"The Trial of a Juror": The Memoir of Max
Causey, Foreman of the Jack Ruby Trial Jury
JOHN MARK DEMPSEY*
The Carl Sandburgs of the future will spend whole lifetimes trying to analyze the
drama of this week and this scene. What it all comes down to-after the assassi-
nation of a president, the wounding of a governor, the slaying of a policeman,
and the killing of a man nobody really knew-is little Jack Ruby.
-Syndicated columnist Dorothy Kilgallen'
FEBRUARY 1964: IT IS HARD TO EXAGGERATE THE TUMULTUOUS SOCIAL
environment that surrounded the Jack Ruby trial. In the first two
weeks of the month, The Beatles and Muhammad Ali (then known as
Cassius Clay) both made sensational entries onto the world stage. Rever-
berations were still being felt from Dr. Martin Luther King's immortal "I
have a dream" speech, delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial
late the previous summer. Above all, the growing sense of societal up-
heaval had gained momentum in November 1963 when President John
F. Kennedy was very publicly murdered on the streets of Dallas. Incredi-
bly, the assassination was followed two days later by the Jack Rubenstein
(alias Jack Ruby) slaying of Lee Harvey Oswald, Kennedy's alleged assas-
sin, on live television under the very noses of dozens of police officers.
Whatever complacency remained from the placid 1950s had been
smashed forever, and the pandemonium of the era we call "The Sixties"
had truly begun.
Into this volatile atmosphere entered the twelve Dallas County citizens
who would serve as jurors in the Ruby trial. They were both exceptional
and ordinary. Exceptional in that it became their duty to sit in judge-
ment of a man who played a bizarre and bloody role in perhaps the
* John Mark Dempsey has been a member of the University of North Texas journalism faculty
since 1998. He directs the department's broadcast journalism sequence. Dr. Dempsey continues
to work in the broadcasting field as a news anchor for the Texas State Network, a statewide radio
network. Max Causey's memoir will appear in a book, "The Jack Ruby Trial Revisited," edited by
JMD, soon to be published by the University of North Texas Press.
'Dorothy Kilgallen, "Ruby Trial: Dallas Irony," Dallas Times Herald, Feb. 20o, 1964, p. 1-A.
VOL. CIV, NO. 1 SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY JULY, 2000
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101221/. Accessed September 18, 2014.