Acquittal in

Federal Courts of Those Charged

with Liquor Law

Infractions Small Percentage.






Fines Aggregating $265,471 Collected

by Uncle Sam in North Star

State in 1923.


Less than two per cent of the persons charged with liquor law violations escaped unpunished in Minnesota federal courts in 1923, Joel M. Dickey, clerk of federal courts, showed in special report, prepared after Mrs. Mabel Walker Willebrandt, assistant that half of all liquor law offenders in the United States went scot free.

In Minnesota’s six federal courts,1,053 persons were convicted of liquor law violations in 1923, and only eighteen were acquitted.

Their Fines Aggregate $265,471.

Fines imposed aggregated $265,471, and fines actually paid amounted to $130,046. Unpaid fines amounting to $135,425 were served out in jails.

Jail terms imposed by the three judges aggregated 2,068 months, or 172 years, in addition to prison sentences meted out to men and women unable to pay fines.

The number of liquor cases, and fines paid,in each Minnesota district, were:

District Cases Fines

Minneapolis 439 $41,240

St. Paul 281 $39,700

Duluth 225 29,656

Mankato 29 5,200

Fergus Falls 55 7,350

Winona 24 6,900

Some Charges Were Nolled.

“It is noted,” Mr. Dickey said,” that in addition to the eighteen acquittals, 217 cases were nolled. The reasons for this were varied. In many instances a defendant was permitted to plead guilty to one charge, and other charges against him were nolled.

“In a few cases the evidence was obtained by agents who later proved to be unreliable or who were acting without proper instructions from su-perior officers. Every case which was nolled was carefully scrutinized by the judges, and no case was nolled unless it was evident that a conviction was improbable.”

Uniform sentences are given liquor law violators, on a schedule drafted by the three judges, Wilbur F. Booth, John F. McGee and William A. Cant.

Brown County Journal,

April 11, 1974



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