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One winters night in 1935. LaGuardia - - the mayor of New York city showed up at a night court in the poorest ward in the city.

He dismissed the judge and took over the bench.

That night a tattered old women was brought before him for stealing a loaf of bread.

She defended herself by saying “my daughters husband has deserted her, she is sick and the children are starving”.

The shopkeeper refused to drop the charges saying “Its a bad neighborhood. Your honor and she has to be punished to teach other people a lesson

LaGuardia sighed; he turned to the women and said.

“I’ve Got to punish you, the law makes no exceptions.


However even while pronouncing the sentence he was reaching into his pocket, He took out a ten-dollar bill, and threw it into his hat with these famous words.

“Here is the ten dollar fine which I now remit, and furthermore I am fining everyone in this courtroom 50 cents for living in a town where a person has to steal bread to feed her starving grandchildren. Mr. Bailiff collect the fines and give them to the defendant”

The following day a new York paper reported

“Forty seven dollars and fifty cents was turned over to a bewildered old grandmother who had stolen a loaf of bread to feed her starving grandchildren, making forced donations were a red faced shop keeper, seventy petty criminals, and a few New York policemen.

LaGuardia, paid the price, and set the prisoner free, out of compassion...

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