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Their Defense A Secret

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Their Defense A Secret

Post by Karen on Tue 2 Mar 2010 - 0:23

THEIR DEFENSE A SECRET.
Indicted Police Officials Well Provided with Counsel.

WILLIAMS MAY NOT ESCAPE.
More Indictments Expected - Supt. Byrnes Doing His Best with a Depleted Force - Fire Department Inquiry.

The indicted members and ex-members of the police force who today are to appear to plead before Justice Ingraham, have planned to be a unit in meeting the charges against them, and, while employing diverse counsel, to have their interests, collectively, looked after by Col. Edward C. James, who is counsel for ex-Capt. William S. Devery.
Inspector McLaughlin, Captains John J. Donohue, Jacob Siebert, and Michael J. Murphy, and ex-Wardman Edward G. Glennon, have returned Friend & House, ex-Capt. John T. Stephenson's lawyers, are Tracy, Boardman, & Platt, and Louis J. Grant will look after Capt. James K. Price, and Policeman Henry H. Schill of the Fifth Precinct. Who will be the special counsel for Ex-Capt. Edward Carpenter has not been announced.
Lawyers from the firms named met yesterday at Col. James's office. The proceedings were secret, but a general plan of action was agreed upon, and when the nine or ten defendants - Stephenson is looked for this morning - appear to plead, they will be accompanied by an array of cousel prepared to act both in concert and for the best interests of each individual defendant.
As to ex-Capt. Stephenson, no concern whatever was manifested at the District Attorney's office yesterday, as he is heavily bonded to abide by the decision on his appeal for a new trial.
In regard to James Burns, the prevailing opinion is that he is in Ireland, while some believe that he is still attending races in the South as a bookmaker. It will be remembered that he testified when he was tried at Police Headquarters that he was an expert in racing matters, and that his luck in wagering, accounted for his prosperity. Should his whereabouts in this country be discovered, it would be easy to arrest and extradite him from any State.

McLaughlin Calls at Headquarters.

Inspector McLaughlin, who is suspended from duty pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings, called on Superintendent Byrnes at Police Headquarters yesterday, and had a short talk with him. The indicted official declined to talk of his strait. Other visitors received by Mr. Byrnes were ex-Capt. Adam A. Cross, and ex-Wardman George Smith, whose reinstatements were ordered by the General Term of the Supreme Court. They were silent as to their visit, which was in compliance with advice of counsel to report for duty until definite action is taken on the order of the Court.
During the day the Superintendent had a talk with all the commanders of precincts, each man obtaining a private audience. Mr. Byrnes said of these visits that they had to do with official business pertinent to the efficiency of the department.
The police force is just now depleted by death, legal action, and neglect to bring it up to its full quota by appointing patrolmen and filling vacancies by promotions. More than 300 policemen are lacking, and at present, owing to the civil service regulations, only eligible lists of twelve men to fill ten vacancies can be asked for. Thirteen Sergeants now command precincts, namely:


First Precinct - Sergt. William Hogan, replacing Devery, dismissed.
Third Precinct - Sergt. W.L. Linden, replacing Hooker, retired.
Fourth Precinct - Sergt. Edward Walsh, replacing Slevin, deceased.
Fifth Precinct - Sergt. Norman Westervelt, replacing Doherty, dismissed.
Eighth Precinct - Sergt. J.M. O'Keefe, replacing Price, suspended.
Tenth Precinct - Sergt. John R. Groo, replacing Stephenson, dismissed.
Thirteenth Precinct - Sergt. Patrick Cully, replacing Siebert, suspended.
Fourteenth Precinct - Sergt. John Wiegand, replacing Cross, dismissed.
Sixteenth Precinct - Sergt. W.T. Coffey, replacing Donohue, suspended.
Seventeenth Precinct - Sergt. Patrick Oates
Twenty-third Sub-Precinct - Sergt. Frank W. Robb.
Twenty-sixth Precinct - Sergt. John Cooney, replacing Murphy, suspended.
Twenty-seventh Precinct - Sergt. William Dean.

As there are thirty-eight commands entitled to Captains, only twenty-five of them are thus equipped, while of this number eleven have been "named" as fit subjects for rigid investigation, both before the Lexow committee and the Extraordinary Grand Jury.

Double Work For Supt. Byrnes.

