The Charlotte News

Sunday, February 4, 1940


Site Ed. Note: Back in June, 2002, when we put the other editorials of this date online, we left this one out, simply because we didn't have it. Maybe it's by Cash, maybe not. But since it involves Judge Ervin cleaning up a white woman’s house of dubious repute, it is worth a glimpse into it anyway.

It would have been positively unbelieveable, of course, had he ordered the woman to withdraw south of the border into Chester.


Is This Method Of Justice Likely To Work Out?

The disposal of the case of a white woman, charged with operating a disorderly house on West Second Street, in Superior Court last week interests us. She was given a three months’ suspended sentence, and ordered to change her residence from that part of town.

Judge Ervin did in this case only what other judges regularly do. Often the convicted person is ordered to leave town or even the state.

Nevertheless, the procedure seems to us highly doubtful. For one thing, as we understand it, there is no explicit authority in the law for such orders. They represent merely the making of the judge’s personal opinion of what is desirable a condition of the suspension of sentence. And it is the tradition–and the very right tradition–of our law that the judge’s personal opinion shall, so far as is humanly possible, be kept out of the administration of justice.

Moreover, the efficacy of this method of dealing with offenses against society seems thoroughly questionable. Is removal from one part of town to another likely to effect a reform in a keeper of a disorderly house? Or is the shipping of a Mecklenburg criminal into Gaston, a Tar Heel criminal into South Carolina, calculated to make another man of him? Surely not. All that is apt to happen is that the burden is shifted from one point in space to another, from one group of people to another.

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