Calaboose Justice, 1922

On November 15, 1922, Mr. Victor Martin had committed a heinous crime and was about to pay his debt to society.  (A transcription of the following photo appears below.)


Incorporated Town of Bradley

County of Lafayette

State of Arkansas

To M. E. O’Neal, Marshal of the Incorporated Town of  Bradley:

Whereas Victor Martin was on this the 15th Day of Nov. 1922 plead guilty to the charge of gambling with dice, before me Mayor of the Incorporated Town of Bradley Ark. and it was adjudged that he pay a fine of Ten ($10.00) Dollars and a further sum of Four ($4.00) Dollars Costs in this case.  You are therefore commanded to demand a payment of Same from said Victor Martin and in default of the payment thereof, you will take him into your Custody and imprison him in the City Calaboose Until the Said fine and Costs are paid, providing however said Confinement shall not exceed fourteen [14] Days, And that you make due returns hereof in ten [10] days.

Given under my hand this the 15th day of Nov. 1922.

W. L. Jackson

Mayor of Bradley

The City Calaboose was a tin-clad structure in the shape of a shotgun house, located approximately where the City’s water tank is located today.  It was demolished in the 1960’s.

In 1977, the Arkansas Supreme Court in the case of Gore v. Emerson ruled unconstitutional the practice of mayors sitting as judges in contested criminal cases, citing “his interest in city finances and the relationship of the fines and forfeitures received to total revenues” of the City.


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