Mr. Nimick is president of the Pittsburg Transfer Company. The process under which Von der Ahe has virtually been kidnapped and made a prisoner is one of the most extraordinary in legal history. There is no special law or laws covering it. In the words of Blackstone, it is a common law and has existed "as long and far back as the memory of man runneth." The counsel for Nimick in this procedure say they have opinions that will sustain their action before any Court of justice.
A Sweeping Claim.
They say that any person having become bail for another State of the Union and the person bailed having absconded or having failed to satisfy any judgment that may have been rendered against him in any civil action, that his body may be taken from any other State. This, they show, in the brief, can be done without requisition papers. In other words, the body of the person bailed belongs to the individual who bailed him. He or she, according to the stand of Nimick's attorneys, is the prisoner of the bailor. The latter is his jailer. The latter owns his body until such time as the judgment has been satisfied or the bailor gives him immunity from so doing. Pitcher Baldwin sued Von der Ahe for salary and secured judgment. Mr. Nimick was on Von der Ahe's bond.
Lawyer Ferguson Disagrees.
Attorney Ferguson took Mr. Von der Ahe to his home with him to spend the night. The lawyer said:
"We are going into court to-morrow morning, and if the Court decides that this outrageous St. Louis seizure, called an arrest by courtesy, is legal, the prisoner can be taken by the Sheriff and turned over to answer for the forfeited bond. But if the writ of habeas corpus is allowed, Von der Ahe cannot be arrested before he has had reasonable time to get out of the State. His arrest was entirely illegal."
The attorneys under whose direction the capture was effected last night say they were prepared for the move to keep Von der Ahe out of jail. Their object is to have satisfied the claim of W.A. Nimick for his forfeited bail, and they claim that even if the habeas corpus proceeding is successful and Von der Ahe is allowed his liberty he may be immediately rearrested.
Nimick And Scandrett's Views.
W.A. Nimick, who is behind the present arrest, said to-day: "Owing to Von der Ahe's failure to appear it was necessary for me to pay $1000 as his bondsman or produce him. I wrote him several letters asking what he proposed to do, and he has evaded them. If he does not settle the judgment he must go to jail."
Attorney R.P. Scandrett said to-night: "We anticipated the habeas corpus proceedings which were brought and we notified the Sheriff of Allegheny County to be on the spot to give us a receipt for Von der Ahe's body. If the Sheriff was not there and we had to take a receipt from the United States Circuit Court the Sheriff would be responsible for whatever complications arise. We have the best legal authority for our step, including the opinion of Judge Story."
More Trouble For Chris.
When Von der Ahe arrived at the jail tonight Mark Baldwin, out of whose case against Von der Ahe the trouble grew, had his attorneys and his father there, but they made no objection to the habeas corpus proceeding. W.A. Nimick's action, to recover his $1000 bond given to prevent Chris' arrest in Pittsburg, in the Baldwin affair, is entirely independent of the pitcher's affair, but Baldwin is almost certain to take advantage of Von der Ahe's enforced presence in Pittsburg to collect the $2700 which a few days ago was finally awarded to him in his famous case by a decision of the Pennsylavania Supreme Court. From this Von der Ahe had no appeal, except before the United States Supreme Court.
-Sporting Life, February 12, 1898
I've always said that to understand what happened to Von der Ahe between 1897 and 1899, when he lost control of the Browns, one needs to be an attorney and an accountant. I am neither and I sometimes struggle to understand the specifics of what was going on with Von der Ahe. The stuff is complicated beyond measure and I'm just a simple historian trying to wade through it all. I'm just doing the best I can to make sense of all of it. Some days are better than others.
And on that note, I wish all of you a Happy New Year with the hope that 2016 will be better than 2015.