Cross the Line is chapter 23 of Fine Line, sequel to Woodcutter’s Revival. Both historical fiction novels are written by Jerry Slauter and set at the beginning of the final phase of the Industrial Revolution.
After learning of a local person’s incarceration in the Central State Asylum, Editor-in-Chief, Richard Douglas publishes an editorial in the Wabash Watchman. The editorial also challenges the Indiana eugenics law. Judge Halstead, of Tippecanoe Superior Court orders McCabe, Stewart and the Editor-in-Chief to appear in court. The judge suspects Douglas of obtaining the information from McCabe and Stewart, violating the client’s right to privacy and client-attorney confidentiality.
Judge Halstead orders Richard Douglas to reveal his sources. He refuses based upon his first amendment rights. The following is an excerpt from Cross the Line:
Judge Halstead turned red with rage. “Mr. Douglas, you will answer my question or be held in contempt. I need to know whether your attorneys violated attorney-client confidentiality by ‘leaking’ this story to you.”
Richard said, “Your Honor, I can assure you I did not obtain the facts about this situation from Mr. Taylor or Mr. McCabe.”
Judge Halstead continued, “Your article, with the juxtaposition of Congressman Shultz tends to incriminate by association.”
McCabe answered, “Your Honor, Congressman Shultz’s opinion was sought as the view of a respected public official and member of the community.”
Judge Halstead said, “On that, I remain dubious, taking his picture of a Sunday morning, coming out of church. I am going to quote an article from the Harvard Law Review, written by Samuel D. Warren and Louis Brandeis, published on December fifteenth, eighteen and ninety, ‘The right to privacy is the right to keep a domain around us, which includes all those things that are part of us, such as our body, home, property, thoughts, secrets and identity. The right to privacy gives us the ability to choose parts in their domain that can be accessed by others, and to control extent, manner and timing of the use of parts we chose to disclose.”
McCabe asked, “Your Honor, may I respond?”
Judge Halstead said, “Proceed.”
McCabe continued, “In a Democratic society, private citizens should be protected from excess intrusiveness and observation from the government. Elected officials and government, in general, should have the expectation of being monitored by the citizenry. Thomas Jefferson said, ‘If given the choice between a government with no free press and a free press with no government, I would choose the latter.’”
Judge Halstead said, “Yes, the public actions and policies of political figures should be analyzed and questioned by the press and the general population. However, the Yellow Press should not use modern technology, such as photography and the telephone to invade the private lives of government officials.” End
Do we learn from history and literature? Woodcutter’s Revival is available now. Fine Line release is planned for late 2014.
Jerry is a retired school teacher who loves to spend time with his family, including children and grandchildren. He likes to travel and speak about writing and the topics of his writing and research. He works in his wood, leather and metal shops at home. Writing aligns well with his passion of reading and research. Jerry is available to speak in schools and churches or conferences and seminars.