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January 26, 1910


Girl's Damage Suit to Federal Court,
As Owner Is Non-Resident.

Complications in the damage suit brought by Ella May Cushman against the Hippodrome Amusement Company and C. W. Parker of Abilene, Kas., resulted yesterday in the transferring of the case from Judge Slover's division of the circuit court to the federal court. The girl asks damages in the sum of $10,000 for injuries received, it is alleged, when a lion at the Hippodrome, two years ago, reached through the bars of its cage and clawed the girl's head.

After the plaintiff had completed her evidence yesterday the Hippodrome company showed that the lion was owned by Parker, who has a herd of wild animals which he exhibited, and on the showing the liability of the company was removed. Parker then had the case transferred to the federal court on the ground that he is not a resident of Missouri.

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June 30, 1909


Then Mrs. Williford Challenges O.
T. Knox to Finish Fight.

When Mrs. Hattie Williford left the witness stand in Judge James H. Slover's division of the circuit court yesterday, she walked straight to where O. T. Knox, an attorney, was sitting and slapped his face. She lives at 1093 Cherry street and had taken umbrage at a question asked her by Knox, who represented Mark Dewey in his divorce suit against Alice Dewey. The latter is a sister of Mrs. Williford.

Mrs. Williford also expressed her determination and willingness to make the fight one to a finish, in or out of the court room. Knox, who has a James J. Jeffries physique, brushed her away before the court attendants arrived.

Judge Slover smiled. No one was fined. The case was not finished yesterday.

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May 2, 1909


Husband Didn't Keep Agreement,
and Judge Annuls Marriage.

Before Annie Shapiro and Hyman Stopeck were married Stopeck promised his future bride, daughter of a Jewish rabbi, that he would go through the Jewish ceremony of marriage as a confirmation of the knot tied in civil marriage. But Stopeck backed out and would not participate in the second ceremony. So his wife brought suit in the circuit court to annul the marriage.

After having had the case under consideration for several weeks, Judge Slover yesterday decided to annul the marriage.

"The promise the husband made that he would have the civil marriage solemnized by the Jewish ceremony was part of the contract when the civil marriage was entered into," said Judge Slover. "The contract of marriage was thus never fully carried out."

The Stopecks were married August 4 of last year in Kansas City, Kas. Returning to this city to the home of Samuel Shapiro, father of the bride, at 501 Oak street, they had dinner. The bride then asked that the Jewish ceremony proceed, but objection was made by Stopeck, who left the house and did not return.

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March 31, 1909



Father's Habeas Corpus Proceedings
Call Out All the Skeletons From
the Family Closet -- "Checkers"
Incident Again.


While the lad about whom there was all the fuss tried to pick the spectacles from the nose of his chaperon, the battle for his possession went briskly on between Theodore C. Thomas, the father, and Mrs. Agnes Boss Thomas, the mother. After five hours of hearing testimony little had been accomplished when court adjourned last night and the indications are that the case may take longer than today.

If there are any skeletons left in the Thomas family closet it will take a vacuum cleaner to find them, for the married life of the parents, now divorced, was gone into in great detail.

The Thomases were divorced three years ago, the husband securing the decree and the custody of the child., except for one month each year. On September 25, 1908, Mrs. Thomas took the child from the Oak street school in Leavenworth, brought him to Kansas City, and has since had him at the home of her mother, Mrs. Annie Boss, 113 East Thirty-fourth street. The father brought habeas corpus proceedings in the circuit court to gain possession of the boy, who is constantly referred to by his mother as "Tito." It is on this application that the hearing is now being had.

For the husband the court records were introduced as his case. Mrs. Thomas's attorney demurred, but were overruled and the introduction of testimony for the wife began.


Frank P. Walsh, the first witness, testified as for her good character. Then Mrs. Thomas was put on the stand and for four hours was pelted with questions. Her cross-examination will be resumed this morning.

Mrs. Thomas, who is of the Mrs. Leslie Carter type as to features and bearing, although a brunette, proved a quick and alert witness. She seemed a match for the attorneys.

Mrs. Thomas admitted that she attended one of the parties given at the Humes house. She said there was a Dutch lunch and a jolly time, but that she did not go again. She denied that there was anything out of the way the night she was at the Humeses. The others at the party nicknamed her "Checker," she said.


