Friday, February 19, 2016

Coatless and Innocent

The Circuit Court of Macon, Missouri was overcrowded with the business of hearing the list of cases on the docket.  Judge Drain was usually prepared to hear a wide range of subjects in his court room that cold day in the winter of 1922.   The prosecutor, however, was not ready for the case he was about to handle.

R. R. Dodson stood before the bench prepared to represent himself.  He began his plea with a description of his life...."I used to own an overcoat, but it is gone, and I guess someone took it.  The coat that I am accused of taking is an old yellow rag, with rips in the back and the pockets turned out."  Dodson apparently had too much to drink one evening, and upon leaving a livery barn, he walked over to the coat rack and put on the coat he had just described.

"I am not a person who steals things", he told Judge Drain.  Dodson explained that his brother was a prosecutor, and his father had been a senator, representative and a sheriff.  "I admit that I get a periodical toot, but I don't steal". He plead not guilty as to stealing an overcoat, as was the charge in the case.

Judge Drain looked rather confused, so he asked Edwards, the prosecutor, "What do you want to do with him?"

"Just turn him loose, your Honor.  His story made me cry", replied Edwards.

"Well, you are discharged, Mr. Dodson", said Judge Drain. "Be on your way."

Dodson was not satisfied with that statement.  He did not have a job, and without a job he had no way to feed himself, or buy a coat that he so badly needed to keep warm during the cold months.

"I can't leave this court without a job, your Honor.  Don't you have some land that I can clean up for you, like some brush to cut.....anything for me to do to earn a few dollars?"

Judge Drain said he didn't own any property that needed work, but he suggested that Mr. Edwards, the prosecutor, had a piece of property that could use some work.  Edwards just shook his head...he had no use for the manual labor of Dodson.

"Then I can't just leave this court," said Dodson.  "I just want to go back to jail and live there until I earn enough money to buy a coat".

And with that statement being said, Judge Drain announced that Dodson could have his wish.  Besides....Christmas was only days away, and he could not let Dodson out into the cold....without an overcoat to his name, on the eve of Christmas, 1922.

That's your "Feel Good" story for the day.

This story was published in the Macon Chronicle-Herald (Macon, Missouri),  Published on Monday, December 11, 1922, Page 1.

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