Today we value our right to freedom of speech, but on this date in 1914, G. I. Nelson, editor of the Cooperative Herald out of Fargo, learned that unsubstantiated allegations could be costly. In an editorial, Nelson stated that he believed the North Dakota Supreme Court had conspired with state officials to conduct fake hearings and render a fake decision concerning a case about tax levies.
As a result of this editorial, Nelson was cited for contempt of the Supreme Court, sentenced to twenty days in jail and fined two hundred dollars. Perhaps in 1914, it would have been more prudent for Mr. Nelson to have practiced the right to remain silent over the right of free speech.
Dakota Datebook written by Jim Davis
Churches Ferry Sun December 4, 1914