The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001 Page: 44
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44 Southwestern Historical Quarterly July
as the trial was proceeding, are revealing, and the letters he and his fam-
ily received in the aftermath of the verdict show the depth of emotion
that the trial and the events preceding it engendered.
Mr. Causey's moment in history began when he received a jury sum-
mons in the mail. He was one of nine hundred people summoned to ap-
pear on Feb. 17, 1964:
Since there were so many prospective jurors to select only twelve from, I practi-
cally dismissed the thought of being selected as one of the jurors for the Ruby
trial. I told my wife that I would most likely sit on one of the civil cases that were
also on the docket for that panel.5
Mr. Causey sat and waited the first two days while dozens of prospec-
tive jurors were examined and rejected. He dutifully refrained from
reading the newspapers or watching the television news, just as he had
been instructed. On the night of the second day, he began to get an
inkling of what lay ahead:
Wednesday night, I continued to refrain from reading or watching on TV any-
thing pertaining to the Ruby trial. About five minutes past to p.m., my tele-
phone rang and I answered it, but no one would respond to my hello. Finally
after about a minute of attempting to establish contact with the caller, I hung up
the receiver. This action was all repeated in about io minutes. This peculiar ac-
tion became a little more clear to me about lo:30 when one of my neighbors
called to tell me that he had received a call that evening asking a bunch of ques-
tions about me, such as: Was I a good neighbor? Did I have any noticeable char-
acter flaws? Did I drink socially? Did I attend church regularly? Had he ever
heard me comment on my thoughts toward capital punishment? And, last, had
he ever heard me discuss the Ruby case with anyone? ... I reasoned that the par-
ty who called me only called my number in an attempt to possibly hear over the
phone if I had the late evening news tuned in on the TV.6
The following morning, Mr. Causey was called to the witness stand.
District Attorney Henry Wade questioned him in a routine fashion. Mr.
Causey told Mr. Wade that he could indeed vote for the death penalty if
he felt it was justified. At 11:45 A.M., Judge Joe B. Brown recessed court
for two hours. During the long lunch break, Mr. Causey's mind raced:
Many thoughts went through my mind. The most recurring one was that I must
not allow myself to become confused or mixed up when I faced the anticipated
rapid-fire questions of the chief defense counsel, Mr. Melvin Belli. All I intended
to do was to state the truth about what I had seen, heard, and read since Novem-
ber 24, 1963 regarding the Ruby case. However, I felt certain that no matter
s Max Causey, "The Trial of a Juror," typescript, p. 1. Mr. Causey's typescript is in the author's
possession at this time.
* Causey, "The Trial of aJuror," 2a.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001, periodical, 2001; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101221/m1/72/: accessed March 26, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.