Bootleggers Release Protested


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The people of Bonne Terre have been annoyed ever since the adoption of the local option law by the most persistent gang of bootleggers that ever cursed a community. They have tried every means known of ridding the community of this gang of booze peddlers but have obtained little or no relief. Numerous arrests have been made, but in some manner the men arrested have in most instances escaped paying the penalty for their misdeeds. Lax enforcement of the law is responsible for this condition and a large measure of the blame is charged to Circuit Judge Huck.

When on last Sunday he released from jail on bonds of $500, John Craft, John Cook and James Roux, after having stated, according to Prosecuting Attorney Mathews, that he would not do so, a storm of protest was raised. These men were arrested on a charge of contempt of court, having been accused of violating the terms of an injunction, under which their respective places of business had been closed. The Bonne Terre Star, under the caption, "Sackcloth and Ashes," thus sums up the situation in its last week's issue:

"The Star, figurately speaking, is wearing sackcloth and ashes. We have cussed and discussed the operation of the law in St. Francois county but we could never figure it out to satisfaction where the trouble was and is. We are now satisfied.

"Judge Huck some weeks ago in Circuit Court, after due hearing, issued an injunction against certain men and certain places of business, which the people have known as booze joints. Last week on a showing of the Prosecuting Attorney, Judge Huck issued papers for John Craft, John Cook and James Roux and instructed the Circuit Clerk that these men were not to be admitted to bail. Sunday, mark the day, the Judge released the men on $500 bonds, without giving the Prosecuting Attorney of this county an opportunity to be heard.

"If Craft, Cook and Roux were innocent of violation of the injunction they should never have been sent to jail and even if they were sent to jail if innocent, they should not have had to give bond but should have been released outright. If they were guilty they should have remained in jail. We don't undertake to say whether or not these men were guilty of violation of the injunction, we could not testify that they ever sold "booze" illegally, but to say the very least, the Court is in mighty small business one way or another when it first orders these men sent to jail without bond and them releases them on $500 bonds.

"We have always been an ardent supporter of Judge Huck, in fact he could not have been nominated or elected the first time without the support of this paper -- but we are done; we will support the mangiest, flee bitten republican in Missouri before we will support him again if he is nominated. The people have a right to expect of their Courts that they know what they are doing and not take snap judgement in sending men to jail or releasing them. They expect Courts to respect their duty to the State and to compel respect for their authority and orders.

"It is no particular wonder that crime is rampant, that the young boys of the community are on the way that leads to the penitentiary when they see men violate the law and even the orders of the Courts with impunity. The aristocrats of the booze game should be treated the same as the humbler gentry and none of them should be sent to jail unless they are guilty."

Published by THE LEAD BELT NEWS, Flat River, St. Francois Co. MO, April 19, 1918.