Buried deep inside the old courthouse in Bisbee were the official docket ledgers of Gleeson's Justice of the Peace. As these were being identified and sorted for shipment to the state archives in Phoenix, (picture the penultimate scene in "Raiders of the Lost Ark", where the crate is being housed in a warehouse of similar crates), a narrow window of opportunity opened to look at the records and photograph them. The lighting was minimal, and time was extremely short. The resulting photographs are presented here, in all their imperfections. A complete index of names is in the works, showing who was involved in which cases. As you can see, sometimes the writing is very difficult to read. If you have any corrections to the names involved in a case, please let me know. Glenn@GleesonArizona.com
Listing of names in the first docket book
The first set of records span the years from 1909-1913. The second set (still in process) goes from 1914-1924. In these docket ledgers, you will find the handwritten records of the Judge, describing every case which came before him. Some of them were civil cases (suing for unpaid bills and debts), and some were criminal cases. The criminal cases range from murder down to "using obscene language in front of a female". Some definition and description of terms might be useful in understanding these cases.
- Assault - An attack that involves physical contact or threat of bodily harm.
- Battery - An assault that actually results in physical bodily harm.
- Constable - The officer of the court responsible for carrying out the orders of the judge. This usually involves serving subpoenas and summons, delivering prisoners, and arranging for the jury to visit crime scenes. In small towns such as Gleeson, the Constable was also usually the local deputy sheriff as well as the jailor.
- Coroner's inquest - Not a crime, but also under the jurisdiction of the local Justice of the Peace. Since communications and transportation were not always available, it was necessary to convene a local group (a coroner's jury) to examine the scene of a death, including everything from heart attacks to accidents to murder. The coroner's jury, upon weighing the evidence, would render a judgement regarding the manner and mode of death. If a crime was indicated, the local sheriff or other law enforcement officer would be called upon to follow up with arrests or other actions.
- Disturbance - The most common offense. Complaints of disturbance can be brought by any citizen, or by local law enforcement. This can be anything from loud swearing to fistfights.
- Exposure of person - Would be called "indecent exposure", and involves frontal nudity in a public place. Actually, it almost always meant a drunk man urinating in public where he could be seen by women or children.
- False pretenses - Lying or fabricating a story to someone in order to get them to give you some money or goods.
- Justice of the Peace - A local judge who presides over cases of local jurisdiction. Anything with small consequences (disorderly conduct, petty larceny, etc.) were under his jurisdiction. Most penalties from these cases involved fines, restitution, and/or short stints in the local jail.
- Larceny - Theft, it can either be grand larceny or petty larceny, depending own how much was stolen.
- Running a disorderly house - Operating a brothel (house of prostitution)
- Subpoena - An order from a judge which requires a person to provide evidence, either physical evidence or personal testimony. Usually served by the constable.
- Unlawful cohabitation - Having sex with someone who was not one's spouse, whatever the circumstances.
- Unlawful slaughter of cattle without inspection - Whenever a cow was slaughtered for meat, the butcher was required to keep the entire cowhide with the meat until an inspector could determine the condition of the meat (by looking at the meat) AND the ownership of the cow (by looking at the brand on the hide). The dual intent was to make sure the meat is not diseased, and to keep people from rustling and slaughtering other people's cattle and then eating the evidence.
- Warrant - An order from a judge which requires taking a person into custody. Usually carried out by the constable.