the factory on Saturday and told all the
things that he did elsewhere on that day. But we know that
the wretch was lurking in the factory all of Saturday morn-
ing. Further, he swore that while he was in Frank’s office he
heard someone approaching, and Mr. Frank cried out, “Gee!
Here come Corinthia Hall and Emma Clarke!” and that
Frank shut him up in a wardrobe until they left. According
to Conley, they came into the factory between 12 and 1
o’clock, when as a matter of fact, we know that they came be-
tween 11 and 12. And as for his being able to fabricate the
details of his statement-why, he knew every inch of that
building from top to bottom! Hadn’t he been sweeping and
cleaning it for a long time? With this knowledge of the build-
ing, he naturally had no trouble in his pantomime after he
had formed his story. The miserable wretch has Frank hid-
ing him in the wardrobe when Emma Clarke came in after the
murder, when it has been proved that she came there and left
before Mary Phagan ever entered the building on that day.
They saw where they were wrong in that statement, and
they made Conley change it on the stand. They made him
say, “I thought it was them.” They knew that that story
wouldn’t fit.
Do you remember, how eagerly Conley took the papers from
the girls at the factory? And do you remember how for four
or five days the papers were full of the fact that Frank’s
home was in Brooklyn, and that his relatives were reported
to be wealthy? Conley didn’t have to go far to get material


for that statement he put in Frank’s mouth. It so happened,
though, that Frank really did not have rich relatives in
Brooklyn. H~is mother testified that his father was in ill
health, and had but moderate means and that his sister worked
in New York for her living.
Gentlemen, am I living or dreaming, that I have to argue
such points as these? This is what you’ve got to do: You’ve
got to swallow every word that Conley has said-feathers and
all, or you’ve got to believe none of it. How are you going
to pick out of such a pack of lies as these what you will believe
and what you will not? Yet, this is what the prosecution has
based the case upon. If this fails, all fails.
And do you remember about the watch, where Conley said
that Frank asked him, “Why do you want to buy a watch for
your wife? My big, fat wife wanted me to buy her an auto-
mobile, but I wouldn’t do it!” Do you believe that, gentle-
men of the jury*%
I tell you that they have mistreated this poor woman ter-
ribly. They have insinuated that she would not come to the
tower to see Frank-had deserted him. When we know that
she stayed away from the jail at Frank’s own request because
he did not want to submit her to the humiliation of seeing him
locked up and to the vulgar gaze of the morbid and to the
cameras of the newspaper men. The most awful thing in the
whole ease is the way this family has been mistreated! The
way they invaded Frank’s home and manipulated his ser-
vants. I deny that the people who did this are representative
of the 175,000 people of Fulton county! We are a fair peo-
ple, and we are a chivalrous people. Such acts as these are
not in our natures.
Conley next changes the time of the writing of the notes to
Saturday, but denies knowledge of the murder. That, of
course, did not satisfy these gentlemen, and they went back
to him. They knew he was dodging incrimination. So they
had him to change the statement again. Scott and other de-
tectives spent six hours at the time with Conley on occasions,



and used profanity and worried him to get a confession.
Hooper thinks that we have to break down Conley’s testimony
on the stand, but there is no such ruling. You can’t tell when
to believe him, he has lied so much. Scott says the detectives
went over the testimony with Dorsey. There is where my
friend got into it. They grilled Conley for six hours, trying
to impress on him the fact that Frank would not have written
the notes on Friday. They wanted another statement. He
insisted that he had no other statement to make, but he did
change the time of the writing of the notes from Friday to
Saturday. This shows, gentlemen, as clearly as anything can
show, how they got Conley’s statements. In the statement of
May 29, they had nothing from Jim Conley about his knowl-
edge of the killing of the little girl, and the negro merely said
that Frank had told him something about the girl having
received a fall and about his helping Frank to hide the body.
Oh, Conley, we ire going to have you tell enough to have
you convict Frank and yet keep yourself clear. That’s a
smart negro, that Conley. And you notice how the state
bragged on him because he stood up under the cross-examina-
tion of Colonel Rosser. Well, that negro’s been well versed in
law. Scott and Black and Starnes drilled him; they gave him
the broad hints.
We came here to go to trial, and knew nothing of the
negro’s claim to seeing the cord around the little girl’s neck,
or of his claim of seeing Lemmie Quinn go into the factory,
or of a score of other things. Yet, Conley was then telling the
truth, he said, and he had thrown Frank aside. Oh, he was no
longer shielding Frank, and yet he didn’t tell it all when he
said he was telling the whole truth. Well, Conley had a reve-
lation, you know. My friend Dorsey visited with him seven
times. And my friend, Jim Starnes, and my Irish friend,
Patrick Campbell, they visited him, and on each visit Conley
saw new light. Well, I guess they showed him things and
other things. Does Jim tell a thing because it’s the truth,
gentlemen of the jury, or because it fits into something that
another witness has told I Scott says they told him things



that fitted. And Conley changed things every time he had
a visit from Dorsey and the detectives. Are you going to
hang a man on that? Gentlemen, it’s foolish for me to have
to argue such a thing.
The man that wrote those murder notes is the man who
killed that girl. Prove that man was there and that he wrote
the notes and .you know who killed the girl. Well, Conley
acknowledges he wrote the notes and witnesses have proved
he was there and he admits that, too. That negro was in the
building near the elevator shaft; it took but two steps for
him to grab that little girl’s mesh bag. She probably held on
to it and struggled with him. A moment later he had struck
her in the eye and she had fallen. It is the work of a moment
for Conley to throw her down the elevator shaft.
Isn’t it more probable that the story I have outlined is true
than the one that Conley tells on Frank? Suppose Conley
were now under indictment and Frank out, how long would
such a story against Frank stand the pressure?
In the statement of May 29 there are any number of things
that are not told of which later were told on the stand. In the
May 29 statement Conley never told of seeing Mary Phagan
enter; he never told of seeing Mfonteen Stover enter, nor of
seeing Lemmie Quinn enter; now he tells of having seen all of
them enter. Don’t you see how they just made it to fit wit-
nesses and what the witnesses would swear? It was, “Here,
Conley, swear that Quinn came up, swear that the dead girl
came up, and swear that Miss Stover came up; they all did,
and it’s true, swear to it!” And Conley would say, “All right,
boss, Aih reckon they did.” And it was “Conley, how did you
fail to hear that girl go into the metal room? We know she went
there, because by our blood and hair we have proved she was
killed there,” and the poor negro thought a minute, and then
he said, “Yes, (boss, I heard her go in.” The state’s repre-
sentatives had put it into the negro’s head to swear he heard
Frank go in with her, and that he heard Frank come tiptoe-
ing out later, and that by that method they made Conley
swear that Frank was a moral pervert. Now, I don’t know

LEO fM. FRANK. 279

that they told Conley to swear to this and to swear to that,
but they made the suggestions, and Conley knew whom he
had to please. He knew that when he pleased the detectives
that the rope knot around his neck grew looser. In the same
way they made Conley swear about Dalton, and in the same
way about Daisy Hopkins. They didn’t ask him about the
mesh bag. They forgot that until Conley got on the stand.
That mesh lbag and that pay envelope furnish the true motive
for this crime, too, and if the girl was ravished, Conley did it
after he had robbed her and thrown her body into the base.
ment. Well, they got Conley on the stand, and my friend
Dorsey here asked Conley about the mesh bag, and he said,
yes, Frank had put it in his safe. That was the crowning lie
of all!
Well, they’ve gone on this way, adding one thing and an-
other thing. They wouldn’t let Conley out of jail; they had
their own reasons for that, and yet I never heard that old
man over there (pointing to the sherif) called dishonest. He
runs his jail in a way to protect the innocent and not to con-
vict them in this jail.
Gentlemen, right here a little girl was murdered, and it’s
a terrible crime. The Phagan tragedy, the crime that stirred
Atlanta as none other ever did.
We have already got in court the man who wrote those
notes, and the man who by his own confession was there; the
man who robbed her, and, gentlemen, why go further in seek-
ing the murderer than the black brute who sat there by the
elevator shaft? The man who sat by that elevator shaft is the
man who committed the crime. He was full of passion and
lust; he had drunk of mean whiskey, and he wanted money
at first to buy more whiskey.

[Mr. Arnold asked the sheriff to unwrap a chart which had pre-
viously been brought into court. It proved to be a chronological
chart of Frank’s alleged movements on Saturday, April 26, the day
of the crime, and Mr. Arnold announced to the jury that he would
prove by the chart that it was a physical impossibility for Frank
to have committed the crime.]


Every word on that chart is taken from the evidence, and
it will show you that Frank did not have time to commit the
crime charged to him. The state has wriggled a lot in this
affair; they put up little George Epps, and he swore that he
and Mary Phagan got to town about seven after twelve, and
then they used other witnesses, and my friend Dorsey tried
to boot the Epps boy’s evidence aside as though it were
nothing. The two street car men, Hollis and Mathews, say
that -Mary Phagan got to Forsyth and Marietta at five or six
minutes after twelve, and they stuck to it, despite every
attempt to bulldoze them, and then Mathews, who rode on
the car to -Whitehall and Mitchell, says that Mary Phagan
rode around with him to Broad and Hunter streets before she
got off-
Well, the state put up kMcCoy, the man who never got his
watch out of soak until about the time he was called as a wit-
ness, and they had him swear that he looked at his watch at
Walton and Forsyth (and he never had any watch), and it
was 12 o’clock exactly, and then he walked down the street and
saw Mary Phagan on her way to the factory. Now, I don’t
believe McCoy ever saw Mary Phagan. Epps may have seen
her, but the State apparently calls him a liar, when they intro-
duce other testimony to show a change of time to what he
swore to. It’s certain those two street car men who knew the
girl, saw her, (but the state comes in with the watchless McCoy
and Kendley, the Jew-hater, and try to advance new theories
about the time and different ones from what their own wit-
iless had sworn to. -Well, we have enough to prove the time,
all right; we have the street car schedule, the statement of
Hollis and Mathews and of George Epps, the state’s own
The next thing is, how long did it take Conley to go through
with what he claims happened from the time he went into
Frank’s office and was told to get the body until he left the
factory. According to Conley’s own statement, he started at
four minutes to 1 o’clock and got through at 1:30 o’clock,
making 34 minutes in all.