Thomas, according to the wife's testimony, kept a hotel at Cleveland. The wife said he was intemperate and that she largely supported him. She mentioned alleged indignities at the hotel. In 1906 she sued for divorce, but before the case came to trial she decided to go to Europe, and understood, so she said, that the divorce matter was to be held in abeyance. When she returned, however, she said she was told by Thomas that he had secured a divorce on a cross-bill, and also the boy. She said she knew nothing of the trial of the divorce case until that time.

"I finally left Cleveland and came to Kansas City, because Mr. Thomas threatened to kill me if I did not leave the child and go away," she testified.

Further, Mrs. Thomas said her husband again asked her to marry him, but that she would have nothing to do with a reconciliation. She testified that she had the boy in her possession for a month during both 1906 and the succeeding year, the time being October. As to her ex-mother-in-law, she said every effort was being made to alienate the affections of the child from her.

There yet remain many witnesses to be heard. Judge Slover is giving attorneys wide scope in bringing out testimony.

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March 25, 1909



Rabbi's Daughter Seeks Annulment
of Civil Marriage Because, She
Says, Husband Refused to
Keep Agreement.

Daughter of a rabbi, pretty Anna Stopeck told Judge Slover of the circuit court a story yesterday of how her husband wouldn't wed her, although they were married. Explaining this apparent paradox, she added that, being orthodox, she did not consider herself married until after the Jewish ceremony had been performed.

A civil marriage was performed and the annulment of this is the purpose of the young woman's suit. Her father, Rabbi Samuel J. Shapiro, with whom she lives at 502 Oak street, was with her in court. The case is being contested.

Hyman Stopeck, a tailor at 515 Main street, is the husband. He is about 40 years old, while the girl appears half that age. On the witness stand the wife, telling her story in broken English and with confused idioms, said:
"Mr. Stopeck paid attention to me last spring and summer. He told me he had never been married before, and I liked him. He gave me a diamond ring and on July 30, 1908, at our home, the formal engagement was announced to our friends. It was agreed that there should be a civil and then a Jewish ceremony, my father and all of us being orthodox.

"So on August 4 we went to Kansas City, Kas., and got a marriage license and were wedded. Van B. Prather, judge of the probate court, performed the ceremony. That was about 11 o'clock in the morning.

"After that we returned to my father's home. Mr. Stopeck stayed there for dinner and until 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Then he left. I have not seen h im since August 7, when he came to ask me to return the diamond ring."

"But why did he leave you?" asked Gerston B. Silverman, the wife's attorney.

"Because he asked my father to give him $500 before he would go through the Jewish ceremony. When this was not done, he said:
" 'I'll let her (meaning me) wait for ten years before I'll go through the Jewish ceremony unless I get that $500.' "

Then the girl explained that her belief regarded the Jewish ceremony as essential.

"And was Stopeck ever married?" inquired Mr. Silverman.

"He told me afterwards that he had been married at Rochester, N. Y., and that his wife had secured a divorce from him.

"Why," continued the girl, "he was so attentive before we were engaged. On July 7 he brought me a clipping from a paper. He said: 'Get yourself a hat like this.' "

Here the attorney displayed a two-column portrait of the Princess de Sagan, formerly Anna Gould, wearing a huge Gainsborough.

When court adjouroned for the night it was expected that the trial of the case would occupy all of today.

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March 5, 1909



Still, He Likes Good Shows and
Came All Way From Independ-
ence to See Booth
and Barrett.

Not because her clothes are scanty,
Nor because the beads fit tight;
But because her steps are naughty
Salome must not dance tonight.

Gertrude Hoffman may dance at the Shubert or anywhere else, but it must not be a la Salome.

She may sing unrestricted, except as for "I Don't Care."

She may wear what she pleases.

Against the two first named features of her performance in the "Mimic World" Judge James H. Slover of the circuit court yesterday granted a temporary injunction, and it is thereby made unlawful for Miss Hoffman to present the dance or sing the song in public so long as she is in Jackson county.

