How the Team of Anthony Pitch and Joe Bell Got Started
Attorney Joe Bell (Bell, Shivas & Bell, P.C., Rockaway Township, NJ) met Anthony Pitch when a group of ABA members were admitted to the United States Supreme Court.
The ABA had engaged Pitch for one of his bus tours of Washington, D.C., to show where the former Presidents lived before being elected to serve as the Chief Executive; e.g., Truman, John F. Kennedy; also on the tour stop was the FBI building.
Pitch has spoken in Ford’s Theatre many times around the date of the assassination or death although he was not an annual lecturer.
He also gave tours about Lincoln beginning at the White House. Bell often participated in bringing friends and students while he was teaching at The County College of Morris in Randolph, NJ.
Pitch told Bell on one of the visits about Moore’s Ford and his quest to obtain Grand Jury transcripts. He was told by the FBI in Washington and Atlanta, the National Archives, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and countless other archival repositories that the grand jury records were either lost or destroyed and did not exist. told they were lost or destroyed; or perhaps were destroyed by a flood in Athens, GA in 1972.”
Bell realized immediately the tremendous historical contribution Pitch might make in the cause to right the wrongs of a decades-old civil rights crime. Particularly disturbing to Bell was that George W. Dorsey had served his country with honor and distinction but, more than seven decades later, justice had yet to be served for his execution.
The two men quickly became friends and began a series of intense conversations about the formidable legal challenge of gaining access to sealed grand jury testimony.
Bell’s strategy would be to persuade the U. S. District Court that the historical importance of the court records – along with the legitimate public interest in solving such a horrible crime – far outweighed any need for secrecy, especially given the long passage of time and the likelihood that all or most of the perpetrators were now dead.
Lending credence to this position was the fact that even more recent motions for grand jury disclosure had already been granted, notably in the cases of Richard Nixon, the Rosenbergs, Alger Hiss and Jimmy Hoffa. In those cases, the transcripts had been released based on the principle of “inherent supervisory authority” vested in District Court Judges.
In February 2014, Bell filed a motion in the Middle District of Georgia on behalf of Pitch to secure the 1946 grand jury records.
In Re Petition Of: Anthony S. Pitch
February 3, 2014, 8:29 AM; Middle District of Georgia
Motion: Anthony S. Pitch’s Motion as presented by Joe Bell, 2/3/2014 (PDF), Judge Marc T. Treadwell
Hearing the case was Judge Marc T. Treadwell, District Court Judge for the Middle District of Georgia, Macon Division; but as a result of the government’s search and inability to locate the relevant documents, Pitch’s motion was dismissed without prejudice on August 19, 2014.
In Re Petition Of: Anthony S. Pitch
Miscellaneous No. 5:14-MC-2(MTT)
United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division
Attorney(s) appearing for the Case:
ANTHONY S PITCH, Petitioner, represented by JOSEPH J. BELL, Esq.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent, represented by GEORGE F PETERMAN, III
August 19, 2014
Order: Dismissed Without Prejudice, 8/19/2014 (PDF), Judge Marc T. Treadwell
Anthony Pitch was convinced that the grand jury records did in fact exist, so he set out to locate them using all the research and investigative tools at his disposal.