It should start about ten o'clock and last about an hour, Lawrence D. Shubow '43, attorney for Dirk Jan Struik, assured me Wednesday night when asked what time the motion to dismiss the indictment against the suspended M.I.T. professor would come up in Middlesex county-Superior Court, Criminal Session.
A well titled dock shattered his prediction, however. It was 11:20 before Judge Donahue freed on probation two men pleading guilty to 17 counts of larceny, sent a 19-year-old gas station burglar back to reform school, committed two men to a mental hospital, and returned a grateful man to his harrassed wife after fining him $200 for "indecent exposure."
This seemed to conclude the interesting part of the morning shows the majority of the 40 assorted taxi-drivers, ministers, old ladies, and other onlookers hurried out. But a few remained to see if Shubow and his associates could successfully challenge the constitutionality of a 1919 Massachusetts statute making it a crime to advocate the overthrow of the Commonwealth by force .
We have divided up the area of argument," Howard S. , attorney for Harry E. Winner also under indictment began. Then he asked to be allowed to review the order of the indictment and speak first. After repeating his request twice, Donahue assented.
White side rambled on. A corpulent gentleman and other of Winner's attorneys, Hubert C. Thompson kept bustling up to aim and whisphering advice. A minister in he audience fell asleep. Shubow now took over and rehashed the defence's arguments. He finished at 1 p.m. when Donahue adjourned the court for an hour.
In the afternoon session it was Assistant District Attorney Ephraim Martin's turn. With much oratorical waving of hands, he proceeded to counter the defence's arguments. About 2:30 p.m. the minister came back from lunch and fell asleep again; an old lady followed suit. Her companions continued to whisper back and forth oblivious of either the court policeman's disapproving glances, their slumbering companion, or the D.A.'s gesticulations.
When Martin finished, Shubow took the stand and a court stenographer started to make rapid trips in and out of the courtroom, sometimes taking her purse with her, sometimes her notebook. The afternoon session had started with 16 onlookers, but by now five more had stumbled back from lunch to see how the motion was progressing. At 2:57 Donahue sat up in his chair and said he "would take the matter under advisement" which meant he would render his decision in about ten days.
It was over. Donahue had already consulted two lawbooks and acquired much homework for the next nine evenings. The clerk was so hoarse from reading the 17 detailed larceny indictment's that he called for three glasses of water as the court policemen hustled the drowsy audience out of the courtroom.
"Trial?" growled the taxidriver to six burly friends on leaving the building, "they should be tried in a cellar. Hell, they should hang 'em all...."