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

By W. Durant C. | Go to book overview

MAKE ALL VIOLATIONS FELONIES

George W. Goodwin Jr. Special Deputy Sheriff Edenton, North Carolina

NO law can be properly enforced if the proper punishment is not administered when the offender is convicted.

If murder could be justified in court by the payment of a small fine and court costs, men and women would kill each other upon the slightest provocation. As it is we have murders, but not to the extent that would occur if the punishment were less severe.

It is not the law that people fear, it's the consequence. Therefore, if bootleggers, rum runners, illicit distillers of liquor and people driving automobiles while under the influence of whiskey could be made to see that the punishment for their offenses would mean separation from their homes, friends and society for long prison sentences, they would to a much greater degree refrain from crime.

My father is now and has been for the last 16 years, the high sheriff of this county, and since 1919, I have served in the capacity as a special deputy under him. I have raided and captured several illicit distilleries and several bootleggers, and in every case in which I have featured there has been a conviction.


The Farce of Conviction

But in what did the conviction result? From 30 days to 12 months on the roads, suspended upon the payment of the cost of court and a small fine ranging from $25 to $200. In almost every instance the offender had already made enough profits from selling liquor to pay his or her fine a dozen times over, and readily paid it.

Then too, the courtroom is always crowded with liquor

-260-

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