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The San Francisco Daily Morning Call, September 9, 1864


That a thing cannot be all black and all white at the same time, is as self evident as that two objects can not occupy the same space at the same time, and when a man makes a statement under the solemn sanction of an oath, the implication is that what he utters is a fact, the verity of which is not to be questioned. Notwithstanding witnesses are so often warned of the nature of an oath, and the consequences of per jury, yet it is a daily occurrence in the Police Court for men and women to mount the witness stand and swear to statements diametrically opposite. Swearing positively - leaving mere impressions out of the question - on the one hand that the horse was as black as night, and on the other that he was white as the driven snow. Two men have a fight, and a prosecution for assault and battery ensues. Each party comes up prepared to prove respectively and positively the guilt and innocence of the party accused. A swears point blank that B chased him a square and knocked him down, and exhibits wounds and blood to corroborate his statements. B brings a witness or two who saw the whole affair, from probably a distant standpoint, and he testifies that nothing connected with the fight could have escaped his observation, and that it was A who chased B a square and knocked him down, and between these two solemn statements the Court has to decide. How can he do it. It is an impossibility, and thus many a culprit escapes punishment. There was a case in point Tuesday morning. A German named Rosenbaum prosecuted an other German named Levy, for running into his wagon and breaking an axletree. He swore that he kept as far over to the right hand side of the street as a hole in the planking would permit, stopped his wagon when he saw the impending collision, and warned Levy off. Notwithstanding, Levy drove his vehicle against his wheel, breaking the axle, so as to require a new one which would cost twenty-five dollars. He stated also that Levy had been trying to injure him in that way for a long while. Levy brought a witness who swore that between Rosenbaum's wagon and the hole in the street, there was room for a wagon or two to pass; that Rosenbaum challenged the collision, and that it was unavoidable on the part of Levy; that instead of stopping his wagon, the prosecuting witness drove ahead at a trot until the wagons became entangled, and that no damage whatever was done to Rosenbaum. On the whole, that instead of Levy running into Rosenbaum's wagon, Rosenbaum intentionally brought about the collision for the purpose of recovering damages off of Levy. The case was stronger than we have stated it, and the Judge could do nothing but dismiss the matter. That there was perjury on one side, was apparent. Yet this is but the history of one-half the cases that are adjudicated in the Police Court. There should be examples made of some of these reckless swearers. It would probably have a wholesome effect.

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