News & Updates: September, 2019

Remembering Anthony S. Pitch, Tireless Crusader for Justice in Unsolved Lynching


By Joseph J. Bell, Esq.  |  July 2, 2019

Anthony S. Pitch, author and my dear friend and client on the 1946 Moore’s Ford Lynching case, died Saturday, June 29, 2019 in a Maryland hospital. He was 80 years old.

Anthony spent the last six years of his life attempting to expose the truth about the brutal murders of four African-Americans on July 25, 1946 in Walton County, Georgia. He was determined to seek justice for the victims and their families.

Sadly, Anthony did not live to see the outcome of the litigation he filed in the courts seeking transparency from the government entities he believes held documents that could reveal what really occurred on that fateful day.

For those who knew Anthony, it was never about how many books he could sell or how much fame he could achieve. Anthony’s satisfaction came from digging out and documenting details factually related to the crime that had been long since buried over 73 years of stop-and-start investigations by state and federal agencies.

Perhaps the best example of this occurred when authorities in Georgia and the FBI informed him that the 1946 Moore’s Ford Grand Jury transcripts had been lost, stolen, or perhaps destroyed in a flood. Anthony simply was not buying it.

A tireless pit-bull of literary research with the tenacity of Sherlock Holmes, he filed a FOIA request (Freedom of Information Act) with the FBI and the National Archives. Suddenly, 10,000 documents that had never been seen before were at his doorstep – and as you might expect, he devoured every last one.

Although you’d have had to know Anthony to understand this, I believe the real prize he sought in navigating the legal minefield of grand jury secrecy was an unshakable belief that every success in court was a way for him to engage in a personal, private, and near-spiritual dialog with the victims and assure them “See…I told you we’d get to the bottom of this!”

Anthony S. Pitch was a champion of the persecuted, the downtrodden and the marginalized. While I am quite sure his literary successes meant a great deal to him, it was achieving something important for the little guy who could not do it for himself that exhilarated him and gave purpose to his life.

Anthony’s family has asked me to continue the battle to secure the 1946 Moore’s Ford Grand Jury transcripts. At the present time, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has decided it will re-hear the case of Pitch v. USA en banc (with all twelve judges) later this year.

Anthony, the fight will continue…and I will miss you dearly, my friend.

READ THE ANNOUNCEMENT  >>

 

 

Eleventh Circuit Court will re-hear Pitch v. U.S. en banc


By Joseph J. Bell, Esq.  |  June 4, 2019

Recently, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals polled its members and on June 4, 2019 announced that it will re-hear the case of Pitch v. United States en banc (with the full panel of twelve judges) later this year. This also means that their February 11, 2019 decision is now vacated.

For those who’ve followed the Moore’s Ford Lynching case over the past five years, my client, author & historian Anthony S. Pitch, has won two key decisions in the Georgia courts: 1) the U. S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia granted Pitch’s petition to access the 1946 grand jury records on August 18, 2017; and 2) the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision on February 11, 2019 after the government filed an appeal.

Both Anthony Pitch and I look forward to having the case re-presented to the full panel of judges in the Eleventh Circuit. We view this as a favorable indicator of the court’s recognition that exceptional historical interest can and does allow for exceptions to Rule 6(e), the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure governing privacy of grand jury proceedings.

Given the degree of precedent already established for exceptional historical interest in high-profile cases occurring far more recently than the 1946 Moore’s Ford Lynching (e.g., Julius & Ethel Rosenberg, Jimmy Hoffa, Richard Nixon, and Alger Hiss), Mr. Pitch and I remain confident that he will achieve his goal of securing the Moore’s Ford grand jury transcripts, thus bringing historical closure to this 73-year-old unsolved mass murder.

READ THE ANNOUNCEMENT  >>

 

 

Read the Eleventh Circuit Court's Decision


By Joseph J. Bell, Esq.  |  February 11, 2019


 

With a second court victory, Joe Bell brings justice closer for victims of a mass lynching on July 25, 1946.

