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Mail Tribune 100, Dec. 3, 1921

The following news items were drawn from the archives of the Mail Tribune 100 years ago

Dec. 3, 1921


A.B. Gates, Star Witness in Bootleg Cases, Charged in Three Complaints With Violation Liquor Laws — Hearing Set for Next Saturday

A. B. Gates, a special prohibition agent, and chief witness for the state in several of the bootlegging cases heard at this term of the circuit court was arrested Friday by Sheriff Terrill, upon warrants sworn to by James (Shine) Edwards, himself a defendant in two bootlegging trials, both resulting in a hung jury, in which Gates was the star witness, charging possession and giving away of liquor. The warrants were sworn out before Justice Smith of Gold Hill and before whom the defendant was arraigned Friday. Gates was released on his own recognizance, and his preliminary hearing set for next Saturday at Gold Hill. Attorney O. C. Boggs acts as attorney for Gates.

It is claimed that when Sheriff Terrill showed a disinclination to serve the warrants, after Gates had refused to be placed under arrest Thursday night at midnight, District Attorney Rawles Moore and Attorney Boggs insisted on the arrest being made by the sheriff in order that the cases might come to trial. They apparently welcome such a trial and a fight to the finish.

The episode of Edwards swearing out a warrant for Gates’ arrest seems to have aroused more feeling between the wets and drys of Medford than anything that has happened since the raids made by the state prohibition agents last August.

The warrant against Gates is the outgrowth of the bootlegging trials at which Gates was the chief witness. He appeared as the chief witness in the Goodwin and the two Edwards trials, and in each case a hung jury resulted. A wide discrepancy existed in Gates testimony, and jurors in all the trials freely admitted that the disagreements were due to the inability to accept the testimony of Gates.

The testimony in the Edwards case revealed that Gates while on detective duty had taken a joyride to Crater Lake last summer in Edwards’ taxi, and witnesses testified that he was “drunk” at a dance given at Prospect. The details of this jaunt were salacious in spots. Considerable sentiment developed against Gates by reason of his testimony. In the Goodwin trial disagreement the same factor influenced the jury.

In support of Gates, it is contended by his supporters that his methods were the only way to procure evidence against bootleggers.

— Alissa Corman; acorman@rosebudmedia.com