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The Scottsboro Boys' Trials and Judge Horton's Ex Parte Meeting: History's Verdict

15 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2009 Last revised: 13 Nov 2009

Matthew C. Heise

Independent

Date Written: October 1, 2009

Abstract

The second rape trial for one of the Scottsboro Boys, Haywood Patterson, was noted for a secret and private ex parte meeting between a key prosecution witness and the presiding trial judge, James E. Horton, Jr. Although the two people at this meeting - Judge Horton and Dr. Marvin Lynch - agree that this secret meeting took place, they dispute what was said. Understanding what was said at this meeting, which took place in the courthouse bathroom, is crucial as it changed the course of the historic trial. Drawing on relevant primary and secondary source documents as well as a statistical analysis of the 810 - page trial court transcript, the historic evidence, while not definitive, clearly supports Judge Horton's account of what was said.

Suggested Citation

Heise, Matthew C., The Scottsboro Boys' Trials and Judge Horton's Ex Parte Meeting: History's Verdict (October 1, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1354027 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1354027

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