Harlee Branch says that he was there when the detectives
made Conley go through with what he claimed took place, and
that he started then at 12:17, and by Mr. Branch’s figures, it
took Conley 50 minutes to complete the motions. Well, the
state has attacked nearly everybody we have brought into this
case, but they didn’t attack Dr. William Owen, and he showed
by his experiments that Conley could not have gone through
those motions in 34 minutes.
Jim Conley declared that he started at 4 minutes to 1
o’clock to get the body, and that he and Frank left at 1:30.
If we ever pinned the negro down to anything, we did to that,
and we have shown that he could not have done all that in
341 minutes.
Away with your f1ith and your dirty, shameful evidence of
perversion; your low street gossip, and come back to -the
time-the time-element in the case.
Now, I don’t believe the little Stover girl ever went into
the inner office. She was a sweet, innocent, timid little girl,
and she just peeped into the office fr6mn the outer one, and if
Frank was in there, the safe door hid him from her view, or
if he was not there, he might have stepped out for just a
Oh, my friend, Dorsey, he* stops clocks and he changes
schedules, and he even changes a man’s whole physical
make-up, and he’s almost changed the course of time in an
effort to get Frank convicted.
Oh, I hate to think of little Mary Phagan in this. I hate
to think that such a sweet, pure, good little girl as she was,
with never a breath of anything wrong whispered against her,
should have her memory polluted with such rotten evidence
against an innocent man. Well, Mary Phagan entered the
factory at approximately 12 minutes after 12, and did you
ever stop to fhink that it was Frank who told them that the
girl entered the office when she entered it ? If he had killed
her he would have just slipped her pay envelope back in the
safe and declared that he never saw her that day at all, and
then no one could have ever explained how she got into that


,basement. But Frank couldn’t know that there was hatred
enough left in this country against his race to bring such a
hideous charge against him. Well, the little girl entered, and
she got her pay and asked about the metal and then she left,
but, there was a black spider waiting down there near the
elevator shaft, a great passionate, lustful animal, full of mean
whiskey and wanting money with which to buy more whiskey.
He was as full of vile lust as he was of the passion for more
whiskey, and the negro (and there are a thousand of them in
Atlanta who would assault a white woman if they had the
chance and knew they wouldn’t get caught) robbed her and
struck her and threw her body down the shaft, and later he
carried it back, and maybe, if she was alive, when he came
back, he committed a worse crime, and then he put the cord
around her neck and left the body there.
Do you suppose Frank would have gone out at 1:20 o’clock
and left that body in the basement and those two men, White
and Denham, at work upstairs? Do you suppose an intelligent
man like Frank would have risked running that elevator, like
Conley says he did, with the rest of the machinery of the fac-
tory shut off and nothing to prevent those men up there hear-
ing him?
Well, Frank says he left the factory at I o’clock, and Con-
ley says he left there at 1:30. Now, there’s a little girl, who
tried the week before to get a job as stenographer in Frank’s
office, who was standing at Whitehall and Alabama streets,
and saw Frank at ten minutes after 1. Did she lie? Well,
Dorsey didn’t try to show it, and according to Dorsey, every-
body lied except Conley and Dalton and Albert McKnight.
This little girl says she knows it was Frank, because Professor
Briscoe had introduced her to him the week before, and she
knows the time of day because she had looked at a clock, as she
had an engagement to meet another little girl. That stamps
your Conley story a lie blacker than hell! Then, Mrs. Levy,
she’s a Jew, but she’s telling the truth; she was looking for
her son to come home, and she saw Frank get off the car at
his home corner, and she looked at her clock and saw it was


1:20. Then, Mrs. Selig and Mr. Selig swore on the stand that
they knew he came in at 1:20.
Oh, of course, Dorsey says they are Frank’s parents and
wretched liars when they say they saw him come in at 1:20.
There’s no one in this ease that can tell the truth but Conley,
Dalton and Albert McKnight. They are the lowest dregs and
3ail-birds, and all that, but they are the only ones who know
how to tell the truth! Well, now Albert says he was there at
the Selig home when Frank came in; of course he is lying,
for his wife and the Seligs prove that, ibut he’s the state’s
witness and he says Frank got there at 1:30, and thus he
brands �Conley’s story about Frank’s leaving the factory at
1:30 a lie. Well, along the same lines, Albert says Frank
didn’t eat and that he was nervous, and Albert says he
learned all this by looking into a mirror in the dining room,
and seeing Frank’s reflection. Then Albert caps the climax
to his series of lies by having Frank board the car for town
at Pulliam street and Glenn.
Now as to the affidavit signed by Minola MeKnight, the cook
for Mr. and Mrs. Emil Selig. How would you feel, gentlemen of
the jury, if your cook, who had done no wrong and for whom
no warrant had been issued, and from. whom the solicitor had
already got a statement, was to be locked up? Well, they got
that wretched husband of Minola’s by means of Craven and
Pickett, two men seeking a reward, and then they got Minola,
and they said to her, “Oh, Minola, why don’t you tell the
truth like Albert’s telling it?”
They had no warrant when they locked this woman up.
Starnes was guilty of a crime when he lockdd that woman
up without a warrant, and Dorsey was, too, if he had
anything to do with it. Now, George Gordon, ]Ainola’s law-
yer, says that he asked Dorsey about getting the woman out,
and Dorsey replied, “I’m afraid to give my consent to turn-
ing her loose; I might get in bad with the detective depart-
ment.” That’s the way you men got evidence, was it?
Miss Rebecca Carson, a forewoman of the National Pencil
factory, swore Frank had a good character. The state had




introduced witnesses who swore that the woman and Frank
had gone into the woman’s dressing room when no one was
around. I brand it a culmination of all lies when this woman
was attacked. Frank had declared her to be a perfect lady
with no shadow of suspicion against her.
Well, Frank went on back to the factory that afternoon
when he had eaten his lunch, and he started in and made out
the financial sheet. I don’t reckon he could have done that if
he had just committed a murder, particularly when the state
says he was so nervous the next morning that he shook and
Then, the state says Frank wouldn’t look at the corpse. But
who said he didn’t? Nobody. Why, Gheesling and Black
dcidn’t swear to that.
Now, gentlemen, I’ve about finished this chapter, and I
know it’s been long and hard on you and I know it’s been
hard on me, too; I’m almost broken down, but it means a lot
to that man over there. It means a lot to him, and don’t for-
get that. This case has been made up of just two things-
prejudice and perjury. I’ve never seen such malice, such per-
sonal hatred in all my life, and I don’t think anyone ever has.
The crime itself is dreadful, too horrible to talk about, and
God grant that the murderer may be found out, and I think
he has. I think we can point to Jim Conley and say there is
the man.
But, above all, gentlemen, let’s follow the law in this mat-
ter. In circumstantial cases you can’t convict a man as long
as there’s any other possible theory for the crime of which
he is accused, and you can’t find Frank guilty if there’s a
chance that Conley is the murderer. The state has nothing
on which to base their case but Conley, and we’ve shown Con-
ley a liar. Write your verdict of not guilty and your con-
sciences will give your approval.

August 1913 Speech Above

October 1913 Speech Below


Speech of Mr. Arnold

It takes thirteen jurors to murder a man
in cold blood. So that I feel I am not only justified
but required, by the scope of Your Honor’s authority
and duty and the tremendous responsibility that rests
upon you, to argue to the court the facts of this un-
usual case, and to give the reasons why the verdict of
guilty should be set aside and a new trial granted.
In many respects, this is an unusual case. Unfor-
tunately, murder is a frequent crime. The example
of Cain is too often followed in this vale of tears, and
this very community has had many killings that were
horrible to contemplate.
That fact does not mitigate this offense, of course,
in any degree-and this was an atrocious deed-but
I do say, that while we have seen murder here as cruel
as this, we have had no such trial as this.
The feeling here grows out of something over and
beyond the mere facts of the crime, and if you will
look down a little under the surface you will find the
cause to be the one that has run down the ages and
shed innocent blood for twenty centuries.

The Trial of Leo Frank
A trial is going on to-day in Russia that parallels
this case. A Jew is there being tried for a ritual
murder of a thirteen-year-old boy. The naked evi-
dence against him makes a terrible case; but the civil-
ized world stands aghast at it, looks upon it with
horror, and knows that the attempt to connect that
man with the murder is but the hideous appearance
again of that racial prejudice that has reflected no
credit for two thousand years upon the race to which
Your Honor and I belong.
I feel, Your Honor, that the time is coming when
the whole human race will be one great brotherhood.
Some day all of this prejudice will cease to exist.
That day is already here with enlightened people;
and it is here with some of the benighted part of the
population when they allow their better feelings to
We have the best people on earth in this Southern
country. We are really the only American part of
this Republic; and I know that when our people
finally think and feel on a subject like this they will
come to a decision divested of all prejudice and find
only truth.
As long, though, as there is an element pushing itself
into a courthouse to disgrace the community by
applause and demonstration, a great many people are
going to take that as manifestation of the public senti-
ment. They forget the thousands of good people who
are up in the offices, in the shops, in the stores. They
take it for granted that the public sentiment is shown

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

by the acts of those persons who have nothing to do
except to crowd into a courthouse where a poor fel-
low is on trial for his life, and who cheer, and whose
faces light up with smiles when he is found guilty,
and who rejoice and shake hands with each other and
throw up their caps in glee over the fact that a man
is sentenced to die. That was the spirit that clung
to the Frank trial.
I was reading in this morning’s newspaper an article
from the pen of a writer who was undertaking to
account for congregations of men-mobs, we call
them-perpetrating deeds of atrocity when ordinarily
and naturally a man as an individual is kind. He
said the spirit of the mob was not the spirit of any
one mind, but the fusion of many and their effect
upon each other, just as you mix many chemicals and
produce a result different and apart from the quality
of any one chemical that entered into the mixture.
And how deadly is the spirit of the mob! When
the great War President Lincoln was assassinated-
cruelly killed by a fanatic who represented naught
but his own disordered brain–so wild were the people
in civilized Washington, the seat of government, of
enlightenment, of culture, that they committed a
crime which compared with the assassination itself.
They put to death six or seven people charged with
being members of a conspiracy to assassinate the
President. Among those put to death was a poor
woman, Mrs. Surratt, admitted now by everybody,
North and South, to have been guiltless of the crime.

The Trial of Leo Frank
Sentiment, prejudice, excitement, had taken the place
of justice.
And so it was when Frank was tried! An intense
prejudice on the part of ignorant people sometimes
overlaps that class and spreads into other circles by
the mere fact of its existence.
Your Honor, there should have been but a single
question in the Frank case, and there should have
been no feeling in arriving at the truth. I never
could understand how anybody could be prejudiced
about ascertaining a fact. Why should there be any
feeling in simply determining the question, Did A kill
B? Yet we were so overwhelmed with it that all
energies were bended in an effort to overcome the
influence of the crowd that piled around us, blocked
our way from and to the court, applauded in and out
of court, and scowled menacingly at Frank. The
looks of murder that appeared in human eyes reached
court, lawyers, witnesses, jurors.
Argument was lost upon that jury. Proving facts
was but casting pearls before swine. There they sat,
huddled like twelve sheep in the shambles. Talk to
me about those jurors not having been influenced by
such surroundings! They may not know they were.
Nor did the rabbit that ran through the briar patch
know which briar scratched and which did not.
I venture to say if this case had been tried where it
had never been heard of before, without the feeling,
the prejudice and excitement which clustered about
it here, with Your Honor as the judge, and before

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

a fair and impartial jury with minds unstained by
whispered lies and white as unsoiled sheets of paper,
there would not have been a moment’s hesitation
about the verdict.
Why should there be? Was ever a case heard of
before where the only witness on whose testimbny the
conviction rested was a party to the crime, both before
it was committed, by watching, and after it was com-
mitted, by helping to conceal the body; was a crimi-
nal of the lowest type and as absolutely devoid of con-
science as a man-eating tiger; one who lied in writing
four different times, and who never confessed any-
thing about the crime until the dead evidence was
discovered on him that he had written the notes that
accompanied the body; who admitted he lied many
times in his affidavits; and where, after he made his
last affidavit, the story that he brought into court was
so unlike it that you could hardly recognize any points
of similarity; and where he changed his story seven
different times when he went over the subject with the
Solicitor General?
As my lamented friend Charlie Hill used to say,
“Did ever one hobble to a verdict on such a rotten
pair of crutches?” Does Your Honor believe that a
worm that crawls in the dust would have been con-
victed on such testimony under ordinary and usual
Admitting he lied scores of times in matters of sub-
stance and in immaterial matters, a criminal from
birth practically, without character, without stand-

