, United States v. Post, 297 F. Supp. 46 (W.D. La. 1969) :: US LAW

United States v. Post, 297 F. Supp. 46 (W.D. La. 1969) :: US LAW

    United States v. Post, 297 F. Supp. 46 (W.D. La. 1969)

    U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana - 297 F. Supp. forty six (W.D. La. 1969)
    March 10, 1969

    297 F. Supp. 46 (1969)

    UNITED STATES of America
    v.
    Jerome K. POST, Jr., Clerk of the Sixth Judicial District Court of Louisiana, and many others., et al.
    Zelma C. WYCHE et al.
    v.
    Jerome K. POST, Jr., Clerk of the Sixth Judicial District Court of Louisiana, etc., et al.

    Civ. A. Nos. 13571, 13574.

    United States District Court W. D. Louisiana, Monroe Division.

    March 10, 1969.

    Ramsey Clark, Atty. Gen., Stephen J. Pollak, Asst. Atty. Gen., Frank M. Dunbaugh, Atty., Civil Rights Division, Dept. of Justice, Washington, D. C., Edward L. Shaheen, U. S. Atty., Charles E. Welsh, Asst. U. S. Atty., Shreveport, La., for the Government.

    Donald Juneau, New Orleans, La., Richard B. Sobol, Robert F. Collins and Nils R. Douglas, New Orleans, La., for plaintiffs Zelma C. Wyche and others.

    Jack P. F. Gremillion, Atty. Gen., of Louisiana, Thomas McFerrin, Asst. Atty. Gen., Baton Rouge, La., Robert C. Downing, Asst. Atty. Gen., Monroe, La., Thompson L. Clarke, Dist. Atty., for the *forty seven Sixth Judicial District, St. Joseph, La., for all defendants.

     
    FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

    DAWKINS, Chief Judge.

     
    Findings of Fact

    1. These consolidated moves had been filed respectively February twenty third, 1968, and February twenty sixth, 1968, under Sections 2, 11(a), and 12(b), of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and forty two U.S.C. § 1971(a) and (c). The complaints charged defendants with having engaged in positive behavior which had the effect of depriving certified Negro electorate of their right efficiently to cast their vote in a February 6, 1968, election for the workplace of Village Marshal of Tallulah, Louisiana.

    2. Defendant Jerome K. Post, Jr., is Clerk of the Court for the Sixth Judicial District of Louisiana. Under Louisiana law, he's ex-officio Parish custodian of balloting machines and is chargeable for imparting commands to election commissioners within the operation of vote casting machines and as to their duties in connection therewith.

    three. The defendant Board of Supervisors of Elections of Madison Parish is composed of the Madison Parish Registrar of Voters and two other humans appointed via the Governor. The responsibilities of the Board consist of the giving of note of each standard election, and providing for commissioners and clerks to preside over the election at every polling precinct, and general supervision of elections. Defendant Jack H. Folk is president of the Board of Supervisors. Defendants Myrtis Bishop and J. W. Huckabay are contributors of the Board of Supervisors.

    4. Defendant Wade O. Martin, Jr., is the Secretary of State of the State of Louisiana. As such, he is answerable for the instruction and distribution of the official ballots and pattern ballots used in elections inside the State of Louisiana, and for coaching of full balloting instructions to electorate.

    5. Defendant Douglas Fowler is the State Custodian of Voting Machines of the State of Louisiana. As such, he's answerable for the education of all voting machines utilized in elections within the State of Louisiana, and the transport of the machines and other election substances to the custody of the Parish custodians in complete readiness to be used at the polls.

    6. Defendant F. M. "Peck" Magee is the Madison Parish Voting Machine mechanic. As agent and employee of defendant Douglas Fowler, he's chargeable for preparing and insuring that vital voting machines in Madison Parish are in whole readiness to be used at the polls in elections.