"Obnoxious to public morals" and "replete with immoral suggestions" are some of the phrases which occur in the opinion of Judge Slover. Special notice is taken of the use of the head of John the Baptist, which, with the Salome dance, is classed as "revolting, debasing and debauching."

In the main, Judge Slover bases his authority to act on the Spanish bull fight case in St. Louis, which was stopped by the courts on the grounds that it shocked the moral sense of the community. The opinion in its entirety follows:


This proceeding by the attorney general of the state of Missouri is to suppress a part of a performance now on the boards of the Shubert theater in Kansas City, Mo., known as the "Mimic World," and is especially directed against the song, "I Don't Care," and the "Salome" dance. The Shubert people claim that the court has no jurisdiction to interfere by injunction, but if the court should determine that it has jurisdiction, then the play itself is not obnoxious to public morals, but is a highly artistic performance.

As to the jurisdiction of the court, the case of the Spanish bull fight in St. Louis, reported in the 207th supreme court decisions, is sufficient warrant for the court to entertain this case.

As to the performance itself, it may be said, generally speaking, that any public exhibition that at first blush shocks the average intelligence of a community is harmful and demoralizing and should receive the condemnation of the courts. In the Canty case (supra) the supreme court said that a public exhibition of any kind that tends to the corruption of morals is a public nuisance and should be oppressed.


The evidence in this case shows that the "don't care" song and the Salome dance are obnoxious to the public morals and an offense against the better instincts of mankind and ought not to be tolerated in a Christian community. The song is replete with lewd and immoral suggestions and the Salome dance, in which an imitation head of Saint John the Baptist is tossed about, is simply revolting and so debasing in its character and debauching in its influence on public morals as to constitute a public nuisance which a court of equity has jurisdiction to and should suppress.

Upon the evidence in the case and the authority of the Canty case a temporary injunction will be granted in favor of the relator, but modifying in some respects the restraining order, which may be agreed to by counsel in the case, otherwise to be settled by the court.


At that, Judge Slover is a friend of the theater. He goes when there is a good show. Said he yesterday, after handing down the opinion:

"When Edwin Forrest played at the Coates opera house in the '70s, Mrs. Slover and I drove a mile to the railroad station in Independence. We took the train to Kansas City and attended the performance. Returning, the train was due to leave at 2 a. m., but it was 3 o'clock before it appeared. It was 4 when we got home. Besides, there was a snowstorm that night. That shows I am willing to make a sacrifice even to see a good play.

"Again, when Booth and Barrett opened the Warder Grand, now the Auditorium, Mrs. Slover and myself drove in from Independence and back to see the play. There was no roof on the theater when it was thrown open to the public. That was about fifteen years ago."

As no objection is made to the spring song nor to the costume worn by the Shubert dancer, her managers may, with perfect security from the courts, put her on the stage in the same costume and let her sing this song or any other one. Also she may do any dance except the Salome.

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March 3, 1909



"Those Who Believe It Not Right
Can Stay at Home" -- Failure
to Demonstrate Disap-
points Court Crowd.


"Will I stop the Salome dance?" Robert L. Gregory, acting mayor, repeated as he held the telephone receiver to his early yesterday afternoon. His answer was a decided "No."

When he was finished speaking over the telephone the acting mayor turned to the members of the board of public works, with whom he was meeting, and said, "Now what do you think of that? That fellow wanted to know if I, as acting mayor, would clamp the lid on that dance if the court refused the injunction. If Gertie wants to dance with a little lace wrapped around her she is welcome to, and the police won't interfere. Those who believe it is not right can stay at home while those who do can plunk down their money and take a front seat for all I care. Why should I stop a Salome dance or an y old kind of a dance?"


Disappointment sat deep on every face, and there was not an "I don't care" expression in the crowd which went to the court house yesterday to see Gertrude Hoffman do a stunt with a string of beads. Gertrude, you know, does the Salome dance in "The Mimic World" at the Shubert theater, or rather, she did until the courts stopped her Monday night.

The restraining order granted at that time was made returnable yesterday, and large was the crowd that came to see and hear. Judge James H. Slover, in whose division the case fell, heard affidavits and speeches and more speeches, and then said he would decide today whether to make the restraining order permanent or dissolve it. Meanwhile, of course, Salome will not dance.

