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The San Francisco Daily Morning Call, July 22, 1864


All of a sudden, we have imbibed a most extravagant respect for Grand Juries. Judge Cowles fined a man two hundred and fifty dollars, yesterday, and sentenced him to five days imprisonment in the County Jail, for cherishing a sentiment of the opposite character. Otto Keating was summoned before the Grand Jury for the May term, and refused to answer one or two of the questions asked him. Judge Cowles hauled him up for contempt, but let him go without punishment. He was again called for by the Grand Jury, when he answered the questions he had declined to answer before, but refused to answer some new ones that were asked him. The punishment we have mentioned was the result. The great popularity of Judge Cowles with the people of San Francisco rests upon two rare judicial traits, which are strongly developed in his character, viz: The quality of mercy, with the quality of discerning where it is proper to exercise it; and the quality of fearlessly administering red-hot penalties that make a transgressor fairly waltz, when he deserves it. An innocent man is safe enough in the County Court, but if he is guilty, he ought always to do what he honestly can to get a change of venue.

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