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

By W. Durant C. | Go to book overview

STOP OVER-LENIENCY BY COURTS

David T. McElliott Lieutenant of Polices, Great Falls, Montana

MISAPPLICATION of the federal powers relative to enforcement of the 18th Amendment to the federal Constitution has, during the past 10 years, or since enactment of the Amendment, to a large measure neutralized the intent of the prohibition measure and has made it mandatory that the present enforcement policy be drastically revised or the prohibition amendment abandoned.

Enforcement or abandonment of the 18th Amendment is a question that affects the entity of the nation, the national welfare and every community.

Observations based on service as a police executive impel me to believe that not only must the present policy of enforcement be revised but that changes must be made in federal statutes in order to meet existing contingencies.

Present federal statutes, based on existing methods of application, have in no way deterred persons from engaging in the illicit liquor traffic, but on the contrary have served to attract numerous persons into this new industry, which is now engaged in by a substantial percentage of the population.

Leniency has characterized the enforcement of the law and at the present time in many federal courts small fines are imposed on persons who have repeatedly violated the prohibition law.

In many other cases, jail sentences have been imposed by courts, which, actuated by unknown motives, have suspended service of the sentences.

During the infancy of prohibition in the United States many states organized state enforcement agencies. In far too many instances these state departments not only hampered operations of federal authorities but through dis-

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