That Skidrow Jury

In a J. P. Court in Sangamon
In the year of '56,
I witnessed "Blindfold Justice" done;
Reactions seem to mix -
With red hot anger, sheer disgust,
Sensations sickening;
Or ludicrous emotions sprung
In joyous quickening.

The case was called by the august Judge,
The counsel in their place;
The plaintiff and defendant sworn,
Each witness full of grace.
And then, six men all good and true,
Oh spare my heart from fury;
Each time I close my eyes I see
That dirty "Skidrow Jury".

McDougal and McClanahan,
O'Brien and Shaughnessy,
McFadden & O'Flaherty;
Oh, Life's strange mystery.
Just one of them straightway excused,
His age was 68;
The younger members gratified
And thanked a kindly fate.

I thought "Somehow somebody'd lied",
To me it now appears;
The five could not that dirty get
In 60 or 70 years.
Of course there may be some excuse
For those down on their luck;
Could not afford to wash for a job
That only paid one buck.

'Twas a wondrous day for the "Famous Five"
Their minds on a detached path,
And thinking of the long ago
When they sometimes took a bath.
The witnesses their stories told
Under questionings concise;
The Jurymen with saddened mien -
Their fee, "What A Stingy Price".

And watching all, they saw not,
And listning did not hear
The evidence clear, staunch and strong;
I almost dropped a tear.
They know not that they knew not,
Yet, drunk with new found power,
They signed a verdict right or wrong
In one-sixth of an hour.

They disregarded evidence,
Those low-geared tools of fate;
'Twas little use when they'd been SEEN -
It seems a sorry state
When Justice hides behind a cloud,
Malicious, petty, furies
Defeat the pleas of honest men
With derelict "Skidrow Juries".

By: H. B. Austin