Aug 29 2020
Fred Poisson, Jr. recounts his second criminal trial back in 1976. It is interesting how different things were back then…

My second trial back in 1976 involved a man with a habit of drinking too much and trespassing throughout the neighborhood. I argued to the Court that Mr. H meant no harm – it was a simple matter of alcohol-induced disorientation and he ought to be found not guilty of criminal trespass.

The good judge asked me if I believed that and I said, “yes sir, Your Honor.” He responded, “Very well Mr. Poisson, I’ll tell you what. You take Mr. H down to the bus station and buy him a one-way ticket to Washington D.C. – and be damn sure it cannot be cashed in!”

I did as the judge instructed and took Mr. H to the bus station by the City Café. I bought Mr. H. an irredeemable one-way ticket to Washington D.C. I even waited until he got on the bus and we said our goodbyes to each other. I reported as much to the Court and the judge chuckled; but the joke was on him. Mr. H made it back to Anson County from Washington, D.C. in three days.

So, in the first two weeks of my practice of law in Anson County… I learned at my first trial that I couldn’t talk to the witnesses and in my second trial that banishment from Anson County was a lawful punishment.

Note to readers: To clarify, banishment is not a lawful punishment in North Carolina at least not in the court system, perhaps excepting Anson County that day.