    7. August 12, 1966, pursuant to Section 6 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Lawyer General licensed that the appointment of federal examiners in Madison Parish become essential to implement the guarantees of the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

    8. November four, 1967, a primary election for Democratic party candidates for State and nearby workplaces turned into held in Madison Parish. A unique municipal primary election for Democratic nominee for the workplace of Village Marshal of Tallulah, Louisiana, became joined with this regular Democratic primary. The fashionable election for all of these workplaces turned into scheduled for February 6, 1968. Because the municipal barriers of Tallulah, Louisiana, do no longer coincide with the limits of Ward 4 of Madison Parish, inside which Tallulah is placed, in certain of the Ward 4 precincts there had been electorate who did not are living within the municipal boundaries of Tallulah and, therefore, had been ineligible to vote inside the unique municipal election.

    nine. In the special primary election, stated in Paragraph 8 above, Zelma C. Wyche, a Negro resident of Tallulah, Louisiana, turned into declared the Democratic nominee for the office of Village Marshal. The final voting effects for this unique primary election had been 1907 votes *forty eight for Zelma C. Wyche and a combined general of 1883 votes for the two white applicants who had sought the nomination.

    10. Clayton W. Cox, a white resident of Tallulah, Louisiana, become named as the Republican nominee to oppose Zelma Wyche for the office of Village Marshal within the February 6, 1968, widespread election.

    eleven. As of January 6, 1968, there had been approximately 2,671 Negroes and a pair of,111 white folks registered to vote within the Village of Tallulah, Louisiana.

    12. Sometime prior to January 19, 1968, the defendant Martin brought about to have published and disbursed an respectable sample ballot for use in Ward 4 of Madison Parish, Louisiana, at the overall elections scheduled for February 6, 1968. This pattern poll had revealed on its face commands to the effect that the turning of a celebration lever would cause votes to be solid as a unit for each nominee of the birthday party who regarded on the ballot . These commands did now not preclude party nominees concerned inside the unique widespread election for Village Marshal.

    thirteen. On or approximately January 19, 1968, at the courthouse workplace in Tallulah, Louisiana, Zelma C. Wyche, the Democratic nominee for Village Marshal, requested and became permitted to look into a pattern ballot for use in Ward four of Madison Parish throughout the overall elections scheduled for February 6, 1968, which had been allotted to defendant Post as Clerk of Court and ex-officio Parish Custodian of Voting Machines, with the aid of defendant Martin, as Secretary of State. Printed at the face of this sample poll were the identical instructions concerning the party lever noted in Paragraph 12 above.

    14. On or about January 23, 1968, in reaction to a previous request, Zelma C. Wyche, the Democratic nominee for Village Marshal, received from defendant Martin 3 pattern ballots, to be used in Ward 4 of Madison Parish in the course of the overall elections scheduled for February 6, 1968, at the face of which were printed the same commands to citizens concerning the party lever stated in Paragraphs 12 and 13 above.

    15. Acting upon the records furnished to him that pulling the grasp Democratic lever might sign up a vote for all Democratic nominees, from about January 23, 1968, to February 6, 1968, Wyche geared his entire campaign strategy to inducing the electorate to tug the grasp Democratic lever. This marketing campaign became in general directed closer to the Negro citizens.

    16. Sometime previous to January 24, 1968, defendant Magee acquired from the Office of the State Custodian of Voting Machines a worksheet which described the manner in which the vote casting machines have been to be set up for the February 6, 1968, standard election in Ward 4 of Madison Parish. In impact, the worksheet become a diagram of the legit gadget ballot .

    17. Sometime prior to January 24, 1968, defendant Magee acquired from the Louisiana Secretary of State s workplace the reliable machine ballots that have been to be inserted at the face of the vote casting machines for the February 6, 1968, fashionable election in Ward four of Madison Parish.

    18. In making ready the machines to be used at the February 6, 1968, general election in Ward four of Madison Parish, defendant Magee have become aware that because of the constraints of the voting machines, it'd no longer be mechanically viable to attach the man or woman levers of the nominees for Village Marshal to the Democratic and Republican birthday party levers and at the same time provide robotically on the identical device for excluding the election for Village Marshal from those voters residing outdoor the municipal boundaries of Tallulah, Louisiana, but inside Ward four of Madison Parish and who were, consequently, now not eligible to vote in that election.

    19. To resolve the above referred to trouble, defendant Magee installation the machines for use inside the February 6, 1968, election in Ward 4 of Madison Parish, in the sort of way as to prevent *forty nine the instantly celebration ticket lever from affecting the unique election for Village Marshal of Tallulah, Louisiana. Thus, at the same time as Democratic nominee Wyche s call was immediately beside all the different Democratic party nominees for whom votes can be solid certainly with the aid of pulling the master birthday celebration lever, pulling that master lever might no longer sign in a vote for Wyche. A vote for Wyche may want to only be registered by using pulling the individual lever over Wyche s call.

