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why his name should not be stricken from the roll of attorneys, and
he be disbarred and prohibited from practising herein.
JAMES W. LOCKE, District Judge. "TAMPA, FLORIDA, March 7, 1882."
Wall appeared in court at the return of this rule, and, on the following day, filed a written answer, as follows:
"This respondent, now and at all times hereafter saving and reserving to himself all and all manner of benefits of exception to the many errors, uncertainties, and imperfections in the said rule contained, prays leave to object, as if he had demurred thereto, to the right, authority, or jurisdiction of this court to issue said rule and require him to answer it:
"1st, Because said rule does not show that the matters therein charged took place in the presence of the court, or were brought to the knowledge of the court by petition or complaint in writing under oath; and,
"2d, Because respondent is charged in said rule with a high crime against the laws of Florida not cognizable in this court, and for which, if proven, this respondent is liable to indictment and prosecution before the State court; but for answer to so much of said rule as this respondent is advised that it is material or proper for him to make answer to, answering, saith
"He denies counselling, advising, encouraging, or assisting an unlawful, tumultuous, and riotous gathering or mob in taking one John from the jail of Hillsborough County and causing his death by hanging in contempt and defiance of the law, or that he has been guilty of any unprofessional or immoral conduct which shows him to be unfitted for the position of an attorney and proctor of this court, as he is charged in the said rule.
"Whereupon he prays to be hence dismissed, &c. " (Signed)
J. B. WALL."
The court overruled the exceptions to its jurisdiction, and called to the stand Peter A. Williams, the marshal of the district, whose testimony, at the request of the respondent, was reduced to writing, and was as follows:
"Peter A. Williams, being duly sworn to testify, says:
"I saw Mr. J. B. Wall and others come to Mr. Craft's house about two o'clock, March 6th, and having already heard that a sheriff's posse had been summoned to protect the jail, I thought by
the orderly manner they came in that it was the sheriff's posse coming for instructions. I was sitting on the end of the piazza, and did not go in the house, but sat there till they came out, thinking they had come for instructions.
"When they came out I heard one of the party remark, We have got all out of you we want.' Mr. Wall was one of the party.
"I then thought something was wrong; they all went out of the gate, and Mr. Craft after them, and I followed after them rather slowly, and when I got to the corner I saw the party coming out of the jail with the criminal, the man who was afterwards hanged. They carried him over the steps to the oak tree in front of the steps to the court-house. The crowd gathered around him, and some one threw the man down. I saw him then put on a dray, and afterwards pulled up on the tree. There was a crowd of about a hundred persons there. I don't think I could name any man in that crowd except the sheriff, who was there protesting, as I had come away from the crowd and was on the upper piazza of the court-house. I heard the man hollowing. He was put on a dray with a rope around his neck. The dray went off and he fell to the ground about ten feet from a perpendicular; then the crowd pulled the rope and he went up. The crowd had their backs towards me. I suppose I could have identified some one if I had thought to, but I was excited and did not notice who they were. I saw Mr. Wall coming from the jail with the prisoner until they crossed the fence; then I did not see him any more until after it was over. I did not see him leave the crowd, though he might have done it without my seeing it. When going from the jail to the tree Mr. Wall, I think, had hold of the prisoner; he was beside him.
"I did not see him afterwards until the hanging was over, then the crowd had increased, perhaps, to 200 persons, and I went down to them to the plank-walk.
"This was Monday of this week, the 6th of this month, I think, in Tampa, Hillsboro' County.
"I also saw Mr. Sparkham, the mayor of the city, protesting at the time of the hanging."
To cross-questions he says:
"When the man fell from the dray he fell his full length to the ground; the rope was slack."
On the next day the court, after argument by respondent's counsel, made an order in the case, “That J. B. Wall be pro
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hibited from practising at the bar of this court until a further order herein."
The answer of Judge Locke to the rule granted by this court to show cause why a mandamus should not issue, states:
"That during a session of the Circuit and District Courts of the United States at Tampa, in said Southern District of Florida, he, the said James W. Locke, presiding, on the sixth day of March, A. D. 1882, at the adjournment of said courts for dinner, at about one o'clock of said day, as he was passing from the court-house, a prisoner was being brought to the jail in the same yard by two officers; that upon his return to the court-house after dinner, in a little more than an hour, the dead body of the same prisoner hung from the limb of a tree directly in front of the court-house door; whereby he became personally informed of the commission of a most serious offence against the laws. The same afternoon he was informed of the active participation in said crime of one J. B. Wall, an attorney of said court, by an eye-witness in whom the most implicit confidence could be placed, but who declined to make any charge or affidavit of such fact on account of a fear of said Wall's influence and the local feeling it would cause against him, the said witness.
