February 21, 1935, Page 1
9 STUDENT PICKETS ON TRIAL;
DECISION ON BOYS PENDING;
7 CO-DEFENDANTS ACQUITTED
Women Are Found Not Guilty
Of Identical Charges;
Dean Cosenza Testifies
BRAND NSL COMMUNISTIC
"Irrelevant Evidence Elicited,
Civil Rights Challenged"
States Defense Council
Although the seven
girls arrested for picketing Dean's Cafeteria were acquitted Saturday
at the Magistrates Court by Judge Thomas F. Casey, the nine boys
arrested with them on the same charge are still on trial. They are up
before Judge John D. Mason at the Adolescents' Court, Smith and
The boys are
charged with disorderly conduct, but the testimony elicited by
Assistant District Attorney Josephs seemed comparatively unrelated to
the charge. The entire history of the labor dispute in Dean's
Cafeteria, the "justness of the cause" for which the students worked,
the right of students to picket, the right to freedom of speech, and
assembly, in fact–"the Constitution and the NRA are on trial," said
Samuel Pruner, attorney for the defense.
Joseph Schill, assistant manager of Dean's, testified that he would
identify those students who had participated in the commotion in front
of his establishment February 13 at one o'clock. He picked out nineteen
persons from the crowd of students gathered in the court-room, who Mr.
Schill said were participating in the commotion besides the nine boys
being tried. Mr. Pruner proved, however, that all so indicated had not
been present at that time. One girl had been at chapel; a second was
trying out for a play in 72C; a third had been pupil teaching; one boy
had been home in bed; another had been at the Registrar's office. These
students were then asked why they were present in court. Eunice
Kowalsky said that she was interested "in the administration of
Justice." Ida Peretz admitted she had come to see a member of her
metaphysics class tried.
denied the charge that they had shouted, carried placards, or in any
way interfered with entrance into or egress from the cafeteria. They
also denied having sung "On the Picket Line," while picketing as
stated by two police officers, and Harold Pincus, secretary of Brooklyn
Cafeteria Owners Association.
According to Mr.
Puner, it seemed the charge had been changed from disorderly conduct
to conspiracy or subversive activity. Such questions as the following
were asked by the District Attorney! "Is it true that the National
Student League had issued a call for mass picketing? Is it true that
students had discussed the strike in Sorrell's Cafeteria and that
Sorrell's had once had a strike?"
"Is it true," asked
the District Attorney, "that the activities of these students could be
summarized in one word–Communism?"
At this point, the
counsel for the defense asked the judge to reprimand the District
Attorney. Judge Mason refused to do this, but the last question was
stricken from the record.
Pischianz, strike chairman at Dean's, testified for the defense, the
District Attorney attacked him on the question of his citizenship. He
questioned him on the reasons for his discharge, (whether or not he had
been drunk on the job), and on sundry other items which the defense
counsel protested as "immaterial and irrelevant"
Dean Mario E.
Cosenza was subpoenaed as a witness. He testified that the National
Student League had no official charter and had never applied for one.
He also said that the Men's division Student Council had voted against
support of the strike.
former owner of Dean's appointed by General Hugh Johnson to the Code
Authority, testified as to the working conditions in the cafeteria. He
contended that there had been no violation of the code.
Mr. Shurl was the
last witness. Court was adjourned until two o'clock yesterday.
Continuing with Mr. Shurl's testimony, it was learned that although
deductions made for an employee's laundry were lawful, the soiled
uniforms had been handed from counterman to cook to busboy–each wearer
paying the specified twenty-five cents.
After the motion to
acquit the defendants because of lack of evidence had been submitted by
counsel, the judge reserved the right to postpone his decision until
March 6. Mr. Puner, speaking for the press, said that the prosecution
did not have "sufficient evidence to sustain the charges."
One of the
witnesses, Joseph Cohen, who testified as the National Executive
Secretary of the National Student League, is the winner of the Union
League club award for excellence in history. He was questioned as to
the program and organization of the N.S.L. Mr. Cohen, arrested with
twenty-three others on February 14, and 15 will be tried on March 12.
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