Louis Curtis shouldn't have tried to carry a concealed weapon in Judge John F. Powell's jurisdiction. It cost him a double eagle.
From this official record (legal-size parchment, quarter-folded) from the Justice Court for Soledad Township, we know the offense occurred Oct. 16, 1921. Powell issued an arrest warrant on the 17th, and Curtis was arrested and apparently brought to court the same day.
"Brought to court" usually meant being hauled over to Powell's house on Railroad Avenue in Newhall. Powell used a small office in his house as a courtroom; it's said it could fit three people. That would be Powell, the defendant and either the arresting officer or a witness. No room for lawyers back then.
So it was in the Justice Court, the lowest level of a multi-tiered judicial system where justices of the peace didn't need a law license.
Curtis' punishment was a $20 fine or 20 days in jail, or a combination of the two where each dollar of the fine could be offset by one day in jail.
What's interesting here is that Powell sentenced Curtis on Nov. 7 — 21 days after his arrest — and ordered him to pay his fine by noon the same day. Curtis apparently served 20 days behind bars instead of paying the fine.
Or maybe it was the other way around. Perhaps after 20 days, Powell decided Curtis had had enough and fined him an amount equal to the number of days he had already spent in lockup — which would have been the old Newhall Jail on Spruce Street.
Good thing it was "just" a concealed weapon. A year earlier, Powell ordered actor Tom Mix to pay a $50 fine for reckless driving.