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NEWSPAPER UNKNOWN, March 1941
Release from Jail - ERIC BLOMBERG
BLOMBERG (this is badly ripped in parts)

Washington stepped into the limelight of the midwest and almost the whole nation Monday and Tuesday of this week when the Associated Press, United Press, and other news gathering agencies took an unusually great interest in the Eric BLOMBERG "retiring from jail" story.

Countless phone calls and telegrams from Topeka and Kansas City requesting facts, details, pictures etc. from the Register office, Clerk of the Court, the District Judge, County Sheriff and others kept the wires hot Monday and Tuesday. Besides the unusual interest appearing in most daily papers in the midwest, newscasts carried the "yarn" as editors call such a story, Washington people heard the happening broadcast from a Cincinnati radio station.

It seems to be the opinion of many that the story commanded more far reaching attention over the country than the tornado of July 4, 1932.

Headlines used by several papers included "14 years in Jail for Prisoner who owed $63.35", and "Jail Is Home Sweet Home".

Here's what started it all ---- After spending 14 years in the county jail for non-payment of costs amounting to $63.35 Eric BLOMBERG, 87, was freed Monday on a ruling by Charles A. WALSH, district judge,
that the state could not legally hold him in jail for the deficiency.

BLOMBERG, who was formerly a farmer near Barnes, returned to ------night since being ------------ stay at the jail local officials state that they will have to await further developments before a decision of
something is made.

Received Sentence in 1926 - Although records show
that it was on March 26, BLOMBERG states that it was March 3, just 15 years to the day, that he was sentenced. Convicted with assault with a deadly weapon, believed to have been a 30-30 rifle, BLOMBERG was sentenced to a year in jail and was assessed costs of $63.35 by District Judge John C. HOGAN. At the end of the year's sentence, however, he refused to pay the costs and was committed to the county jail where he has been ever since.

On Monday, however, BLOMBERG filed a written statement asking the court to reform the record, which was denied by the district judge. A.C. BOKELMAN was appointed by the judge to represent the defendant, then moved to that order to commit BLOMBERG
to jail be stricken from the judgment of conviction.

With the motion sustained, BLOMBERG was discharged. Judge WALSH's decision to free
BLOMBERG was based on the following form the Kansas statues: GS 62-1513: "When the defendant is adjudged to pay a fine and costs the court shall order him to be committed to the jail of the county until the
same are paid". Could not hold legally -

However, in 64 KAN 780, in the Pool GINSTEAD, habeas corpus case the ruling by the Kansas State Supreme Court was that the statute committing defendant to jail for non-payment of cost is void unless a fine is also assessed. There was no fine in this case and thus BLOMBERG could not legally be kept in jail. Records show that BLOMBERG was once sentenced to the penitentiary at Lansing.

Transcribed and Contributed by Delores Raines


Last Updated:  Thursday, August 07, 2008 01:42:29


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