The Commission is All Right.
Frank M. McDermit was fined $1000 by Judge Kirkpatrick in the Quarter Sessions Court on Monday as a penalty for his confessed crime of libeling the water commissioners of Newark, N. J. The chamber in which the court convenes was never so crowded. Many prominent lawyers were present, all anxious to hear what the sentence would be.
Judge Kirkpatrick, in a husky voice, said:
“Frank McDermit, there are six indictments found against you for criminal libel. The first to deal with is the one in which you charge James Smith, Jr., with having received a large sum of money regarding the making of the contract respecting the new water supply. You asserted that you had in your possession evidence that you could produce of that gentleman’s wrongdoing. At first you plead not guilty to these indictments, but when the court pressed you, and you knew that the cases were coming to trial, you retracted and pleaded guilty, and to-day you stand before this court a self-confessed convict. You have made a personal investigation, so you said, into the assertions you made, and say that you could not find a scintilla of evidence against the members of the board of street and water commissioners. A self-confessed man, branded as a liar, can’t escape the finger of scorn from your former friends who held you in esteem. That punishment alone is unbearable, if you have any feeling within. That I consider is as much punishment as a man who is confined to prison with thieves and crooks. I have no desire to send you to prison with such people. You have saved an expense for the county by pleading guilty ; you have never been convicted of any crime in this court, and I will therefore sentence you to the extreme penalty allowed by law. The sentence of the court is that you pay a fine of $500 for the first indictment. The other five indictments are practically one transaction, they being libels against each of the five members of the board of works. Your offense has effected one good result; it has lead to a thorough investigation into the charges made, and the grand jury has adjourned without finding indictments against any of them, and you yourself have been unable to substantiate any of the assertions you made. I will consider the five as one indictment, and the court will impose a fine of $500, and you will stand committed until the fine is paid.”