 

 

Secrets of 1946 Mass Lynching Could Be Revealed After Court Ruling


The New York Times  |  By Matt Stevens, February 12, 2019

On July 25, 1946, two black couples were riding in a car in Walton County, Ga., when they were mobbed by a group of white men. They were dragged from the car at gunpoint and tied up. Then they were shot — about 60 times, at close range — and killed.

The episode, which became known as the Moore’s Ford lynchings, is considered by many to be the last mass lynching in American history. It prompted national outrage and led President Harry Truman to order a federal investigation, making the case a critical catalyst for the civil rights movement.

READ MORE  >>

 

 

Court Upholds Order to Unseal Records
in Brazen Lynching


Associated Press  |  By Kate Brumbach, February 11, 2019

ATLANTA — A historian who has spent years looking into the unsolved lynching of two black couples in rural Georgia more than 70 years ago hopes some answers may finally be within his grasp.

A federal appeals court on Monday upheld a lower court ruling to unseal the transcripts of the grand jury proceedings that followed a monthslong investigation into the killings.

...  READ MORE  >>

 

 

Court: Release Georgia Lynching Case Transcripts


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution   |  By Brad Schrade, February 11, 2019

Long lost grand jury transcripts that could shed light on one of Georgia’s most notorious unsolved lynching cases should be released, a federal appeals panel affirmed on Monday.

The Moore’s Ford lynching was never solved, and none of the suspects in the white mob that brutally shot two African-American couples near a remote crossing of the Apalachee River was ever held accountable for the July 25, 1946 murders.

The transcripts from the federal grand jury that met in Athens in December 1946 are one of the last hopes for getting at an enduring question: What happened inside a closed grand jury room that led to no charges against any of the suspects in the mob?

...  READ MORE  >>

 

 

Appeals Court Orders Grand Jury Testimony Unsealed in the 1946 Case of the ‘Last Mass Lynching in America’


The Washington Post   |  By DeNeen L. Brown, February 12, 2019

On the afternoon of July 25, 1946, a white mob ambushed two black men and their wives in Walton County, Ga. The two couples were pulled from a car, beaten, tortured and fatally shot. Their skulls were cracked, their flesh was torn and their limbs were shredded.

The bodies of George W. Dorsey and his wife, Mae Murray Dorsey, and Roger Malcolm and his wife, Dorothy Malcolm, were left hanging near the Moore’s Ford wooden bridge over the Apalachee River, according to court records.

...  READ MORE  >>

 

 

Ruling May Help Unlock Answers to Notorious 1946 "Moore's Ford" Lynchings


CBS News   |  February 12, 2019

Atlanta -- A historian who has spent years looking into the unsolved lynching of two black couples in rural Georgia more than 70 years ago hopes some answers may finally be within his grasp.

A federal appeals court on Monday upheld a lower court ruling to unseal the transcripts of the grand jury proceedings that followed a months-long investigation into the killings.

...  READ MORE  >>

 

 

Court orders secret transcripts released in 1946 case considered to be America's last mass lynching


by Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN   |  February 12, 2019

A federal appeals court has ordered the release of transcripts from secret grand jury proceedings dealing with a 1946 race-fueled quadruple slaying that many historians consider the last mass lynching in America.

Activists have for decades sought justice in the Moore's Ford killings of four black sharecroppers at the hands of an angry white mob in Walton County, Georgia. They've employed actors to re-enact the grisly attack. During the annual portrayals, the killers drag the sharecroppers from a car, line them up and open fire, using firecrackers and ketchup for effect.

...  READ MORE  >>

 

 

Court Upholds Order to Unseal Records in Brazen Lynching


by Kate Brumbach, US News & World Report, AP   |  February 11, 2019

ATLANTA (AP) — A historian who has spent years looking into the unsolved lynching of two black couples in rural Georgia more than 70 years ago hopes some answers may finally be within his grasp.