All hands had expected to see, as evidence, the whole dance as performed at the theater. But the dancer did not come, only lawyers.

COSTS $6,000 A WEEK.

"It costs $80,000 to create this show, and the weekly expense roll is $6,000," said Clyde Taylor, appearing on behalf of the theater. So maybe it was too expensive to have Miss Hoffman.

"To stop this dance, which is strictly a moral affair," continued Mr. Taylor, "would entail large financial loss. If the show was not clean, it would never have been put on the boards and have received favorable comment everywhere."

On behalf of those who secured the restraining order, John T. Harding, Ellison Neel and H. M. Beardsley spoke. Affidavits made by George E. Bowling, Nathanial Dickey and D. A. Trimble were read. These men had been appointed by the Independence Avenue Methodist Episcopal church to make a report to the court. In substance they said the dance was immoral and demoralizing to the mind of the spectator. Photographs were taken of posters put up by the show also were introduced as evidence.


Mrs. E. D. Hornbrook said she saw the dance in New York, and thought it not proper. She had made up her mind, she said, to try to suppress it if it came to Kansas City. She had not seen the dance at the Shubert. William D. Latham of the board of trade disapproved of the dance, as did also Omar Robinson, a lawyer, and I. B. Hook and others. A painting of Maud Allan as Salome, to give the court an idea of how the Hoffman dance is said to be carried on, was also introduced.

Dr. George L. A. Hamilton, for the defendants, said the dance was art, and could not be objected to. John B. Reynolds, manager of the company, was represented by an affidavit giving the expenses of the show.

Also there was a statement from Miss Hoffman herself. The dances she employs, she said, were copied from those of the Far East, and patterned after the Oriental idea of grace. She said it was in no sense a "hootchie-kootchie," as some of the objectors had said.

Then there was a great deal of oratory, and the case, known officially as the state of Missouri, at the relation of Elliot W. Major, attorney general, against Earl Steard and others, went over until today. Judge Slover did not say that he had been at the Shubert. He goes to the theater infrequently.

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January 19, 1909


Grady Family Troubles Are
Aired in Court.

"I told him many times, 'Here's a dime. Buy a rope and hang yourself up."

That is the way Mrs. Lizzie Grady's father expressed his opinion of Grady to Judge James H. Slover of the circuit court yesterday. Mrs. Grady had sued for a divorce and there was no contest.

"Did he take the dime?" asked Judge Slover.

"I believe if he had taken it he would have spent it for drink," said the father.

"He never bought the rope, then?"


This testimony came at the end of a tale of cruelty related by the father. Other witnesses also said that the brief married life of the Gradys had been stormy.

Judge Slover granted Mrs. Grady the decree from Ernewst Grady and restored her maiden name of Frederick.

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November 24, 1908


Dr. Otto Bohl Is Pursuing A. Kiss
for Damage to His Snakes.

Stromonium, which a witness facetiously described as jimson weed, plays a prominent part in the suit of Dr. Otto Bohl against Ander Kiss for damages, now on trial in Judge J. H. Slover's division of the circuit court. Bohl, who, on 70 cents, got more votes for the Democratic nomination for coroner at the August primaries than did some others who spent much more, charges Kiss with destroying his stromonium plants and snakes, greatly to the damage of the aforesaid and of Dr. Bohl. He wants $500. The case, in many variations, has been through a number of courts already.

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November 17, 1908


"I'd Blame the Railroad," Said He,
Before Hearing Evidence.

After three laborious hours had been spent by attorneys in Judge J. H. Slover's division of the circuit court yesterday afternoon in securing a jury to try a damage suit, a few words from a juror nullified the whole proceeding.

As Frank Walsh, attorney for Elizabeth Freeman in her suit against the Missouri Pacific and Frisco railways, was stating his client's side to the jury and showing a diagram of the location of the accident on which the case was based, Joe Stine, a juror, remarked:

"Why don't they fix that like they have it at Dodson? I'd blame the railroad."

Immediately there was a commotion. Mr. Walsh and Elijah Robinson, W. S. Cowherd and R. J. Ingraham, the three last named representing the defendants, were on their feet at once. The court discharged the jury and excused Stine. He lives in the county south of Kansas City.

