I occasionally hear politicians as well as everyday citizens gripe about the slow turning of the wheels of justice in our modern legal system, and often the critics point to how much more swiftly punishment was meted out in the old days. There's some truth to this contention, of course, and in some cases nowadays the wheels have ground almost to a halt. However, complaints about the slow pace of justice are nothing new.

I occasionally hear politicians as well as everyday citizens gripe about the slow turning of the wheels of justice in our modern legal system, and often the critics point to how much more swiftly punishment was meted out in the old days. There's some truth to this contention, of course, and in some cases nowadays the wheels have ground almost to a halt. However, complaints about the slow pace of justice are nothing new.
In early 1895, the Missouri auditor issued a report stating that the costs of prosecuting criminals in the state were increasing at the rate of $50,000 to $75,000 a year without a proportionate increase in crime, and the Jefferson City Tribune editorialized on the subject, claiming that most of the increase was a result of "unnecessary delays" occasioned by continuances and changes of venue. The case of Wils Howard, who had been hanged at Lebanon the previous year, was cited as an example. "There was never any question as to Howard's guilt," said the newspaper, "and yet it required two years and cost the state some $6,000 to hang him."

Read the complete story in the Jan. 27 print edition of the Neosho Daily News.