On Monday, April 15, 1929, Stanley Smith, having failed to escape from the Hancock County jail, had his day in court 1 . He would have been escorted from the jail, which was located on the northwest corner of the intersection of West Main Cross and Broadway 2 , situated diagonally across from the courthouse.
That day, Stanley was represented by attorney William S. Snook. The summer before, Snook had announced himself a candidate for the office of probate judge. 3 Unfortunately for him, he failed to gain the nomination, losing the primary election by a margin of only 17 votes. 4
Snook had previously served as city solicitor.
W. S. Snook’s office was located at 320 1/2 South Main Street, Findlay. The drug store at which Stanley had passed his bad check was just across the street.
At this point in time, all of the solicitors in Findlay had offices located within about a block each way on this stretch of South Main, creating an easy walk to the Hancock County courthouse and jail. Thirty lawyers were headquartered in ten buildings. Mr. Snook shared his space with Charles E. Jordan and the offices of Capel & Hover. 5
The county prosecutor, Marcus C. Downing, was based out of a building at the other end of the block (337 South Main). Six other lawyers worked here in 1929 (C. V. Bish, Walter H. Kinder, Aubrey R. Moul, George H Phelps, John E. Priddy and Ross J. Wetherald). 6
Judge William F. Duncan presided over the court that day. His father, Thomas E. Duncan, had been a judge as well, serving the court of common pleas for Morrow, Richland and Ashland Counties. 7 He had also been elected to the Ohio House of Representatives. 8
Stanley’s case lasted only half the day. His fate was decided by a jury. There was likely not much deliberation. A fellow inmate, Jessie H. Yates, who had already been convicted for his crime, was brought into court to testify against Stanley, but his testimony was not deemed necessary. 9 The case had been made.
Stanley was found guilty of forgery. Based on his age (19) and the fact that he had not been previously convicted of a crime, he was sentenced to a term at the Ohio State Reformatory at Mansfield.
1 “Sentences Given Three By Court,” Findlay Morning Republican (Findlay, Ohio), 16 Apr 1929, p. 3, col. 2.
2 R. L. Heminger, “Historical Highlights of Bygone Days,” Republican-Courier (Findlay, Ohio), 6 Sep 1969, p. 14, col. 3.
3 Findlay Morning Republican (Findlay, Ohio), 14 Aug 1928, p. 5, col. 3.
4 “Board to Count Vote Here Today,” Findlay Morning Republican (Findlay, Ohio), 16 Aug 1928, p. 10, col. 1.
5 R.L. Polk & Co., Findlay, Ohio, City Directory, 1929 (R.L. Polk and Co. Publishers, 1929), p. 454; imaged in “U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995,” database with images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com)> Ohio > Findlay > 1929 Findlay, Ohio, City Directory 1929, image 230.
6 Ibid., p. 455.
7 Joseph P. Smith, ed., History of the Republican Party in Ohio , Vol. II. (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1898), p. 443-444.
8 Ibid., Vol. I, p. 320.
9 “Sentences Given Three By Court.”