There were no indications at Police Headquarters yesterday that Superintendent Byrnes intended to select any one to fill Inspector McLaughlin's place during his suspension. When ex-Superintendent Murray was under disability through illness, Inspector Byrnes was both Chief Detective and Acting Superintendent. It is a question whether, if a head of the Detective Bureau is appointed, the senior Inspector would not have a valid claim to recognition. But this would not be easy to determine, as the claims to seniority of Inspectors Williams and Conlin have never been officially settled.
Mr. Byrnes called the roll of detectives yesterday, and kept in touch with the business of that officer, besides making some changes in assignments to duty. He refused to talk about Commissioner Martin's assertion that, as a member of the Civil Service Board, he (Byrnes) rated applicants for appointment and certified applicants for promotion, and that, in substance, appointments and promotions were made on his recommendation.
In regard to the short-handed condition of the department and the effect of the action of the Extraordinary Grand Jury and public criticism on the morale of the force, the Superintendent said:
"Life and property will be safe. Of course, the men, in the circumstances, need to be held up to their duty and encouraged, but, so far as the interests of the public are concerned, we shall weather the storms."

At The Criminal Courts Building.

At the Criminal Courts Building interest was divided between the Extraordinary Grand Jury and the District Attorney's office. Col. Fellows was busy all day with preparations for the pleadings of the indicted members of the police force today and for the coming trials. He announced that he would take personal charge of every case, and that he would be assisted by ex-Surrogate Daniel G. Rollins, with whom he had a conference, and Austen G. Fox, and that he would not call on any of the Assistant District Attorneys to aid in the prosecutions.
The Oyer and Terminer Grand Jury appeared yesterday to have undertaken the investigation of widely-diverging phases of iniquity. What has come to be styled the "fight to a finish" between the Parkhurst society and Central Office Detectives Jacobs and McManus was again under consideration. Superintendent Dennett of the society, Agents Lennon and Whitney, and the burglar Joseph Liss went to the witnesses room with several unidentified persons of both sexes. They were, outside the Grand Jury precincts, under the surveillance of several men who watched in the interest of the detectives.
One of the Parkhurst agents said that if Jacobs and McManus thought they were "out of the woods" they were fools, as every endeavor would be made to have the detectives indicted for corrupt practices. Other witnesses before the jury appeared to have been called to give testimony in relation to the Fire Department, and there were some whose presence could not be explained except by the inference that the Police Department investigation had not ended. It was assumed that Foreman Leggett would tomorrow hand up a second batch of indictments. Justice Ingraham did not open court yesterday. Police Commissioner Andrews's resolution guaranteeing all the assistance the Police Department could furnish was handed to Mr. Leggett.

Guesses That Were Wrong.

One who has perfect knowledge of the doings of the Grand Jury since Jan. 7 talked guardedly of them up to the time the first indictments were handed in, because of the stories in circulation about the number of indictments "found" and the number handed to Justice Ingraham, and the assertion that a number were held back. He said:
"Forty-nine poppycocks! It has already been explained, and, I believe, published in The New York Times that there is no indictment until it is presented to the court whence the jury emanates. An indictment is considered when evidence against a person is heard. It is found when the evidence appears to be strong enough to convict. A third stage is when it is ordered. The indictment is then drafted, but it is not, as I have said before, an indictment until fully agreed upon, signed, and handed to the court.
The inference that a number of indictments were held back because of the numbers on those that Justice Ingraham received was wrong. The guesses about the number of indictments "considered," "found," and "ordered" were wrong. Of course, many inquiries in regard to certain persons were advanced from the first stage to the second or even the third, and then either abandoned or put off for various reasons.
The Extraordinary Grand Jury did not need the decision in the case of ex-Capt. Cross and Wardman Smith to guide it. It had no effect on its decisions. It started in to make a record of convictions - not of indictments - and, as you see by the twenty indictments that are filed, the people will call witnesses who are respectable or trustworthy to prove the guilt of the defendants.
It should be understood that the jurors have not done with the Police Department, and that they are not pressed for time. No doubt the task is irksome to many of them, and to some it means a sacrifice of business interests. But never has the community had a more devoted, earnest, and intelligent Grand Jury. It is a compliment to them to say that they were more than two months in indicting eleven persons because they were painstaking and careful.
With the investigation of the Fire Department and election matters, which has hardly begun, and the police inquisition, I do not think that the jurors will hesitate when the end of the month comes to ask that their term may be extended by the court. There is no legal obstacle in the way of continuing the investigation throughout any period.
As to the comment about the jury failing to indict Inspector Williams, let me say that his case has not yet been disposed of, and that ample attention was given to it. For one reason or another the jurors evinced great eagerness to secure valid evidence against this official, and if I am not mistaken their interest in him has not abated, and will not. If he has not yet been indicted, you can find a reason for it in the statement I made about the aim of the jury when it began its labors. Wait until the Grand Jury files into court for the last time before passing judgment on its industry and earnestness in the cause of clean government.

Inspector Williams's Status.

