Six Jurors Chosen the First Day
JUDGE CRAIN WARNS THEM
Tells Them They Must Take No No-
Six talesmen were selected before Judge C. T. C. Crain in General Sessions yesterday as jurors in the case of Isaac Harris and Mark Blanck, owners of the Triangle Waist Company, where 147 persons lost their lives in a fire last March 25. They are now on trial on one of the seven indictments against them charging manslaughter in the first degree. The entire day was consumed in the selection of the six jurors and was marked by illts between Assistant District Attorney Charles F. Bostwick and Max D. Steuer, the counsel for the defendants.
Long before court opened the corridors about Judge Crain’s part of General Sessions were thronged with those anxious to witness the trial, but on account of the smallness of the courtroom only a few were allowed to enter.
When court opened Assistant District Attorney Rubin who is appearing for the prosecution with Mr. Bostwick, gave a short recital of the case and read a long list of names of witnesses and insurance companies. He then said that the District Attorney would try the defendants on an indictment charging them with manslaughter in the first degree for causing the death of Margaret Schwartz of 745 Brook Avenue, the Bronx, one of the fire victims.
Shortly afterward Julius Mucke, a plumber of 300 East 123rd Street, was chosen foreman of the jury. Among the questions put to the talesmen were these two: Would you take the law from the Court if his Honor should charge you that the deceased met her death in a fire and that her death was not due to any intention upon the part of the defendants, but was due to act committed by them which was a misdemeanor? Would you give the defendants as fair a trial as you would in any other case if many of the witnesses called by the prosecution should weep while testifying?
Mr. Steuer confined himself to the usual form of testing the credibility of the talesmen and asked each if would give the defendants the benefit of every reasonable doubt. In the afternoon session he asked the talesmen this question: "Would you give the defendants the benefit of any doubt?"
"I protest your Honor," said Mr. Bostwick. "There is a doubt in everything. That is no way to test the credibility of a talesmen."
"I protest against the District Attorney's inference that I am not conducting myself in a proper manner," retorted Mr. Steuer.
"Perhaps I can explain this," said Judge Crain. "Mr. Bostwick means that while there is a doubt in most things, the juror must have a reasonable doubt or bring in a verdict of guilty."
Mr. Bostwick agreed with Judge Crain sand the Macke arose and said that he knew Assistant District Attorney Frank Moss and was excused by Mr. Steuer.
When Judge Crain adjourned court at 5 o'clock these jurors had been selected: Lee Abraham104 West 147th Street: Aaton Scheuermann, 223 West 113th Street: William E. Ryan, 547 West 142d Street: Harry R. Roder, 82 West Nineteenth Street: Charles Vetter, 3485 Broadway, and F. Weslet Parker, 320 West Eleventh Street.
Judge Crain in adjourning the case until 11:30 o'clock this morning, admonished the jurors not to read of the case in the newspapers and to keep away from any one they might meet in the corridor, adding: "Do not be affected by any mourning or any weeping in the corridors and refrain from talking about the case in any manner among yourselves or with any one else. Be sure not to listen to any one else talking about the case, and don't form any opinion which might be formed by others."
Harris kept his heavy overcoat on throughout the session. Blanck did not remove his in the morning, but took it off in the afternoon. He wore a big diamond in the lape of his undercoat.
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