Law Observance: Shall the People of the United States Uphold the Constitution?

By W. Durant C. | Go to book overview

WHY ENFORCERS HOP-SCOTCH

Will P. Stephenson Judge, Court of Common Pleas, West Union, Ohio

IT is difficult for 50% of the people of any country, plus a few, to regulate the conduct of the other 50% of the people, minus a few. Such is the status of prohibition in the United States today.

Prohibition will never be enforced in many of the states by state authorities.

State authorities to be successful must work in conjunction with county authorities, with sheriffs, constables, marshals of villages and policemen in the cities. The violators of the law are acquainted with the local officers. They know each and every local officer at sight--and why not? They were reared with them. A county is but a small community in this age of rapid transit. The culprits are many times friends, political and otherwise, and in some instances relatives of the enforcement officers. The officers in power owe some of them political debts. There's an umbilical cord between local officer and local culprit that should not exist, but it does, and you have to reckon with it.

Local officers can not keep their every move secret from every one and they cannot spot all the lookouts. Three times out of five, contemplated raids are "tipped off" before they are made. Violators, instead of being arrested, are warned.

In many jurisdictions the third offense is triable by a jury. This is pie for the violator, because he knows the state must have an air-tight case against him or he will be acquitted by the local jury, many of whom he knows, and possibly to some of whom he has sold his wares. The actual moonshiner or bootlegger is very poor and most of them have large families. If they are sent to prison for a

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