Jury of Women, Chicken Thieves and the Spirit of Christmas

Evening Capital News, Dec. 17, 1912



The Fate of Two Men Charged With Stealing Chickens to Be Decided by Six Women.

Woman's Jury Selected.
Mrs. Caddie M. Bates.
Mrs. Eva Hunt Dockery.
Mrs. Gralow.
Mrs. W. S. Chipp.
Mrs. John Fackson.
Mrs. John W. Veatch.

By dinner time this evening, the fate of F. J. Robinson and Fred D. Meilcke, charged upon complaint of Ernest L. Avery with the theft of two fowls on the morning of Dec. 15, will be in the hands of the above women, who comprise the first women's Jury to try a case In the city of Boise in many years.

Promptly at 2 o'clock the six women, who had been summoned for jury duty on the case, were in their seats. Mrs. Emily Savidge and Mrs. John Driscoll were among the number, but both wore dismissed by J. B. Eldridge, attorney for the defendant, and in their places Mrs. Caddie Bates and Mrs. Eva Hunt Dockery, the latter being in the court room when the case was called, were taken and the jury accepted.

The women were quick in answering the questions of the attorneys and declared that while they had read something of the case, none of them had formed any opinion and stated that because the charge was that of chicken stealing it would not in any way affect their verdict.

In his opening statement to the jury, Tom Coffin, deputy prosecuting attorney, stated that the state would show that the chicken house of Mr. Avery had been broken into the morning of Dee, 15, and that a Plymouth Rock rooster and a white hen had been stolen; that Avery had found where both had been killed near the coop, and had traced the blood and feathers to the gravel office near the river, where the defendants were found picking the fowls, and an officer had been sent for. He further stated that the state would show that the defendants had made contradictory statements relative to securing the chickens which were found in their possession.

The case then opened with Mr. Avery as the first witness, his testimony being similar to the statement made by the prosecuting attorney.

The women seem to be paying the strictest attention to all questions asked the witness, and all seemed alert to the situation and ready to deal out justice when the case would be finally submitted to them.

Evening Capital News, Dec. 18, 1912


Decline to Increase Costs of the Case After Finding Two Men Guilty of Petit Larceny.

After deliberating 25 minutes in the, petit larceny case of F. J. Robinson and Fred D. Meilcke charged with stealing chickens, the jury of women, hearing the case returned a verdict of guilty last evening and then touched with pity and a spirit of the Christmas season, in the next breath offered to pay the fines of the defendants with the money they received for jury services. Three votes were taken by the jury after being locked up to consider the case. The first vote stood three for conviction and three for acquittal. A short argument was then held, a second vote taken in which the jury stood five for conviction and one for acquittal and the next vote resulted in an unanimous verdict guilty, which was signed by the foreman, Mrs. Eva Hunt Dockery.

None of the women jurors was aware that they were to receive pay for their services and when Judge Bower announced that he would have their jury certificates ready in a few minutes entitling each to $2.25 for sitting on the jury, they immediately re-assembled, held a whispered consultation and then offered to pay the fines of the men they had convicted with the money, but Judge Bower refused to permit them to do so.

At 10 o'clock this morning the court pronounced judgment, fining the defendants $15 each to cover the costs of the prosecution, except the Jury fees, which were not included. Judge Bower wishing to carry out the spirit of the jury in his decision.

A remarkable instance in the case was the fact that the women jurors were all on time and there were no delays as is often the case when men jurors are summoned.

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