While the governor’s away, criminals will not go free – a lesson George Nelson learned on this date in 1918. The previous year, Nelson eloped with a married woman from Duluth. They lived under aliases in Hibbing, but when a grand jury in Duluth issued indictments for their arrest, Nelson high-tailed it to Devils Lake. There, he was arrested on a weapons charge and landed in Bismarck penitentiary. Upon release, he thought he was free at last, but a Minnesota sheriff greeted him with an extradition warrant. However, extraditions must be approved by the governor, and Governor Frazier was on vacation. Nelson applied for habeas corpus, demanding a judge immediately, hoping to gain his freedom, but the judge had Nelson jailed on a fugitive’s warrant, to await the governor’s return.
Dakota Datebook written by Jayme L. Job
The Bismarck Tribune. Saturday, August 17, 1918: p. 3.