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

By W. Durant C. | Go to book overview

DISMISS HOSTILE JURORS

J. R. Taylor, Former Prosecuting Attorney Martinsville, Virginia

THOUGH having been a public prosecutor for more than 18 years, because of the many difficult questions I modestly enter a discussion of the prohibition laws.

It cannot reasonably be expected that within a few years prohibition laws should be better enforced than, or even as well enforced as, other criminal laws, because through the many centuries of the unrestrained use of liquor there has been a continuous tightening of its hold upon the physical appetite and the money-loving disposition of the race.

Admitting these laws have fallen below the standard of efficiency maintained in the enforcement of other laws, I will as briefly as possible endeavor to present my views as to the causes, based upon 18 years as prosecuting attorney.

Some contend that the reason for the deficiency of these special laws is due to the fact that public sentiment is not strong enough to hold them to a high dignity because before the enactment it was not considered intrinsically wrong to make liquor and drink it as a beverage; and that after it was prohibited with penalties more or less severe, it became repulsive to this class of believers. It may be true that a few people antagonize the law on this ground; but the number who do not believe the unrestrained use of intoxicants has not been the curse of the world is too small to create much sentiment. The well informed, including many of the violators, admit that any legislation restraining the use of intoxicants is wise.

Sentiment against prohibition has not been aroused because liquor is considered harmless but because of its grip on the physical appetite of the consumer and the money-loving disposition of the trafficker.

That the law may be held in the proper reverence and

-471-

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