[Chattanooga Times, 3/10/1906]

In the Ed Johnson Case Before Judge Clark Today.

Arguments in the habeas corpus proceedings in the desperate attempt to stay the execution of Ed Johnson, the Chattanooga negro sentenced to be hanged next Tuesday will be heard before Judge C. D. Clark, of the federal court Saturday at noon.

The petition was filed with Judge Clark Wednesday afternoon and Judge Clark immediately issued an order fixing noon Saturday as the time for the arguments in the case.

The petition in the interest of Johnson was filed by S. L. Hutchins, a negro lawyer of Chattanooga. Another colored lawyer in that city is associated with Hutchins in the effort to save Johnson's neck. In the petition for a writ which Hutchins filed with Judge Clark some strong charges of irregularities were made in the trial in the court below, which sentenced Johnson to die.

In issuing the order for the arguments in the case, Judge Clark instructed that attorney general Matt Whitaker of the Chattanooga criminal circuit, be served with a notice of the action, so that he may, if he chooses, appear and make reply to the allegations.

It is not incumbent upon Gen. Whitaker to appear at the hearing. It is incumbent upon the parties making the charges, though, to appear before Judge Clark and produce evidence to substantiate the serious charges which they make.

The only jurisdiction that Judge Clark can, or may have in the Johnson case will follow a disclosure of a fact that the constitution of the United States has been violated. Judge Clark has explained that if it is proven at the hearing set for today that in the trial or imprisonment of Johnson the constitution has been violated, then it will be his duty to free Johnson. Unless such proof can be brought out, then he can take no action and the law will have to take its course.

Johnson is at present confined at the Knox county jail where he was placed about one month ago for safe keeping, several attempts to mob him having been made in Chattanooga. The crime with which Johnson is charged and under which he has been sentenced to hang next Tuesday, is that of criminal assault on Miss Nevada Taylor, a young lady residing in St. Elmo, a suburb of Chattanooga. The crime so aroused many citizens of Chattanooga that divers attempts to lynch Johnson were made, and in order to appease popular indignation, Johnson was given an immediate hearing and the people were told that summary justice would be dealt.

It is probable that several persons will come in from Chattanooga to attend the proceedings. If Judge Clark declines to intervene, then Johnson will be delivered to Sheriff Shipp, of Hamilton county, who will return him to Chattanooga Sunday, and on Tuesday the negro will expiate on the gallows the awful deed of which he has been adjudged guilty.

Shipp Trial Homepage