N&W in 1909--Law Case

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Thu May 28 07:12:25 EDT 2009

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
September 25, 1909

On Motion of District Attorney Judge Instructs Jury to Bring in Verdict of Not Guilty

An indictment returned some time ago against the Norfolk and Western Railway Company, charging that corporation with blocking the Tug river through double tracking near Delorme in Mingo county, was tried in the federal court at Huntington Wednesday. District Attorney Ritz prosecuted the case and Holt and Duncan defended the railroad company. The witnesses who testified in the case stated that the improvements made by the railroad company were of such a character that they deflected the course of the stream to such an extent that it effected navigation and impaired traffic in that section.
After the evidence was all in, District Attorney Ritz asked the court to dispose of the case as he was satisfied there were no grounds to support the prosecution and this was done, the court ordering the jury to return a verdict of not guilty. The same fate was dealt out in another indictment against the company for a charge almost identical with the one named in the first indictment.
[I suppose that Tug Fork of Big Sandy (aka Tug river) could be technically a navigable stream in the eyes of the US Corps of Engineers, but it is normally so small it is hard to understand how any "traffic" could have been impaired as alleged.]

Gordon Hamilton
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