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Christian Dallas TO JUDGE LOVE zatte children An Open Letter “Suffer the little children to .come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of Heaven.” AUSTIN It is now an accepted truth in Texas that if Jesus were alive today, he would not only stand four-square against the importunate doings of the Inferior Race, he would be his pre. cinct organizer for Goldwater and get in as many licks as possible at Indig nation Rallies, Freedom Forums, Junior Chamber of Commerce Barbeques, and Criswell’s block-long Baptist Church. In Christian Dallas last week, a big movie house was showing the latest and most sweeping of his film biographies, a vistavision technicolor extravaganza called “King of Kings.” The theater had sent out literature offering tickets to Christian youngsters at reduced prices. One of the circulars made its way to a Cub Scout troop in Fort Worth, composed of Negroes. They took a special bus over to Dallas for a noon showing, got off, and went to the ticket booth. They were refused admission. Who, one might ask, did the little rabblerousers think they were? The bus by this time had gone and wasn’t coming back to get them for While snuff-dipping Jerry Sadler, the land commissioner, continues to spearhead the movement to make the Padre Island seashore area a state park in order to squeeze the federal government out of the picture, a special study by the Texas Research League on the Texas park system has been made. Its conclusions, to anyone remotely acquaintedwith the usual miserly attitude of The legisature on such social servicesand especially on parksare not surprising. Last session, in fact, our good representatives almost abolished the state parks board entirely to place it under the game and fish commission. Former parks board member Frank Quinn notes that Texas provides 5 cents per person for its parks ; the national average is ten times greater. another two or three hours, so they sat on the sidewalk in the cold, in front of that impressive marquee, and they waited. All over Texas this Christmas season, the DAR’s, the John Birch Society, and other related offshoots of the Greater Order of the Hookworm Belt Boobs, are conducting a quiet, thoughtful’ campaign to wreck that latest and most pernicious project of the bolsheviks, the United Nation’s Children’s Fund. Warnings are duly out not to buy. the Christmas cards sold to help refugee children. The national defense committee of the DAR has issued the challenge: “This plan to associate the United Nations with Christmas and have it replace the religious aspect of Christmas is believed to be part of a broader Communist plan to destroy all ‘religious beliefs and customs so that one day we shall awaken to find that Dec. 25 is being celebrated as one word peace festival instead of the birthday of Christ.” Poor, deluded Inez Robb commented in a frenzy of ill-temper : “. . . lest a penny be used to succor a starving infant in a land not in rapport with the total doctrine . of isolation.” Jesus, in Christian Dallas to promote a movie, was not available for comment. Studying all 58 state parks, the league found one-third of them “too small, poorly located, and physically unattractive . . . Many now go to other states to find desirable camping sites and cutdoor recreation.” The state park system is “badly out of date” and “a poor park systemor even a few poor parkscan be a definite liability.” Gov. Daniel should place the parks issue near the top of the special session agenda next month. And those who have been taking Mr. Sadler’s vituperations seriously had best acknowledge the fact that, in light of past legislative performances, the question on Padre Island is not whether there will be a state park or a federal park, but whether there will be a park there at all. AUSTIN An Open Letter to Judge Miron Love, Criminal District Court No. 3, Harris County, Texas Dear Judge Love, I respect you as a judge and as a person. So do all the people I know who know you. I know that in every ruling in the Stickney case, you have followed your conscience. I do not believe in capital punishment, but I would not advocate that a man’s guilt of murder be falsely denied to save him from the electric chair. Laws have to be carried out. unless they have fallen into disrepute or desuetude by common consent, which the law of capital punishment has not. Research for my first story on the Howard Stickney case convinced me that Stickney should get a new trial. None of the theories about what happened made sensenone of them held together, everything solid considered. The Fox-Vittitoe complex of testimony about a larger beach party and a fight, with Stickney unconscious, had been sworn to and against all across the legal landscape, and it seemed to me that a jury ought to hear all that and draw its own conclusions. But I did not believe this strongly enough to take the step I now take. One night I sat here in my front room for two or three hours, trying to put together a tenable theory of what might have happened, if Stickney was not the killer. The best hypothesis seemed to be an idea that a third man, not Vittitoe, was on the beach with the Barneses and Stickney and therefore might have done the killings, but I could not reconcile even this with all the apparent facts. This night, however, it also came to me as incredible but true that no one seemed to know anything about the man and woman who had been killed. We knew from the trial transcript they were divorced and had remarried, but not the trial jury, nor Judge Hannay, nor Judge Briggs, nor any other judge, had heard anything solid about Clifford or Shirley Barnes. In the transcript of the Briggs hearing I noticed that the doctor who examined Stickney in Corpus Christi seemed to believe that Stickney is telling the truth about not remembering what happened, because he volunteers details he remembers that implicate himthat tie him into the confession he signed and now repudiates. I had in my notes the names of some doctors who had treated