A federal appeals court on Monday upheld a lower court ruling to unseal the transcripts of the grand jury proceedings that followed a monthslong investigation into the killings.

...  READ MORE  >>

 

 

NJ Lawyer Prevails in Unsealing Grand Jury Transcript in 1946 Lynching Case


NJ Law Journal, by Jonathan Ringel  |  February 12, 2019

In a win for a New Jersey lawyer representing a historian in Georgia, a split appeals court upheld a judge who ordered unsealing the transcript of a grand jury tasked with investigating the lynching of two African-American couples in 1946.

A federal grand jury charged no one in the mob beatings and shooting deaths of George and Mae Murray Dorsey and Roger and Dorothy Dorsey Malcom at Moore’s Ford Bridge.

More than 70 years later, historian Anthony Pitch petitioned the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia in Macon to unseal the transcripts, and in 2017, Judge Marc Treadwell agreed.

Joseph J. Bell of Rockaway’s Bell & Shivas represented Pitch.

...  READ MORE  >>

 

 

With second court victory, Morris lawyer Joe Bell brings justice closer for victims of mass lynching


MorristownGreen.com, by Kevin Coughlin  |  February 12, 2019

Who gunned down two black couples on the Moore’s Ford Bridge in Georgia early in the evening on July 25, 1946?

The question gnawed at Civil Rights crusader Thurgood Marshall, President Harry Truman and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. For decades, it’s haunted the victims’ families, historians and filmmakers.

Now, thanks to five years of pro bono work by a Morris County lawyer, answers to America’s last mass lynching finally may be near.

...  READ MORE  >>

 

 

Unsolved mass lynching grand jury testimony set for release thanks to N.J. lawyer


NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, by Noah Cohen  |  February 11, 2019

A judge on Monday ruled grand jury transcripts from the investigation into the 1946 unsolved murders of two black couples - brutal killings known as America’s last mass lynching - should be released after the efforts of a New Jersey lawyer.

A federal appeals court upheld a lower court decision to unseal the documents, which stem from an FBI probe into the horrific July 1946 murders of Roger and Dorothy Malcom, and George and Mae Murray Dorsey in rural Monroe, Georgia. The decision came from a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The U.S. Department of Justice argued grand jury transcripts are secret, while lawyer Joseph J. Bell Jr., of Bell & Shivas in Rockaway, countered that the historical significance of the files warranted an exception.

...  READ MORE  >>

 

 

Lopatcong Mayor Can't Unilaterally Appoint Town Attorney, Court Rules

8/27/2018  |  By Michael Booth

Appellate Division Judges Allison Accurso and Francis Vernoia said that while Lopatcong was organized under the Faulkner Act, which presumes a strong mayoral form of government, all appointments must be made with the advice and consent of the township council. ...  READ MORE  >>

 

County Clerk Ann Grossi Honors EMTs and Paramedics

8/21/2018

County Clerk Ann F. Grossi cordially invites you to an event honoring EMTs and paramedics who have served in the military Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018 5:00 PM 7:00 PM The Frelinghuysen Arboretum Haggerty Education Center 353 East Hanover Avenue Morris Township Refreshments will be served. ...  READ MORE  >>

 

Facial Recognition Technology Will Change the Way We Live

7/10/2018  |  The Economist

Facial recognition technology will transform the way we live in 2018. Machines that can read and recognise our faces will go mainstream, opening up exciting possibilities and posing new dangers. In 2018 machines that can read your face will go mainstream, changing the way we live. Your face will become your password, ...  READ MORE  >>

 

U.S. Supreme Court Roundup – 2017-2018

6/28/2018  |  National Law Review, by Stephanie L. Adler-Paindiris & Jeffrey W. Brecher

The U.S. Supreme Court term that ended June 2018 included decisions on many topics important to workplace law, including class action waivers in employment arbitration agreements, public-sector “agency shop” arrangements, and the Fair Labor Standard Act’s “automobile dealer” overtime exemption. ...  READ MORE  >>

 

Alphabet Soup: ADA, FMLA, WC, OSHA, GINA --What Laws Apply to a Workplace Injury?

