Richburg and domestic violence

[page 142, line 25]

SHERIFF BOWLES: The hour is late. I’ll be brief. I look at the heading on this handout by Albert Pike. Albert spoke very eloquently about what we’re supposed to be doing in our society. I’ll tell you as a practical person, that’s happened in Dallas County in our justice system except I don’t think the learning process has been as eloquently done as Albert Pike spoke. We have gone through a learning lesson, but it’s been something else.

Listening to these recollections of — I’ve got to talk by a frame of reference, you know, hearsay only because I’m only 49, and I don’t know all these things. But I think what they had in mind for this little program, there’s no history going to be made tonight, but that history which has gone before us and lays in the dust is lost when the dinosaurs move on to extinction, and they’ll be moving on to extinction. In another 10 or 15 or 20 years we’ll be doing other things, some of us. But anyway, maybe what the lady is taking down tonight, 10, 15, 20 years from tonight will make interesting reading for a few people.

Some of the things that we’re talking about still haven’t been clearly defined like — for example, mentioning Richburg, mentioning Decker, we left out one of the other old boys in there who could write a nonwritable charge, old Fritz. Fritz didn’t let people out either. He’d kind of sweat them out. If a man didn’t want to tell them about doing this robbery or doing the murder, he’d just let them sit in the jail for a week or two or three.

Now, with Charlie Tessmer’s opinion about the constitution slipping by us to our detriment, I agree with that and I sympathize with him. But at the same time I have mixed emotions because there was a time our lives — maybe it was before the Supreme Court made their ruling about the equal justice clause, the 14th Amendment — we had a form of a justice, for example with Richburg, that preceded this business about the family domestic violence. There was a period, when they permitted it, that we didn’t have domestic violence because as a police officer I’m sitting in the dispatcher’s office. Ms. A calls in and says Mr. A has been beating the hell out of her but he’s not doing it right now and there’s nothing we can do about it. We’ll just call Richburg, or if it was nighttime we’d just make it on a night log and call him the next morning and tell him we put Mr. A in jail for violating a peace bond. The first thing Richburg would do is issue a peace bond, send somebody over to bring the man over to the court. And we didn’t have this family violence. Now, it might not pass muster today; it might sound pretty bad, but it certainly did work charms when it was working.

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