Mayor A. R. Pugh
Many American towns, including North College Hill, saw frequent raids during this time to enforce "dry laws." The fines that were levied as a result became a substantial source of income for many municipalities and their officials.
In 1925 the Mayor of North College Hill was involved in a prohibition case that rose to national significance and continues to have an impact on legal matters today. The case started in 1925 when North College Hill Mayor A. R. Pugh led a raid on the home of White Oak resident Ed Tumey and charged him with alcohol possession in violation of the Ohio prohibition law.
When Tumey appeared in court, the prosecutor was...Mayor Pugh. And the judge? Also Mayor Pugh!
This arrangement allowed Pugh to benefit from his own decisions since convictions rewarded Pugh with a fee and acquittals did not. Tumey claimed that this denied the defendant a fair hearing and moved for dismissal. Pugh denied the motion and fined Tumey $100 from which he received a fee of $12 for acting as judge.
The case was appealed and eventually made it all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which was then headed by Cincinnati-born Chief Justice William Howard Taft. When the court issued its decision in Tumey's favor on March 7, 1927, the case provided one of the first breakthroughs in the repeal of prohibition by helping to strike down a municipal system whose self-interest denied citizens their right to the "due process of law" guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.
The court's decision in this case continues to provide precedent today in many cases involving judicial impartiality.