Name:  Francis J. Israel

Age/DoB:  Aug. 5, 1875

 

County of Conviction:  Yellowstone

Judicial District:  13th

Case No.:  1463

Date of Conviction:  Dec. 2, 1918

Sentence:  1.5-3 years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Allegations: That on July 25, 1918, said "A spy (meaning a German spy) is just as good as a soldier (of the U.S.) They (meaning German sympathizers who had put ground glass in surgical dressings intended for use upon American soldiers) ought to put typhoid germs and tubercular germs in the dressings; the would kill them off faster; ground glass may not kill. Every soldier is nothing more than a devil. This government is each day becoming more and more like the Kaiser form of Government."

 

Case details:  Accused by two stenographers in the Huntley project office. At trial, Israel testified that one of the women was antagonistic to him because he criticized her work. Wife and two sons attended trial. Wife fainted as jury retired. Jury was out three hours, returned a guilty verdict but recommended leniency. Helena Independent (Dec. 7, 1918) reported that Israel's attorney moved for a new trial, presenting affidavits from three jurors who thought him guiltless but voted for the verdict in order to reach an agreement.

Israel did not serve time. On July 12, 1921, Judge Robert E. Stang (sp?) of Billings suspended Israel's sentence, saying that "the character of the defendant and the circumstances surrounding the commission of the offense alleged in the information do not demand that the defendant should suffer the penalty and that the public interest does not require that the D suffer the penalty imposed."

 

Personal Information:  Born in Washington, D.C. to German parents. Testified he had been in government service for 14 years, including work for Treasury Department in Washington and government reclamation service in Denver. In 1910 was a bookkeeper in Dawson County. Was clerk of the Huntley reclamation project at the time of his arrest. Went to work for Diamond Lumber Co. in Riverton, Wyo., after his conviction. Divorced by 1920. Date and place of death unknown.

 

The Montana Sedition Project