University of Texas, Tarlton Law Library

Guide to the Ex parte Harry McCormick [et al.] at the Tarlton Law Library



Collection Summary

Creator McCormick, Harry, relator.
Title Ex parte Harry McCormick [et al.]
Dates 1935
Abstract The collection contains records and briefs relating to the 1935 appeal of a contempt of court conviction of several Houston newspaper reporters and editors after they defied an order to not publish testimony.
Size 18 items (2.5 in.).
Repository Rare Books & Special Collections, Tarlton Law Library, The University of Texas at Austin  727 E. Dean Keeton St., Austin, TX 78705-3224, (512) 471-7263

Historical Background

Harry McCormick, reporter for the Houston Press in July 1935, and his managing editor E. M. Pooley, were cited for contempt of court by District Judge M. S. Munson after they defied an order to not publish testimony given in open court during the Brazoria County murder trial of Clyde Thompson. Other journalists cited for contempt were reporter Ed Rider of the Houston Chronicle with his managing editor George Cottingham, and reporter Frank White of the Houston Post with his managing editor Max Jacobs.


Contents of the Collection

Appellate briefs, statements of facts, court orders, and other documents relating to the appeal of a contempt of court conviction of several Houston newspaper reporters and editors. On July 23, 1935, Judge M. S. Munson of the District Court of Brazoria County ordered three Houston newspapers (the Post, the Chronicle, and the Press) to not publish testimony in the trial of Clyde Thompson for the murder of Everett Melvin, to avoid prejudicing the jury pool for two co-defendants who would be tried later. The newspapers published the testimony and Judge Munson fined them for contempt of court. On appeal, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the contempt of court citations as unconstitutional violations of freedom of speech and the press. The decision is reported in 129 Tex. Crim. 457, 88 S.W.2d 104 (1935, rehearing denied). McCormick and Pooley, the lead plaintiffs, were represented by John Crooker and Leon Jaworski of the Houston law firm of Fulbright, Crooker & Freeman.


Index Terms

Major Subjects
McCormick, Harry, d. 1968 -- Archives.
Freedom of the press -- Texas.
Freedom of speech -- Texas.
Trials (Murder) -- Texas -- Brazoria County.
District courts -- Texas -- Brazoria County.
Houston Press (Newspaper).
Houston (Tex.) -- Newspapers.
Jaworski, Leon.

Administrative Information

Cite As

Ex Parte McCormick Records & Briefs, 1935, Tarlton Law Library, The University of Texas at Austin

Acquisition Information

Gift of J. Chrys Dougherty, 8 June 2001.


Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Ex Parte McCormick Records & Briefs, 1902, 1935

box folder
L85 1 Application for writ of habeas corpus to the Court of Criminal Appeals, 1935 Aug. 3
NOTE: Includes: two unsigned drafts of grant of writ of habeas corpus; Exhibit A copy of order signed by Judge Munson in the trial court ordering McCormick and Pooley to show cause why they should not be judged in contempt; Exhibit D copy of signed arrest order for McCormick and Pooley.
2 Statement of Facts10/5/35, 1935 Oct. 5
NOTE: Includes clippings of newspaper articles which provoked the contempt citations.
3 Documents from the contempt of court proceedings, 1935 Oct. 10
NOTE: Documents filed with the Court of Criminal Appeals by attorneys for the appellants (McCormick and Pooley)
4 Brief and Argument for Respondent [district attorney - supporting holding of trial court], 1935 Oct. 10
5 Amicus curiae brief by A. Harris et al, in support of trial court judgment, 1935 Oct. 5
6 Amicus curiae brief by Dan Moody in support of trial court judgment, 1935 Oct. 10
7 Amicus curiae brief by M. S. Munson in support of trial court judgment, 1935 Oct. 10
8 Amicus curiae brief by Frank H. Crain et al in support of trial court judgment, undated
9 Amicus curiae brief by A. R. Stout in support of trial court judgment, undated
10 Amicus curiae brief by A. R. Rucks et al in support of trial court judgment, 1935 Oct. 10
11 Stipulation among parties regarding transcripts and newspaper accounts, 1935 Oct. 16
12 Affidavit attesting to validity of attached copy of Houston Post dated 1902 Nov. 29, 1935 Nov. 11
13 Affidavit attesting to validity of attached copy of Houston Chronicle dated 1902 Dec. 20, 1935 Nov. 11
14 Order in State of Texas vs. Foster (no. 10,1441), 1902 Dec. 20
NOTE: Order holding that the State of Texas recover from defendant Foster (president and general manager of Houston Chronicle) $100; includes related order dated 10/28/02 (case cited in Ex parte McCormick and Pooley).
15 Opinion of the Commission of Appeals, Court of Criminal Appeals, 1935 Nov. 6
NOTE: Original habeas corpus proceeding, written by Judge George E. Christian and approved by the Court of Criminal Appeals, ordering McCormick et al discharged.
16 Motion for rehearing to Court of Criminal Appeals, 1935 Nov. 2
17 Opinion overruling the motion for rehearing delivered 12-4-35, 1935 Dec. 4
NOTE: Opinion written by Presiding Judge W. C. Morrow.
18 Original file folder, labeled "Ex parte Harry McCormick and E. M. Pooley, Brazoria County (No. 17-9-5-8)," undated