Howard History

Sale of corn whiskey brought a conviction

April 01, 2007

As reported April 1, 1930, in The Sun:

The first liquor case tried before a jury under Howard County's dry law closed at Ellicott City yesterday with a conviction.

James Sullivan, who lives on the Frederick Pike about four miles west of Ellicott City, who was found guilty, was fined $250 and costs in the Howard County Circuit Court by Judge William H. Forsythe Jr., for selling a pint of corn whiskey to Allen Thompson.

The testimony disclosed that Sheriff John H. Hardy had given some money to Thompson and sent him to Sullivan to make a purchase last October . Thompson, it was asserted, went to Sullivan's house, bought the whiskey and turned it over to the sheriff who put it in a labeled bottle.

The bottle was passed around among the jurors, who smelled the contents. But when Judge Forsythe informed them he would provide glasses for any members of the jury who cared to taste the liquor, all declined.

In imposing sentence , Judge Forsythe said Sullivan would have been entitled to more consideration if he had pleaded guilty.

[ Paul McCardell, Sun library researcher.]

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