6/4/2018  |  National Law Review, Lilian Doan Davis

Employers face a host of compliance challenges under state and federal law when an employee suffers a workplace injury. As we recently reported, employers must consider the legal implications of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ...  READ MORE  >>

 

Connecticut Bans Employers From Inquiring about Applicants' Pay History
5/21/2018

Connecticut is about to join a growing number of states and localities that have prohibited employers from inquiring about an applicant's pay history during the hiring process. On May 4, the General Assembly approved a bill barring employers from asking, or directing a third party to ask about ...  READ MORE  >>

 

Supreme Court Strikes Down Federal Law that Bans Sports Betting
5/14/2018

ABA Journal  —  The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down a federal law that bars states from authorizing sports betting. The court ruled that the law violates the principle of dual sovereignty by commandeering the states. Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it doesn’t do so, ...  READ MORE  >>

 

Body Camera Maker Weighs Adding Facial Recognition Technology
5/12/2018

NPR  —  The largest supplier of law enforcement body cameras in the U.S. is exploring pairing its cameras with new AI capabilities — including real-time face recognition. Axon, formerly known as Taser International, sparked controversy late last month when it announced the creation ...  READ MORE  >>

 

Joe Bell Remembers Yogi and Other Highlights from Morris Clerk Days

Video of 4/18/2018 Event by Kevin Coughlin
5/3/2018

Attorney Joseph Bell fondly recalls his days as Morris County Clerk (1983-88) at unveiling of Wall of Honor at Clerk's office in Morristown, April 18, 2018. Video by Kevin Coughlin for MorristownGreen.com. Event coordinated and hosted by current Morris County Clerk, Ann Grossi, Esq.

 

 


Morris Churches ask NJ Supreme Court to Reconsider Decision Barring Repair Grants

Attorney Joseph J. Bell, IV Quoted in MorristownGreen.com Story
5/2/2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - By Kevin Coughlin, MorristownGreen.com:  Claiming that they lost based largely on a “false factual premise,” a dozen Morris County churches are asking the New Jersey Supreme Court to reconsider last month’s unanimous decision ending county historic preservation grants to the houses of worship. ...  READ MORE  >>

 

An Innovative Tenure Recognized: Former County Clerk Joseph J. Bell
4/25/2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - By Laura Ali, TAPInto Parsippany: Voting by Telephone is something that sounds like a 2018 initiative but in fact it was the brain child of the sole living former County Clerk's - Joseph J. Bell. On Wednesday evening, April 18, 2018, surrounded by family and his former staff, Bell was honored at current Morris County Clerk Ann Grossi’s “Through the Ages” tribute in Morristown. ...  READ MORE  >>

 

Former Morris County Clerk Joe Bell Honored in Morristown
4/18/2018

Former Morris Clerk Joe Bell and present Clerk Ann Grossi unveil Wall of Honor in Clerk's Office, April 18, 2018. Article below and photos by Kevin Coughlin, MorristownGreen.com

Over the last 279 years, only 31 people have served as Morris County Clerk.

Joseph Bell belongs to an even more exclusive group. He is the only living former Clerk, a fact he wryly acknowledged at the April 18, 2018 unveiling of a Wall of Honor in the county Clerk’s office in Morristown.


READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

 

 





Massachusetts Equal Pay Law Takes Effect 7/1/2018
4/02/2018

An updated Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA) will go into effect on July 1, 2018. The new law will provide greater clarity as to what constitutes unlawful wage discrimination and will add protections to ensure greater fairness and equity in the workplace. The statute, Chapter 177 of the Acts of 2016 ...  READ MORE  >>

 



Bell & Shivas, P.C. Supports Operation Give Back
3/28/2018

ROCKAWAY, NJ — Bell & Shivas, P. C. is a proud participant in Operation Give Back, sponsored by the Morris County Clerk's Office, through which we provide discounts on legal services to Morris County veterans who have a County ID Card. The program was created by the Morris County Clerk's office to thank our veterans ...  READ MORE  >>

 



The AT&T Antitrust Trial: What It Means for You
3/21/2018

NEW YORK — On Monday, AT&T squares off against the federal government in a trial that could shape how you get — and how much you pay for — streaming TV and movies. AT&T says it needs to gobble up Time Warner if it’s to have a chance against the likes of Amazon, Netflix and Google in the rapidly evolving world ...  READ MORE  >>

 



Margit G. Novak v. County of Warren
3/15/2018

Plaintiff filed an inverse condemnation action against our client the County of Warren claiming that the County of Warren regulated her property into in-utility by not approving her driveway permit application fifteen years after subdivision approval. The action was filed about twenty-five years after the ...  READ MORE  >>

 



Moore's Ford Case: A Visual Chronology
2/15/2018

This visual chronology of events is based on the exhaustive research of Anthony S. Pitch, author of the book "The Last Lynching: How a Gruesome Mass Murder Rocked a Small Georgia Town" (Skyhorse Publishing, ©2016) inarguably the leading expert on all facts pertaining to the Moore's Ford Lynching in 1946. ...  READ MORE  >>

 



Ann Grossi Kickoff Event
2/08/2018

Morris County Clerk Ann F. Grossi, Esq. will launch her campaign kickoff event on Mon., Feb. 12, 2018 at 7 pm. The event will be held at the Watnong VFW # 3401, 45 Tabor Road, Morris Plains, NJ 07950. The Host Committee consists of NJ State Senators Thomas H. Kean (District 21), Steven V. Oroho (District 24), ...  READ MORE  >>

 



Moore's Ford: 11th Circuit Requires Mediation
1/20/2018

The Eleventh Circuit Court protocol requires that all appealed cases go through a mediation session in an attempt to resolve the issue. The Moore's Ford Lynching case is a unique legal issue that can only be resolved through court action. Both sides (Joe Bell on behalf of Anthony S. Pitch ...  READ MORE  >>

 



Appointments & Reappointments
1/20/2018

Joseph J. Bell has been named Attorney for the Boro of Rockaway, New Jersey effective January, 2018. He has also been re-appointed Boro Counsel for the Boro of Florham Park, NJ, re-selected as Counsel for Rockaway Township Zoning Board of Adjustment, re-appointed Public Defender for the ...  READ MORE  >>

 



Proud Sponsors of PBS "Dream of Italy" ®
1/3/2018

Bell & Shivas, P. C. is a proud sponsor of Dream of Italy® (Season 2), a PBS series showcasing the artistry of Kathy McCabe and her love of Italy. Topics include: ancestry & citizenship, Christmas in Italy, getting around, Italian life & history, recipes, travel tips, real estate & expat life, and taking the kids to Italy. ...  READ MORE  >>

 



For New Jersey Criminal Defendants
12/15/2017

One of the biggest mistakes clients and potential clients make in the criminal context is making statements to the police without having first obtained a competent criminal defense attorney. Whether or not you have been formally labeled as a suspect, never waive your constitutional rights ...  READ MORE  >>

 



1946 Moore's Ford Lynching Case: Victory!
8/18/2017

Judge Marc Thomas Treadwell today ruled that Anthony S. Pitch's motion to unseal the Grand Jury testimony from the 1946 Moore's Ford Grand Jury has been granted. Read Judge Treadwell's decision for detailed information. IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA ...  READ MORE  >>

 



Get a Preview of Our Museum!
7/1/2017

Throughout our offices you'll find rare documents, photos, letters from long-gone Presidents ... and an abundance of memorabilia from some of the great sports legends of the past ... all carefully preserved for the viewing pleasure of our clients, walk-in visitors and friends. ...  READ MORE  >>

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

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