The Rushville Rotary Club met at noon on Tuesday, April 9, in the Kenneth L. Earnest conference room at Rush Memorial Hospital. Given the beauty of the day, several of the formalities were dispensed with and, following the usually sumptuous fare, acting president Jan Dimick introduced local attorney and noted philanthropist C. Jack Clarkson, who presented the program for the day.
Jack spoke about his early days as a young Rush County prosecuting attorney. “In those days, the early 1960s, there was only the sheriff and one deputy and the jail matron, who was also the sheriff’s wife. She was also the cook for the inmates. Furthermore, the sheriff and his wife lived in the front part of the old brick and stone jail on the southwest corner of First and Perkins streets.”
Jack also talked about some of his experiences as a young prosecutor and how law enforcement in the 60s was more informal than it is today. “In those days, I’d go talk to whoever had been arrested and we’d usually come up with a plea agreement that was pretty informal, but the point is the system worked well and was much less complicated than it is now. To put it another way, it ‘fit’ the times we were living in back then.”
Jack also interspersed his remarks with some of the humorous episodes from his early career as Rush County prosecutor. “One story that I recall from that time when we had a justice of the peace. He’d get a lot of the cases involving the offense of public intoxication. Back then, the JP would give defendants a simple choice: Pay a stiff fine or take the bus out of town. That was back in the days when we had a bus service locally. I’ve always found it amusing how many people charged with public intoxication took the option of leaving town instead of paying the fine!”
Jack’s program was well received by all the Rotarians present and at the conclusion of his remarks he received a hearty round of applause.