supports capitalist society is a pig. And there are nigger pigs as well as white pigs. We will fight the pigs on their own grounds. If they carry guns, we will. Every home should have a 12-gauge shotgun and double-0 buckshot to go in it.” From the jail, Johnson called for an “all-out demonstration” on the day of his appeal, but the crowd, much larger than had gathered to hear the Panthers berate the “pigs” the night before, sat quietly in the crowded courtroom as Johnson’s lawyers, Will Gray and Bob H. Caldwell, dispassionately pleaded for a new trial. The lawyers’ strongest point was that the young SNCC \(Student Non-Violent epitomizes black dissidence to many of Houston’s conservative whites, should have been given a change of venue. “Over a two-year period there was constant TV coverage of Lee Otis Johnson, and he was followed by specialists from the Houston police criminal intelligence division,” Caldwell said. He pointed out that Johnson had verbally attacked Mayor Louie Welch for what he believed to be the mayor’s racist attitude. As evidenced by a volume of clippings introduced during the trial, Johnson’s name was mentioned in Houston newspapers more than 100 times in the 18 months preceding the trial. But Judge Morrison pointed out that the clippings should have been introduced at the time the lawyers asked for a change of venue rather than when they moved for a new trial. The state had provided two witnesses, a newspaper reporter and a television newsman, who testified that Johnson could be fairly tried in Austin. Bob Tutt of the Houston Chronicle insisted that the “cosmopolitan nature” of Harris County’s population would guarantee a fair trial. The defense argued that Johnson’s background could not be isolated. Houston District Judge Wendell Odom agreed with District Attorney Carol Vance that Johnson could get a fair trial in Houston since there had been practically no publicity of Johnson’s arrest on the marijuana charge. On other points of error, Gray said that 10 of the 32 prospective jurors said they had heard .of Johnson. Judge Odom did not allow the defense to question these jurors individually on possible bias and race prejudice, and since they had used all of their peremptory challenges, none of the 10 was eliminated from the jury. ALTHOUGH JOHNSON was charged on two counts, possession and sale of marijuana, the jury found him guilty of sale and acquitted him of possession. How could he be guilty of sale and innocent of possession? the defense asked. Caldwell argued before the appeals court that the fact that the jury did not convict Johnson for possession was acquittal on both counts. Caldwell and Gray called the 30-year sentence cruelly excessive for the offense. D. A. Vance, who personally tried the case, one of the handful he felt important enough to give his personal attention, asked the jury to assess punishment of not less than 20 years. After 37 minutes of deliberation, the jury gave Johnson 30 years. Assistant District Attorney Bill Burge appeared before the appeals court on behalf of the prosecution. In a short statement, he insisted there was no need for change of venue since there had been practically no publicity on the marijuana charge. He said the jury gave a heavy sentence because Joynson had a criminal history a previous two-year sentence for felony theft. After the 40-minute appeals hearing, Abbie Lipschutz, a white Houston jeweler who heads the defense fund, said he was confident that Johnson would get a new trial because there is precedent for a change of venue in such a controversial case. If a new trial is not granted, “We will have to raise a ruckus in the United States that will make this country shake,” he said. A desision is expected in a few weeks. Johnson is now in the Harris County Rehabilitation Center, where he will remain until all appeals are exhausted. Then, if his conviction is not reversed or he is not given a new trial, he will be transferred to the penitentiary at Huntsville. Until February he was in isolation, according to police for his own protection. They said they were afraid other inmates might attack him. Johnson says he had trouble communicating with people on the outside. Some of his letters never reached their destination. Now, possibly through the efforts of Lipschutz and the defense fund, he is accessible for interviews, and his letters, although censored, get to where they are going. In a recent interview with the Space City News, Johnson said he gets “just as much privilege as the others.” K.N. Moratorium Day in Texas Austin There wasn’t really anything new to say on October 15. The war in Vietnam has been the object of massive protests now for almost five years. Since this Was the biggest ever, one might have expected a bit more militance on the part of demonstrators, especially after President Nixon’s infuriating insistence that he would not be swayed by the moratorium activities. But instead of an angry day, October 15 was an occasion of speeches in pleasant parks and the thoughtful remembrance of the American and Vietnamese war dead. In Texas, the protest finally seeped down to the state’s smaller, conservative campuses and into the high schools, if only on a limited basis. On these two fronts, the right of self expression were not always recognized. At many schools, including King High School in Kingsville and Bryan Adams High School in Dallas, students wearing armbands in symbolic recognition of war dead, were given the choice of taking off the black crepe bands or going home. In Dallas, ‘ the American Civil Liberties Union is taking School Superintendent Nolan Estes to court over his ruling prohobiting armbands. \(The U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the right to symbolic protests in public schools, unless The Dallas Times Herald supported Estes’ decision. The newspaper insisted that the nationwide movement had been “roiling passions and exacerbating tensions,” and asked: “How was Dr. Estes to be sure that the presence of black armbands in schools wouldn’t touch off fights and disruptions? He did what he thought best for the safety of Dallas students and for the integrity of the learning situation.” The Rev. Dwight Brown of the First Unitarian Church of Dallas criticized Superintendent Estes from the pulpit, saying that Estes “chose to ally himself with the forces of bigotry and violence” by ordering “that students seeking to give peaceful and lawful expression of their conscientious concern be summarily suspended from school.” In Corpus Christi, a substitute teacher, Mrs. Daleen Nelson, was sent home for wearing an armband. AUSTIN SCHOOL administrators left the armband question to the discretion of individual principals. “The wearing of an armband would fall into the category of unacceptable behavior if the armband violates generally accepted standards of decency and good taste or if it results in the disruption of the school program in the form of bickering, derision, physical contact, or interruptions or other demonstrations of confusion,” the Austin gudeline read. The ruling, which was severely criticized by the Central Texas ACLU, led to pupils with armbands being held responsible for disturbances, even when they were the victims of violence or harassment. Approximately 100 protesting students at both McCallum and Austin high schools in Austin wore bands, and some met with opposition. Two students at McCallum said Jim Tolbert, Jr., a physical education November 7, 1969
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