Judge Barlow’s Buttermilk Problem (Part 1)

Here is another post where the original article begs to be quoted verbatim. Paraphrasing would be a sin. This is what happens when a prisoner is brought up on a Public Intoxication charge…and the judge is just as hammered as the defendant…

Prisoner Was Drunk


Judge Was “Dizzy”


Neither Could Understand the Other, so Culprit Helped Himself to Ten Days

Utica NY, Thursday.– Few Public officials have been placed in such an embarrassing position as that which Chief of Police Carman of Canastota found himself yesterday afternoon. For half an hour he stood between love and duty and the latter eventually won out. When he arraigned a man before a Justice of the Peace, charged with intoxication, he noticed that His Honor was swaying from side to side with a motion that could mean but two things: The Court was drunk or dizzy.

Chief Carman watched his lifelong friend for twenty minutes and finally decided he was not dizzy. He had a prisoner on his hands and if the case was not disposed of he would have him in his lap for the rest of the day. The judge was the only one who could dispose of the case and Chief Carman delayed matters for a time in the hope that he would not be compelled to take the Court on a journey.

Five, ten, fifteen minutes passed and the swaying of the Court had reached the stage where spectators were wagering as to which side he would fall on. To make matters worse, the prisoner got a relapse and began a little swaying on his own. The judge could not make out what the prisoner was saying. Chief Carman was convinced the Court was in no condition to do business when the Judge handed the prisoner a pad and pencil and told him to write out his own commitment. The man helped himself to ten days and was escorted to a cell.

Then Chief Carman returned and announced to the Court that it would have to be locked up for its own safety. He put the Judge in a cell next door to the prisoner and the pair conversed in a friendly manner during the afternoon, At an extraordinary term of court last night, the Judge was arraigned before an acting Judge. He pleaded not guilty to the charge of intoxication. In he meantime Chief Carman will round up several witnesses to support his charge.


New York Herald May 28 1909

Stay tuned for the next episode in this little drama: “Barlow’s Arraignment”! (And find out what the “buttermilk” part of the title is about….)

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