The Trial of Leo Frank

ing, with every motive to lie, with his own neck to
save, Conley was so plastered over with contradic-
tions that it’s monstrous to argue his testimony.
And yet people say he stayed on the stand three
days without breaking down! He did stay there
physically three days, and all the wretch would say
when you got him outside of the story he was fixed
and prepared on was “I don’t know,” or “I lied about
that,” or “I don’t remember.” You can teach a
parrot, “Polly wants a cracker,” and he will say it six
months, and he won’t break down on it either unless
you take a club and knock him down.
An idea seems to be abroad that a lawyer has to
hypnotize a witness and get him to talk in a trance
before he is discredited. If a witness’s testimony is
unreasonable or unbelievable, that witness is broken
down in the legal sense. If Rosser’s bombardment
didn’t finish Conley, then there was no way it could
be done except by cleaving him with a battle-axe.
There are many parts of the record here showing
what marvelous assistance Conley had in the prepa-
ration of his story before he was ever brought into
court to testify. When Conley told something that
didn’t fit in with the undeniable facts of the crime, the
undisputed logic of the situation, his attention was
promptly called to it by these officers who had him
in charge and were nursing him, and the story was
changed; when he made a statement that did not cor-
respond with the views held by the police the tale was

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

Left alone, the negro spread out over the whole
territory of asininity; but they took his story like
you would take a rough piece of timber and fashion
it over with the power of machinery. I have counted
in this record twenty-nine lies that Detective Scott
testified Jim Conley told to him and Detective Black
that they got him to correct. Twenty-nine lies that
they prevailed upon him to change! Not little,
technical lies, but big, fat, substantial lies. This
is not a mere conclusion of mine. The record is
the proof.
Your Honor remembers from the evidence how the
negro’s story grew. When the search was on to find
the writer of the notes there was no doubt in any-
body’s mind, of course, that the writer of the notes
was the murderer of the girl. That fact would admit
of no dispute. Conley was denying that he could
write. The discovery was made, however, that he
could write and the evidence gathered that he was
the author of the notes. Conley saw no way to save
his miserable neck except to say he had written them
for some one else.
Frank had been held under suspicion. One bank
official of the city had even said that a comparison of
the notes with the handwriting of Frank indicated
they were written by him. Many stories of unknown
origin were circulated everywhere. The cry rang out,
“The d- Jew did it.” Slanders against Frank
were poured in the people’s ears. He was locked up
in jail and had no chance to meet them. The seeds

The Trial of Leo Frank

of prejudice were sown broadcast and Frank was con-
demned in the public mind.
Conley saw this and he saw his own life trembling
in the balances. He was compelled to say that some
one else was the real author of the notes or else give
up his life; and he named Frank as the man. He
said he had done the writing at Frank’s dictation on
Friday-the day before the murder.
Well, of course, that was a ridiculous, unreasonable
lie. Mr. Dorsey does not contend that the killing
was premeditated, that Frank knew on Friday he
was going to kill the girl on Saturday. But Conley,
in his savage ignorance, saw not the unreasonableness
of the story and insisted that he had done the writing
on Friday.
Now, what happened? Let me read from Scott’s
testimony. Scott says:
We talked very strongly to Conley. We saw him on
May 27th in Chief Lanford’s office. We talked to him five
or six hours. We tried to impress him with the fact that
Frank would not have written those notes on Friday; that
that was not a reasonable story. That showed premedita-
tion, and that would not do. We pointed out to him why
the first statement would not fit. We told him we wanted
another statement. He declined to make it. He said he
had told the truth. On May 28th Chief Lanford and I
grilled him for five or six hours again, endeavoring to make
clear several points which were far-fetched in his state-
ment. We pointed out to him that his statement would
not do and would not fit. He then made us another long

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

On May 29th we had another talk with him; talked with
him almost all day. Yes, we pointed out things in his story
that were improbable, and told him he must do better
than that. Anything in his story that looked to be out
of place we told him wouldn’t do.
Great God! It sickens me. I shudder to think of
the deeds perpetrated in this case-the methods used
to bring this man to his destruction.
Take the Minola McKnight episode. Mr. Dorsey
I honor the way they went after Minola McKnight.
Now, let us see what his standard of honor is.
Here was a poor, humble, negro woman, an employee
of Frank’s household: the husband who had sworn to
protect her had turned against her and she was help-
less and alone. She is taken down to Mr. Dorsey’s
office, and there she makes a full statement showing
that she knows nothing incriminating against her
employer. That is sworn to and the Solicitor has it
in writing.
Now, Dorsey honors the fact that later the detec-
tives get her and bring her back to his office, where she
is confronted with her husband, who tries to get her
to agree that the stories he is telling are true. Dorsey
honors the fact that when she refused to agree they,
in flagrant violation of law, and in a way that never
would have been perpetrated on a man who could
assert his rights, took her to the station house with-
out warrant or charge of crime, and there compelled

The Trial of Leo Frank

her, behind iron bars, in tears, and before uniformed
and armed officers, brass buttons and pistols, to agree
that the villainous lies her husband told were true.
That’s what he honors: and it seems the jury and
the crowd honored it, too. Was this a mere technical
right that was violated? Not so; and yet, without
technical rules, Might would always triumph over
Right. Our race has experimented in government
for centuries, not as vassals, but as sovereigns; and
certain laws that have stood the test of time have
been adopted to guide us between governmental
tyranny on the one hand and anarchy on the other.
Technicalities they may be, but if they are destroyed
one may as well camp out in the woods and let the
strongest man prevail. They are the refined wisdom
of the ages.
Hear Dorsey again:
I don’t know whether they want me to apologize for
that or not, but if you think that finding the red-handed
murderer of a little girl like this is a ladies’ tea party, and
that the detectives should have the manners of a dancing
master, and apologize and palaver, you don’t know any-
thing about the business.

Oh, no, we didn’t expect that; but we did expect
them not to violate the criminal laws of the country;
we did expect them, when a witness had had a full
and fair chance to make a statement, to let her alone;
not to violate the laws of God and man, and put the
thumbscrews and torture to her and lock her in a

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

prison cell to make her change her statement. We
did expect that; and you wouldn’t have had to balk
at tea parties either: you could have gone further
than that.
May it please Your Honor, those are some of the
methods that have been used against the man over
yonder in that jail who is condemned to death on as
base a fabrication as was ever constructed in darkest
Your Honor, I speak plainly because I am so con-
stituted by Nature that I cannot call a spade any-
thing except a spade. I am looking through all
the surrounding paint and varnish to see the hideous
thing inside of this prosecution, and it sickens me to
think that man in jail is in peril from such methods.
There is no evidence against him in this case except
such as comes from Jim Conley, that prince of liars.
You could no more impeach Conley by showing he
had lied than you could saturate a duck by pouring
water down its back. He is impervious to a charge of
lying. He will admit it any day in the week.
But Mr. Dorsey, realizing what a burden Conley is
for him to carry, says Conley is not the only evidence
in the case. For instance, he says the expression, “It
is too short a time since you left for anything startling
to have developed down here,” in a letter written by
Frank on the day of the tragedy, shows guilt. Ex-
pressions of this character are extremely common in
letters; but Mr. Dorsey says it proves that something
startling had happened and that the writer had killed


The Trial of Leo Frank
Mary Phagan. That deduction of Mr. Dorsey’s is
just as sound as any other he has drawn.
In this letter, which was written on Memorial Day
to Frank’s uncle, himself a Confederate Soldier, the
writer also refers to the “thin gray line of veterans
braving the chilly weather to honor their fallen com-
rades.” I would be glad to hear even an Arab of the
desert speak kindly of these men, but Mr. Dorsey sneers
at this tribute Frank paid the old soldiers in gray.
Everything that Frank did has had an unfair con-
struction placed upon it, and is looked upon as a cir-
cumstance of guilt and sufficient reason for his con-
It reminds me of the fable of the wolf and the lamb.
The wolf was going to kill the lamb for muddying the
water. “But,” said the lamb, “you are drinking
above me in the run of the stream.” “Well,” said
the wolf, “I don’t care; your grandfather muddied it
once and I am going to get you anyhow.”
Mr. Dorsey also refers to the telegram sent by
Frank on Monday to Adolph Montag, telling him of
the finding of the body in the cellar of the pencil
factory. Dorsey says:
In factory? In factory? No, “in cellar.” Cellar where?
“Cellar of pencil factory.”

There was no sense in all this talk of Mr. Dorsey’s
but there was plenty of sound and that was satis-
factory to the jury.
Yes, she had been found in the “cellar of the pencil

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

factory.” The police had come for Frank and carried
him down there. The story would be in all the
papers. Many rumors were being started. Frank,
the superintendent of the factory, wired Montag, one
of the owners of the factory, telling him of the tragedy
and asking him to assure his uncle he was all right in
case he asked.
Is there anything incriminating here? No fair
mind can find it. But all Dorsey had to do with
that gang of wolves out there in the audience was to
turn and look at them and they would beam on him
with bloody satisfaction. They were trying to take
the life of a fellow creature in holiday fashion and
Frank was the butt end of that Roman holiday.
Again, they say that when Helen Ferguson received
her pay on Friday she also asked for Mary Phagan’s
pay envelope and that Frank refused to give it to her.
Even if this had happened it would have been no
evidence of guilt and would have proved nothing.
It was not usual to give one person’s pay envelope to
another except on proper request.
But it is overwhelmingly a mistake. In the first
place the evidence shows that on Friday Frank did
not pay off the employees but that Schiff did.
Furthermore, Magnolia Kennedy testified that she
waswith Helen Ferguson when they both received their
pay, that they received their envelopes from Schiff,
not from Frank, that they left the factory together
and that the witness Ferguson did not ask for any-
body’s pay except her own.


The Trial of Leo Frank
Further, Mr. Dorsey says that when these notes
that were found by the body of the dead girl were
shown to Frank, he should have then and there said:
“This is the writing of James Conley.”
Frank, locked up in his prison cell, did not know
at that time that Conley was denying he could write,
and had no reason to think that specimens of Conley’s
handwriting had not already been compared with the
notes. None of these officers had told Frank that
Conley claimed he could not write.
Moreover, Frank did not know the handwriting of
Conley and there is no proof that he did. It is true
that he had seen Conley’s writing but there was no
individuality about it sufficient to impress itself upon
one’s memory. Even between these two notes them-
selves there is little similarity. You could not testify
they were written by the same man.
While there are classes of people–professors of
penmanship, bank tellers, etc.,-who seem to store
away an impression of handwriting in the mind and
recognize it when they see it again as if it were a
human face, yet to most people there is only a gener-
ality about handwriting and seldom indeed it is that
one retains a mental picture of the writing of the
average negro. Why, even Mr. Berry, the bank teller
who studied those notes and who studied the hand-
writing of Newt Lee, named Lee as their author.
Holloway, Darley, Schiff, Wade Campbell and
others had also seen Conley’s writing, but it never
occurred to them when they looked at the notes that


Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

they were written by Conley. Surely, if this is a cir-
cumstance of guilt it is as strong against these men as
it is against Frank. Mr. Dorsey, though, does not
claim that they had any part in the killing of this
child. Moreover, Frank did not know that Conley
had been to the factory on this holiday. No one
seemed to have seen him. Mrs. White had said she
saw some negro about the stairway; and, according
to Detective Scott’s evidence, Frank gave him this
information on Monday following the tragedy. What
more could Frank have done? And would he have
done that if he had been Conley’s accomplice?
But they say Frank was so excited and nervous over
the murder on Sunday morning that he “trembled
like an aspen.” If he was nervous it was the sight of
the dead girl and the discovery of such a tragedy
enacted in the factory under his charge that made him
nervous. He was not nervous on Saturday afternoon
when he prepared the financial sheet that the fore-
most experts of the South say would require several
hours’ work. It has been overwhelmingly established
that he did that work on Saturday afternoon, and yet
there is not a trace of nervousness in all that mass of
figures, in all that intricate, complicated work. A con-
sciousness of guilt would have made him nervous
then. But there was no nervousness then, for he
knew not at that time that the corpse of the little girl
was down there in the basement beneath him.
And yet on such argument as that, and amid such
surroundings as those, an innocent man is condemned


The Trial of Leo Frank

to die I There is not a proven circumstance in this
case that cannot be shown to the satisfaction of any
reasonable man that it is not a circumstance of
guilt on the part of this defendant.
Why, may it please Your Honor, the physical facts
of this case show that this crime could not have been
committed by Leo M. Frank. The parents of the
little Phagan girl swore she left Bellwood–out there
two miles from the city-at 1I:50 A. mL. That little
State’s witness Epps says he got on the car with her.
Neither the conductor nor the motorman saw him,
but he says he got on with her and got off at Forsyth
and Marietta Streets at 12:07. Detective Starnes
says it took him from three and a half to four minutes
to walk from that point to the pencil factory.
According to the State’s own witness, therefore, the
little girl could not possibly have reached the pencil
factory sooner than ten and one half minutes after
twelve. Epps was the first witness the State put up,
and the State soon realized he had crushed their case,
and began to wriggle to get away from their own
The motorman says she rode all the way around
Broad Street to Hunter Street and got off there at
I2:io. According to this evidence she would not
have reached the pencil factory before i2:12. Now,
the schedule of the street car is shown in corroboration
of the evidence as to the time the car arrived in the
city; and what does the State do? They put up a few
street car men who said they sometimes came in ahead


Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

of time, though they said it was unusual to do so,
was against the rules and they got demerited for it.
Moreover, not one of the witnesses said that on this
day, April 26th, the car came in ahead of time; and
the men that were on the car, the motorman, the
conductor and George Epps, all say it got in from
12:07 to 12:12.
Does Your Honor, in all of your experience before,
ever remember three positive witnesses who were
there when a thing occurred, one of them a witness of
the State-all put into the discard because at some
other time the thing had happened differently from
the way it happened then? Their whole case falls
absolutely to the ground if she got off the car as late as
[The Court:] Why, Mr. Arnold?
[Mr. Arnold:] I’ll show you why. Monteen Stover,
the State’s witness, gets there at 12:05. She looks to
see the time as she had been trying to get there by
twelve. She waited in the hall five minutes and
left at 12:1o. Their star witness, Jim Conley, says
Mary Phagan came in before Monteen Stover came
in. Your Honor, can they play fast and loose with
us? Can they put up a witness and prove a certain
time by the minute and then cast that witness out of
the case just because it conflicts with some other part
of their case? Miss Hall, an unimpeached witness,
left at 12:02. So that the little Phagan girl, accord-
ing to the State’s theory, could have gotten there only
between 12:02 and 12:o5. And yet, according to the

The Trial of Leo Frank

evidence of the motorman and conductor, the car on
which she rode to town that day had not come in at
that time.
These are cold, unanswerable facts. Either Jim
Conley lied or he told the truth. They are com-
mitted to him. Jim Conley says Mary Phagan had
gone up to Frank’s office, had gone back to the metal
room and he had heard her scream before Monteen
Stover came in, and the Stover girl came in at 12:05.
Oh, my! They don’t give Frank much time to do
this deed. Do you believe all that struggle would
have ended with just one scream? Monteen Stover
stayed there quietly five minutes. Don’t you sup-
pose she would have heard some kind of noise? Isn’t
it remarkable that Frank didn’t go out while she was
there if he had finished the job? And if it was still
going on while she was there, isn’t it remarkable that
she heard nothing?
Monstrous fabrication! Putting up clocks, putting
up street car schedules, almost changing the sun in its
course, to convict this man!
Now, suppose she got there at 12:io or 12:12.
Quinn says he saw Frank at 12:20. Mrs. White says
she saw him in his office at 12:30. He is seen by men
upstairs just before he goes to dinner at 12:50. Then
comes in the time that this negro claims the body
was moved.
Let us see how this claim is borne out. Bear in
mind, the moving of the body could not have begun
much before one o’clock, because White and Denham

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

say Frank was upstairs talking to them, between
12:5o and i :oo, and the negro himself claims the mov-
ing of the body began at four minutes to one and was
completed by half past one.
Now, we are getting down to the very vitals of the
case, and the moving of the body is as much a part
of the case as the very murder. If Conley has lied
about that, he has lied about it all.
Conley says Frank left not sooner than i:3o.
Harlee Branch says, that from the time the negro
took, in his pantomime demonstration-where he went
over with the officers the various things that he says
were done that day-it could not have been finished
before i :30. Dr. Owens says the same thing. There
is no conflict about it. And the negro could not have
been mistaken as to its being as late as four minutes
to one, because Denham and White are seeing Frank
and talking to him upstairs as late as 12:5o, and it
was evident that under the State’s theory it must
have been after that that the moving of the body
started. The Solicitor General contended that he was
getting Mrs. White out of the building for that very
purpose. There can’t be any mistake about the
time; there have been too many experiments made.
Branch said that Conley in his pantomime demon-
stration went through very rapidly, and he estimates
that the things Conley said he and Frank did would
have taken fifty minutes; that would have put it
twenty minutes to two. Dr. Owens said they went
through the demonstration in thirty-four minutes.

The Trial of Leo Frank
Bear in mind, after they moved the body, they
came up into Frank’s office and wrote the notes, and
Owens didn’t include the time that Conley says he
was concealed in the wardrobe. Scott swore it took
him three to five minutes to write one note; he saw
him write it. And remember that in writing this
note he was just copying one he had already seen. To
make it up and write it as he says he and Frank were
doing, would certainly have taken another three to
five minutes at the very least calculation. He wrote
four notes-twelve minutes-and stayed in the
wardrobe eight minutes. That makes twenty minutes,
outside of moving the body from that metal room
down into the basement, running up the elevator,
and so forth. Tell me he could have done it even in
thirty-five minutes? It was a physical impossibility.
Now, there is the case. It is either true or false.
Did Frank stay there until half past one at the very
lowest calculation? If we prove him out of there by
credible evidence, five, ten, or fifteen minutes before
that time, the State’s case falls to the ground. I
don’t believe he could have gotten home even by two
o’clock if he had done all the negro said he did.
Mr. Dorsey criticizes us for saying that Frank left
the factory at one o’clock and refers to a statement
Frank made at the station house, on the second day
after the crime, indicating that he left at about i :io.
He did estimate the time to be “about i :io.” Well,
suppose you take it “about i:io.” From the pencil
factory to the corner where this Kern witness-a

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

young girl, unimpeached-says she saw him at i:io
or i: i, is only about one and a half or two minutes’
walk. The evidence shows that if he had left there
at i :07 or i :o8 he could have got to where this girl
saw him at i :io. Is there any dispute about that?
Frank says in his statement that his best judgment
is he left at about one o’clock. He doesn’t claim to
have timed it to the minute; he had no reason to do
so; but after carefully thinking of everything that
happened before and afterwards, his opinion is he left
at about one o’clock.
Now, i :o8 is “about one o’clock.” Suppose he left
at i :o8. He could have reached the comer where
this witness says she saw him at i:io. It takes that
street car approximately ten minutes to go from that
comer to where Frank lives. Mrs. Levi says she
saw Frank get off the car at his home at i:2o. Mrs.
Levi is no kin to Frank. She was looking for her son
on that car and saw Frank get off instead. And
Albert McKnight, the State’s prize witness, and his
wife both testify they saw him at his home at I.3o.
How can these things be answered with common
sense? Your Honor, this is not a case of believing the
defendant to be innocent; we are demonstrating his
We have shown that the little Phagan girl didn’t
get to the factory at a time when he could commit
the crime, according to Conley. We have shown that
Frank left there before the moving of the body had
ever been completed, as Conley claims. That is why

The Trial of Leo Frank

we had that alibi chart made, but it fell on deaf
Argument and demonstration are worthless against
a vicious mob. Throw truth to the winds! All that
is needed is a pack of wolves surrounding the jury,
thirsting for blood. How strange it is that people
sometimes reach such savage depths!
Once down here at the county jail I saw a negro
hanged. Peter Daniels was his name. Such a dread-
ful spectacle I hope never to see again. The poor
creature asked time to pray, and he prayed long and
loud. He then asked to have an old colored woman
who was present come up and sing, “Swing Low,
Sweet Chariot,” and they raised their tremulous voices
in that song. They sang one verse, two verses, three
verses; the poor wretch trying to prolong it as much
as possible, and then he pretended to fall down in a
faint and they had to literally hold him up to hang
him. When the negro was praying there was a mur-
mur from some of those present and I heard them say,
“He is only praying for time; let’s go ask the sheriff
to hurry up with the hanging.” That was their spirit.
The lowest passion of the human breast is this thirst
for blood.
The only way, perhaps, these elements of character
can be overcome, is to let Time re-make the man.
Just as in every seven years the whole human system
is said to change-blood, bone, fleshy tissue and all-
so it is that a man may change mentally and morally
with the passing of the years.

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

The trial and conviction of Leo M. Frank on the
testimony of Jim Conley, shows what results may
sometimes be produced when you have a ground-
work of prejudice, ignorance, passion and excitement
to build on as you wish.
On one side is a man of education, of prominence, of
responsibility, of character, whose ancestors are peace-
ful people; a man who could have no motive to mur-
der except the far-fetched claim of the Solicitor. On
the other side is a negro with a long criminal record,
besotted with liquor, proven to have been at the very
place where he could with lightning-like rapidity grab
the girl, and in the struggle with her render her un-
conscious, rob her and throw her into the cellar; and
afterwards go down there and write the notes that
were found by the body, that are a part and parcel
of the murder, and prove themselves to have been
conceived in none but an ignorant, savage mind.
The elevator shaft was there, open and yawning,
right in that dark area where the stairway ends.
That is the place where the evidence shows Conley
was. Conley was hard up for money. The little girl
had a purse which has never been found. It has not
been found because Conley stole it; and the little girl
was found down in the cellar because Conley threw
her there.
The circumstances of guilt in this case point not to
Frank but to Conley. There is no evidence that
Frank had anything to do with this murder except
from the negro himself.

The Trial of Leo Frank

In other words, you get dead evidence on a man,
physical evidence showing he was at the scene of the
murder and that he hid the body; he is a debased
character, has told a dozen lies about it, and has con-
fessed a part of the crime. Yet, in order to excuse
and clear himself, he brings a decent, respectable man
into it, and he-and he alone-places upon that man
the vile charge of perversion .–a good life to count for
nothing and the circumstances of the case to count for
nothing. Conley, on the one hand, is not even in-
dicted for the crime; and Frank, on the other, is sen-
tenced to be hanged. It is enough to shock the con-
science of humanity!
But Mr. Dorsey says, Conley is sustained by some
facts and circumstances in the case. Let us see now
what Dorsey says it is that sustains Jim Conley.
Mr. Dorsey says:
Our proof of general bad character, the existence of
such character as can reasonably be supposed to cause
one to commit an act like we charge, sustains Jim Conley.
Our proof of general bad character as to lasciviousness,
not even denied by a single witness, pustains Jim Conley.
Your failure to cross-examine and develop the source of
information of these girls put upon the stand by the State–
these” hair-brained fanatics,” as Mr. Arnold calls them with-
out rhyme or reason-sustains Jim Conley. Your failure
to cross-examine our character witnesses with reference to
this man’s character for lasciviousness, sustainsJim Conley.

