Page:The Green Bag (1889–1914), Volume 25.pdf/561

This page needs to be proofread.


530

The Green Bag

In addition to the testimony of Cap tain Barnaby and his friends, Old Booty's clothes were brought into court and identified by several witnesses as being similar to those worn by the foremost man who ran into the crater. The judge, Chief Justice Sir Robert Wright, was so impressed by this evidence, that he said: "Lord have mercy upon me and grant that I may never see what you have seen. One, two, or three may be mistaken, but not thirty." Mrs. Booty lost her case, and, it is thought, it remains the only judicially accepted ghost story on record. EXPEDITING A VERDICT AND SENTENCE IN THE early days of courts in the western territories, many amusing and often ludicrous occurrences re lieved the dull dry-as-dust cases that are inevitable in the law at its best. A Michigan lawyer recalls that old Judge Markham, or it may have been some other equally versatile jurist, was presiding on the bench in the County of Monroe, in the Wolverine Territory, where an equally original character, Colonel White (or Black, or Gray) was sheriff, a rum case was on trial and the jury were out considering their duty and the evidence, and the law in the case. They had been out an unreasonably long time and the Judge became quite nervous, and wanted a verdict, because he had some friends from Kentucky whom he was entertaining at home. To his clear and far-seeing mind, one of the most remarkable, in many ways, that ever held jurisdiction in the state or territory, there was no excuse for any prolonged consideration of the case by any jury. Leaning back in his big chair, seemingly lost in thought, he suddenly sat bolt upright and beckoned to the

Colonel, who majestically walked to ward the bench. "Colonel — Mr. Sheriff, I should say, — just see if that respondent won't plead guilty provided his fine is put at $50?" The sheriff smiled a broad smile, and went over and had a short quiet conver sation with the prisoner. It took but a few minutes, and in less time than it could be told, he had retracted his plea, pleaded guilty and had been fined. Then the Court sent out for the jury. "Gentlemen," said he, "it seems that some of you are not satisfied in your minds that the prisoner is guilty." The jury looked at each other. "Is that a fact, gentlemen?" "It is, may it please the Court," said the foreman. "Well, then, for your own information and edification I will say that the prisoner has a clearer idea of that ques tion, and is well satisfied that he is guilty, for he has pleaded guilty and has been fined. You are excused from further consideration of the case." CONTEMPT OF COURT DURING the temporary illness of the Judge just quoted, another Judge from another county was presiding in his place; a "boozer" to some extent, with not much ability and less dignity and respectability. At this session of court, Lawyer Johnson, who had rather a familiar acquaintance with the Judge, called around at the hotel where he was staying and during an entirely in formal discussion of things in general, was tempted to perpetrate a harmless joke on the old man. It was not appreciated nor liked, quite the reverse. Throwing down his big odoriferous cigar, he turned around on the lawyer and remarked that he was about to enter up a fine of $5 for contempt of court.