This article comes from the Jan. 5, 1922 edition of the Waterville Empire Press. It caught my eye for many reasons. This story is shocking from the assault committed by the Chelan County Sheriff to his attempt to frame an innocent man. Thank goodness that the Douglas County Sheriff was present as well and had the fortitude to stand up and tell the facts of the night of July 27, 1921 as he saw them and to refuse to help frame an innocent man. Also, after reading about this trial I am disheartened that the Chelan County Sheriff was not sentenced to time in prison after so grossly abusing his trusted position. I have much more I would love to say about this article, but it is lengthy by itself without my commentary. Instead, I will let the article about this huge case heard in Waterville speak for itself.

Chelan County Sheriff in humiliating situation

About the most exciting thing that has happened in Waterville this winter, was the trial of Capt. E. Q. Forsyth, sheriff of Chelan County, heard this city Friday. The Chelan County sheriff was charged with having committed a third degree assault on C. P. Kazee. The case had been set for hearing before Judge Davis, of this city, on the 20th of December, but Forsyth’s attorneys asked for a change of venue and the case was set for the 30th before Justice Noe of Mansfield. By agreement of attorneys, Mr. Noe came to Waterville to hear the case and at 10:30 Friday morning the trial began. The court room was filled with local people. There were probably 300 men who heard the entire proceedings.

It was a humiliating situation for Mr. Forsyth. Seated between his two attorneys, Frank Lebeck, deputy prosecutor of Chelan County, and Nels Sorenson of Wenatchee, with a room crowded with people, when Prosecuting Attorney Sam Driver, of this city, and Attorney C. B. Hughes of Wenatchee, who represented the state in this case, appeared with C. P. Kazee, a poor, helpless cripple, whom they assisted as he entered room. For a man of Forsyth’s appearance to be charged with assault on such an individual, was one that could not help but cause embarrassment.

Attorney Driver read the charge and stated that the state would attempt to show that on the night of July 27, 1921, the defendant, in company with Sheriff Davis, went to the store of C. P. Kazee, which is located near the Wenatchee River bridge, and committed an assault on Mr. Kazee.

Warrick Adams, who was employed by Mr. Kazee, was the first witness called by the state, and he related to the court that on the evening of July 27, Sheriff Davis, accompanied by Mr. Forsyth and another man, drove up to the store and Mr. Davis got out of the car and told Mr. Kazee he wanted to see him. They went inside and he and several others, who were on the steps outside, followed them in. Mr. Davis asked Mr. Forsyth to come in, and as the Chelan County Sheriff entered the door, Kazee looked up and seeing him called him a name. Forsyth reached in his pocket and got his “block jack” or billy, and struck at Kazee, hitting him on the shoulder. Kazee’s sister, who was standing nearby stepped in between them and told him “not to hit him again” and Sheriff Davis said, “Capt., cut it out.” A number of other witnesses were called who virtually told the same story as Adams. Sheriff Davis, of this county, who was also on the stand, testified about the same as Adams, with the exception that he did not see Forsyth actually strike the blow.

Attorneys Driver and Hughes were on the job every minute, and by a chain of evidence that seemed to be hard to get around, brought the case to a point where it looked strongly in their favor.

The only testimony the defense introduced to disprove the state’s contention, was that of Sheriff Forsyth who said he struck at Kazee with his hand in an attempt to slap him in the mouth but did not know whether he hit him or not.

The above was practically all the direct evidence in the case. There were a number of sensational features.

When the editor of this great family journal entered the court room with Rufus Woods, some one asked Rufus if he brought a can of white wash along. Shortly after the trial opened, the defense asked the court to exclude all witnesses from hearing the testimony. Attorney Hughes objected strenuously, but the court upheld the defense. Then Hughes, in somewhat of a mischievous manner, had the Wenatchee Daily World editor summoned as a witness for the state. Think of that – a witness for the state! Rufus had to leave the room and did not get to hear any of the testimony. He got an ear full, however, when the case was argued.

The most sensational feature of the case was the testimony of Sheriff Davis, who related that after the trouble between Forsyth and Kazee was over, he searched the Kazee premises and found a jug which he thought contained “moonshine,” and some empty bottles. They placed Kazee under arrest and took him to Wenatchee and put him in jail. It seems Kazee had put one over on Sheriff Davis in this way. The sheriff had been told that Kazee was selling booze, and he sent a fellow there to buy a quart of liquor, in order to catch him. The fellow went there and Kazee sold him a quart of vinegar for which he received $14.00. After discovering that the jug they had taken from Kazee did not contain liquor, and he had no evidence to convict him, he asked Forsyth how he was going to get his $14.00 back. Forsyth suggested they “frame up” on him by putting liquor in the empty bottles taken from Kazee’s place. Davis said he would not do that. About this time the audience began to applaud and cheer, and Justice Noe brought things to order by threatening to put everybody out. The defense introduced L. G. Olds, F. R. Van Leuven and J. R. Peters, who testified that as a committee, which was styled by Hughes as the “white wash committee”, who investigated the sheriff’s office in Chelan County a couple of months ago, that Sheriff Davis appeared before them and gave Forsyth a fine recommendation and came without being asked. Sheriff Davis, however, testified that he had been asked by Forsyth to go before the committee and hep him out, and that he (Forsyth) phoned him three times before he consented to go. The World, of course, did not say anything about why Davis went before the committee, but led readers to believe he had gone just because he wanted to give Forsyth a clean bill.

In the final arguments in the case, Sam Driver made a strong appeal to the court for a conviction and asked that the Chelan County Sheriff be given a jail sentence. Attorney Sorenson made the argument for the defense, and he attempted to influence the judge with a sentimental appeal which was quite tactful. Hughes closed the argument and injected into his remarks things that would not do to print.

The judge immediately announced that he would find the defendant guilty, and fined him $5.00 and costs.


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