Jerry P. Shinley Archive:
Jim Garrison Protects Rights - Once



Subject: Jim Garrison Protects Rights - Once
Date: 10 Jun 1999 00:00:00 GMT
Message-ID: <7joat3$gft$>

New Orleans Times-Picayune June 19, 1963 S3-P3
Book Charges Refused by DA
Raps 'Censorship' of Baldwin Novel

[The NOPD had gone into the Doubleday Bookstore, seized all copies of _Another Country_ by African-American novelist James Baldwin, and arrested the store manager on obscenity charges. Jim Garrison refused the charges and said the following:]
       "The idea of a police officer walking into a legitimate bookstore, removing a book from the shelf that is written by a reputable author and has been critically acclaimed and then arresting the store manager is outrageous.
       "It disregards the fundamental concepts of freedom of expression and freedom of press.
"All that is needed now is to have a ceremony in which the books are burned."
New Orleans Times-Picayune June 26, 1963 S1-P3
Offer in Novel's Case Pondered
[N.O. Mayor Victor had publicly endorsed the Doubleday raid and had ordered the City Attorney to pursue action against the store in municipal court since Garrison had refused charges.]
       The district attorney [...] called the arrest of Doubleday personnel "un-American, unconstitutional, and obviously a totalitarian police-state move."
       Garrison criticized the Mayor's endorsement of police action, calling it a "cheap, political expedient."
       Garrison said the Mayor acted insincerely, endorsing police action for political popularity. He also accused Mayor Schiro of failing to protect the rights of individuals in this case.
[end of excerpts]
       In October of that same year, another un-American, unconstitutional and obviously totalitarian police-state move was directed against a New Orleans-based civil rights group, the Southern Conference Educational Fund. Here's how federal judge John Minor Wisdom described it:
       The circumstances of the arrests are set forth in Judge Wisdom's dissenting opinion: "At gunpoint their homes and offices were raided and ransacked by police officers and trustees from the House of Detention acting under the direct supervision of the staff director and the counsel for the State Un-American Activities Committee. The home and office of the director of Southern Conference Educational Fund were also raided. Among the dangerous articles removed was Thoreau's Journal. A truckload of files, membership lists, subscription lists to SCEF's newspaper, correspondence, and records were removed from SCEF's office, destroying its capacity to function. At the time of the arrests, Mr. Pfister, Chairman of the Committee, announced to the press that the raids and arrest resulted from `racial agitation.'"
       In this case, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison did not protect the rights of individuals. Instead, as a cheap, political expedient, he had the three individuals indicted as subversives by the Orleans Parish Grand Jury. I assume that Garrison acted insincerely and only in the interest of protecting his political popularity.

Jerry Shinley

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