Now, listen to that! A boy on the street who had
heard a group of men say, “Why, I believe Frank is

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

a pervert; I believe Frank killed the girl; I believe
Frank was lascivious,” could come in and swear to
the same bad character that these girls swore to, and
that would sustain Jim Conley according to Mr.
Dorsey. That would sustain him in his story about
finding the body and in his grotesque tale about the
These girls didn’t have to know anything against
Frank. All they had to do was to swear what they
had heard. They could have been loaded with five
thousand slanders. That was little compared with
what was done with Minola McKnight and Jim Con-
ley. They found Conley a rough mass of wood and
shaped him into an article symmetrical and polished.
In the name of fairness, in the name of high-toned
procedure, in the name of the gentle men of this good
country, and the old fathers of the State, Ben Hill,
Bob Toombs, Alex Stephens-in the name of men that
would have scorned to tread upon a worm, what would
you say of a proceeding of this sort in Georgia?
These witnesses knew nothing against this man ex-
cept wild, vague rumors, and yet every question we
would have asked on that line would have been used
before that gaping mob against us.
Does our failure to cross-examine them sustain Jim
Conley in his monstrous tale about the murder? Why,
if you can sustain an accomplice that way, all you
have to do is to get out a little gossip about a man,
and get a few people to hear that gossip, and let them
get confused in their minds about the time when they

The Trial of Leo Frank

heard it-whether before or after the commission of
the crime-and put them on the stand and let them
say the man’s reputation is bad. In other words,
you might charge a man with a crime at the North
Pole, and witnesses who swore his character was bad
at the North Pole would sustain a man who swore he
committed a crime at the North Pole. That’s just
his argument exactly. Why, anything sustains ac-
cording to that. Mr. Dorsey might just as well argue
that Frank had hands, that he could have tied a knot
in a rope and could have choked a girl to death; that
sustains Jim Conley. Frank has legs, he has hands,
he could have pulled the elevator rope and gone down
to the basement. That sustains Jim Conley if Dor-
sey’s reasoning is good.
The defense put up numbers of witnesses–upright,
honorable people–who had associated with Frank in
his daily life, people who knew him well and had
elected him president of a grand charitable organiza-
tion here, and these people testified that his character
was good.
But let’s go on with what Dorsey says sustains
Conley. He says:
His relations with Miss Rebecca Carson-he is shown
to have gone into the ladies’ dressing room even in broad
daylight and during work hours, by witnesses whose
names I cannot recall right now-sustains Jim Conley!

Where did these witnesses come from? They came
fron the same hands that handed Jim Conley to the

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

court. They came from hands that were bold enough
to take Minola McKnight and endeavor to warp her
testimony. Class hatred was played on here-the
discharged employee class. They played on the
enmity the poor feel against the wealthy-they gave
a bid to discontent.
Those little girls who had been discharged-doubt-
less discharged by this Miss Carson, a forelady, and
glad to say anything against her-testify that in
broad daylight, during work hours, Frank went into
a room with her and shut the door. The proof shows
there was no lock on the door.
Suppose he did go in there and shut the door. He
may have wanted to talk with her about the work.
He may have wanted to go over the question of
whether the girls were flirting from that room-a
thousand and one things he may have wanted to talk
with her about.
It is horrible that in work hours, in broad daylight,
a man in charge of a factory couldn’t take the fore-
lady of a department into a room without any lock
to it, and shut the door, without such a vicious con-
struction being placed upon the act.
Now, Dorsey says that sustains Jim Conley.
Again, he says:
Your own witness, Miss Jackson, who says that this
libertine and rake came when those girls were in there
reclining and lounging after they had finished their piece-
work, and tells of the sardonic grin that lit his counte-
nance, sustains Jim Conley. And Miss Jackson’s asser-

The Trial of Leo Frank
tion that she heard of three or four other instances, and
that complaint was made to the foreladies in charge, sus-
tains Jim Conley.
Now, as I understand this Miss Jackson, she says
Frank put his head in the door of the lounging room;
and she said also (I believe she is the one who said it)
that whenever those girls were lounging and loafing
in there and Frank came in, they all proceeded to
their work, too. A man who employs scores of
women has to be around them occasionally in justice
to himself to see that they are doing their duty, even
though they complain of his presence. The sardonic
grin is Mr. Dorsey’s conclusion: none of these girls
testified to it. It is perfectly apparent that Frank, on
these occasions, was attempting no familiarity with
these girls but was only trying to see that they did
their work, and were not idling their time away.
Surely a woman isn’t so absolutely sacred that you
can’t ask her to perform her contract as she has
agreed to do; and if she isn’t doing it, ask her why,
and find out why. Ought this to be held against the
defendant? And can it be fairly said to sustain Con-
ley’s statement that Frank is guilty of murder?
Says Mr. Dorsey:
Miss Kitchens, the lady from the fourth floor, whom,
in spite of the repeated assertions made by Mr. Arnold,
you didn’t produce; and her account of this man’s con-
duct when he came in there on these girls whom he should
have protected and when he should have been the last
man to go in that room, sustains Jim Conley.

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

What did he ever do? Opened the door of this
room, after work hours, as he had a right to do.
There was no bath or toilet in there. It was a room
where before work hours these girls simply changed
clothes and if they were there at any other time, they
were presumed to be only lounging, and some of them
had been flirting from the window into the street.
Have we come to the point when inferences that are
unfair and things that are wrong can lead us to take
a man’s life? Shall the fact of the crime be allowed
to rob us of our reason? “Wasn’t this a dreadful
crime?” is a question often asked. Indeed, it was
a dreadful crime. A man said to me the other day,
“Ought he not suffer who did that deed?” I said
“Yes, he ought, but if you, my friend, were charged
with it, wouldn’t you want it proved you were guilty
before the dreadful features of the crime were even
Some people seem unable to distinguish between
these separate questions. The horror of the crime
isn’t the question; the choking of that innocent child
to death isn’t the question. The question is: Who
did it? And has it been proved as the law requires?
Hear Dorsey again:
Darley and Mattie Smith,-as to what they did even
on the morning of Saturday, April 26th,–even going into
the minutest details, sustains Jim Conley.

He says Darley and Mattie Smith, going down the
steps together at half past nine, sustains Jim Conley.

The Trial of Leo Frank

He might as well have said Judge Roan was sitting
on the bench hearing motions that Saturday, and that
sustains Jim Conley; or the Southern train gets in
here at 4:45 from New York, and that sustains Jim
Dorsey continues:
McCrary, the old negro that you praised so highly, the
man that keeps his till filled by money paid by the
National Pencil Company, as to where he put his stack
of hay and the time of day he drew his pay, sustains
Jim Conley.

McCrary never saw Jim Conley there that day at
all. He denied having any conversation with him as
Jim Conley says he did. McCrary tells about getting
to the factory at a certain time that morning-half
past eight-and Mr. Dorsey, in his roundabout exami-
nation of him, undertook to prove that he got there
a little later. Now, he figures out that sustains Jim
Dorsey says again:
Monteen Stover-as to the easy walking shoes she wore
when she went up into this man Frank’s room, at the
very minute he was back there in the metal room with
this poor, little, unfortunate girl, sustains Jim Conley.

I reckon that would sustain Jim! They had found
out she had easy walking shoes and Conley’s lie was
just made to fit the shoes. Either that, or else the
negro with lust and cupidity in his bosom was watch-

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

ing those little girls so closely that he noticed even her
shoes and stockings.
Not only does Monteen Stover not sustain Conley,
but she proves the absurdity of his story that he was
“watching” for Frank, because he could have kept
her out by saying Frank was not there; yet he let her
go in there, knowing, according to his own story, that
Frank had a girl in there and had taken her back to
the metal room, and that the girl had screamed.
How dreadful, how unjust is this argument-to cite
these circumstances as evidence of Frank’s guilt.
That “watching” story is preposterous. What good
could Conley have done by “watching”? Conley
would have had no right at any of the “watching”
episodes that he says took place before Jan. i,
1913, to lock the front door because at that time that
was used by the Clark Woodenware Company and
the people of the pencil factory jointly. What white
man could this negro have kept out anyhow? And
who is it that would not have had his suspicions
aroused had Conley attempted to stop him, or to
give a signal to Frank that somebody was coming?
If Frank was engaged in these practices his best
and safest plan would have been to bolt the door of
the stairway that led up to the second floor, and
thereby kept everybody out. Furthermore, there is
no evidence that Frank had any engagement on this
day that would have made “watching” necessary.
There was nothing to “watch” for.
But to bolster up the story of the notes, some rea-

The Trial of Leo Frank

son had to be given why Conley and Frank were thus
coming in contact in a transaction that would ordi-
narily admit of no confidants; and the “watching”
story was thus born. The lie was clumsy, but
And what a wonderful watchman was Conley!
This timid little girl, Monteen Stover, came in and
tripped up the stairs like an antelope, and he let her
in at the very time he ought not to have let anybody
in. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. He
says he was not asleep when she came in. If there
ever was a time when his boss needed protection, it
was when he tipped back to that metal room with the
little girl and when the little girl had screamed a wild
scream. Why, even to Conley’s dull, besotted intel-
lect, it would have said: “Mr. Frank and that girl are
having trouble back there; I must watch carefully for
him now.” And right at that time he let Monteen
Stover in there-this faithful watchman !-and Mr.
Dorsey says that sustains Jim Conley:-Monteen
Mr. Dorsey continues:
Monteen Stover, when she tells you that she found
nobody in that office, sustains Jim Conley.
Yes, and she clears Frank, too; because if Epps
tells the truth, if the schedule of the street car tells
the truth, if the men in charge of the car tell the truth,
Mary Phagan had not reached the office at that time
and had not even reached town at that time.

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

Mr. Dorsey further says:
Lemmie Quinn-your own dear Lemmie-as to the time
he went up and went down into the streetswith the evidence
of Mrs. Freeman and Corinthia Hall, sustains Jim Conley.
He didn’t show how that sustained Jim Conley.
Lemmie said he got to the office at I2:20 and was at
the Busy Bee Restaurant at about i2:30. Does that
sustain Jim Conley? Mrs. Freeman, formerly Miss
Emma Clark, and Corinthia Hall, both say they saw
Lemmie Quinn at the Busy Bee Restaurant and talked
with him. Quinn had already been at Frank’s office at
12:2o and only Frank was there. Quinn went down to
the cafe about I 2:3o and met Mrs. Freeman and Corin-
thia Hall. The two women left Quinn at the cafe and
went up into Frank’s office to use the phone, finding
Frank there alone. This evidence corroborates Quinn.
There is complete harmony in this testimony. Frank
also in his statement shows that Quinn came in and left,
and afterwards the two women came in and used the
phone. How can that sustain Jim Conley? Mr. Dorsey
just yelled that it sustained him. He is yelling that
everything sustains him. The air sustains him; the
courthouse sustains him; the sun when it rose this
morning sustains him; when it sets to-night it will
sustain him; these reporters sitting over there sustain
him; everything in and out of court sustains him.
Mr. Dorsey further says:
Frank’s statement that he would consult his attorneys
about Quinn’s statement that he had visited him in his
office, sustains Jim Conley.