    20. Defendant Magee in addition inserted on the machines the initial ballots received from the Secretary of State, together with commands to electorate, which illustrated that the pulling of the birthday celebration lever could motive votes to be solid as a unit for each nominee of the birthday party who appeared on the ballot .

    21. None of the above noted moves by way of defendant Magee were taken for the reason of influencing the outcome of the election. Rather, he definitely believed that the electorate would recognise that since the Village Marshal election changed into a unique election it might no longer be controlled by way of the grasp party levers.

    22. Defendant Magee added a gadget prepared within the way described above to the Parish custodian of vote casting machines to be used as a demonstration machine at the faculty for election commissioners.

    23. On January 24, 1968, defendant Post performed a college for the election commissioners who were to serve on the February 6, 1968, widespread election in Madison Parish. At the school, the commissioners were instructed in the operation of the machines through Jim Trichel, an agent and worker of defendant Fowler.

    24. At the college it turned into at least cited that the pulling of the master birthday celebration levers might not affect the election of the Marshal for the Village of Tallulah, Louisiana. This condition of the machines, but, changed into no longer made clear to the persons in attendance.

    25. Also on January 24, 1968, the Secretary of State via his agent and administrative assistant, Robert Hughes, become counseled of the vote casting hassle in Ward 4 of Madison Parish. Hughes taken into consideration several opportunity answers. Primarily due to the fact the college for commissioners had already been conducted, Hughes determined that the Marshal s race could be disconnected from the straight party lever on all machines for use in Ward four, thereby requiring that eligible citizens needing to vote for the workplace of Village Marshal have to turn the man or woman candidate s lever so that it will cast a vote for that workplace.

    26. Subsequent to creating his above referred to selection, the Secretary of State published a new sample ballot for use on the February 6, 1968, trendy election in Ward four of Madison Parish. This pattern ballot had published on its face new commands regarding the usage of the celebration lever, including a assertion that the usage of the sort of lever might not solid a vote within the special election for Village Marshal.

    27. On or about January 26, 1968, defendant Martin, as Secretary of State, had copies of the revised sample poll mailed and otherwise delivered to diverse men and women in Madison Parish inclusive of the defendant Post, however did no longer mail or in any other case distribute such revised pattern ballots to candidates for the workplace of Village Marshal.

    28. Defendant Post posted a revised pattern ballot within the office of the Clerk of Court, Madison Parish.

    29. Defendant Fowler, as State Custodian of Voting Machines, and defendant Magee, as Madison Parish Voting Machine mechanic, brought on to be added to the custody of the defendant Post, in his legit capacity as ex-officio Parish Custodian of Voting Machines, improperly organized balloting machines to be used in Ward four of Madison Parish, in that such machines had inserted on their faces instructions to the impact that the turning of the birthday party lever would purpose votes to be solid as a unit for each nominee of the birthday celebration who regarded on the ballot . No commands *50 were inserted at the machines to indicate the need of individually casting votes inside the unique election for Village Marshal.

    30. Defendant Post, as ex-officio Parish Custodian of Voting Machines, failed appropriately to propose and coach the election commissioners, at any time previous to the opening of the polling locations and the commencement of voting on February 6, 1968, that the turning of the birthday party lever at the voting machines in Ward 4 could no longer forged a vote inside the special election for Village Marshal and that eligible voters who favored to vote in the special election would have to show the individual candidate s lever.

    31. This action by defendant Post was no longer in terrible faith. He and all other defendants at all times acted in exact religion, never proceeding to deprive Negroes of their constitutional or statutory proper to vote.

    32. The Democratic nominee, Zelma C. Wyche, acquired no statistics from any supply prior to the hole of the polling locations and the commencement of vote casting on February 6, 1968, that the turning of the Democratic celebration lever on the voting machines in Ward four would not solid a vote in the special election for Village Marshal and that eligible citizens who favored to vote in the special election might have to show the man or woman candidate s lever. Consequently, he first learned of this circumstance for the duration of the early part of election day, February 6, 1968.

    33. Until they have been instructed to achieve this through election officers after vote casting had began on February 6, 1968, a considerable range of election commissioners did now not propose or tell the electorate in Ward four that the turning of the party lever at the balloting machines would now not solid a vote within the unique election for Village Marshal and that eligible electorate who preferred to vote within the special election could have to show the character candidate s lever.

