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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Fri., April 26, 2013

From our archives, 100 years ago

Judge J. Stanley Webster went through the roof at what he called a “miserable” police scheme to “browbeat” his court over one of his rulings.

The judge was red-hot over the refusal by the Spokane police commissioner and chief to make an arrest in the A.J. Williams murder case. Police officials wrote a letter to the prosecutor saying that they couldn’t make an arrest because they feared “liability for false arrest.”

This came a day after Webster had ruled against the police in a false arrest civil suit brought by Elizabeth Weber in an unrelated case.

Webster considered this a “plain and deliberate scheme on their part to intimidate” and “influence me in my further rulings on the Weber case.”

The judge was undecided about whether to haul the Spokane police chief and police commissioner into court for contempt, or whether to call for a full grand jury investigation, or both. The judge had already asked the local bar association to investigate.

In a letter to the bar, Webster said, “I feel that I am justified in calling on you as members of the bar and officers of the court to assist in maintaining the integrity of the court against false and unfounded insinuations.”

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1933: Nazi Germany’s infamous secret police, the Gestapo, was created.

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