"That not only from the direct statements of eye-witnesses, but from numerous other sources, reliable information of like import was received; whereupon said J. B. Wall, your petitioner, was, on the said seventh day of March, during a session of the Circuit Court of the United States, in open court, charged in writing by the respondent herein, as judge, with having, with an unlawful, tumultuous, and riotous gathering, he advising and encouraging thereto, taken from the jail of Hillsborough County, and hanged to a tree by the neck until he was dead, a man to the court known only as John; and cited by rule served upon him to show cause by eleven o'clock A. M. of the next day, the eighth day of said March, why his name should not be stricken from the roll of attorneys and he prohibited from practising in the U. S. courts of said district.
"That at said time of return, said J. B. Wall appeared in person, and by counsel, and moved that whereas said rule had charged him with a criminal offence, indictable by the grand jury of the courts of the State, the matter be continued until after the meeting of such grand jury; and the matter was held under advisement by the court and continued until next day.
"That at the opening of the court the next day, before any order had been made upon the pending motion, came said J. B. Wall,
and withdrew said motion for continuance, and filed answer demur. ring to the right of the court to issue the rule served upon him, because [stating the contents of Wall's answer], and demanded that proof be had of the matter charged.
"That thereupon Peter A. Williams, Esq., U. S. marshal for said district, being duly sworn, testified as follows: [stating the testimony of Williams, as before given.]
"Whereupon J. B. Wall, being himself present and stating that he had no testimony to offer, and desiring to be heard by counsel, was so heard, and the court took the matter under consideration.
"Afterwards, to wit, on the tenth day of March aforesaid, the matter having been fully and duly considered, it was ordered that J. B. Wall be prohibited from practising at the bar of Circuit or District Courts of this district until further order therein.
"All of which matters are true, and as far as relate to the action of the court therein shown and set forth in the records of said court and the papers therein.
“And, further answering, he says that J. B. Wall at no time denied active participation in the hanging as charged, nor answered the spirit and substance of said charge.
"That when the motion for continuance was withdrawn by him, and the demand made that proof be made of the charge, upon inquiry your respondent ascertained that both the sheriff and mayor, who had alone opposed the action of the mob, and the only parties present not active participants, were absent from the city, and could not be summoned to testify without unadvisable delay; of all of which said J. B. Wall had knowledge.
"That on account of the excited state of feeling existing at the time, the timidity of many, from the influential position of some of those engaged in the hanging, and the sympathy of others with the lynchers, it was not advisable to attempt to compel any resident of said city of Tampa who was found to have personal knowledge of the matter, to testify against said J. B. Wall.
"That said J. B. Wall had every opportunity to explain his presence and action in the matter as proven, if innocent, but made no attempt to do so.
"That the evidence, although of but a single witness, for grounds already stated, was to your respondent positively conclusive beyond a reasonable doubt that said J. B. Wall had been guilty of active participation in a most immoral and criminal act, and a leader in a most atrocious murder, in defiance and contempt of all law and justice, and had thereby shown himself unfitted to longer retain the
position of an attorney in any court over which your respondent might have the honor to preside.
"Wherefore and upon which showing your respondent would most humbly submit to your Honors that said order prohibiting said J. B. Wall from practising as attorney should not be revoked nor he restored to the rights and privileges of an attorney of said
"JAMES W. LOCKE,
"U. S. Dis. Judge, So. Dis. Fla.
"KEY WEST, FLA., Dec'r 2, 1882."
It will be perceived that the rule to show cause, which was served upon the petitioner, contained a definite charge of a very heinous offence, and that an opportunity was given to him to meet it and to exonerate himself if he could do so. It would, undoubtedly, have been more regular to have required the charge to be made by affidavit, and to have had a copy thereof served (with the rule) upon the petitioner. But the circumstances of the case, as shown by the return of the judge, seem to us to have been sufficient to authorize the issuing of the rule without such an affidavit. The transaction in which the petitioner was charged with participating was virtually in the presence of the court. It took place in open day, in front of the court-house, and during a temporary recess of the actual session of the court; and the awful result of the lawless demonstration was exhibited to the judge on his return to the courtroom. Under the intense excitement which prevailed, it is not wonderful that no person could be found willing to make a voluntary charge against the petitioner or any one else; and yet, the fact that he was engaged as one of the perpetrators was so notorious, and was brought to the judge's knowledge by information so reliable and positive, that he justly felt it his duty to take official notice of it, and to give the petitioner an opportunity of repelling the charge. This was done in such a manner as not to deprive him of any substantial right. The charge was specific, due notice of it was given, a reasonable time was set for the hearing, and the petitioner was not required to criminate himself by answering under oath. In Ex parte Steinman and Hensel, 95 Pa. St. 220, where the county court on its own motion had cited the parties before it for