    34. An unknown variety of Negro electorate in Tallulah, Louisiana, sought to vote within the special election for Village Marshal on February 6, 1968, with the aid of turning the Democratic celebration lever however did not cast powerful votes within the unique election due to the fact they have been not informed of the necessity of turning the person candidate s lever.

     
    Conclusions of Law

    1. This Court has jurisdiction of those moves under Section 12(f) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, forty two U.S.C. § 1971(d) and 28 U.S.C. § 1345.

    2. The Lawyer General of america is permitted to institute movement on behalf of the United States pursuant to Section 12(d) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 [42 U.S.C. § 1973j(d)] and 42 U.S.C. § 1971(c).

    3. Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibits imposition of any practice or technique which has the effect of denying or abridging the right of any citizen of the USA to vote because of race or colour.

    4. Section eleven(a) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibits public officers from denying any certified character the right to vote or from willfully failing or refusing to tabulate, count, and record such character s vote.

    5. forty two U.S.C. § 1971(a) forbids any distinctions within the balloting system, such as the casting of a poll, based totally upon race or shade.

    6. Defendant Post, as ex-officio Parish Custodian of Voting Machines, defendant Martin, as Secretary of State, defendant Fowler, as State Custodian of Voting Machines, and defendant Magee, as Madison Parish Voting Machine mechanic and an agent and worker of defendant Fowler, had a obligation underneath the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and beneath Sections 2 and 11(a) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and forty two U.S.C. § 1971(a) now not to interact in any discriminatory acts or practices based upon race or coloration within the management of Louisiana s Election legal guidelines. This obligation includes the duty to refrain from accomplishing conduct which *fifty one includes or consequences in any distinction based upon race, and to chorus from making use of any balloting process which will have the effect of denying to Negro citizens the proper to forged effective votes for the candidate of their desire.

    7. Where, as became executed right here, public officials, engaged in appearing the duties of their workplaces, cause to be disseminated commands to citizens as to the way of casting votes in a standard election and, then, despite the fact that in properly faith, with out good enough note to the voters, institute a brand new balloting manner contrary to the commands formerly disseminated, and a considerable range of Negro citizens are brought on to vote according to such faulty commands and are thereby avoided from casting powerful votes, we finish that Negroes have been discriminated towards inside the administration of the balloting manner in violation of the Fifteenth Amendment and of Sections 2 and 11(a) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and 42 U.S.C. § 1971(a).

     
    ORDER AND DECREE

    Pursuant to the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law entered this date, it is ordered, adjudged, and decreed that:

    1. The February 6, 1968, special popular election for the workplace of Village Marshal of Tallulah, Louisiana, is null, void, and of no effect.

    2. The defendants Jerome K. Post, Jr., Clerk of the Sixth Judicial District Court of Louisiana and ex-officio Parish Custodian of Voting Machines; Wade O. Martin, Jr., Secretary of State of the State of Louisiana; Douglas Fowler, State Custodian of Voting Machines of the State of Louisiana, and F. M. "Peck" Magee, Madison Parish Voting Machine mechanic, together with their retailers, officers, employees, and successors, shall administer the voting system in compliance with the relevant Louisiana and Federal regulation in this sort of way to be able to find the money for equal opportunities to vote to all certified citizens irrespective of race or shade.

    three. Defendants are specifically enjoined from enticing in the practices which had been determined to be discriminatory in the February 6, 1968, election and another practices and techniques which may be discriminatory in fact.

    4. It is in addition ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED that the defendants Jack H. Folk, president and member of the Madison Parish Board of Supervisors of Elections; J. W. Huckabay, member of the Madison Parish Board of Supervisors of Elections; Myrtis Bishop, member of the Madison Parish Board of Supervisors of Elections, and such different persons as are required by way of regulation to behave, shall within 90 days from the date of this order call and conduct another fashionable election for the office of Village Marshal of Tallulah, Louisiana, as is prescribed by using law, between Zelma C. Wyche, as Democratic nominee, and Clayton W. Cox, as Republican nominee.

    It is similarly ORDERED that the US Marshal or Deputy Marshal for this District serve a real replica of this decree upon every of the named defendants enjoined via this decree.

    This Court retains jurisdiction of this motive for the reason of issuing any and all additional orders herein that can in its judgment end up vital or suitable for the motive of modifying or implementing this decree.

    The legally taxable prices incurred on this proceeding are hereby assessed towards the defendants herein enjoined.