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National Affairs: The Mockers

2 minute read

It was another tough week for the trustees of the Civil Rights Congress bail fund. In Washington, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stanley F. Reed refused bail to Trustees Frederick Vanderbilt Field, Dashiell (The Thin Man) Hammett and W. Alphaeus Hunton while they appealed from convictions for contempt of court. Justice Reed went a step further. He ruled that the U.S. has a perfect right to slap them behind bars for refusing to tell where they got about $450,000 which has been posted as bail for Commies in the past three years.

In a ruling that might have been a direct reply to the Communist Party’s shrieks about civil rights, Justice Reed held that when the trustees stood bond for the Communists, they became “in truth the jailors of the fugitives, responsible for their appearance. As such, they had a relation . . . that justified the court’s requirement that they give evidence as witnesses . . . A witness cannot trifle with the court or make its processes a mockery.” Unlike most bail providers, the trustees hadn’t even winced when four of the Communists jumped bond.

In Manhattan, the Government put the arm on mournful-faced Abner Green, 48, another bail fund trustee. He, like the others, refused to produce the organization’s books or tell the source of its funds. He was found guilty of contempt and hustled off to jail, there to stay for six months or until he decides to talk.

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