50 years ago: Indicted officials contended their rights were violated by grand jury
Three Jacksonville city officials indicted on perjury and larceny charges contended in criminal court the state attorney’s office should have advised them they had a right to bring attorneys when they appeared under subpoena before the Duval County grand jury.
Because they were not so advised, the three claimed all charges against them should be thrown out under a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling concerning constitutional rights of an individual not to be compelled to self-incriminate.
The lawyers appeared before Criminal Court Judges William Harvey, A. Lloyd Layton and Hans Tanzler Jr.
It was noted that should the arguments prevail in local court or on appeals that could go as high as the U.S. Supreme Court, two developments of local and nationwide importance would occur.
One development, important on a local level, would be that the defendants would gain freedom from the multiple grand larceny and perjury counts facing them.
The other development of national significance in criminal law would be a revolutionary change in proceedings of the grand jury to the extent that people would be entitled to be represented by counsel when testifying before a grand jury.
And, if they weren’t, they would have to be warned by prosecutors they had a right to have their attorney present during questioning.
Traditionally, grand juries operate in secrecy, able to call a lone suspect to their chamber to be faced by jurors and prosecutors without the aid of a defense lawyer.
Harvey, the senior judge, said he, Layton and Tanzler would come to decisions as soon as possible, probably within two weeks.
Also, Layton set Nov. 21 to hear preliminary motions in three grand larceny cases against former City Auditor John Hollister Jr.
The grand jury returned the indictments against Hollister alleging he stole $1,107.63 from the city in December 1964, $375.20 in April 1964 and $298 in August 1965.
As was customary, the indictments did not detail how the allegedly stolen money was taken or what Hollister did with it.
• A delegation of women from Sharon Terrace left a meeting of the Duval County Commission happy to know a road would not be built from their neighborhood to Beach Boulevard.
Commissioner Fletcher Morgan told the group all plans for the new road had stopped.
It wasn’t the first time the delegation went to the commission. The week prior, they appeared before the body and expressed fears their children’s safety would be in danger if the road was built.
At their first appearance, they submitted a petition with 112 names against construction of the road and later added 253 names.
One woman threatened that she and her neighbors would place themselves in front of machinery to bar construction of the road.
When the delegation also complained about poor drainage in the area, Morgan assured them he and county engineers were working on a solution.
• Another group of women, “Housewives Against Rising Prices,” were enthusiastic over their boycott of major grocery stores and a motorcade in protest against the high cost of groceries.
“We were more than pleased with the motorcade in Arlington and Southside Estates areas yesterday. We began with 37 cars but quite a few joined us as we went along,” said Phyllis Seible, the group’s leader.
A survey of several independent grocers showed that while a few were experiencing higher than normal sales, most were not seeing any effect from the boycott of their larger competitors.
“Someone asked me if any of the major stores have lowered prices,” said Seible. “I told them I couldn’t find out because I couldn’t go in the stores.”
• Jacksonville’s historic Treaty Oak, estimated to be more than 500 years old, was assured of preservation.
City Council unanimously authorized purchase of three lots on which buildings obstructed the view of the tree.
No price was mentioned, but the Gulf Life Insurance Co., interested in a protective perimeter for its nearby skyscraper under construction, offered to buy one of the parcels for $68,000 and sell it to the city for that price.
• The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra opened its 18th season with a double treat for the more than 2,400 people who attended the concert in the Civic Auditorium.
First was the voice of Lisa Della Cass, a Metropolitan Opera soprano, who made her Jacksonville debut.
Second was a post-concert reception, the first of its kind for the orchestra, for the opening night audience in recognition of the community’s continuing support of the symphony since it was established in 1949.
It was noted the continued support was one of the factors that influenced the Ford Foundation to award a $325,000 grant to be used to expand the orchestra’s programs.
The grant would have to be matched by continued local support in the amount of $250,000 by 1971.
• Breaking out of the city prison farm was made more difficult when heavy steel doors were installed to replace the old wooden ones.
The doors, welded in the city garage, opened to the outside of the prison compound.
“It’s going to be tougher to break out now. The doors will not go down when charged by prisoners,” said R.E. Monegue, assistant to City Commissioner George Carrison, who was charged with supervising the compound.
He said the main escape route for years had been for four or five inmates to throw their weight against one of the wooden doors and break it down.
• Gardner Sams Jr. was named director of a U.S. Labor Department antipoverty program aimed at training unskilled workers.
Clanzel Brown, president of the Urban League of Jacksonville, said the program would provide $20 per week or 25 percent of the salary an employer paid to a trainee in the program.
He said the minimum wage of $1.25 per hour would be paid and most of the employment was for a full 40-hour work week.
• A skydiving exhibition over Jacksonville Beach signaled the start of ticket sales for a fair to raise money for the Florida Sheriffs’ Boys Ranch.
The fair, scheduled Dec. 2 in the Jacksonville Beach Auditorium, was sponsored by the beaches Fraternal Order of Firemen.
Proceeds would be used to finish construction of a fire station at the ranch in Live Oak, said Atlantic Beach Fire Capt. Earl Keeth.
• Chastisement of the Jacksonville Beach Committee of 100 and an apparent unanimous opinion of council members and spectators against consolidation of the three beach communities was the main topic at a meeting of the Neptune Beach City Council.
Council member Dan Stoufer said he didn’t see any advantage to be gained by Neptune Beach in consolidation.
“I am against it. Many residents moved to Neptune Beach because they want to live in a small community,” he said.
He added he felt Neptune Beach would become commercialized and Third Street would become a business street if the cities were consolidated.
“We have been subjected to propaganda by the committee’s report on consolidation,” said council member A.C. Holzer. “At Neptune Beach, we operate within the budget. Our brothers to the south of us have trouble with their budget. We have everything to lose and nothing to gain by consolidation.”
• The dispute over whether the Duval County Budget Commission or state School Superintendent Floyd Christian had final say on the 1966-67 school budget was headed to the courts — if the school board wanted to take it that far.
Attorneys for the commission and the commissioners agreed a population law setting up a budget panel for Duval County gave it exclusive power to set the school budget.
Christian said the budget “fell far short of what our examination indicates is necessary for the continued operation of the school system of Duval County.”
The $50.3 million approved by the budget commission was up from the $49 million operating budget for 1965.
• Jacksonville University’s 1966 series of public art lectures began when Roy Craven, director of the University of Florida art gallery, spoke about the arts of India.
The free lecture was in the recital hall at the Phillips Music and Fine Art Building.