The stated goal of William Callahan, the Alabama trial judge for the later Scottsboro trials (those from November, 1933 to July, 1937) was to "debunk" the Scottsboro case-- to cut it down to size, to take it off the front pages of America's newspapers. To this end, Callahan imposed strict time limits on the trials, persuaded the Governor not to provide National Guard protection for the defense team, and made it as difficult as possible for reporters to cover the trial.Today, after prosecution witnesses had given (what I firmly believe to be perjured) testimony trashing Tonya Craft's character, House ruled that the defense COULD NOT HAVE CHARACTER WITNESSES TO REBUT THE PROSECUTION'S CLAIMS.
An equally obvious, though unstated, goal of the seventy-year-old judge was to help secure the prompt convictions of the Scottsboro defendants. Haywood Patterson said of Callahan, "He couldn't get us to the chair fast enough." Callahan denied almost every motion of the defense, including a motion to quash the indictments because Negroes were excluded from jury rolls and a motion for a change of venue. He sustained nearly every prosecution objection to a defense question of a witness, and often objected himself when the prosecution didn't. (emphasis mine)
A person who has testified in hundreds of trials called me and said that she never had seen anything like this, ever. She was stunned, and so am I.
There are some things we have to understand, and I believe these to be true, and logic backs up my claims:
- House knew the objection from the prosecution was coming, and I believe his knowledge came from improper ex parte conversations with the prosecutors.
- House knows absolutely that this is a reversible error and that if he can engineer a conviction, there is a 100 percent chance that the appellate courts will overturn it.
- House will do everything he can to box in the jury to make sure that their window of choice is so narrow that it will be hard not to vote to convict, even if the jurors believe there was no molestation and Tonya Craft committed no crimes.