A man had been sentenced to six months in jail and a $50 fine for assaulting his wife. His behavior toward his baby saved him from the $50 fine.
From the Arizona Daily Star, Thursday, March 5, 1914:
KISSING BABY SAVED DEFENDANT $50 FINE
But Man Must Spend 6 Months in Jail for Beating Its Mother
Six months in the county jail was the sentence imposed on Jose Mendez, a young married man 22 years of age, living at 114 West McCormick street yesterday by Justice O. E. Comstock, after his trial in which he was charged with assaulting his wife.
Mendez claimed that he was striking at Enrique Curcio, but that by mistake he struck his wife, once on the cheek and the other time on the back of the head. He stated that he would have struck at Curcio again but for fear of hitting the baby which his wife was carrying. The complaint was sworn out by his wife. In the trial she claimed that Curcio came into the room to hunt for 15 cents which he had dropped in a card game. Mendez however seemed to have other views as to why Curcio came into the room. Mendez started to serve his sentence last evening. The woman's head was badly hurt.
Mendez was at first sentenced to six months in jail and to pay a fine of $50 but the fine was remitted by Justice Comstock as the result of an act by Mendez that touched the heard of the justice, causing him to temper justice with mercy. When the court's sentence was given Mendez went across the court room where his wife was sitting and took his little baby into his arms for a farewell embrace. With the babe in his arms Mendez broke down and his very heart seemed to melt as he sobbed, with his head buried on the little one's breast.
"For that impulse I will remit the fifty dollar fine," said the justice.
One could perhaps believe that Mendez hit his wife once by accident, but not a second time.
Clearly he cares for his child, but did he embrace his wife as well before beginning his sentence?