The petition alleges injuries as the result of a collision at a crossing. Two trains collided. Mr. Walsh was showing a diagram of the crossing when Stine made his remark. A new jury will have to be impanelled.

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May 19, 1908


B. C. Boyles Alleges That S. D. Bur-
nett Thus Won the Love of
Mrs. Boyles.

Reading passages from the Songs of Solomon and Old Testament romances to Mrs. B. C. Boyles was one means employed by S. D. Burnett to win the woman's affections, Boyles, the husband, yesterday declared on the stand in Judge J. H. Slover's division of the circuit court, where his suit against Burnett for $20,000 for the alienation of his wife's affections is on trial. Just what particular songs and stories Burnett read Boyles was unable to specify.

It was only a short while ago, Boyles said, that he discovered Burnett had been reading form the Scriptures to Mrs. Boyles. He might have seen them reading, he said but he gave no thought to it, because Burnett is a leader in the Presbyterian church at Independence, and Mrs. Boyles is a church woman. It was when he overheard, as he claims, Mrs. Boyles recalling to Burnett things he had once read to her, that he grew suspicious.

This will be denied today, probably, by Burnett, when his attorneys have their inning in which to present the defense. The plaintiff has beeen showing his side of the case to the jury for two days and it will take as long to give the defense.

Boyles is a brother of Mrs. Burnett The two families were intimate until last autumn when Boyles filed suit against his brother-in-law. Burnett owns a section or so of land north of Independence. Boyles operates a dairy farm at Seventy-third street and Brooklyn avenue. Boyles secured a divorce last June on the ground that his wife's love for him had waned. He did not mention Burnett in that suit.

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October 15, 1907


Woman Paid Her Lover's Policy and
He Left No Heirs.

Miss L. F. Laundry of Sixteenth and Main streets, thinks that because she was engaged for eleven years to marry W. H. Nall and loaned him $75 to pay on his $1,000 insurance policy in the Woodmen of the World, she is entitled to the insurance, now that Nall is dead. Nall's only relative, to whom the insurance would normally be paid, was his mother, Mrs. Navina Nall, who died February, 1907, a few days after he passed away. Mrs. Nall was 78 years old and it was on account of her helpless condition, it is said, that Nall kept postponing his marriage to Miss Laundry. "Miss Laundry says that Nall agreed to assign this insurance to her, but never did so. Nall was a mail carrier. The case is being tried in Judge J. H. Slover's division of the circuit court.

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April 2, 1907


Wallace Gets Criminal Division, With
Porterfield as a Relief -- Slover
Will Try Civil Cases

The appointments of W. H. Wallace as criminal judge, James H. Slover and E. E. Porterfield as circuit judges for Jackson county, were announced yesterday by Governor Folk. Judge Slover, who was named by the governor as criminal judge at the time of the death of Judge Wofford, tendered his resignation as such Saturday in order that the governor's new judgeship slate might be perfected immediately. The new judges will assume the duties of their positions without delay.

From the time the last legislature created the two new circuit judgeships in this county it has been generally understood that Judge Slover would surrender the criminal bench for one of the new circuit courts. There was no surprise occasioned by the appointment of the three above named judges, as it was understood several days ago that the governor had decided upon the man for the various places, and was holding the announcement back in order to give Judge Slover time in which to resign as criminal judge.

W. H. Wallace, who takes charge of the criminal bench, is a criminal lawyer of many years' experience. As prosecuting attorney for Jackson county, he conducted the prosecution of Frank James at Gallatin in 1882. This was his first celebrated case. His appointment to the criminal bench comes as a sort of balm to the disappointment occasioned by his defeat last fall as congressman from the Fifth district.

Judge Slover has served on the local circuit bench for twenty-two years, with two short interruptions. He was a candidate for the circuit bench last fall, but went down to defeat along with the rest of the Democratic ticket. His appointment as criminal judge followed the death of Judge Wofford. He preferred the civil branch of the work to the criminal, hence the transfer.

