Missouri Judges Must Be Shown: State Must Produce Evidence That Races Are Run to Secure Convictions, Daily Racing Form, 1907-11-27


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MISSOURI JUDGES MUST BE SHOWN. State Must Produce Evidence that Races Are Run to Secure Convictions. St. Louis, Mo., November 25. Conviction of handbook men and pool-sellers will bo made extremely dillicult by a decision returned Tuesday afternoon by Circuit Judge George II. Williams. The decision practically renders void the new pool-selling law enacted by the legislature at Governor Folks request and opens the way for a resumption of handbook bets on racing in St. Louis. In freeing Frank OHavor.a Market street barber, of the charge of pool-selling. Judge Williams ruled that to prove the offense charged, it must be shown that the race on which OHaver placed a bet was actually run, and that the horse on which the money was placed ran. Judge Williams position in his decision is that precedent uniformly requires that when a defendant is charged with becoming custodian of money to be wagered on a horse in a race, it must be proved that the race was run and that the horse ran. For this proof lie holds, a published "form sheet" or subsequent published accounts of the races cannot furnish convicting proof. For this evidence the testimony of an eye-witness from the distant track where the race was run would be necessary. To obtain such evidence the police would be obliged to keep men at the principal race tracks in different parts of the country, ready to swear to the running of any race on which a bet might be made in a case tried here. OHavers shop is at 000 Market street and ho has a number of customers from the Missouri Pacific Building. Several weeks ago detective Wells went into the Missouri Pacific Building, left his coat with a friend, then ran across the street, in shirt sleeves to OHavers shop and exclaimed: "Say, I want to get a dollar on Old Honesty at Latonia, right away." "Youre just in time," he testified the barber told him. The money was then paid, Wells said, and a memorandum written, with the name of the horse and the words, "Latonia, Ky.," were made at his request. He showed these memoranda as evidence. Judge Krnm for the defense then offered a demurrer. "There has been no evidence to show that this race was ever run," he said to Judge Williams. "Neither has he heard any evidence that Old Honesty ran at Latonia that day or any other day." "Have you any such evidence?" the court asked. The state did not have it. "This case is dismissed," said the court. "The police must bring evidence that races are run, if they expect to get convictions." Chief of Police Crecy said when ho heard of the decision: "The police will not stop their war on hand!ooks or on any other form of gambling. I am not a quitter." Charles T. Noland, former attorney for the police board, who has also been attorney for handbook men and pool-sellers at different times, said that a similar decision was rendered under the old law. He said, as the boards lawyer, he obtained a conviction by bringing a witness here from an eastern track to show that a certain race was run. Judge Williams is a Republican and was elected to the Circuit Bench a year ago. He is a son-in-law of President Stewart of the police board. Judge Williams himself was one of the champions in the anti-pool-selling legislation when the breeders law was repealed by the state legislature in 1005. He drafted a bill making it a felony to register bets on a horse race, but the committee on criminal jurisprudence of the House and Senate prepared a substitute for the Williams and other bills offered at that time. At a public hearing before the House committee on criminal jurisprudence Judge Williams, then engaged in private practice, depicted the evils of race track gambling, told of the political power the gamblers had attained in the public affairs of St. Louis and described an assault made on him personally by this element when he ran for the State Senate in 180". Subsequently the Missouri Supreme Court decided that the pool-selling law passed by the lt5 legislature was not violated when bets received in this state are telephoned or telegraphed into anpther state, registered there and then an order for settlement of bets is telephoned into it. The pool-selling law, enacted at the cxtrascssion at Governor Folks request, prohibits "registering bets or wagers or selling pools on the result of any trial or contest of skill, speed or power of endurance of man or beast, to be made or take place within or without this state." The maximum fine is live years in the penitentiary, the minimum six months in jail. A defect was covered by an amended bill prepared at the 1007 session, under the direction of Attorney-General Hadley. Members of the legislature at the time the re- A vised measure was up for passage announced that it was designed to prohibit any form of race track-betting within Missouri, both on races run within and without this state. It was held by Speaker Atkinson and others who fathered the bill that the mere fact that a bet had been registered and recorded was in itself a violation of the law, irrespective of whether the race was run. Judge Rogers of the Court of General Sessions also took this view of the question when several bookmakers were on trial before him recently.

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1900s/drf1907112701/drf1907112701_1_3
Local Identifier: drf1907112701_1_3
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800