The Cleveland Leader

Distrust of Courts and Laws.. "The people of Ohio have seen murderers tried and convicted of murder in the first degree two or three times over and finally set free. They have known many desperate and dangerous criminals to be sent to the penitentiary for long terms and released soon enough to make the whole costly process of the courts seem little better than a farce. It is notorious that the machinery provided for the punishment and, therefore, the prevention of crime is slow, cumbersome, costly, and, in the end, very uncertain.

"That is the real reason why, once in a while, the passion and indignation of the masses break through all restraints and some particularly wicked crime is avenged, roughly, brutally, and without regard to legal forms, by a frenzied mob, itself criminal and more dangerous than its victim. It is the bursting forth of a fire of impatient sense of wrong which is always smoldering.

"The manifestations of this discontent with the operation of the courts and the laws are very terrible when they take the form of such tragedies as that which has just been witnessed at Urbana: so frightful and so perilous that they must be made impossible, if punishment can accomplish that result. But the reform should not stop there. It ought to be made wide and deep, and the procedure of the courts of this State should be so changed, if it lies in human ingenuity to accomplish the result, that justice would be swifter, surer, and less expensive. Let that be done, and we shall see no more of lynch law and the awful tragedies to which it leads."

 
Scanned from The Literary Digest, June 19, 1897