Shirley and Clifford Barnes. When I went back to Houston this week, I began the investigation which resulted in the story in this week’s Observer. The new facts in this story convince me beyond any reservation that you should grant Howard Stickney a new trial on the charge that he murdered Shirley Barnes. I do not know whether he did or not, but in a new trial his lawyers would be equipped with new testimony, new facts, with which to advance a plausible and believable expanation of what happened on the beach, an explanation in which Stickney was not a murderer, but the defender of a woman under assault by her husband. Let all the admissible evidence be heard, let the defendant testify, let the lawyers argue, and then let the jury retire and rule whether Howard Stickney shall live or die. But do not, Judge Love, do not, do not without a new trial require them, the good and troubled officers of Death Row in Huntsville Prison, to read. to Howard Stickney for the sixth time his sentence for electrocution until he is dead, shave hic head again, take him into the room next door and strap him down and electrify him until the ‘odors of his burned flesh saturate the clothes and the consciences of those who must be there to watch and certify. If you do not give him a new trial, I shall have to be one of those. I have watched it once when I doubted the guilt of the man, and I do not want to have to watch it again. I have never known Howard Stickney, but he is a human being, and fair play for him is the same ideal as fair play for you or me or someone we love. We who believe in freedom, tolerance, and justice under law must prove it now in this case by our acts as well as our words. For how can we respect the men we pay to track down and prosecute criminals if they are more interested in covering their own mistakes than in serving the majestic power of man’s sense of fair play to right a wrong? r . What can we believe about our so ciety, if a man can, be executed when we know a new trial would raise entirely new questions about his guilt? How can you let Howard Stickney die without a new trial when you know what you now know about Clifford and Shirley Barnes? Respectfully, Ronnie Dugger eadiarJ and New Dealey-ism JFK Replied … Mahe rare Care From the Corpus Christi Caller: The Texas ‘House General Investigating Committee’s usefulness may be regrettably undermined unless its members consistently weigh carefully and critically the evidence gathered by its field agents before publicizing grave charges in formal printed reports. It is now apparent that such proper care was not taken in the committee’s August, 1961, report on the Marshall sit-in demonstrations. That report flatly asserted that NAACP attorneys delivered $35,000 in cash to Wiley College’s President Cole to pay fines and bail bonds for Negro students taking part in those demonstrations. The report called on the state attorney general to determine whether that was a violation of a 1957 injunction issued by Dist. Judge Otis T. Dunagan against NAACP financing of racial legal activities in Texas. The committee criticized Atty. Gen. Wilson for not filing contempt charges. After several months inquiry, Wilson and the local district attorney have jointly reported to the Tyler court that they could not find “a single witness or any basic evidence” to support the House committee’s allegations. All of the principles in the alleged affair deny it happened. And Wilson quotes the committee chairman, Rep. Menton Murray of Harlingen, as saying he was “not familiar with the evidence supporting the committee report.” The committee report also made broad charges and insinuations of communist subversion in relation to the sit-in demonstrations. If they were no better documented than the alleged NAACP payoff, innocent parties, Bishop and Wiley Colleges and the community of Marshall may have been seriously wronged and needlessly hurt. Certainly if any such investigation were ever conducted here, we would want to see far better evidence in hand before shocking accusations were loosed. The House General Investigating Committee, which has well handled several other inquiries, should temper its zeal with a judicious sense of responsibility and keep to matters germane to state jurisdiction. Speaking in Los Angeles, President Kennedy has answered Ted Dealey, Dallas horseman, almost by name. “There have always been those on the fringes of our society,” said Kennedy, “who have sought to escape their own responsibility by finding a simple solution, an appealing slogan or a convenient scapegoat. “Men who are unwilling to face up to the danger from without are convinced that the real danger comes from within. “They look suspiciously at their neighbors and their leaders. They call for ‘a man on horseback’ because they do not trust the people. They find treason in our finest churches, in our Published by Texas Observer Co., Ltd. Entered as second-class matter, April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. DECEMBER 8, 1961 Willie Morris Editor and General Manager Bob Sherrill, Associate Editor Sarah Payne, Office Manager Ronnie Dugger, Contributing Editor highest court and even in the treatment of our water. “They equate the Democratic Party with the welfare state, the welfare state with socialism, and socialism with communism. They object quite rightly to politics intruding on the militarybut they are anxious forthe military to engage in politics.” OXFORD TOLERANCE MIKE HAMMOND,. a good Wisconsin ‘lad, old friend, fellow pub-dweller, and admirer of Robert Frost, sent us this cryptic note from Oriel College, Oxford : “One could do worse than be a swinger of Birchers.” Published once a week from Austin, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $5.10 per annum. Advertising rates available on request. Extra copies 15c each. Quantity prices available on order. EDITORIAL and BUSINESS OFFICE: 504 West 24th St., Austin, Texas. Phone GReenwood 7-0746. HOUSTON OFFICE: Mrs. R. D. Randolph, 2131 Welch, Houston 19, Texas. THE TEXAS OBSERVER m iew o FUpR LULA