The Trial of Leo Frank
You remember what that was? Quinn had talked
with Frank and told him that he recollected seeing
him that day, April 26th, at about 12:2o. That was
the substance of Frank’s reply as I recollect it: “Well,
I’ll tell my lawyers about what you say and they will
pass on whether it is of any value.” Poor Frank
didn’t know. He knew he was innocent; but he did
not know the exact value of the information that
Quinn gave him that he had seen him in his office at
12:2o, and in his innocence he said, “Well, I’ll tell it
to my lawyers and see what use they can make of it”
-and that is used against him.
Why, if he had beon a guilty man and Quinn had
gone to him with a lie about seeing him at 12:20, he
would have jumped on it like a duck on a June bug.
He would have seen in a minute the use he could put
it to, and he never would in a fair, conservative way
have said, “I’ll tell it to my lawyers and see what use
they can make of it.”
Frank was at sea about the wretched charge. He
didn’t know the depths of the malevolence that was
clustering around him at the time.
Mr. Dorsey goes on:
Dalton, sustained as to his life for the last ten years
here in this community and in DeKalb, when he stated
he had seen Jim watching before on Saturdays and holi-
days, sustains Jim Conley.

Dalton! In this case they seem to have seined the
lowest strata of society for the ugliest, dirtiest reptiles

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

that swim and move about in the ooze of the bottom.
It is hard to describe Dalton-that mangy, leprous
creature which this prosecution, representing law and
order, presented to the public. The profert of him
is all that will do him justice. He had a face like a
mud cat. You could tell his habitat was in the
Dalton began as a thief and ended as an adulterer
with Daisy Hopkins in the pencil factory. He was
proud of it on the stand and he said that Daisy was
a peach. We brought in Daisy just to show what
sort of peach she was. Daisy said he lied, of course;
that she never had been with him in the pencil fac-
tory, and that there was not a word of truth in what
he said from its beginning to its end. Of course, she
is a poor, fallen creature. I don’t suppose any other
kind would care to come within a thousand miles of
The other women Dalton named as having known
in that factory also said he lied. His fellow citizens
from Gwinnett and Walton counties said he was un-
worthy of belief. But they produced two or three
kind-hearted fellows who said, “Oh, well; he’s re-
formed; he’s j’ined the church”; and “while the lamp
holds out to burn, the vilest sinner may return.” I
never did have much confidence in the reformation
of such fellows. You can cure a drunkard sometimes
-that’s weakness in the flesh-but with a fellow like
Dalton it’s different. The evidence indicates that if
he ever did reform he fell back into the outer darkness

The Trial of Leo Frank
right away. His conduct in this case shows he is a
backslider now.
But even if he did slip in that factory with the Hop-
kins woman, he said he never saw Frank do anything
wrong and never saw any indication of it.
Dorsey says:
Daisy Hopkins’ awful reputation and the statement of
Jim that he had seen her go into that factory with Dalton
and down that scuttle hole to the place where that cot is
shown to have been, sustains Jim Conley.
Daisy Hopkins says it is all a wretched lie, and it
just gets back to that delightful gentleman Dalton
there sustaining him. But Dorsey says Daisy Hop-
kins’ reputation sustains him. Well, there are many
lewd women in Atlanta and the reputation of each
one sustains Jim Conley, according to that reasoning.
A thousand in Chattanooga, I suppose, sustain Jim
Conley; a million such women, I guess, in New York,
sustain Jim:-just as much sense in one as in the
Mr. Dorsey further argues:
The blood on the second floor, testified to by numerous
witnesses, sustains Jim Conley. The appearance of the
blood, the physical condition of the floor when the blood
was found Monday morning, sustains Jim Conley.

An inventive gentleman by the name of Barrett
claimed to have found blood spots on the second floor.
They were chipped up and sent to a chemist for analy-
sis. Only in one of the spots did he find a single

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

trace of blood, and he swore that one-eightieth part of
one drop could have made it all, and that it may have
been there for years. One witness testified that once
a man was hurt and bled at the very spot. No man
knows in which of various ways, or when, that blood
got there.
Oh, what a colossal fake was here attempted to be
foisted on court and jury! Its purpose was to show
that the girl was killed on the second floor, and killed
by Frank. As a matter of fact, the negro could just
as well have killed her in the metal room as Frank
could :-better. If the little girl had happened to go
back there to the toilet and Conley had come to the
head of the stairs and seen her go back, he could have
followed, and in the quiet of that room perpetrated
this wrong upon her. It would have been out of view
from Frank’s office and could have been done without
Frank’s knowledge.
No, the blood spot fake does not sustain Conley.
Where Conley says he first found the body, there was
no blood. The presumption is this is where the
struggle took place. The absence of blood here im-
peaches him more than its presence elsewhere could
sustain him. If there was to be any blood, here was
the place.
Remember, too, that blood spot was found before
Jim ever said he dropped the body there. Jim just
fitted in with his manufactured tale. Why, any liar
on earth can be sustained by some well-known physi-
cal fact that he runs across in the course of his lying.

The Trial of Leo Frank

If an accomplice in a murder says: “On my way home
I saw Bill Jones kill Tom Smith; I passed through the
capitol and the capitol had marble floors,” and an-
other witness says: “Yes, the capitol has marble
floors,” Mr. Dorsey would say: “Oh, that sustains
him; he passed through the capitol and the floors were
marble and he said it.”
Further, Mr. Dorsey argues:
The testimony of Holloway which he gave in the affi-
davit before he appreciated the importance, coupled with
the statement of Boots Rogers that that elevator box was
unlocked, sustains Jim Conley.

He doesn’t say vihat part of Holloway’s evidence
he is talking about; but Your Honor will remember
they got Holloway down there and took an affidavit
from him; but Holloway on the stand said: “When I
made that affidavit I didn’t remember about sawing
some lumber for the man up on the fourth floor; I
now remember that I got some lumber and went in
and got the key to that motor box and unlocked it
and never locked it again. I had to do that to saw
the lumber, and I didn’t think of that at the time;
I was simply testifying to the custom.” And Den-
ham said he did saw the lumber for him. This shows
that the elevator was not locked and disputes Conley’s
statement that Frank unlocked it.
Now, Dorsey says that sustains Jim Conley; how,
I don’t figure out.
He goes on:

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

Ivey Jones, the man who says he met him in close
proximity to the pencil factory on the day this murder
was committed, the time he says he left that place, sus-
tains Jim Conley.
Does he, Your Honor? Ivey Jones met Jim Conley
at a quarter to two. Does not that sustain as strongly
our theory that the negro killed the girl? Our theory
is also supported by Conley’s confession that he
handled the body, by that evidence of his handwrit-
ing, and by his confession that he wrote the incrimi-
nating notes found by the body. He was there that
morning and Ivey Jones saw him at a quarter to two,
just two or three hundred yards from the pencil
factory. He had just left the factory and, of course,
he disposed of the body after Mrs. White left there.
Conley killed this little girl when she went down the
steps. He got in a struggle with her probably over
-that mesh bag, about 12:I5 or 12:20–somewhere
along there–just before Lemmie Quinn came in. She
probably injured herself in the struggle; perhaps was
rendered unconscious. It was but the work of a
moment to throw her down into that cellar. He
didn’t go right then into the cellar and move the body.
That perhaps would take some time and perhaps he
thought she was living, and he had a more diabolical
purpose in view. He waits until Frank leaves, and
Mrs. White leaves at one o’clock, and he goes down
into that cellar and finishes the work. He attempts
to violate her person, and he had doubtless finished
by a quarter to two.

The Trial of Leo Frank

And there was no purpose on Conley’s part to burn
the body because Conley had no control of the heat-
ing apparatus. Conley’s method of throwing people
off the track was by the notes. Conley never thought
anybody saw him there that morning; he was in that
dark place half hidden by those boxes. The evidence
shows that the officers found signs indicating that
something had been dragged on the ground from the
bottom of the elevator shaft to where the body lay.
This physical fact tends to support the theory that
Conley threw the girl down the shaft and later dragged
the body away; and to contradict Conley’s testimony
that he and Frank took the body down in the elevator
and that from the elevator he carried the body on his
shoulder to the place where it was found at the saw
dust pile.
Great God! When you think how much closer this
negro was to the tragedy-how he confessed his part
in it-how his character coincides with it,–how the
community or the jury can let just his making this infa-
mous charge carry conviction against a lifetime of good
conduct, is almost beyond the imagination of mankind.
Mr. Dorsey proceeds:
Albert McKnight, who testified as to the length of
time that this man Frank remained at home, and the
fact that he hurried back to the factory, sustains Jim
Does he? Does Albert McKnight sustain him?
Albert McKnight says, “At i :30 I saw Mr. Frank

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

in his dining room.” That contradicts Conley abso-
lutely because Conley says he and Frank were at the
factory at x:3o; yet my friend, without telling the
jury how, yells at them, “That sustains Jim Conley.”
No, Your Honor; liar though McKnight was in
many respects, he does not sustain Conley.
What next does Dorsey say sustains him? He
The repudiated affidavit-made to the police in the
presence of Craven and Pickett-of Minola McKnight
-the affidavit which George Gordon, the lawyer, sat
there and allowed her to make, although he knew he
could get a habeas corpus and take her within thirty
minutes out of the custody of the police, sustains Jim
On the contrary, I say Minola McKnight’s affidavit
sustains our contention that the whole case is a fabri-
cation. It shows like the flash of lightning in the
black sky a dark transaction that otherwise would
have remained always dark, and makes one wonder
how many similar things were done in this case.
How does he figure out that Minola’s affidavit sus-
tains Jim Conley? Can you see anything in that ex-
cept the arrest of a negro woman, illegally, without a
warrant, after she had voluntarily made a truthful
statement; then the bringing of her to the Solicitor’s
office; the attempt to get her to agree with her hus-
band who was in the hands of two men here; then
taking her to the station house and putting her behind
bars and forcing her to make the affidavit? Is there

The Trial of Leo Frank

anything in Minola’s affidavit except duress and vio-
lation of law by officers? How does that corroborate
Jim Conley?
Mr. Dorsey says:
The use of that cord, found in abundance, to choke this
girl to death, sustains Jim Conley.
Couldn’t Jim Conley use the cord as well as Frank?
It had that loop in it always. It was tied around a
bundle of pencils. That was its natural and normal
condition. That cord was found from the cellar to
the garret. Jim Conley knew where they hung on
the second floor.; What is here to sustain Conley’s
story that Frank, and not he, killed the girl?
He goes on:
The existence of the notes alone sustains Jim Conley
because no negro in the history of the race, after having
perpetrated rape or robbery, ever wrote a note to cover
up the crime.
How does he know that? Jim Conley could write.
He admits he wrote these notes. When he admits he
wrote the notes, that, prima fade, ought to disprove
everything he states and ought to put a strong bur-
den on him of explaining how he came to write them
at somebody else’s dictation, and to prove it by some-
thing beyond his mere ipse dixit.
Conley says that Frank’s intention was to burn
the body to conceal the crime, and that he was to
come back later and help him do it; and yet that
Frank, with this thought uppermost in his mind,