The status of Inspector Williams just now provokes gossip and comment everywhere. Dec. 28, 1894, when he left the witness stand his cronies pronounced him "vindicated" before the Lexow committee. The failure to file an indictment against him last Monday vitalized his prestige in certain quarters where it had been wavering because of the knowledge that Capt. Schmittberger had repeated his accusations before the Grand Jury, and that efforts had been made to corroborate the accusations.
Had the Inspector been indicted there would have been, no doubt, a rush by many who had been deterred by fear from coming forward with evidence or cajoled or placated to silence to aid in his downfall. As it was he was jaunty and bubbling over with exultation as he escorted some of his indicted comrades before Justice Ingraham Monday.

Can Still Be Indicted.

In the light of recent events, and considering the fact that Schmittberger's accusations against Williams come within the statutory period of five years, the following conversation between a reporter for the New York Times and Assistant District Attorney Lindsay, Jan. 5, 1895, is interesting:

Q. - Can Inspector Williams be indicted on Capt. Schmittberger's testimony before the Lexow committee? A. - If it can be proved that Schmittberger paid the proceeds of his bribery to Inspector Williams at any time since January, 1890, the Inspector can be indicted. The indictment in cases of felony must be within five years.
Q. - Can Williams be indicted on his own evidence that he neglected his duty and knowingly allowed disorderly houses to exist? A. - No; that was a misdemeanor, and the limitation in prosecution for misdemeanors is two years. According to Williams's testimony, he was guilty of misdemeanor many years ago.
Q. - Could Inspector Williams be indicted for perjury in swearing before the Lexow committee that he owned land in Japan, when against him is the testimony of the Japanese Consul that at the time mentioned by the Inspector it was impossible for him to own land in Japan? A. - He could if it could be shown that his statement was false.

What a Former Grand Jury Said.

The Grand Jury sworn in by Judge Gildersleeve, April 2, 1883, of which H.K. Thurber was foreman, presented Williams, who was then Captain of the Twenty-ninth (now the Nineteenth) Precinct, to the Court of General Sessions, saying:
In some of the precincts of the police force in this city we find a condition of demoralization and remissness in the enforcement of the gambling and excise laws that in our opinion calls for a pointed expression on our part and some emphatic action on the part of the public authorities. These evils are not the growth of a day. From year to year they have been flourishing in our midst. That they could exist and increase as they have in some of the precincts had any honest and determined effort been made by the respective Captains to suppress them is not credible, especially when the large numbers of their patrons of every class who are necessary to their successful existence are considered, and the ease of access by any successful detective which that circumstance allows, and the consequent facility in obtaining evidence. Certain it is that a few earnest citizens, actuated by an honest desire to enforce the laws with respect to these crimes, have in some precincts done the work for which our large police force is employed and paid. The existence and increase of these evils in late years is strongly confirmatory of the rumor widely current that they are maintained, not in spite of the Captains of these precincts, but rather by their aid and under their protection.
We have especially inquired into the condition of affairs in the Twenty-ninth and Tenth Precincts, and learned that on the 21st day of February, 1883, Capt. Alexander S. Williams of the Twenty-ninth Precinct was personally notified by Mr. Anthony Comstock that at 102 West Thirty-second Street, at 461, 490, 516, 518, and 522 Sixth Avenue, in this city, there were gambling saloons, where roulette or faro were running constantly, and he was then called upon to close them. It further appeared that the above premises were in the Twenty-ninth Precinct, and that the places in Sixth Avenue were within three blocks of the Twenty-ninth Precinct Station House; that after such notification to Capt. Williams and on the 18th of March, 1888, Mr. Comstock, upon certain warrants, raided the premises referred to as 102 West Thirty-second Street and seized a quantity of gambling apparatus and material, and that said seizure was shortly afterward followed by the arrest and subsequent indictment of Albert J. Adams as owner of said gambling establishment and a number of other men as players in Adams's employ.
Again, on the 20th of March, 1883, Mr. Comstock raided 102 West Thirty-second Street and found the premises occupied by gamblers and the game of rouge et noir going on. A large quantity of gambling material was also found and seized. It also appeared that the various premises in Sixth Avenue have continued open and running without any apparent interruption. It further appears that no raid has been made upon these premises by Capt. Williams since his notification, and apparently no effort has been made to close or suppress them.
From the statement furnished to the Police Department by Capt. Williams on the 9th of January, 1883, a copy of which is hereto annexed, it appears that he has for some months been aware that these premises above referred to, as well as many others, were or were reported to be regular gambling dens, and that he was also aware of the names of the owners of the establishments, their landlords, and the nature of the game reputed to be carried on at the several places. And, yet either from lamentable incapacity or a shameful neglect of duty, Capt. Williams permits these places to remain undisturbed and open within almost a stone's throw of his precint station house, leaving it to public-spirited citizens to obtain that evidence which he ought to obtain through his own detectives.

