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et al. United States v. Shipp: 1907-09

An Arrest Is Made, A Near Lynching And A Trial, A Guilty Verdict And Lynching

Defendants: Joseph F. Shipp, Matthew Galloway, Jeremiah Gibson, Nick Nolan, William Mayes, Henry Padgett, Alf Handman, Bart Justice, Luther Williams
Crime Charged: Criminal contempt of court
Chief Defense Lawyer: Judson Harmon
Chief Prosecutors: Terry Sanford, Charles Bonaparte
Judges: Melville W. Fuller, John Marshall Harlan, David J. Brewer, Edward D. White, Rufus W. Peckham, Jeseph McKenna, Oliver Wendell Holmes, William R. Day, William H. Moody; James D. Maher was appointed by the Court to oversee initial arguments
Places: Initial Arguments: Chattanooga, Tennessee; Closing Arguments: Washington, D.C.
Dates of Trial: February 12-June 29, 1907; March 1909
Verdicts: Shipp, Gibson, Nolan, Mayes, Padgett and Williams: Guilty; Galloway, Handman, and Justice: Not Guilty
Sentences: Shipp, Williams, Nolan: 90 days imprisonment; Gibson, Padgett, Mayes: 60 days imprisonment

SIGNIFICANCE: In the long history of the U.S. Supreme Court, this was the first—and only—criminal trial tried by the Court.

On a dark January evening in 1906, a 21-year-old woman named Nevada Taylor left her bookkeeping job in downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee. She boarded an electric trolley for her ride home. Stepping off the trolley, Taylor began the short walk to her home, a cottage in Forest Hills Cemetery where her father was the groundskeeper. As she approached the cemetery gate, she felt her throat grabbed from behind and a voice say, "If you scream, I will kill you." Taylor was raped and left unconscious.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1883 to 1917