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

conceived the additional idea of these notes to be
placed beside the body and dictated them to him and
he wrote them. Why were both things done?
Conley sees he must fix up an explanation for this
and he says the notes were written so that if he never
came back to bum the body the notes would explain
the killing. Yet Frank had no reason to believe the
negro would not come back. Was ever an explana-
tion more preposterous? Don’t you know that if
Frank intended to bum the body he never would
have written the notes? Don’t you know the notes
were the last explanation of how the killing occurred,
and were intended by the ignorant man who wrote
them to stay by the body until it was found?
Now, burning a body is a thing that would occur
to any intelligent mind as a way to destroy evidence.
But to conjure up these notes as a way to hide the
crime is as far from the educated mind as something
connected with witchcraft would be. These notes are
negro notes from beginning to end-in thought, in
composition, in everything. The savage mind acts in
strange, devious, peculiar ways; the educated mind
does not.
The one contention in this case that appeals the
least to any man with common sense and fairness, is
that the verbiage of these notes is Frank’s, and not
Conley’s; that Frank, a Northern man, highly edu-
cated, whose knowledge of the language is wide, but
with very little knowledge of negroes, almost a
stranger here, without any aid from anybody, could

The Trial of Leo Frank
get up notes like these. Never could it have hap-
pened in a thousand years.
Ignorance conjures up far-fetched ideas and con-
clusions unconceived of by the intelligent brain.
These notes professed to be a statement from the
girl herself explaining how she was killed and who
did it. They are idiotic and ridiculous, except to an
ignorant, darkened mind.
Take the expression “night witch,” in one of the
notes. I don’t believe there is a white man on God’s
earth who would have known what that expression
meant; but a negro did interpret it.
Here we have a note so obscure, so couched in the
dark vernacular of the negro-he says it was all dic-
tated by Frank, too-that our Southern policemen
who corral these negroes daily, who deal with them
and who play with them like you would with cards
on a table, can’t understand it. Every one is groping
in the darkness until Newt Lee sees it. Newt Lee,
a negro whose mental operations are the same as Jim
Conley’s, says, “That means me, boss; I’m the night
A white man goes by his intelligence, by his logic,
by his discernment; a negro goes largely by his in-
stinct, and, occasionally, it is strikingly correct.
During the great Civil War, when the tracks were
torn up and the mails couldn’t go by railway, when
the telegraph wires were cut and there was no quick
way of communication, the negroes often heard of
great battles in Virginia and Tennessee long before

Phone Number: Bell Phone Main 171.

An exact reproduction of one of the two notes that were found by the body of
Mary Phagan, with the elimination of two words which it was thought proper to
omit from this publication.

A facsimile illustration Of the second one of the two notes that were found near
the body of the dead 2irl.

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

the white people ever heard of them. The news
travelled from hill to hill, from dale to dale, in some
way through that under-strata of the population.
Your Honor, it is by Jim Conley’s evidence alone
that Frank is charged with having had anything to do
with the writing of these notes. How does the exist-
ence of the notes sustain Conley?
Further on Mr. Dorsey states:
The note paper on which it was written-paper found in
abundance on the office floor and near the office of this
man Frank-sustains Jim Conley.
How? Conley knew just as well where all the
paper in the building was as Frank did. That kind
of paper was found down in the cellar. It was used
by all the foreladies of the floors. Conley had a pen-
cil. He could have gotten the paper anywhere in the
factory. The evidence clearly showed this. Now,
how does the paper sustain Conley?
Dorsey argues:
The diction of the notes “that negro did this,” and old
Jim throughout his statement says “I done,” sustains
Jim Conley.
Oh, what a trap was here laid for us!
Conley was loaded on that, but while he did go out
of his way a number of times to say “I done,” and
was very particular about it, yet he had had just
enough schooling to use the word “did,” and he used
it many times as he gave his evidence; and, of course,
when writing, one is more accurate than when speaking.

The Trial of Leo Frank

Now, this record shows that Conley in his evidence
used the word “did” ninety-two times. When Mr.
Dorsey told the jury that Conley all throughout his
statement said “I done,” Mr. Rosser interrupted him
and showed by the record and by the official stenogra-
pher that Conley on the witness stand said “I did”
time and time again.
Dorsey continues:
Maybe he did in certain instances say that he “did”
so and so; but you said in your argument that if there is
anything in the world a negro will do it is to pick up the
language of the man for whom he works; and while I’ll
assert that there are some instances you can pick out in
which he used that word, there are other instances you
might pick showing that he said “I done,” and they
know it.
Well, how does that sustain Jim Conley?
Mr. Dorsey goes on:
All right; leave the language; take the context.
These notes say, as I suggested the other day, that she
was assaulted as she went to the toilet. And the only,
toilet known to Mary, and the only one she would ever
have used is the toilet on the office floor, where Conley
says he found the body; and her body was found right on
the route that Frank would pursue from his office to that
toilet, right on back also to the metal room.
Mr. Dorsey proceeds on the idea that the note was
telling the exact truth as to how Mary Phagan was
killed. Why, the object of the note was to throw
everybody off the trail, of course. The note naturally

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

would have put her as being killed in the wrong place,
if it had done anything. It was putting it on the
wrong negro and putting the girl’s death in the wrong
Don’t you suppose if Frank was dictating the notes
and trying to throw everybody off the track, he
would not have had the notes to show the killing to be
on the floor where he actually killed the girl? Did
you ever think of that? Dorsey says Frank has good
sense and his theory is that Frank is writing the notes
to throw everybody off the track. His theory is that
the notes mean that the girl was killed right on the
office floor, right where it would have incriminated
Frank; and his further conflicting theory is that Frank
was such a bungler that he would have written the
notes to show exactly where he killed her and to show
it to be on the floor where his office was. Surely, he
cannot praise Frank for his good sense in one breath,
and by his construction of the notes, in the next
breath, prove him to be a rank fool.
This note also says: “He pushed me down that
hole.” There is no hole she could have been pushed
down in the metal room, and this alone shows that
Mr. Dorsey’s construction of the note was wrong
when he said the meaning was that she went back to
the toilet in the metal room. She was evidently pushed
down a hole in the same place, or near the same
place, where the toilet was; and, as just stated, there
was no such hole in the metal room; but there were two
holes on the ground floor at the bottom of the steps.

The Trial of Leo Frank

One hole was the elevator shaft and the other hole
was the trapdoor down which the ladder led, which
the court has heard so often spoken of. The negro,
knowing that he had pushed the girl down one of these
holes, unconsciously brings this fact out in the note.
While he was cunning, he was very ignorant, and it
was hard for him to keep up a connected tale in these
hastily written notes.
Further, Mr. Dorsey says:
The fact that this note states that a negro did it by
himself shows a conscious effort on the part of somebody
to exclude and limit the crime to one man. And this fact
sustains Jim Conley.

Does it? He was trying to limit it to one negro
and no other negro. There is only one negro in it
and that is “that tall, black negro.” He is trying
to exclude the idea that he, Conley, had any part in
it at all, and trying to fasten it on one negro alone.
Perhaps his animosity to the “long, tall, black negro,”
the fireman of the pencil factory, was so great that he
alone was the man he wanted the charge to center on,
and perhaps he did not wish to involve Newt Lee.
Mr. Dorsey argues:
Frank, even in his statement, sustains him as to the
time of arrival Saturday morning at the factory, as to the
time of the visit to Montag, as to the folder which Conley
says Frank had in his hand, and Frank in his statement
says he had the folder. The time that Frank says he left
that factory sustains old Jim.

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

Why, they had all of these statements of Frank long
before Conley’s statement was fixed up. Frank made
a statement to the coroner’s jury, full and in detail,
involving all these facts. Frank made a statement
before the detectives and it was easy enough for the
negro to chime in with what Frank had said. But
that does not sustain Conley.
Besides, Conley as he sat hidden down there among
the boxes, doubtless knew practically everything that
happened that morning, and had an opportunity to
see all thdse people come and go. This is our theory
as well as the State’s.
Mr. Dorsey goes on:
Conley is sustained by another thing: This man Harry
White, according to your statement, got $2.oo. Where is
the paper? Where is the entry on any book showing that
Frank ever entered it on that Saturday afternoon, when
he waited for Conley and his mind was occupied with the
consideration of the problem as to what he should do with
the body?
They didn’t keep a book showing these amounts.
They made a ticket for $2.oo and put it in the drawer.
It was done at this time, and Schiff said he found
it, and that was all that was ever done in the way
of an entry. They treated it as cash when they
paid White his wages, and instead of giving him
$2.00, gave him his ticket on the next pay day.
Dorsey claims Frank forgot to make an entry on
the book. Yet Frank went through three and a half
hours of the most intricate and detailed work ever

The Trial of Leo Frank

made on that financial sheet, and experts say there
was a mistake of only fifty cents made, and that it
could have been made by not carrying out minute
decimals. Yet Dorsey says that Frank’s mind was
so occupied with the crime that he made a mistake
of $2.oo, and that Conley is thereby sustained.
He says:
This expert in bookkeeping, this Cornell graduate, this
man who checks and re-checks the cash-you tell me that
if things were normal, he would have given out to that
man White this $2.00 and not have taken a receipt, or not
have made an entry himself on some book going to show
it? I tell you there is only one reason why he didn’t
do it.

I needn’t repeat it. He did make the cash ticket
for $2.00. Schiff found it and entered it on the book;
Schiff says that’s the way it’s always done; Frank
says it’s the way it’s always done. White says: “I
got the $2.oo,” and there is no complaint that White
was ever paid the $2.oo again.
Dorsey continues:
He is sustained by the evidence in this case and the
statement of Frank that he had relatives in Brooklyn.

Let’s see about that. Everybody knew he was
from Brooklyn. The negro had worked around the
factory for two years. The newspapers had stated
he was from Brooklyn. This negro read the news-
papers eagerly; we have shown all that; so he knew
Frank was from Brooklyn. He knew his father and

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

mother lived there. He doesn’t merely claim that
Frank said he had relatives in Brooklyn. If he had,
that would have been a commonplace statement and
it would have had no bearing; but the negro lied in
what he did state. He said Frank said: “I’ve got
wealthy relatives in Brooklyn,” and we overwhelm-
ingly showed he did not have wealthy relatives
there. His people are of very limited means. His
father was a traveling salesman with an income of
$12oo a year. He is old and crippled now and
trouble is his portion.
Can anybody believe that the negro told the truth
when he stated that Frank paced the floor and in his
presence said, “Why should I hang? I have wealthy
relatives in Brooklyn” ?
Further, Dorsey says:
When old Jim Conley was on the stand Mr. Rosser put
him through a good deal of questioning with reference to
some fellow by the name of Mincey. Where is Mincey?
Echo answers: “Where?” Either Mincey was a myth or
Mincey was such a diabolical perjurer that this man knew
it would nauseate the stomach of a decent jury to have
him produced. And if you weren’t going to produce
Mincey, why did you parade it here before this jury? The
absence of Mincey is a powerful fact that goes to sustain
Jim Conley because if Mincey could have contradicted
Jim Conley or could have successfully fastened an admis-
sion on old Jim that he was connected in any way with this
crime,-depend upon it, you would have produced him if
you had to comb the State of Georgia with a fine tooth
comb from Rabun Gap to Tybee Light.