* * * In the opinion of the Grand Jury, the failure on the part of these officers to enforce the law in their respective precincts indicates either that these officers are willfully conniving at the flagrant violations of law which have long existed in their precincts, or else that they are incompetent and unfit for the positions they now hold. Private citizens, actuated by a desire to see the law enforced, seem to have no difficulty in obtaining the necessary evidence in these precincts, while the Captains, appointed for their supposed ability and aptitude in suppressing crime, are alone unable to secure the arrests of the offenders and the strict enforcement of the law. While we hesitate to prefer a criminal charge by way of indictment against these Captains, we earnestly recommend and urge that Capt. Williams and Capt. Allaire be removed from their positions and from the force, on account of their manifest unfitness. In conclusion, we earnestly recommend that the District Attorney should give especial attention to this subject, and spare no pains or reasonable expense to ferret out and bring to speedy justice any and all of those custodians of the public safety who have been false to their trust. The above, by unanimous vote of the Grand Jury, the foreman was directed to sign and deliver to the court.
H.K. THURBER, Foreman.

Williams, when he knew of the action of the Grand Jury, remarked.
"I have nothing to say, except that I would rather have had an indictment than a presentation. When Grand Juries listen to the ex parte statements of men who are not regarded as reliable in any court, they can find a presentment against anybody."
The men stigmatized as "not regarded as reliable" were Anthony Comstock, D.J. Whitney, ex-Assitant District Attorney Beecher, C.F. Billings, S.H. Comstock, and Frederick C. Cooper.
Williams's first act after the presentation was to try to arrest two of the agents of the Society for the Prevention of Crime for blackmail, using Marcus Cicero Stanley, the lottery man, and a bartender as witnesses. Police Justice Hugh Gardner refused to grant a warrant on their testimony. A few days after all the ward detectives were placed under the control of Thomas Byrnes, then an Inspector of Police, so that they were, to a certain extent, independent of their commanding officers.

Does Not Fit, Mr. Rollins Says.

Commenting editorially on Williams's immunity, The Tribune said yesterday:
Censorious critics will not fail to take notice that one of the special counsel of the Grand Jury might have been influenced by feelings of peculiar tenderness and consideration for Inspector Williams. This was shown to ex-Surrogate Daniel G. Rollins, who said:
"That identifies me, as I am spoken of in about the same way in the news columns of this newspaper. All I have to say is that I cannot imagine what it means, as never at any time, in any manner, were there the relations of lawyer and client between me and Inspector Williams. I am amazed."
Mr. Rollins did not deny that he knew the Inspector, but he insisted that, while there was absolutely no truth in the insinuation that Williams had "a friend in the court" in the Grand Jury chamber, any evidence of a leaning toward his interests there would have been an act of folly, as it would have been detected, and the jurors were not individually or collectively men who would submit to such an insult to their integrity.
Assistant District Attorney Lindsay would not talk of the Grand Jury or its accomplished work on the plea that on Monday he said all he was likely to say for some time on the subject.

PARKHURST VISITS RAYMOND STREET JAIL.
He Was After Information About Straw Bail, It Is Thought.

Dr. Charles H. Parkhurst called on Mayor Schieren yesterday and later paid a visit to the Raymond Street Jail, where he had a talk with George Williams, alias "Wade" Murray, who was arrested last week on the charge of stealing a diamond pin.
It is said that Williams was visited by Dr. Parkhurst at the request of the former, and that he gave Dr. Parkhurst considerable information regarding straw bail bondsmen in New York.
Neither Dr. Parkhurst nor Williams would divulge the object of the visit.

To Begin the Reapportionment.

The joint committee of Aldermen and Supervisors on the reapportionment of Kings County met in the Supervisors' Chambers in the County Court House, Brooklyn, last night, and elected as President Jackson Wallace, the President of the Board of Aldermen.
Alderman Cohn said it was essential that the committee have an expert, as the work of reapportioning the county into twenty-one Assembly districts was important. He named Charles B. Morton, who was Assistant Postmaster under Gen. McLeer, Secretary of the Republican County Committee, and a delegate to the last Constitutional Convention.
Mr. Morton was elected, and will receive $200 a month for his services.
A committee consisting of Alderman Haubert and Cohn and Supervisor Gretsinger, was appointed to find suitable headquarters. The joint committee will meet again next Wednesday.

Source: The New York Times, March 21, 1895

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Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"
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