Chicago Daily News
COURT FREES THOMAS AND
Judge Graham Rules They Committed No Breach of Peace at Loop Hotel.
WOMAN SMILES FAINTLY
Some 500 Morals court defendants and hangers-on broke into excited cheering and applause today at noon as Judge Graham, discharged Prof. William I Thomas and Mrs. R. M. Granger. An equal number of the loop yokelry, drawn in to the scene in anticipation of spicy revelations, leaped from the tops of the jammed benches in the courtroom, smashing electric light globes with their hats. The corridors of the eleventh floor of the city hall, packed with sightseers biding their time in pensive exile, became full of violent agitations. And from every point of the compass came the bang bang of the camera flashlights and the spurt of smoke. The notorious "Thomas Case" had come, for the time being at least, to a definite and, to judge from the elation of the Morals court habitués, a somewhat satisfactory conclusion.
Dr. Thomas, former professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago, and Mrs. Granger, wife of an American officer in France, had committed no breach of the peace, Judge Graham decided. In registering as man and wife at the Brevoort hotel they had brought about no disturbance of the tranquility of the community. They were therefore free to go.
And unless the state’s attorney enters the case with some carefully prepared state warrants, or the federal authorities become more specifically interested than their abstract remarks have revealed them to be to date, the "Thomas case" as indicated, reached its conclusion shortly after noon so far as the law is concerned.
The case was originally scheduled for hearing at 9:30. At that hour, however, word was issued that the case had been postponed until noon. For two and a half hours the crowd, growing ever larger and more animated, stood on tiptoes waiting for the Thomas party to arrive.
False Rumors Are About
There were the usual false rumors which sent the crowd surging. But finally at 12 sharp, Attorney Clarence S. Darrow leading the way, came the Thomas party, Mrs. Thomas, Prof. Thomas, Mrs. Granger, and a serious looking youth, whom all believed to be Prof. Thomas’ son. He wasn’t. He was the son of Attorney Peter Sissman, Mr. Darrow’s legal partner.
Mrs Granger seemed the center of the quickened interest. The Morals court had lost all semblance of a courtroom. Men and women had hoisted themselves and stood precariously balanced, shoulder to shoulder, upon the tops of benches. Others clung for support to the arms of the wall chandeliers. A remarkable silence, however, pervaded the room.
Mrs Granger could not be seen by the crowd, a fact which angered it considerably, for she had retreated behind a heavy brown veil. Upon her eyes beneath the veil could be seen a pair of tortoise shell rimmed glasses. Her face, through the veil, looked entirely white. Her sharp thin nose twitched and her youthful lips continually moistened each other. She coughed slightly every few seconds.
Her hands were those of an invalid. She trembled and her body swayed while Mrs. Thomas, the "woman she had wronged" clung to her and whispered, "Brace up, dear. Down show the newspaper people you’re afraid of anything."
A court matron slipped Mrs Granger a cloth saturated with ammonia. The city attorney was in the meantime informing the court of the city’s bill of particulars. The evidence and the contentions the city would seek to prove were all painstakingly outlined for the judge’s benefit, how Prof Thomas and Mrs Granger had done this and that and all the other highly sensational things which have been written about them for the past week.
When he had finished Judge Graham asked Attorney Darrow what witnesses he had to offer in retaliation of these charges. Attorney Darrow shrugged his shoulders and answered.
"We admit the truth of all that the city prosecutor has stated before this court. The facts as given by him are correct. We ask to have this case dismissed because there is nothing in the city ordinance concerning disorderly conduct which pertains to it."
Defendants Are Discharged
There was at once much arguing back and forth between attorneys. Both read from law books, the judge sitting by with a look of concentrated interest on his face. It appeared, when Mr. Darrow had finished the last reading, that in order to be guilty of disorderly conduct one had to do something which tended to disturb the peace of the community, to frighten, agitate or directly affect the tranquility of the public. An offense was admitted, but done in a private room, was not punishable by any city ordinance. The prosecutor, after some hemming, agreed to this.
"I think I’ll take the matter under advisement," said the judge. There were further arguments.
"All right," said the judge, "the defendants are discharged."
Prof. Thomas walked from the courtroom alone. A faint hand clapping accompanied his progress to the elevator.
"I don’t know what they can do," said Mr. Darrow, all smiles, "but all there is left for us to do is to see what action the federal authorities take. As you know, Mr. Thomas is ruined so far as his career is concerned. He has lost his position in a certain kind of society and as teacher at the university."