Attorney Porterfield becomes judge of the Seventh division of the circuit court, which is also division No. 2 of the criminal court. He will serve as a relief to the criminal court whenever its docket becomes too large for Judge Wallace to dispose of in proper time. It will be his first experience on the bench, although he has been a practicing attorney before the Jackson county bar for the past twenty years. He was recommended for Judge Wofford's place on the criminal bench at the time of the latter's death, but when he learned that two new circuit courts were to be created here by the legislature he dropped out of that race and set his sails for the circuit bench.

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March 22, 1907


Jury Gives Highwayman Six Years
-- Pal Pleads Guilty, Gets Five.

Mike Savage says he is an Irishman, but he doesn't make a noise like one. He was in the criminal court yesterday and was given a sentence by a jury of six years for highway robbery. It was charged that he, with the assistance of a man named Sam Hight, held up E. E. Ellis, a brother of the congressman, near Twenty-fifth and Troost on the evening of January 5 and got $3.50 from him.

A part of the testimony for the prosecution was to the effect that the man who held up Mr. Ellishad an unusual impediment in his speech. Mr. Ellis testified that the man who had the revolver exclaimed: "Det up you han's' det 'em up, det 'em up."

During the trial Savage was not permitted by his lawyer to go on the witness stand. Throughout the trial he was mute. But he gave himself away as he left the court room after the verdict was in.

"I dant a new drial," he exclaimed, shaking his fist at Judge Slover. "I dain't doing to be done dis way in dis court."

It was to laugh, and all of the court officials, even Judge Slover, laughed.

Savages wife had made a scene in the court room only an hour or so before and was forcibly put out by the deputies. Hight, Savage's accomplice, pleaded guilty and took a sentence of five years -- one year less than Savage got by standing trial.

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March 22, 1907


Woman and Her Companion Are Sent
to the Penitentiary.

Irene Napper, 24, and Arthur Lowry, who is five years older, pleaded guilty to horse stealing in the criminal court yesterday afternoon. The woman was sentenced to the penitentiary for two years and the man for seven. They stole a team and buggy belonging to W. H. Hand from in front of the Bell Telephone building at Sixth and Wyandotte streets on March 2. Lowry had already stolen $8 from another man and had taken the woman with him to Leavenworth. They returned in a day or two and, seeing the rig, took it. They started to drive to Wichita, Kas., but got no further than Lawrence when they were arrested.

"Are you married to this man?" asked Judge Slover of the woman.

"No," she said.

"Have you ever been married?"

"Yes. My husband is in the penitentiary."

"Did you know that this man Lowry has been in the penitentiary?"

"Yes. He has been there twice in Kansas. Five years for horse stealing and five years for killing a man."

"Who was it stole this team?"

"I did."

"How did you happen to do that?"

"I don't know unless it was because he told me to."

The woman said she was born in Rich Hill, Mo.

When Judge Slover pronounced the sentence on the two, the man said, cheerfully enough, "Thank you, judge."

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March 2, 1907

Judge Slover Upholds City Ordinance
--Notice of Appeal Given

Judge Slover in the criminal court yesterday sustained the action of the police court in imposing a fine of $50 upon Dr. E. O. Smith for conducting a hospital in the city without a permit from the board of health. Dr. Smith gave notice of an appeal to the supreme court and says he proposes to carry the litigation to the court of last resort.

The Smith case is of considerable interest to all members of the medical profession who are maintaining private hospitals. Dr. Smith opened a hospital on North Wabash avenue several moths ago. A protest was made by people living in the vicinity of the institution and the police ordered it closed. An application was made to the board of health for a permit by Dr. Smith, but it was refused. He continued to keep the hospital open and was finally arrested by the police. He then instituted injunction proceedings against Chief of Police Hayes and the members of the board of health, asking that the be restrained from further interfering with him and his business. He withdrew his application for an injunction before it came to a hearing and brought mandamus proceedings against the board of health to compel it to grant him a permit for the hospital. This was heard in Judge Seehorn's division of the circuit court and the writ denied.

Later, Dr. Smith was arrested a second time by the police and fiined $50, which Judge Slover says he must pay. The validity of the city ordinance under which the board of heaalth is given discretionary poower in the granting or refusal of permits was raised before Judge Slover, but he held the ordinance good. I. N. Kinley, who was representing Dr. Smith, says he will take the case to the supreme court and see if that tribunal will hold that the city council has the right to delegate legislative powers to the board of health.

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