The Trial of Leo Frank

The answer to that is this: A man named Mincey
claimed that Conley made to him a certain statement.
We didn’t know. They had Conley canned for weeks
and months. We didn’t know whether he was going
to admit or deny making the statement to Mincey.
We asked Conley about it and it was our duty to do
so. Any fact, probable or improbable, that has been
suggested to us we ought to ask about. Conley
denied it. We never attached any importance to
Conley’s denial one way or the other. Mincey’s tale
may have been true, but it did not impress us as
evidence that was probable and reasonable, and
rather than burden our case with anything doubtful,
we decided against the putting up of Mincey.
Now, how does that sustain Jim Conley?
Dorsey continues:
Gentlemen, every act of that defendant proclaims him
guilty. Gentlemen, every word of that defendant pro-
claims him responsible for the death of this little factory
girl. Gentlemen, every circumstance in this case proves
him guilty of this crime.
That is such glittering generality that I beg to be
excused from discussing it. I know of no circum-
stance, I know of no act, I know of no word of this
defendant, inconsistent with innocence. If there ever
was a fair, intelligent statement by a much persecuted
man, it was this man’s statement to the court and
jury; and I say further that a cleaner, more honest
defense than ours has never been put up in a court-

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

I have now gone through every fact in this case that
Mr. Dorsey says corroborates Jim Conley, every
single one of them. I don’t claim any credit for
answering them. A ten-year-old school boy could
answer them if he had heard the evidence and was
Your Honor, the newspapers yesterday carried an
account of the trial of Wilburn down in Jones County,
which formed quite a contrast to the trial of Frank.
A farmer had been killed. A young man confessed
having murdered him and confessed an intimacy with
his wife. It would seem to be just such a case as
would bring all of the savagery of the populace to the
surface. Yet the people sat throughout that trial,
and heard those horrible details without an expres-
sion of vengeance. He was found guilty and sen-
tenced to hang, and the dispatches from that little
town say the people were sad that the verdict had to
be rendered. They felt that under the facts of the
case it had to be done, but it was done, not in glad-
ness, but in sorrow. They were not happy that a
man was going to die.
When the verdict of the jury was rendered in the
Frank case, and even before the jurors had been
polled, the savages that were grouped about the
courthouse here on either side were making the air
hideous with their cries of delight and their shouts
of joy.
Capital punishment may have to be inflicted occa-
sionally, but when it is done it ought to be done re-

The Trial of Leo Frank
gretfully, sorrowfully, sadly. Some day the civilized
world will look with as much horror upon our taking
a human life by law as we do upon the old English
law of years ago, when even the theft of a silk hand-
kerchief was a capital offense.
Charles Dickens, in writing of his court and prison
experiences, wrote one little story that helped to
start the great crusade that changed all that in Eng-
land. It was written in the first person by a young
doctor about his first case.
The doctor said:
I was called once by a poor mother to treat a case at her
house; I went there as she asked me to do, and she said:
“The patient hasn’t come yet but will be here in a few
minutes”; and in a few minutes the dead-wagon rumbled
up to the door and the corpse of a stalwart young man
was taken out and the mother said that this was the case.
“Why,” I said, “he is dead; and there is the mark of
the rope around his neck.” “Yes,” said the mother,
“I just wanted you to see if he was dead, and if there was
any way to bring him back to life.”

He was hung for some small theft. The mother
had hoped there might be some life left in the body,
which the doctor might revive.
The civilized world will yet stand aghast at capital
punishment. It finds support in the old law of Moses:
“Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood
be shed.” That was in the time when our ancestors
dressed in the skins of animals; that was in the day

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

when they were pastoral; when they were shepherds;
when they had flocks and herds; when a man had a
hundred wives if he could take care of that many;
when they believed in human sacrifices; that was in
the day when the nations of the earth believed in
every form of torture; when the Assyrians and other
ancient nations would cut off a man’s hands and feet
when they took him prisoner; that was even before
the days of the rack and the Inquisition. Men be-
lieved in that.
But when Christ came to earth he enunciated the
doctrine that I have never understood how any Chris-
tian can reconcile with capital punishment: “Ye
have heard that it hath been said, ‘An eye for an eye,
and a tooth for a tooth’; but I say unto you, whosoever
shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the
other also.”
These words have lived through the ages; but,
strange to say, many Christians that have professed
to follow the doctrines of the Prince of Peace, have
been as bloody as the Mohammedans who openly
followed the doctrine of the sword and torch.
Civilization is a slow growth. Not by mere pro-
nunciamento, but through the processes of the years
alone, will man become civilized. It is an evolution,
just as we grew up from the monkeys; just as we sat
down a long time and wore off the tails with which
we once scampered around the trees; just as we wore
off the hair from our backs by wearing clothes. I
hope my friends Dorsey and Campbell have gotten

The Trial of Leo Frank

rid of their tails and hair, but this case doesn’t look
much like it to me.
This trial seems to me to be a sort of reversion to
barbarism. Here is a man condemned to death on
the uncorroborated evidence of a moral leper, evidence
given to save himself, evidence that is contrary to all
light and reason, and against the most powerful alibi
ever proved in court.
At the beginning there was nothing against this
defendant except his own statement that he had seen
the girl on the day she was killed, and had paid her
the amount that was due her for her work. He was
the last person known to have seen the little child
alive, and it would not have been known that he had
even seen her except for his own statement to that
effect. A guilty man would never have voluntarily
made that admission; but it was the truth and Frank
spoke it.
Many stories now arose. The germs of prejudice
multiplied. In the soil of falsehood the feeling against
this defendant grew. When the trial came on, the
oceans of feeling and prejudice crept into the court-
house at the very beginning, and remained there
until the rejoicing of the happy savages marked the
rendition of the verdict.
The Solicitor spoke to the mob as much as to the
jury. And he didn’t have to use any reason in his
argument; if he had blood in his talk, that was enough.
It was poison that was fed to those jay birds in the
jury box.

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

Oh, why couldn’t we have had a trial like Wilburn
had? There was no ferocity, no hungering for human
blood, at Wilburn’s trial. We have not had a judicial
trial. A judicial trial is one where calm, fair-minded
men get together, and focus their minds on the facts,
and spurn every outside suggestion. We have had
no such trial as that.
A fair, impartial, judicial consideration of this case
would have resulted in the acquittal of the defendant,
for his innocence has been proven.
Can you conceive of a white man of Frank’s intelli-
gence, in broad daylight, with the doors unlocked, in
charge of a factory like this, which it has been shown
was a perfect hive of people all the morning of this
tragedy–can you conceive of such a one’s attempting
such a deed? The whole thing is so despicably im-
Monteen Stover was at the factory at 12:io. By
no stretch of the imagination can you take the evi-
dence and get Mary Phagan there before 12:1o to
12:12. At 12:3o Frank is seen on the fourth floor by
Denham and White. He left at “about one o’clock.”
He is seen on the comer at about i :io. Mrs. Levi
saw him get off the car at his home at i:2o. Even
the State’s witness McKnight says he saw him out
there at i :3o.
All of the experiments that have been made show
that, assuming Conley to have told the truth as to
what he and Frank did, Frank could not have left
the factory before i:3o. Yet the unmistakable evi-

The Trial of Leo Frank
dence shows he had reached his home before that
hour, and went back to the factory in the afternoon,
and for three hours worked on that financial sheet.
Your Honor, have we lost our senses? Is this case
different from other cases? Do different rules obtain
here? If so, why? Sometimes I fear that perhaps
the law, not Leo Frank, is on trial.
It has been shown that the time Conley gave as to
the disposition of the body was false. It has been
shown that Mary Phagan was not at the pencil fac-
tory at the time Conley claims the deed was done,
and that Frank was not there at the time Conley
claims the body was moved.
But it is asked, could Conley invent such a tale? I
tell you if there is any one talent a negro has, it is
inventing a striking lie.
Why, Conley stated in one of his affidavits, that
before he went to the pencil factory on the day of the
killing, he went over on Peters Street and drank at
several saloons. He went into many details, giving
the names of the saloons, the kinds of spirits he drank,
the names of the men he met, and the various things
he did. He says now that every word of that affi-
davit was false, and that those things did not occur.
Could he invent a tale? We have his own evidence
as a demonstration that he could invent a marvelous
It has been shown that Conley confessed to a part
of the crime, and that confession was proven false by
clocks, watches and other evidence. It has been

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

shown that he wrote the notes that were found by
the body of the dead girl. Don’t you know that if
he wrote the notes, he killed the girl? Could you
offer him any better inducement to evade and to lie
than not to charge him with killing the girl, when he
admitted writing the notes? The detectives, even
then, led him into charging the notes on Frank.
The murder of Mary Phagan is no longer a mystery.
The experiments that have been made, the physical
facts of the case, the testimony delivered here, show
the murderer to be, not Leo M. Frank, but Jim Con-
ley, a perpetual law-breaker who has a law-breaking
race back of him to “the time whereof the memory of
man runneth not to the contrary.”
Will you accept as true this monstrous tale that
Conley tells, or will you place the judgment of a
skilled man upon it, and say it is so incredible that
you will not foreclose the question forever? Conley,
though reveling at first in his wonderful accomplish-
ment as a liar, lied so much and so often that he even-
tually lost all pride about lying, and when cornered
with a lie that he couldn’t explain, just admitted it
was a lie.
Will Your Honor allow this verdict to stand by
believing Conley’s latest lie, discarding human testi-
mony, and changing docks, watches and street car
schedules? We only ask that justice be done.
Here is the only place we can argue the facts on
appeal. The Supreme Court has no jurisdiction over
questions of fact where the witnesses are in conflict.

The Trial of Leo Frank

It takes errors of law for that court to interfere.
Your Honor alone has the duty and the responsibility
now of approving this verdict, or setting it aside; of
saying, as an independent tribunal, whether the jury
found the truth.
We have battled against the twin evils of prejudice
and ignorance, but we are panoplied in the right. And
What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted?
Thrice is he arm’d that hath his quarrel just;
And he but naked, though lock’d up in steel,
Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.
Much is said these days about law and order, but
I say to you that the spirit back of this prosecution,
the spirit that was manifest in and about the court-
room where Frank was tried, and where the poor man
-I hate to say it-had not a dog’s show for his life,
was not the law and order spirit.
The fact is often. overlooked that a crime can be
committed against a man charged with crime. There
are murders in court as well as out of court, and I
would no more be a party to the one than to the
other. We may be sure, too, that the great All
Seeing Eye above looks not merely at forms of things,
but sees into their very hearts.
In such a case as this it behooves the officers of the
law to say to the multitudes: “Stop, stay your hand;
this is not a chase; there is no quarry here we have
joined in to catch; we are trying to find a fact, and
we are going to do it calmly, considerately, dispas-
sionately, if it takes until eternity to do it.”

Mr. Arnold’s Address to the Court

Your Honor, our cause is right and must eventually
triumph if Justice rules in Georgia. Time is the great
truth teller. Before the peaceful passage of time
false creeds wither, error topples to the earth, the
passion of the mob subsides, and in the end truth-
and only truth-prevails.

The End.


July 28 to August 25, 1913

The Internet Archive version of 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

August 1913

The Argument of Reuben Rose Arnold, August 1913, can be found in American State Trials Volume X 1918, along with the closing arguments of prosecutors and defense lawyers.

October 1913

The Argument of Reuben Rose Arnold published in Oct 1913 in PDF Format: Argument of Reuben Rose Arnold at the Trial of Leo M. Frank (Oct, 1913). The Trial of Leo Frank, Reuben R. Arnold’s Address to the Court on his Behalf. Introduction by Alvin V. Sellers. Classic Publishing Co., Baxley GA. Copyright, 1915 by Alvin V. Sellers and The Trow Press, New York. Booklet format, 69 pages and published in 1915. Original booklets are extremely rare and difficult to find in superior condition. Scanned and brought to you by the Leo Frank Research Archive Available here in Adobe PDF. A review of the Final Trial Statement concerning the Leo Frank Trial by Reuben Rose Arnold can be found on Internet Archive.